VaYelekh, Deuteronomy 31:1-30 (28 August, 2013, Elul 22, 5773)
Moses lived to 120. Before he died he warned the Israelites that in the future they would worship other gods and be punished. The conquest of the promised Land had to progress in accordance with set priorities. The area west of the Jordan River was the most important section and the initial emphasis needed to be placed on the Israelites conquering and settling in it. Joshua from the Tribe of Ephraim was to replace Moses from the Tribe of Levi as leader of Israel. Joshua represents the Messiah son of Joseph whereas Moses was a prototype of the Messiah son of David from Judah.
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1 When Moses had finished speaking all* these words to all Israel, 2 he said to them: I am now a hundred and twenty years old. I am no longer able to get about, and the LORD has told me, You shall not cross over this Jordan.
Moses was 120 years old. My grandfather lived to 106 and he was fairly healthy and active almost to the last. He was also according to reports in his own way always quite religious. He did the best he could according to his knowledge. He helped others, exhorted others to do good which was for their own good. Economically I do not think he was rich but he lived well. It can be done.
3 The LORD your God himself will cross over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua also will cross over before you, as the LORD promised.
## HE WILL DESTROY THESE NATIONS BEFORE YOU ##: I saw a report based on archaeological finds in Jericho (from ca 1400 BCE?) that there were plagues that decimated part of the Canaanite peoples just before the Israelite conquest.
4 The LORD will do to them as he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when he destroyed them. 5 The LORD will give them over to you and you shall deal with them in full accord with the command that I have given to you. 6 Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.
God will be with you. He will not fail you. This works even if you are afraid.
If you are not afraid but trust in God then it works even more: He will not cause you to fail nor feel abandoned but rather He will be with you if you do not fear and show courage. At All events HE will be with you.
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel: Be strong and bold, for you are the one who will go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their ancestors to give them; and you will put them in possession of it.
Joshua was of the Tribe of Ephraim, Moses belonged to the Tribe of Levi. Ephraim and Menasseh were the two tribes of Joseph.
Joshua is taken as being a type of the Messiah son of Joseph.
There will be two Messiahs, one a descendant of Ephraim who will lead the Ten Tribes back to their source and wage wars against the adversaries of Israel. He will also assist the Jews return to their land and rebuild it and according to some be connected with re-building the Temple.
The Jews belong primarily to Judah though most of Levi also joined them. Moses is therefore prototypical of Judah especially since Moses transmitted the Law and Judah maintained and strengthened it.
In addition to the Messiah son of Joseph there will also appear (somewhat later but co-eval) the Messiah son of David who will first head Judah, return the Jews back to keeping the Law and then give the Law to all Israel. It is not certain whether the Messiah son of David will initiate the re-unification with the Ten Tribes or this will already have taken place. The Messiah son of David will be responsible for affirming the identification of each Israelite individual and inform him what Tribe he belongs to.
See: Messiah son of Joseph
The Two Messiahs. The Messiah son of Joseph and the Messiah son of David. The future leadership of the Lost Ten Tribes and the future reconciliation and re-unification with Judah
8 It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. 9 Then Moses wrote down this law, and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel.
The Levites received the Law and Levites have always been prominent amongst Jewish sages who transmitted the Law and explained it.
10 Moses commanded them: Every seventh year, in the scheduled year of remission, during the festival of booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
According to tradition it was the King who had to read the Law.
12 Assemble the people, men, women, and children, as well as the aliens residing in your towns, so that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God and to observe diligently all the words of this law,
Everyone had to come, even the little children. It was explained that even the children may not understand much of what was going on they would remember the gathering and ceremony and sense their participation. This would have an educational effect.
13 and so that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land that you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.
Keeping the law is connected with dwelling in the land. If you go through all the blessings and covenants "dwelling in the land" is always linked with keeping the Law: This in effect means being religious Jews or of similar status or at least not rejecting the authenticity of obligation. Other aspects of the blessings are not necessarily so linked and some of them were unconditional, at least to a degree.
14 The LORD said to Moses, Your time to die is near; call Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, so that I may commission him. So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tent of meeting, 15 and the LORD appeared at the tent in a pillar of cloud; the pillar of cloud stood at the entrance to the tent.
16 The LORD said to Moses, Soon you will lie down with your ancestors. Then this people will begin to prostitute themselves to the foreign gods in their midst, the gods of the land into which they are going; they will forsake me, breaking my covenant that I have made with them.
The Lost Ten Tribes were exiled because they went in the ways of the peoples around them. This is described in detail in 2-Kings chapter 17.
17 My anger will be kindled against them on that day. I will forsake them and hide my face from them; they will become easy prey, and many terrible troubles will come upon them. On that day they will say, Have not these troubles come upon us because our God is not in our midst? 18 On that day I will surely hide my face on account of all the evil they have done by turning to other gods. 19 Now therefore write this song, and teach it to the Israelites; put it in their mouths, in order that this song may be a witness for me against the Israelites.
20 For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I promised on oath to their ancestors, and they have eaten their fill and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, despising me and breaking my covenant. 21 And when many terrible troubles come upon them, this song will confront them as a witness, because it will not be lost from the mouths of their descendants. For I know what they are inclined to do even now, before I have brought them into the land that I promised them on oath.
There will always be some who will remain faithful to the Torah.
22 That very day Moses wrote this song and taught it to the Israelites.
23 Then the LORD commissioned Joshua son of Nun and said, Be strong and bold, for you shall bring the Israelites into the land that I promised them; I will be with you.
24 When Moses had finished writing down in a book the words of this law to the very end,
25 Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, 26 Take this book of the law and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God; let it remain there as a witness against you. 27 For I know well how rebellious and stubborn you are. If you already have been so rebellious towards the LORD while I am still alive among you, how much more after my death! 28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officials, so that I may recite these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after my death you will surely act corruptly, turning aside from the way that I have commanded you. In time to come [Hebrew: Be-Acharit Ha-Yamim i.e. At the End of Days] trouble will befall you, because you will do what is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger through the work of your hands.
In time to come i.e. Latter Days. AND EVIL WILL BEFALL YOU IN THE LATTER DAYS: Such expressions are usually understand to refer to the times before the end ones, meaning probably our own times. In a sense we may be living on borrowed time.
30 Then Moses recited the words of this song, to the very end, in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel:
THIS SONG: Religious Jews have systems of intonation that turn the saying of the Torah into a kind of chant. This helps memorization and internalization of the message. I always regret never having learned this system. An associate (Baruch Siger) with some intellect but who was reserved about Brit-Am beliefs opined that there was a connection between early English folk music and Jewish Musical traditions. He said that this could have been due to some of the English ancestors copying Hebrew or Jewish musicians at an early date. Other people have made similar claims.
The Haftorah is addressed to both Judah and the Ten tribes. It has separate messages for each of them.
Isaiah Chapter 62: There will be a Restoration of Israel which will be centered on Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:1). Jerusalem will be blessed greatly and known throughout all the earth (62:3-10). The people of Jerusalem will be recognized as the Redeemed of God (62:11-12).
Isaiah Chapter 63: A Special Person (The Messiah son of David? or son of Joseph?) shall take revenge on Bozrah of Edom through the strength of his might (63:1-5). He will trample down peoples (63:6). God will do great goodness to the House of Israel (63:7). God says these are my children who will act according to their parentage and fulfill the task they were destined to fulfill (63:8). God Himself suffered when HIS people were persecuted and suffered (63:9). Israel sinned and so God turned away (63:10). Even though they sin and turn away from HIM, HE will remember and return to HIS people at some stage, no matter what.
WHERE IS HE THAT PUT HIS HOLY SPIRIT WITHIN HIM? If God puts HIS spirit in us or in His prophet we can be led onto the right track (Isaiah 63:11). We do not act as our forefathers would have wanted us to do and we do not merit to receive the blessings promised to them neither do we fulfill the tasks they accepted upon themselves on our behalf. They would be in their rights to disown us BUT even so God will not disown us.
We may not be recognized as the physical descendants of Abraham and Israel even though that is what we feel ourselves to be and probably are. Even so God will help us (63:16). We are the tribes of Israel. THE TRIBES OF THINE INHERITANCE. We need to feel the Divine Presence and return (63:17). The enemy possesses the Temple Mount and defiles it. O UR ADVERSARIES HAVE TRODDEN DOWN THY SANCTUARY (63:18). Israel is the People of God. The physical descendants of the Israelites are the Chosen People. There is none other (63:19).