Thirteen Attributes. The following two verses from Exodus show us the very nature of God:

Exod. 34:6,7 And the LORD* passed by before him and proclaimed, “The LORD*, the LORD* God, merciful and gracious, patient, and abundant in loving kindness and truth, 7. keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, and Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the children’s children, to the third and to the fourth generations.[1]

  1. The LORD* the LORD*. This Name speaks of mercy, repeated here because it refers to two different kinds of mercy. The first is that God’s mercy flows before someone sins, even though He knows how that one will sin in the future.
  2. The LORD*. The second use of His Name is for His mercy in forgiving the sinner, after repentance. This four letter name of God is the only word for God that is used in the passages telling of the offerings for forgiveness of sin, showing His mercy.
  3. El, God. This word symbolizes power, bringing an even greater level of mercy than the previous Name.
  4. Rakhoom, Compassionate. God reduces the punishment of the guilty. This word denotes pity, compassion, love, and mercy. Deut. 4:31, Jer. 31:20
  5. Vekhanoon, And Gracious. He is gracious even to the undeserving. This word denotes grace, beauty, charm, and loveliness. Zech. 12:10
  6. Erech Apayim, Slow to Anger. With both the righteous and the wicked, God is patient. Instead of punishing sinners immediately, He gives them time to reflect, improve and repent. Neh. 9:17
  7. VeRav Khesed, And Abundant in Loving Kindness. His love surpasses human understanding, even loving His enemies. Num. 14:18,19, Mic. 7:18
  8. VeEmet, And Truth. The adjective abundant (above) also modifies Truth. Loving Kindness precedes Truth because the Truth must always be spoken, and it must always be spoken in love. God never reneges on His word toward those who serve Him. Ps. 31:5, Jn. 14:6
  9. Notser Khesed Lalpim, Preserver of Loving Kindness for thousands of generations. The kindness in this context refers to the good deeds of people, which God regards as if they had done Him kindnesses, Matt. 25:35-40,
    Ps. 16:10; 59:17, Isa. 58:6-10

God forgives three categories of sin, and each forgiveness is reckoned as a separate quality. See Sin elswhere in Glossary.

  1. Avon, Iniquity, i.e., an intentional sin, which God forgives if the sinner repents. 1 Sam. 25:28
  2. VaFesha, And Willful Sin, i.e., a sin that is committed with the intention of angering God. Even so serious a transgression will be forgiven, with repentance. Num. 15:30, Isa. 43:25
  3. VeKhata-ah, And Error, a sin committed out of apathy or carelessness.
    Isa. 5:18
  4. VeNakeh, And Who Cleanses. When someone repents, God cleanses his sin, so that the effect of the sin vanishes. However, if one does not repent, He does not cleanse. God cleanses fully those who repent out of love. Those who repent only out of fear of retribution receive only partial cleansing.

The first word, Who Cleanses, is the final Quality of Mercy. This translation follows the plain meaning, which teaches that God does not whitewash sin, for to do so would remove the distinction between good and evil, and would encourage evildoers to feel secure that they can act boldly, for there will be no punishment.

Tithe. Matt. 23:23. Woe to you, hypocrite scribes and Pharisees, because you tithe the mint and the dill and the cumin but you have canceled the more important things of the Torah, justice and mercy and faith: but it was necessary to do these things but not to cancel those things. Y’shua said it is necessary to
tithe so we all accept the principle of the tithe. Abraham and Jacob tithed, then later it was commanded in Lev. 27:30, reinforced in Num. 18:21-28, and
Deut. 12:6-17; 26:12. It is further endorsed in Ezekiel, Amos, Malachi, Nehemiah, and 2 Chronicles. Tithing is mentioned six times in the New Testament, but not one time is there any suggestion that tithing is not required.

Deut. 14:28. At the end of three years you will bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year and will lay it up within your gates, 29. and the Levite (because he has no part or inheritance with you), the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your gates will come, and. will eat and be satisfied, so the LORD* your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Deut. 26:12. When you have completed tithing all the tithes of your increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so they may eat within your gates and be filled,
13. then you will say before the LORD* your God, “I have brought away the holy things from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, to the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me. I have not trespassed your commandments, neither have I forgotten them.”

The statement of Deut. 14:28 At the end of three years you will bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year.. is confusing because it might lead some to think that it is an accumulation of three years’ tithe. What is to be brought is the tithe of that year, the third year. Tithing in Israel was to operate in a seven-year cycle:

First year to the local priest (if there is one) and the local Levites.

Second year to the priest in Jerusalem. This tithe was to feed the tither and his household while in Jerusalem for the feast, but the remainder went to the priest. If the tither was wealthy and could afford to pay for his party’s meals in Jerusalem, he was still to eat something symbolic from his tithe, such as one olive.

Third year to the Levite and the poor, according to Deut. 14:29. and the Levite (because he has no part or inheritance with you), the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your gates will come, and. will eat and be satisfied, so the LORD* your God will bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.. This is called the Tithe of the Poor.

A second set of three years is identical to the above.

Seventh year, no tithes because that is the Sabbath year and no crops were raised.

Num. 18:26. And your heave offering will be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor and as the Fullness of the wine press. 28. Thus you also will offer a heave offering to the LORD* of all your tithes, which you receive from the children of Israel, and you will give from it the LORD’s* heave offering to Aaron the priest. The Hebrew word for tithe is M’ASER, which is the word for ten, ASER, pronounced ah’sair’, plus the prefix, M. The M prefix indicates a projection of the noun, so in the case of the tithe that tells us that the tithe is to be given freely, cheerfully, that the tithe is no big deal – here is more for the LORD’s* work.

Beyond the Tithe. Nehemiah lists five gifts to be made to the LORD* in addition to the tithe. Neh. 10:33. Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with 1 the third part of a shekel for the service of the House of our God, 34. for the showbread and for the continual meal offering, and for the continual burnt offering of Sabbaths, of the new moons, for the appointed seasons and for the holy things and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for the work of the House of our God, 35. and we cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, 2 for the wood offering, bringing it into the House of our God after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the LORD* our God, as it is written in the Torah (Teaching), 36. and 3 to bring the First Fruits of our ground, and the First Fruits of all fruit of a tree, year by year to the House of the LORD*, 37. also 4 the firstborn of our sons and our cattle, as it is written in the Torah (Teaching) and the firstlings of our herds and our flocks, to bring to the House of our God, to the priests that minister in the House of our God: 38. and 5 that we should bring the first of our dough and our heave offerings and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the House of our God, and 6 the tithes of our ground to the Levites, so the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage. 39. And the priest, the son of Aaron, will be with the Levites when the Levites take tithes and the Levites will bring up the tithe of the tithes to the House of our God, to the chambers, the treasure house. 40. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring 7 the heave offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil into the chambers, where the vessels of the Sanctuary are, and the priests who minister and the door keepers and the singers: and we will not forsake the House of our God.

Some of these offerings are rather small, like First Fruits, which were brought in a basket by each worshiper. Others were considerable, like the firstborn son, redeemed for five shekels (the third of a shekel was worth two drachmas, two days pay in Y’shua’s day, from Matt. 17:24, so five shekels equaled thirty days wages), based on Num. 18:15,16. It is obvious that God intends for us to make frequent offerings and to be generous in our giving. As David said, For all things come of You and of Your own have we given You. (1 Chr. 29:14)

We are to give such offerings as thanksgiving, peace, or vow; whenever something is a special blessing to us. The wood offering is interesting because it was by lot and even the priest, who had no land, was eligible. By lot was fair in an agricultural society in which almost everyone had wood lots from which to cut the wood, but today if this were carried out it would have to be an assessment for utilities – hopefully not by lot.

Relating Scripture to a modern wage-based economy is not easy. Most people in much of the world earn wages based on hours worked or on salaries and very few rely on farm crops and bartering as in Bible times. The seventh year then was the Shemitah, the year of rest, with no crop, no Tithe, no First Fruits. There is no way to relate First Fruit offerings to a modern, wage-based economy because that offering was a very small portion of a crop, an example being two quarts of barley from a harvest of hundreds of bushels. A craftsman or other non-agricultural worker had no offering comparable to First Fruits. The First Fruits offering was given to the priest who received it, who had no salary, just the food given to him from the Tithe, First Fruits and other offerings. The tithe included live animals from the increase of flocks and herds, so these could be used for barter as could the crops he received. Scripture says that we are to be cheerful, generous givers, giving beyond the tithe.

The goal for each congregation should be to return to God’s Word regarding giving. We should not be legalistic, but be open to the Holy Spirit to be guided so that our stewardship would line up with His will. We know that more of the tithe should be going for missions, to ministry workers, and to feeding and caring for the poor. The restructuring of any church’s finances will take time and sacrifice. The beginning is to understand God’s principles – His teachings – and to know that changes need to come. Many pastors and many ministry workers are grossly underpaid. As believers put these truths in their spirits, to tithe and then go well beyond the tithe, and as boards and pastors understand God’s plan for distribution of church funds, finances will accomplish all that God has ordained for them.

Torah and the translation of the word Torah are greatly misunderstood by Christians. The word Torah appears over two hundred times in the Hebrew Scriptures. The word Nomos, the Greek word for Torah, is used over two hundred times in the Greek New Testament. Nomos is the word that was used by the translators of the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word Torah into Greek. Our Christian translators nearly always translate both Torah and Nomos as Law, even though that is not the meaning for either the Hebrew or the Greek.

Torah means teaching or instruction, not law. Please make a conscious effort to erase what you have heard about “LAW” in biblical teachings. In the Jewish Bible the first five books are referred to as Torah, but that name is sometimes loosely applied to all Scripture and even the rabbinic teachings. The emphasis is on the teachings in Genesis through Deuteronomy so that we can live the kind of lives that God wants us to live.

Nomos, the Greek word for Torah, frequently translated LAW, refers to anything that has been established and can mean law, but would more accurately be translated Torah ninety percent of the time in the New Testament. That it can mean either teaching or law seems baffling to us, but there is a valid reason.

Rabbi Eliezer Ben-Yehuda[2] wrote, “Jewish religious law is based upon morality, and deals with every aspect of human life. A Jew’s contemplations, abstractions, reflections, intentions, private conduct, even when they have no social consequences – all are included, for in our religious law one is always seen as standing under God’s watchful eye. In our creed, all law is an attempt to make us better servants of the Lord – and since the world is His – we must act in concert with the needs of this world. God acts in grace out of love for His world – can we, dare we do anything less?

“Thus, the law is concerned not with protecting society, nor even with defending the rights of people, but rather with the basic question of what is a person’s duty. The Hebrew word ‘Mitzvah’ – which has no exact translation, and is rendered in different contexts as ‘good deed,’ ‘law’ or ‘command,’ can also be taken to mean ‘duty’ or ‘obligation’ – a concept which becomes the key to Jewish law. So Jewish law concerns itself not with what is ‘legal,’ but with what it is that God wants us to do, what is our duty. The Torah judge does not sit on the bench as an inquisitor, nor as a symbol of governmental powers, he sits on his tribunal as a teacher, as one to whom has been given the privilege of interpreting in human terms God’s will and God’s word.

“Another characteristic of Jewish law is that it is community-oriented. While the origin of Jewish law is in the Torah, its details come from the Mishna and the Gemara – texts that were written and edited outside of Eretz Yisrael, after the Jewish homeland had been destroyed, and the Jewish people no longer had any sovereignty or independence. The great code of Maimonides, written in the twelfth century, and the code of Juda Caro, written in the sixteenth century, were produced on ‘foreign’ soil, where this “law,” mitsvot, became the only guardian of Jewish integrity. In a chaotic world deprived of order and civility, the Jews had an established code that allowed them to travel and to conduct business – which made possible their survival. Mitsvot also kept the Jews united in all their far-flung lands of exile. East and West, North and South were united in respect of Mitsvot.

“The Jewish legal system functioned without any coercion; it could not exercise any physical or penal sanctions. There were no prisons alongside the academies or the synagogues where the Jewish tribunal would convene. There were neither policemen nor bailiffs prepared to carry out the orders of the court. The judge sat completely disarmed. He had nothing, not any powers – except for the reverence of Torah and the conscience of the people. Jewish law addressed itself to developing the character of a people, to refining individuals as human personalities, to replacing the lack of external force with the presence of inner sanctity. The law was obeyed not because there were jails, but because a people inwardly accepted it and its decisions. Consequently, its decisions and decrees were carried out with a fidelity and dispatch that no penal system ever inspired. Further, I believe that the law was obeyed because the people realized and accepted that it was righteous, humane, considerate, and motivated by love of God and total surrender of vanity and self-interest to the principles of His teaching of the inviolate nature of Tzedek – true teaching of God’s justice.”

The Christian concept of Biblical LAW is not at all close to the meaning of Torah, so if you use another translation please mark your other Bibles, changing the word LAW to Torah.

There are three metaphors for Torah:

Water, based on Isaiah 55:1 Ho, everyone who thirsts, Go to the waters! (Rev. 21:6; 22:17) He who has no money, Go! Buy food! Eat! Yes, Go! Buy wine and milk without money and without price![3] and on Exod. 14:22. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. This gives added meaning to many verses such as Eph. 5:26 so that He (Y’shua) would sanctify His wife (congregation), making her pure by washing with the Word of the Torah.

Light, based on Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the Torah (Teaching) is light, and reproofs of instruction are the way of life. The Talmud says that knowledge of Torah brings spiritual illumination. Torah lights our path, showing us the way to go, our spiritual illumination.

Olive Oil, from Isaiah 51:3,4 For the LORD* will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her ruins; and he will comfort all her waste places like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD*. Joy and gladness will be found there, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. My people, Pay attention to Me! O My people, Listen to Me! For instruction (Torah) will proceed from Me, and I shall make My judgment to rest for a light to the peoples. Oil is the source of illumination and also the source of joy. It is called the Oil of Gladness.

Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 6.1. Does someone of you dare having a lawsuit with another, to be judged by the unrighteous and not by the saints? 2. Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? (Dan. 7:22) And if the world is to be judged by you, are you not competent in trivial cases? 3. Do you not know that we will judge angels, let alone ordinary matters? 4. Indeed if you are having lawsuits over ordinary matters, do you appoint as judges men who have no standing in the congregation? 5. I am saying this to shame you. So, is not one among you wise? Who will be able to judge between one and his brother? 6. But is brother judged with brother and this by unbelievers? 7. Surely now then these are an utter loss for you that you are having lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?

In ancient Israel both criminal and civil law were handled in the synagogue and the Temple. Paul was telling the early church to follow that example, that Christians had no business going before the heathen courts, but were to resolve their differences within the body of believers. Each first century synagogue had an appointed judge, whose primary qualifications were knowledge of Torah and application of those principles in the lives of the members. The Torah was their legal code, their guide for every legal decision, based on the 613 commandments in the first five books of the Bible. Although the commands had been known for some time, it was not until the 3rd century AD that the count of 613 was first written, with 248 positive and 365 negative commands.

We have not understood some of these passages. Most of the 613 commandments deal with personal relationships and many deal with the spoken word. Thus it was not a surprise to His listeners when Y’shua said And I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be guilty in the judgment. And whoever would say to his brother ‘Empty-headed,’ that one is guilty to the Sanhedrin: whoever would say, ‘Stupid’ is guilty in the Gehenna of the fire. (Matt. 5:22)

There was a local Sanhedrin in each community as well as the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. Each one was a council of elders that served to determine local matters according to Torah.

The ancient Hebrews had long before Y’shua’s day determined that the references such as “an eye for an eye” and a “tooth for a tooth” (Exod. 21:24) were not to be taken literally. They said this because the basic premise was that God is just, and if a one-eyed man knocked out the eye of someone with two eyes, then to take the second eye from the one-eyed man would make him blind. This would not be just. If a toothless man knocked out someone else’s tooth then he would escape punishment. This would not be just. Therefore these and other scriptures were used as the basis for establishing monetary punishment – fines.

A major difference between the Torah and the law of other ancient countries can be seen in the case of adultery. In Jewish practice if two people were caught in adultery both were to be punished. In the other countries, only the woman was to be punished because their laws did not involve moral problems, but property rights. The woman was punished because she was the property of the husband. The man with whom she was caught was not punished. See Adultery elsewhere in Glossary.

This use of Torah for legal decisions is why Jewish writers sometimes refer to Torah as Law. Understanding these fundamental differences between Torah and Law is crucial to understanding New Testament truth. This is a whole different context from the mind-sets that we have acquired from Christian teachings. Remember, Torah means teaching or instruction, so substitute the word Torah for law in other translations.

Tree of Life in Rev. 22:2 is the same kind of tree named in Gen. 2:9; 3:22, and Ezek. 47:12. The leaves have healing power, which is strange, so perhaps a tea will be made from the leaves. Most translators use the word nations instead of multitudes, but this healing is for people. Only when the people are healed will the nations be at peace. After Satan is thrown into the abyss (Rev. 20:2) he will no longer afflict people with diseases, or rejection, greed, pride, or any other of the myriad evils that he is now using against people. The problems of nations, whether they be poverty, ignorance, pride, hatred, jealousy, or whatever, are a result of Satan’s attacks on individuals. The national psyche is the result of spirits common to an area. After Satan is dispatched and no longer able to afflict mankind, the results of his earlier attacks will need to be healed. Blind eyes and deaf ears will need to be opened, crippled people to be made whole, mentally ill to be set free, and every bit of pride, prejudice, and hatred will have to be removed. When that has been done the peace of the LORD* will have free reign on the entire Earth and we will all live in the Kingdom of God.

In Judaism “Tree of Life” is one of the symbols of Torah.

Trials. A trial has not taken you except what is common to mankind: but God is
faithful Who will not permit you to be tested beyond what you are able, and therefore He will then in the test make you to be able to patiently bear the way out.
(I Cor. 10:13) While some translations talk about escape or the LORD* providing a way out, this is the literal translation. As much as we would like an escape, most of us know that escape has not been typical of our Christian experience. We all have had seasons that have been uncomfortable or even downright painful, but God has always enabled us to endure the way out. It is a process, a process of maturing in the LORD*, as we learn to stand in faith and pursue the things of God. A trial is a heavenly test that forces a person to choose between God’s will and his own nature or understanding of what is right. By standing in faith we serve as witnesses to the world of His power working through us. God knows how you will respond before the test starts.

Remember And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel and because they tempted the LORD* by saying, “Is the LORD* among us or not?” 8. Then Amalek came and fought with Israel in Refidim.. (Exod. 17:7,8) Two major things happened here that we need to avoid: first, the people questioned the presence of the LORD*. The second is the coming of Amalek. If you question the presence of the LORD*, you can be sure that Amalek will come on the heels of the question. Remember what Amalek did to you on the way, when you came out of Egypt, 18. how he met you on the way and struck those in the rear of you, all that were feeble behind you when you were faint and weary, and he did not revere God. (Deut. 25:17,18) Satan will attack you where you are weakest, and if you cry, “Why are You not here, Lord?” that will invite more trouble: a cycle we all want to avoid.

Keep your faith level high, bearing in mind at all times that ..For He said, “I will not abandon you and I will not ever forsake you,” (Heb. 13:5) In the Greek language repeated use of a negative strengthens the statement, so the author of Hebrews is saying God will not in any way ever, under any circumstances, leave you or forsake you for even a moment. A just God does not impose trials that are beyond the capacity of the individual, 1 Cor. 10:13.

..because the wrestling is not with blood and flesh, but with the rulers, with the powers, with the world rulers of the darkness, with the spiritual (powers) of the wickedness in the heavens. (Eph. 6:12) Through every prayer and entreaty, praying in every time in the Spirit, and being alert in Him, by means of every perseverance and entreaty concerning all the saints. (Eph. 6:18) Have I not commanded you? Be strong! Be of good courage! Do not tremble! Do not be dismayed! For the LORD* your God is with you wherever you go. (Jsh. 1:9)

Keep your faith level high. Know that there will be seasons when you are being challenged and stretched. But be absolutely certain that the LORD* your God is with you wherever you go, that He will never abandon you or forsake you. Never, never say “Is God among us or not?” (Exod. 17:7) You can be sure that He is with you and that He will make you to be able to endure, to patiently bear the way out.

Trials of Abraham show that no matter when or where we live life will present challenges. The following was written in the 12th century by the great scholar Maimonides.

  1. 1. Leaving home and family, Gen. 12.1. Now the LORD* had said to Abram, “Get yourself out of here! From your country and from your kindred and from your father’s house to a land that I shall show you. (Acts 7:3) And I shall
    make a great nation of you, and I shall bless you and make your name great and you will be a blessing.
    3. And I shall bless those who bless you and curse the one who curses you: and in you will all families of the earth be blessed.”
    (Num. 24:9, Gal. 3:8)
    4. So Abram departed, as the LORD* had spoken to him and Lot went with him, and Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
    And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the souls (disciples) that they had made in Haran: and they left to go into the land of Canaan, and they came into the land of Canaan.
    (Heb. 11:8)
  2. 2. The hunger in Canaan after God had assured him that he would become a great nation there. Genesis 12:10. And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was severe in the land.
  3. 3. The corruption in Egypt that resulted in the abduction of Sarah. Gen. 12:15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her, and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s palace. We are in the world, but not of it: 1Cor 5:9. I wrote to you in the letter not to be associated with immoral people,
    by no means are you able to avoid contact with the immoralities of this world or with covetous ones or swindlers or idolaters, for otherwise you would now have to come out of the world. 11. But now I wrote to you not to be associated if some brother would be called immoral or covetous or idolater or abusive or a drunkard or extortioner, and not to eat with such as this one: 12. for what allows me to judge those outside? Are you not judging those inside? 13. But God judges those outside. You must immediately remove the immoral ones from you.

    (Dt 17:7; 19:19; 22:21,24; 24:7)
  4. 4. The war with the four kings. Gen. 14:1-14. Verse 14 has a key word: “Hanikhaiv” which means “his disciple.” This establishes Abraham’s role as spiritual leader as well as the fact that he went to battle four kings with only 318 of his disciples. 14.1. And it happened in the days of Amrafel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim
    made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 3. All these were joined together in the Valley of Siddim, which is the Salt Sea. 4. They served Chedorlaomer for twelve years, then, in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5. And in the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings with him came and struck the Rephaim in Ashtoreth Karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh-Kiriathaim. 6. And the Horites in their Mount Seir, to El-Paran, which is by the wilderness. 7. And they returned and came to En-Mishpat, which is Kadesh, and struck all the country of the Amalekites and also the Amorites who dwelled in Hazezon-tamar.

14:8. And the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar) went out and they joined battle with them in the Valley of Siddim, 9. with Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amrafel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings with five.

14:10. And the Valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there, and those who remained fled to the mountain. 11. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food, and went their way. 12. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelled in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

14:13. And one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelled in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshkol and brother of Aner: and these were allies with Abram. 14. And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his disciples, born in his own house, three hundred eighteen, and pursued them to Dan. Outnumbered, overwhelmed, only God could have brought victory: Gideon, Jehoshaphat, David/Goliath: do not look at your enemy, look at God.

  1. 5. His taking Hagar as a concubine after having despaired that Sarah would ever give birth. Genesis 16:1-3 1. Now Sarai Abram’s wife bore him no children; and she had a maid servant, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2. And Sarai said to Abram, Behold now, the LORD* has prevented me from bearing; I beg you, go in to my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
  2. 6. The commandment of circumcision. Gen. 17:11. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.
  3. 7. Abimelech’s abduction of Sarah. Gen. 20:1-13 1. And Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, the south, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech (Avimelekh) king of Gerar sent for and took Sarah. 3. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are but a dead man for the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4. But Abimelech had not come near her and he said, “Lord, will you slay also a righteous heathen? 5. Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister?’ And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.” 6. And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I AM knows that you did this in the integrity of your heart, for I AM also withheld you from sinning against Me, therefore I did not let you touch her. 7. Now therefore restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live, but if you do not restore her, know that you will surely die, you and all that are yours.”

20:8. Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told all these things in their ears, and the men were very much afraid.
Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And what have I offended you, that you have brought a great sin on me and on my kingdom? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.” 10. And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see that you have done this thing?”

20:11. And Abraham said, “Because I thought, ‘Surely reverence for God is not in this place and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.’ 12. And yet indeed she is my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13. And it was when God caused me to wander from my father’s house that I said to her, ‘This is your kindness which you will show to me: at every place where we will come, say of me, He is my brother.’”

  1. 8. Driving away Hagar after Sarah had given birth. Gen. 21:10. And she said to Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, with Isaac. Driving out Hagar was one trial, Ishmael was another.
  2. 9. The very distateful command to drive away Ishmael. Gen. 21:10. And she said to Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, with Isaac.
  3. 10. The binding of Isaac on the altar. Gen. 22:1-12: 1. And it happened after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham.” And he said, “Here I am.” 2. And He said, “Now take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love! Get yourself into the land of Moriah! Offer him there as an offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you!” And Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the offering and rose up and went to the place of which God had told him. 4. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5. And Abraham said to his young men, “You stay here with the donkey and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” 6. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it upon Isaac his son, and he took the fire in his hand and a knife, and they went, both of them together. 7. And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father.” and he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8. And Abraham said, “My son, God will see to it, providing a lamb for a burnt offering for Himself.” so they went, both of them together. 9. And they came to the place which God had told him about, and Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10. And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son. This refers to your ministry, business, or whatever is most important to you – put it on the altar. Remember David was anointed King in 1 Sam. 16:12,13, long before he actually held the title. That was before Goliath and all David’s successes and persecutions with Saul. See Isaiah 28:16 elsewhere in Glossary.

Tunics as translated from the Hebrew are vastly different from what we have seen in movies and illustrations on Greeks and Romans. The Hebrew word is K’tonet, but there is no English word to translate it. So for centuries K’tonet has been translated as Tunic. Modern archaeology has found numerous outer garments that were like ponchos, rectangular, with a hole in the center so the garment could be put over the head, the same way a poncho is put on. The standard garment went from wrist to wrist and down to the knees. This later became the prayer shawl, Num. 15:37-41. Two larger garments are in Scripture, Joseph’s (Gen. 37:1) and Tamar’s (2 Sam. 13:18): these went to the palms of the hands and to the soles of the feet, garments showing rank. In Mark 12:38 Y’shua criticizes “those who walk in flowing robes” referring to the people who flaunted their high status. See Prayer Shawl elsewhere in Glossary.

[1]        (Exod. 34:7) The sins are visited in two ways: the repentant are forgiven, not the unrepentant; the result of the sin causes pain even when the sin has been forgiven.


[2]        These four paragraphs written by Rabbi Ben-Yehuda are copyrighted and printed with his permission.


[3]        (#1,Isa. 55:1) The wine and milk are a metaphor for the teachings of God.


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