Commentary - Year 3 Sabbath 15

Numbers 25:10 - 26:51   -   Malachi 2:1-9   -   Psalm 113   -   Matthew 23:1-12, Ephesians 4:1-16

Tammuz 12, 5760 / July 15, 2000

Tammuz 12, 5763 / July 12, 2003

Tammuz 12, 5766 / July   8, 2006 

Tammuz 12, 5769 / July   4, 2009

Tammuz 10, 5772 / June 30, 2012

Tammuz 10, 5775 / June 27, 2015

Tammuz 10, 5778 / June 23, 2018

Tammuz   9, 5781 / June 19, 2021


Pinchas / Phinehas   SCRIPTURES should be read first



Definitions: Torah – to point (instruction); Sin (chata) – to miss. So, “sin is the transgression of the Torah” (1 John 3:4). And, “narrow is the path that leads to life” (Matthew 7:14), but “broad is the way that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13); the Torah points to Yeshua (Romans 10:4 – Messiah is the goal of the Torah), but there are many paths that miss Him.




Amon’s King Balak had tried to hire an Edomite sorcerer, Balaam, to curse Israel; but God forced Balaam to prophesy blessing instead to Israel.


Having failed to destroy Israel through cursing, Balaam told King Balak to make Yahweh angry with Israel through tempting Israel with immorality.

 “Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against Yahweh in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of Yahweh” – Numbers 31:16.

 “While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab.  For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.  So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and Yahweh was angry against Israel.  Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before Yahweh, so that the fierce anger of Yahweh may turn away from Israel’ ” – Numbers 25:1-4


Israelite men became involved with Moabite women, and the men started bowing down to Moabite gods. God ordered Israelite leaders involved to be killed, and 24,000 died.




An Israelite leader named Zimri was found with a woman named Cozbi, the daughter of a Moabite leader. A grandson of Aaron the priest, named Phinehas, stabbed them through with a sword in front of the congregation. Yahweh said (v.11), “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel, in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy”. Then the plague stopped. Yahweh said further (v.12-13), “Behold, (natan lo brit shalom) I give to him My covenant of peace; and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the sons of Israel”.


Note how greatly God rewards those who act in His Name, with passion for His glory, and care for His people’s spiritual (shalom) prosperity. This is the subject of today’s commentary.


Matthew 23

The scribes (those who wrote copies of the Scriptures) and Pharisees (the strictest religious sect) were among the judges of the Sanhedrin – the God-established judgment seat of Moses. Therefore, Yeshua instructed that they should be obeyed (v.3), as they spoke for God. But, they were not worthy to be followed in their actions, because they were hypocrites, not acting according to their own words. They made rulings that were difficult to obey (perhaps for the share of sin-offerings that they might receive), but would not act to help those in need of justice. In other words, they were not passionate for God’s people’s prosperity, but for their own riches.


Furthermore, they sought their own glory, rather than God’s. They performed mitzvot (instructions of Torah) with wrong motives – to be seen of men: they wore showy tzitzit (tassels), and enlarged tefillin (boxes with Scriptures inside, worn of forehead and arm). They took the seats in the Synagogues that were for important persons, and loved to be recognized as “Rav” (Teacher) or spiritual “Father”.


Yeshua teaches that we should not seek recognition by titles (such as Rabbi, Pastor, or Father), but that we should be servants – caring for the prosperity of others, seeking the elevation of others!


The devolution of “Rabbi”:

Rabbi comes from rav, which means great. It originally applied to a master – a slaveholder. It is not used in the Tanach. Talmudically, rabbi refers to one who was an interpreter and expounder of Torah and Talmud, and was supported by another occupation. The office of rabbi was originally honorary, based on the principle that the Torah must be taught free of charge. This usage came into being during the generation after Hillel’s time, and was condemned to by Yeshua. In the middle ages, rabbi became a (further corrupted) term for one who was employed as a preacher / spiritual head of a Jewish congregation. The modern halachic basis for paying a rabbi is compensation for lost wages in his otherwise profession; however, today rabbinic salaries are commonly negotiated contracts. Proven and tested knowledge is required, as well as integrity and excellence in character and conduct. (See Rabbi in Jerusalem Encyclopaedia Judaica.)


To be recognized as a rabbi today, one must be knowledgeable in the Hebrew language, in Torah and Talmud, and in Blessings and ceremonial ritual. In “Messianic” circles today, we have many who take on themselves the title “Rabbi,” without even basic knowledge in these things. They tend to make a laughingstock of Messianism in general, so that we are not taken seriously by the Jewish population.


So, those who take on the title violate Yeshua’s words, and those who take it without even the normal basis of character and knowledge make laughingstocks of themselves and those they claim to lead.


Pastor is from the Latin Pascere – to feed (pasture), as a shepherd. In the NASB and KJV-NT Bibles, the term is used only once, in its plural form, in Ephesians 4:11. It does not even seem to mean the head of a church. It does not mean the same as overseer.

The Ten Offices of the Synagogue / Church

Ephesians 4:11
He gave (to the church – 1 Cor 12:28) some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers”.

Paul lists here the titles, in order, of the ten offices of the ancient synagogue. This means officers that are gifts to the church, not positions that are gifts to individuals. Some of these terms have devolved to usage today that is entirely different than their Biblical meaning.

General qualifications for holding offices may be found in Shulhan Arukh and 1 Timothy 3:1-10.

1. Apostle means messenger – one sent out from the Temple to the synagogue: the Hebrew is Sheliach Tzibbur – Messenger of the Congregation, the LXX and NT Greek is Angeloi tas Ekklesias – Angel of the Church. [This differs from today’s occasional understanding of one who starts churches.]


Take messages (as from the Temple) to the congregation (Revelation 2:1,8,12,18, 3:1,7,14).
Choose 7 men each Sabbath to read Torah portions, and watch over readers' shoulders ensure accurate reading of God’s Word, hence called an Overseer (Acts 20:28).

Specific qualifications:
Mastery of Hebrew language and Torah cantillation (trup), hence called a Cantor (Hazzan).
Mastery of Hebrew blessings (required for readings), hence called Master of Prayer (Baal Tefilah).

                [The twelve apostles may be seen as messengers from Yeshua as the anti-type HolyTemple.]


2. Prophet (Interpreter) [This differs from today’s common understanding of a foreteller of future events.]


Translate Hebrew readings (“the language of angels,” i.e., the language of the messengers from the Temple) into the languages of the listeners (“the languages of men” of the 70 nations). See I Corinthians 13:1.


3-4-5. Evangelists (Judges / Rulers – bench of 3): the Greek euangeleste (evangelists) means expounders of how to do good. [This differs from today’s common understanding of one who goes about seeking converts.]


Adjudicate moral and legal matters by Torah (See I Cor 5:12-6:5, Mark 5:22) and make halachic rulings (determination of proper way to observe Torah commands).
Matters too hard were taken to Sanhedrin at the Temple. (Deut 17:8)
Israel's religious leadership was also civil government. (King anointed by Prophet (I Sam 16:13))
Church will rule (judge) the world (millennium). (I Cor 6:2)
This life is a rehearsal! (U.S. Constitution limits government voice in church, not church voice in government.)


6-7-8. Pastors / Deacons (3 minimum) [This differs in both number and position from today’s common understanding of one who leads a church. The term is never found in the singular form in Scriptures.]


Collect alms from the townfolk.
Determine real needs, and distribute to the poor.

Specific qualifications:
Trustworthy, understanding of financial matters; not one who is needy.


9-10. Teachers: Schoolmaster and Assistant Schoolmaster – See Gal 3:24-25.


Train boys for responsibility to Torah observance (bar-mitzvah).




"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. 10 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 11 "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy. 12 "Therefore say, 'Behold, I give him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel.'" 14 Now the name of the slain man of Israel who was slain with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, a leader of a father's household among the Simeonites. 15 The name of the Midianite woman who was slain was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was head of the people of a father's household in Midian. 16 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 17 "Be hostile to the Midianites and strike them; 18 for they have been hostile to you with their tricks, with which they have deceived you in the affair of Peor and in the affair of Cozbi, the daughter of the leader of Midian, their sister who was slain on the day of the plague because of Peor."

Reader 2*  Amen. 26:1 Then it came about after the plague, that Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying, 2 "Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers' households, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel." 3 So Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, 4 "Take a census of the people from twenty years old and upward, as Yahweh has commanded Moses."

Reader 3*  Amen. Now the sons of Israel who came out of the land of Egypt were: 5 Reuben, Israel's firstborn, the sons of Reuben: of Hanoch, the family of the Hanochites; of Pallu, the family of the Palluites; 6 of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; of Carmi, the family of the Carmites. 7 These are the families of the Reubenites, and those who were numbered of them were 43,730. 8 The son of Pallu: Eliab. 9 The sons of Eliab: Nemuel and Dathan and Abiram. These are the Dathan and Abiram who were called by the congregation, who contended against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against Yahweh, 10 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up along with Korah, when that company died, when the fire devoured 250 men, so that they became a warning. 11 The sons of Korah, however, did not die. 12 The sons of Simeon according to their families: of Nemuel, the family of the Nemuelites; of Jamin, the family of the Jaminites; of Jachin, the family of the Jachinites; 13 of Zerah, the family of the Zerahites; of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites. 14 These are the families of the Simeonites, 22,200. 15 The sons of Gad according to their families: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites; of Haggi, the family of the Haggites; of Shuni, the family of the Shunites; 16 of Ozni, the family of the Oznites; of Eri, the family of the Erites; 17 of Arod, the family of the Arodites; of Areli, the family of the Arelites. 18 These are the families of the sons of Gad according to those who were numbered of them, 40,500.

Reader 4*  Amen. 19 The sons of Judah were Er and Onan, but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. 20 The sons of Judah according to their families were: of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites; of Perez, the family of the Perezites; of Zerah, the family of the Zerahites. 21 The sons of Perez were: of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites. 22 These are the families of Judah according to those who were numbered of them, 76,500. 23 The sons of Issachar according to their families: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites; of Puvah, the family of the Punites; 24 of Jashub, the family of the Jashubites; of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites. 25 These are the families of Issachar according to those who were numbered of them, 64,300. 26 The sons of Zebulun according to their families: of Sered, the family of the Seredites; of Elon, the family of the Elonites; of Jahleel, the family of the Jahleelites. 27 These are the families of the Zebulunites according to those who were numbered of them, 60,500.

Reader 5*  Amen. 28 The sons of Joseph according to their families: Manasseh and Ephraim. 29 The sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites; and Machir became the father of Gilead: of Gilead, the family of the Gileadites. 30 These are the sons of Gilead: of Iezer, the family of the Iezerites; of Helek, the family of the Helekites; 31 and of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites; and of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites; 32 and of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites; and of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites. 33 Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but only daughters; and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. 34 These are the families of Manasseh; and those who were numbered of them were 52,700. 35 These are the sons of Ephraim according to their families: of Shuthelah, the family of the Shuthelahites; of Becher, the family of the Becherites; of Tahan, the family of the Tahanites. 36 These are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the family of the Eranites. 37 These are the families of the sons of Ephraim according to those who were numbered of them, 32,500. These are the sons of Joseph according to their families. 38 The sons of Benjamin according to their families: of Bela, the family of the Belaites; of Ashbel, the family of the Ashbelites; of Ahiram, the family of the Ahiramites; 39 of Shephupham, the family of the Shuphamites; of Hupham, the family of the Huphamites. 40 The sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardites; of Naaman, the family of the Naamites. 41 These are the sons of Benjamin according to their families; and those who were numbered of them were 45,600.

Reader 6*  Amen. 42 These are the sons of Dan according to their families: of Shuham, the family of the Shuhamites. These are the families of Dan according to their families. 43 All the families of the Shuhamites, according to those who were numbered of them, were 64,400. 44 The sons of Asher according to their families: of Imnah, the family of the Imnites; of Ishvi, the family of the Ishvites; of Beriah, the family of the Beriites. 45 Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the family of the Heberites; of Malchiel, the family of the Malchielites. 46 The name of the daughter of Asher was Serah. 47 These are the families of the sons of Asher according to those who were numbered of them, 53,400. 48 The sons of Naphtali according to their families: of Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites; of Guni, the family of the Gunites; 49 of Jezer, the family of the Jezerites; of Shillem, the family of the Shillemites. 50 These are the families of Naphtali according to their families; and those who were numbered of them were 45,400.

Reader 7*  Amen. 51 These are those who were numbered of the sons of Israel, 601,730.


"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."


Malachi 2:1-9

Reader 8*  Amen. 1 "And now this commandment is for you, O priests. 2 "If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name," says Yahweh of hosts, "then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. 3 "Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it. 4 "Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi," says Yahweh of hosts. 5 "My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name. 6 "True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity. 7 "For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of Yahweh of hosts. 8 "But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi," says Yahweh of hosts. 9 "So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction.


Psalm 113    (To be sung.)

1 Praise Yahweh! Praise, O servants of Yahweh, praise the name of Yahweh. 2 Blessed be the name of Yahweh from this time forth and forever. 3 From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of Yahweh is to be praised. 4 Yahweh is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens. 5 Who is like Yahweh our God, who is enthroned on high, 6 who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth? 7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, 8 to make them sit with princes, with the princes of His people. 9 He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children. Praise Yahweh!


Matthew 23:1-12

Reader 9*  Amen. 1 Then Yeshua spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4 "They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5 "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 "They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8 "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Messiah. 11 "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.


Ephesians 4:1-16

Reader 10*  Amen. 1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Messiah's gift. 8 Therefore it says, " When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men." 9 (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)

Reader 11*  Amen. 11 And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Messiah; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Messiah. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Messiah, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.


"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)