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From: Wendy Mcnulty
Subject: Parashas Sh'lach l'Cha
Parashas Sh'lach l'Cha
"Send for Yourself!" (Part 1 of 2)
Haftarah Reading: Yehoshua 2:1-24
Brit Chadasha Reading: Ibrim 3:7-19
Written By Rebbetzin Wendy McnultyCngregation Davar Emet
Union Of Two House Messianic Congregations
Parashas Sh'lach l'Cha represents yet another portion of the Book of Bemidbar (Numbers) that is full of prophetic Two House and Messianic significance; as is the its Haftarah portion, Yehoshua (Joshua) 2:1-24. The Brit Chadasha portion relating to this Parashas provides believers with a warning to heed Yahweh's Word and not to be stiff-necked and rebellious as in the example of the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings.
In fact, this week's Parashas provides the historical account of a dramatic turning point in the life of the nation of Israel. It is the incident of the "evil report" of the men who spied out Cana'an. Their report fuelled a rebellion against Mosheh's leadership, which resulted in Yahweh decreeing that the entire adult generation of Israelites who had left Mitzrayim (Egypt), with the exception of Yehoshua and Caleb, would perish during 40 years of wilderness wandering. Only their children would enter Cana'an. The Parashas also provides the first example of Sabbath breaking, the law of tzit- tzit (fringes) and the challah offering, the basis upon which the weekly Shabbat Challah tradition is founded.
The expression Sh'lach l'Cha means "send for yourself". It is found in Bemidbar 13:2 - "Sh'lach l'cha (send for yourself) men (anashim) to spy out the land of Kena'an, which I am giving to the children of Yisra'el. Send one man from each tribe of their fathers, everyone one a leader among them."
The Hebrew word anashim, translated "men" in this verse, is an
expression which means "worthy, capable men" such as would be
respected by the community. The men sent forth by Mosheh to spy out
the Promised Land were men deemed to be "above average" as it were.
Yet, these trustworthy, reliable, wise men of Israel quickly fell prey
to doubt and rebellion against Yahweh. It brings to mind 1
Corinthians 10:12, "So he who thinks he stands, let him take heed lest
We will study this week's Parashas in nine sections:
1) The Mission - Bemidbar 13:17-25
2) The Cluster of Grapes - Bemidbar 13:23
3) "Good Words Turned Bad" - The Evil Report - Bemidbar 13:26-14:10
4) Exemplary Leaders and Yahweh in their Midst - Bemidbar 14:5-28
5) Discipline - Discipline (A Word Study)
6) Too Little, Too Late - Bemidbar 14:39-45
7) Caleb and Yehoshua - Two Men, Two Houses -Bemidbar 13-14
8) Reconciliation and Remembrance - Bemidbar 15
Repentance & Forgiveness/No Foreign Israelites/Challah &Tzit-Tzit
9) Intentional vs. Unintentional Sin - Bemidbar 15:22-31
The Mission - Bemidbar 13:17-25
In modern geographical parameters, the Israelite spies searched out
Cana'an from the area southwest of the Dead Sea (Wilderness of Zin -
vs. 21) to Hebron, north to the area of the present day Syria/Lebanon
borders (Rehob, near the entrance of Hamath - vs. 21). In 13:22, we
find them traveling to Hebron (about 18 miles southwest of Jerusalem)
and to the Valley of Eschol (Valley of the Cluster - vs. 23-24) which
is thought to be near the present day Arab village of Burj Haskeh, two
miles north of Hebron. The mission began in mid-to-late July (verse
20 - the "season of the firstfruits of grapes"). Verse 25 tells us that they spied out the land for 40 days. Could there also be a prophetic nuance given here to the 4000 years between the Flood and the return of Messiah? For the past 4000 years the children of Israel/believers in Yahushua have "checked out" their eternal inheritance, but not yet entered into it fully as we will when Yahushua returns so that we truly take possession under Yahushua our Military Leader and Great High Priest. Remember, Yehoshua, who led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, is a Scriptural "type" of Yahusha our Messiah.
Mosheh's instructions to the men in Bemidar 13:17-20 make it clear that this was not just a military recognizance mission. He wanted to know about the agricultural capacity of the land, so that the children of Israel could prepare themselves to live there. So, too, the children of Israel will be gathered from the four corners of the world by Messiah and returned to the land where they will live on the lands of their tribal inheritance (Yehezekel/Ezekiel 47:18-48:35).
We also learn from this portion that Caleb of the Tribe of Judah and Hoshea (re-named Yehoshua by Mosheh) of the Tribe of Ephraim were among the men who entered the Promised Land on the recognizance mission. They are soon to plan a vital role in defending the authority of their leader Mosheh and the honour of Yahweh as their Protector and Provider.
The Cluster of Grapes - Bemidbar 13:23
Bemidbar 13:23 presents us with a beautiful prophetic picture of the Two Houses of Israel. Let us take a look at the Scriptural "types" mentioned here and what they represent:
The cluster of grapes represents all Yisra'el. Yisra'el is Yahweh's Vineyard (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 5). The cluster of grapes was so large that one man along could not bear it. This is symbolic of the fulfillment of Yahweh's covenant promise to Abraham that his seed would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand by the sea.
Two men - The two men who carried the cluster of grapes represent Ephraim and Judah, the Two Houses of Israel, which will be reunited when the "Two Sticks" prophecy of Yehezekel 37 is fulfilled at Messiah's return. Neither House, Judah nor Ephraim, can carry forth the completion and fulfillment of Israel's role to be a light to the nations. The Two Houses must be restored and reunited for the Nation of Israel to be complete and function as the "one new man" that Yahweh has provided for in Yahushua. (We will also see this symbolism played out in the account of Yehoshua and Caleb in Bemidar 14 and in the two spies of Yehoshua 2.)
The pole: The Hebrew word used in this verse for the word "pole" is tAm - mot (pronounced m-oh-t). It is used in only four places in The Scriptures: Bemidbar 4:10 and 4:12, Bemidbar 13:23, and Nahum 1:13. It means "a carrying frame, a pole, a yoke." It comes from the root word tAm - mot - which means "to be shaken, to be moved, thoroughly shaken". In Bemidbar 4:10, the "pole" is the pole used to carry the Menorah when the Camp of Israel traveled. The Menorah, as we have seen, represents Yahushua as the Light of the World. In Bemidbar 4:12, the "pole" is the one used to carry the altar when Israel travelled. Of course, the symbolism is clear: Yahushua offered Himself as our Pesach Lamb on the heavenly altar to redeem us from sin. In Nahum 1:14, the word "mot" is translated "yoke" and the prophet foretells that Yahweh would break the yoke and the shackles of Nineveh and Beliya'al off of Israel. In Nahum 1:8 which proceeds this verse, the word translated Nineveh is actually the Hebrew word magom which means the place where you have been dwelling and Beliya'al in Nahum 1:11 means wickedness, trouble, worthlessness. Only Yahushua's sacrifice can break that yoke off of mankind to remove sin's "shackles". Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, the nation which toppled the Kingdom of Israel and took Israel/Ephraim into captivity, scattered the captives throughout their empire. In Nahum 1:15, the House of Yehudah is commanded to "observe your festivals, perform your vows." Judah's festivals and vows are fulfilled in Yahushua. Returning to the verse in our Parashas, Bemidbar 13:23, we find that the "pole" carrying the cluster of grapes (Israel) as a yoke across the shoulders of the two men (The Two Houses, Ephraim and Judah) is none other than Yahushua haMashiach. Only in Him, can Ephraim and Judah be reunited into one Israel - echad - multiple things in one unity, as in Debarim/Deuteronomy 6:4, The Shema. Indeed, Yahushua prayed to His Father in Yochanan 17:11: "Set-apart Father, guard them in Your Name which You have given Me, so that they might be one (echad in Hebrew, mia in Greek) as We are."
The Pomegranates: In our recent studies on the Seven Species in preparation for Shavu'ot, we discovered that the pomegranate pictures Messiah in two ways. Firstly, a pomegranate is said to have 613 seeds, the exact number of the Torah commandments. These seeds are concealed under the flesh of the pomegranate. Yahweh's Torah, His Word, His Commandments took on flesh and dwelt in our midst. Each pomegranate seed has a pure white centre/heart veiled in translucent red flesh which "bleeds" when punctured, as the sinless Yahushua bled on our behalf. Again, in the pomegranates carried back from the Promised Land on the pole with the cluster of grapes, we see yet another shadow of Messiah.
The Figs: The fig tree is used symbolically of Israel a few times in Scripture. Yahushua is called "Israel" by Yahweh in Yeshayahu 49:3. In Bemidbar 13:23, we have the fruit of the fig tree being brought back from the Promised Land to Mosheh and the children of Israel. In our Shavu'ot teachings, we learned that figs have healing properties that have been used in the past and even today to treat certain physical illnesses, particularly those of the flesh.
In Bemidbar 13:23, a short verse, given double emphasis by repetition in verse 24, we have an account of one cluster of grapes bearing born on a pole between two men, also carrying pomegranates and figs. This is the pashat, or literal, meaning of the verse. However, the remez, or deeper meaning of the verse reveals a rich tapestry of prophetic Messianic symbolism: The nation/people of Israel carried upon the shoulders of the Two Houses of Israel, Ephraim and Judah, yoked together by Yahushua haMashiah, together with the Torah/Word of Yahweh symbolized by the pomegranate, and the healing powers of Yahushua haMashiach represented by the figs - the very healing properties that the nation of Israel is to take forth from the Promised Land to the ends of the earth as a "Light to the World" and the representatives of Yahushua haMashiach here on earth.
"Good Words Turned Bad" - The Evil Report - Bemidbar 13:26-14:10
The contingent of "spies" return from their 40 day journey and "unburden" themselves, as it were, three times, each time growing progressively more emotion-charged and exaggerated.
First, they report to Mosheh and Aharon within hearing of the congregation of the children of Yisra'el (13:26). The report begins factual and positive, "We went to the land where you sent us. And truly, it flows with milk and honey and this is its fruit." (13:27). Next comes the infamous word, "BUT", at the beginning of verse 28. They then proceed to describe strong inhabitants and walled cities with Amaleqites, Hittites, Yebusites, Amorites and Kena'anites dwelling in the land. These people groups were enemies of Yisra'el and the report resulted in a tumult amongst the people that Caleb had to silence (vs. 30) before he could speak to them to provide counter-balance to the fear-inciting words of his compatriots. Basing his conviction on the strength of Yahweh in their midst, Caleb speaks to the people, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are certainly able to overcome it."
The men who had spoken negatively then took issue with Caleb and argued that Yisra'el would not succeed against the Canaanites and "gave the children of Yisra'el an evil report of the land which they had spied out" (vs. 32) telling them that "it is a land eating up its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. And we saw there the Nephilim, sons of Anaq of the Nephilim. And we were like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so we were in their eyes." (vs. 32-33)
The men had now turned from reporting to Mosheh and Aharon, their leaders, and were directly addressing the children of Yisra'el inciting rebellion amongst the people. Given all the signs and wonders they had witnessed at the Hand of Yahweh in their midst, one might expect that the children of Yisra'el would not have been worried by "men of great size". They had the Creator of the Universe in their Camp, going before them into battle. Yet, Chapter 14 tells us that the people "lifted up their voices and cried, ... And all the children of Yisra'el grumbled against Mosheh and against Aharon..." (14:1-2).
A pity party ensued amongst the people (vs. 2-3), which lead to a bit of an insurrection in Bemidbar 14:4: "And they said to each other, "Let us appoint a leader, and let us turn back to Mitzrayim." Eventually, despite a humble and ardent response from Mosheh and Aharon, and Yehoshua and Caleb, the people actually became so incensed with emotion that they were going to stone their leaders: "But all the congregation said to stone them with stones." (14:10)
Exemplary Leaders and Yahweh in their Midst - Bemidbar 14:5-28
Facing yet another rebellion by the children of Yisrael, so soon after the quail incident, one might think that Mosheh would throw up his hands in disgust and frustration, but Bemidbar 14:5 tells us that "Mosheh and Aharon fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Yisra'el." Once again, the servitude and humility of Mosheh is demonstrated.
In an act of sorrow and repentance before Yahweh, Yehoshua and Caleb "tore their garments" (14:6) and proceeded to plead with the children of Yisra'el to return to reason and confidence in Yahweh's ability to defend them and lead them to victory (14:7-9), but their pleas fell on stiff necks and deaf ears.
Just as the rebellious mob picked up stones to pelt their leaders, "the esteem of Yahweh appeared in the Tent of Meeting before all the children of Yisra'el." (vs. 10). Now remember, the pillar of cloud or fire was with the Camp continually and was always visible. This verse indicates that the Shekinah glory of Yahweh manifested Itself in a very visible and dramatic manner to "all the children of Yisra'el". Yahweh's response to the rebellion reverberates still today:
"How long shall I be scorned by these people? And how long shall I not be trusted by them, with all the signs and wonders which I have done in their midst?" (14:11)
Ready to smite the children of Yisra'el with pestilence and disinherit them, Yahweh is beseeched by Mosheh to spare His people, to be merciful to them, lest the nations around them speak evilly of Yahweh and His ability to provide for His people. One should note from verse 12 that Mosheh did this for the children of Yisra'el even when faced with the potential "plum" of having Yahweh make of him "a nation greater and mightier than they." No more rebellion, no more frustration, a fresh start! Truly, Mosheh did walk in the example which Yahushua later set for His followers. He endured the sufferings at the hands of his people and gave his all to spare and save them from annihilation at the Hand of Yahweh ... a punishment which the children of Yisra'el had certainly worked hard to merit!
Mosheh reminded Yahweh of His own Words, that (verse 14:18): "Yahweh is patient and of great kindness, forgiving crookedness and transgression, but by no means leaving unpunished, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation." These words come from Shemoth 34:6-7 in the account where Yahweh hides Mosheh in the cleft of the rock, covers Him with His Hand, and allows His goodness to pass by.
The result of Mosheh's humble and ardent intercession for the children of Yisra'el is Yahweh's discipline and not the destruction of the nation. In Bemidbar 14:22, Yahweh makes it clear that the rebellious adults have "tried Me now ten times, and have disobeyed My voice." Yahweh is patient, but the children of Yisra'el had been sorely trying His patience. As a result, all adults of that generation ages 20 and above would not inherit the Promised Land. They would wander about in the Wilderness of Sinai for forty years, a year for a day of their spy mission and evil report. During that time, the generation would pass away and their children would become adults. Only Caleb and Yehoshua, who did not participate in the evil report, would be permitted to enter the Promised Land (vs. 14:30), together with the "little ones", the children. The children would grow up in the wilderness and enter the land; the very children whose lives the rebellious adults kept complaining that Yahweh was endangering. The children would bear the consequences of their fathers' sins during the 40 years of wandering, but they would not perish as would their parents.
Yahweh, as a loving Father, does discipline His children. Discipline is rarely pleasant. We, as His children, do not experience His wrath. His punitive wrath will be unleashed in the future against all who are not His, who have not come to Him through Yahushua haMashiach, haDerek, haEmet, v'Chaim - the Way, the Truth, the Life ... the only way to the Father, past, present and future. He is the "once for all" Pesach offering and our Yom Kippur atonement.
"Whom Yahweh loves, He disciplines" (Ibrim 12:6, Mishle 3:12). He is all-knowing, we are not. We make presumptions and base actions on our limited, finite knowledge of circumstances. Yahweh "works all things together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) The Scriptures repeatedly tells us that if we love Yahweh, we will keep His commands, we will submit to His authority. While the 40 year term of their correction may have seemed harsh, Yahweh had been patient, yet the children of Yisra'el had provoked and tried Him ten times, despite abundant signs and wonders and the Presence of Yahweh in their minds. Their hearts and minds kept desiring the past, Mitzrayim, with its fleshy pleasures. This generation was not the generation to put their shoulder to the yoke and possess Cana'an. With their eyes, and their hearts, so quickly averted from Yahweh's will, they would have perished and their children with them. They would have caused their children to become "the prey" that they were accusing Yahweh of endangering them with.
Discipline - Disciple (A Word Study)
From The Winston Dictionary of Canadian English:
Discipline: N 1) Strict training of mind or character; 2) obedience, self-control, or order resulting from this; 3) punishment given in order to train or correct. V 1) To train to be obedient or efficient, keeping in order or under control.
Disciple: N. A person who accepts the teachings of a leader and helps to spread them, especially one of the followers of Yahushua.
"Do your utmost to present yourself approved to Elohim, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth" (2 Timothy 2:15)
"And you have forgotten the appeal which speaks to you as sons, "My son, do not despise the discipline of Yahweh, nor faint when you are reproved by Him, for whom Yahweh loves, He disciplines and flogs every son whom He receives. If you endure discipline, Elohim is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become sharers, the you are illegitimate and not sons. ... But He does it (discipline) for our profit, so that we might share in His apartness." (Ibrim 12:5-8, 10b)
"Thus you shall know in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so Yahweh your Elohim disciplines you, therefore you shall guard the commands of Yahweh your Elohim, to walk in His ways and to fear Him." (Debarim 8:5-6)
"And you shall hear, O Yisra'el, and shall guard to do, that it might be well with you, and that you increase greatly as Yahweh Elohim of your fathers has spoken to you, in a land flowing with milk and honey." (Debarim 6:3)
"And they reported to him, and said, `We went to the land where you sent us. And truly, it flows with mike and honey, and this is its fruit." (Bemidbar 13:37)
You cannot be a disciple without discipline.
(End Part 1 of 2)
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