Commentary - Year 3 Sabbath 4

Numbers 11:1-35   -   Isaiah 50:2, 59:1   -   Psalm 103   -   1 Corinthians 10:1-33

Nisan 24, 5760 / April 29, 2000

Nisan 24, 5763 / April 26, 2003

Nisan 24, 5766 / April 22, 2006

Nisan 24, 5769 / April 18, 2009 

Nisan 22, 5772 / April 14, 2012

Nisan 22, 5775 / April 11, 2015   

Nisan 22, 5778 / April   7, 2018  

Nisan 21, 5781 / April   3, 2021


Ha’am Bemitun’nim / The People Sought Complaints    SCRIPTURES should be read first


Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. – 1 Cor 10:11

There are three major points that I would like to address from today’s portion.

Firstly – this is the fifty-day period between the Passover and the giving of the Torah on Shavuot: between the redemption of the slave-girl from Egypt, and her betrothal to Messiah. It is her time of maturing to become a bride. This is the setting for the next several portions.

Secondly – the redeemed slave-girl, the Church-in the-Wilderness (Acts 7:38), is made up of the Hebrews (twelve tribes), and remnants of the seventy nations. It would often be referred to as “Israel”.

Thirdly – the Great Sanhedrin is established here, and God said that He gave them the Holy Spirit – so that they could properly make halachic rulings for this Church.

1.  As we look at the Holy Days:
God’s people were enslaved in Egypt – to sin. Through the Passover Lamb they were delivered.
For a period of time, they matured – with much complaining.
Shavuot marked the betrothal, when they were given the (Torah) instruction to “Love Yahweh”.
The Day of Trumpeting rehearses the occasion when Yeshua will come for His bride, and be crowned King.
The Day of the Atonements is for the purification of the bride – final preparations for the wedding.
The Feast of Tabernacles is the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.
The Eighth Day Assembly points to their eternal dwelling.

In our Torah portion, we are in the time of maturing.

(1 Corinthians 10) We are to learn to not lust after evil things. We are to learn to forsake idolatrous things. And here, Paul gives us some halachic instruction about eating. We will see, that Yeshua took halachic authority away from the then present Sanhedrin (Mark 11:27-12:10, Luke 20:1-16), and gave it to His Apostles (Matthew 16:18-19).

Halacha of blessing:

Before eating, we say, “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who creates . . .”.
We are recognizing that the Creator created and rules His creation for His own glory. He creates food for us, so that we may be able to bless Him by doing what desires us to do. It is all about God being blessed. I see this kind of understanding as being part of our maturing.

2. (V.4) Now the mixed multitude (of the seventy nations who came out of Egypt) who were among them yielded to intense craving;

Genesis 9:18 “Now these were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.” 

Genesis 10:32 – “These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood” – origin of the seventy nations.   

Numbers 29:13,17,20,23,26,29,32,36 – Seventy bullocks offered in the seven days of the Feast represent the seventy nations; one in the eighth day represents all nations becoming one kingdom under Messiah.

3.  (V.16-17) So Yahweh said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.”

This is the establishment of the Sanhedrin Gedolah (71 judges) – the essential source of halacha / Oral Law.
(Exodus 1:5 – “And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.”)  

Yeshua took halachic authority away from the then present Sanhedrin (Mark 11:27-12:10, Luke 20:1-16), and gave it to His Apostles (Matthew 16:18-19).

Mark 11:27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests, and scribes, and elders came to Him, 28 and began saying to Him, "By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?" 29 And Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 "Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer Me." 31 And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say, 'Then why did you not believe him?' 32 "But shall we say, 'From men '?"-- they were afraid of the multitude, for all considered John to have been a prophet indeed. 33 And answering Jesus, they said, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things." 1 And He began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard, and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. 2 "And at the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. 3 "And they took him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 "And again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. 5 "And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some, and killing others. 6 "He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' 7 "But those vine-growers said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!' 8 "And they took him, and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 "What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. 10 "Have you not even read this Scripture: 'The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone;

Matthew 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build-up My church; and the doors of death shall not overcome it. 19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind (men to do) on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose (men from doing) on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."


Reader 1 Amen. 1 Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of Yahweh; and when Yahweh heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of Yahweh burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to Yahweh and the fire died out. 3 So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of Yahweh burned among them.

Reader 2Amen. 4 The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, "Who will give us meat to eat? 5 "We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, 6 but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna." 7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. 8 The people would go about and gather it and grind it between two millstones or beat it in the mortar, and boil it in the pot and make cakes with it; and its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil. 9 When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.

Reader 3Amen. 10 Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of Yahweh was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased. 11 So Moses said to Yahweh, "Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? 12 "Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, 'Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers '? 13 "Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, 'Give us meat that we may eat!'

Reader 4Amen. 14 "I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. 15 "So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness." 16 Yahweh therefore said to Moses, "Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 "Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone.

Reader 5Amen. 18 "Say to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the ears of Yahweh, saying, "Oh that someone would give us meat to eat! For we were well-off in Egypt." Therefore Yahweh will give you meat and you shall eat. 19 'You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected Yahweh who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?"'" 21 But Moses said, "The people, among whom I am, are 600,000 on foot; yet You have said, 'I will give them meat, so that they may eat for a whole month.' 22 "Should flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to be sufficient for them? Or should all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to be sufficient for them?" 23 Yahweh said to Moses, "Is Yahweh'S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not."

Reader 6Amen. 24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of Yahweh. Also, he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and stationed them around the tent. 25 Then Yahweh came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again. 26 But two men had remained in the camp; the name of one was Eldad (El-Dode -- Elohim has loved) and the name of the other Medad (Mi-dode – Who has loved). And the Spirit rested upon them (now they were among those who had been registered, but had not gone out to the tent), and they prophesied in the camp. 27 So a young man ran and told Moses and said, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." 28 Then Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moses from his youth, said, "Moses, my lord, restrain them." 29 But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all Yahweh'S people were prophets, that Yahweh would put His Spirit upon them!" 30 Then Moses returned to the camp, both he and the elders of Israel.

Reader 7Amen. 31 Now there went forth a wind from Yahweh and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day's journey on this side and a day's journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits deep on the surface of the ground. 32 The people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers

{an ephah, approx. a bushel}) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of Yahweh was kindled against the people, and Yahweh struck the people with a very severe plague. 34 So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (Graves of lust), because there they buried the people who had been greedy. 35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people set out for Chatzeroth, and they remained at Chatzeroth (Settlement).


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness." 


Isaiah 50:2

Reader 8Amen. 2 "Why was there no man when I came? When I called, why was there none to answer? Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke, I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stink for lack of water and die of thirst.


Psalm 103   (To be sung.)    A Psalm of David

Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. 2 Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. 6 Yahweh performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 8 Yahweh is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 9 He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, so Yahweh has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. 17 But the lovingkindness of Yahweh is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, 18 To those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them. 19 Yahweh has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. 20 Bless Yahweh, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! 21 Bless Yahweh, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will. 22 Bless Yahweh, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; bless Yahweh, O my soul!


1 Corinthians 10

Reader 9Amen. 1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Messiah. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, "^The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play." 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.


Reader 10Amen.  16 Is not the cup of blessing (Kiddush, first cup) with which we bless a sharing in the blood of Messiah? Is not the bread which we break (Afikomen) a sharing in the body of Messiah? 17 Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? 19 What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord (Yahweh’s Feast) and the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? 23 All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. 25 Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience' sake; 26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience' sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, "This is meat sacrificed to idols," do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' sake; 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man's; for why is my freedom judged by another's conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.


"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."



© 2003  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)