Parasha #18


 Parashah #18: Mishpatim (Rulings)

(Exodus 21:1 – 24:18)

Additional Readings:
Jer. 34:8-22; 33:25-26; Mat. 5:38-42; 15:1-20; Mar. 7:1-23; Act. 23:1-11; Heb. 9:15-22; 10:28-39

Previous parashah recap – We concluded last week’s portion of Scripture with Israel receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai and being told about the types of Altars that the Lord requires and the fact that He wants His people to keep their dignity at all times.

  • In this Parashah, God gives specific legislation intended to guide the daily lives of His holy nation in justice and righteousness. It also shows what God’s love is. I pray that as we go through this Parashah everyone realises that love goes beyond feelings. It’s not only a show of kindness and gentleness, but it is a deep want to see everyone okay.

  • Since the Israelites had just been released from slavery, the first of God’s rulings deals with servants and slaves. According to the rabbis, the six years that a slave was obligated to work represent the 6,000 years that the people will have worked to serve the Lord. The seventh year of freedom represents the Messianic age — the thousand years when we will rule and reign from Jerusalem with the Messiah, Who will sit on the Throne of His earthly father, David.

  • It is interesting to note that the piercing of ears represents consensual slavery. Ear piercings represented an agreement to be slave to a master. Nowadays the master is nearly always a demon (and this applies for tattoos as well) as piercings and tattoos were a form of worship for Baals and Ashtoreths throughout the bible. Don’t think all this talk about slavery isn’t for today anymore: the language has changed but the facts are the same. The Hebrews use to sell themselves as slaves in extreme circumstances, when they had nothing left but the clothes on their backs, when they couldn’t afford to repay debts, etc. Being a slave meant that they were to work for the person they were slaves to; they would get lodging and food out of it and a little bit of money too. It’s not so different to the workplace today; when one signs a contract of employment they effectively sell themselves to the company they work for.

  • Exo. 21:7 – The selling of the daughter as a slave: the Hebrew commentators explain that by daughter, it is meant one who is under age (a child), not having reached the age of reason yet. The selling of the daughters was not something allowed unless the parents were in extreme poverty. And again it is not so different than sending your children into boarding schools, or to start an apprenticeship. In this specific case the child, being a child, was not to be released till they could survive by their own means, which is why it says they won’t go free as the other slaves. It is interesting to find that the Septuagint doesn’t speak about men slaves or men servants, but of maid servants. So it was not a matter of gender, but of age.

  • Several verses later in this passage, the painful experiences of the Israelites in Egypt are highlighted again, this time to elicit empathy for the foreigner, which can also mean new convert. God commands the Israelites that foreigners be treated with kindness and respect.

  • In total, Parashah “Mishpatim” contains 53 commands — 23 imperative commandments and 30 prohibitions.

  • This series of laws, also called “The Covenant Code” by some Bible scholars, specify penalties for various violent crimes such as murder, kidnapping, and assault. Premeditated murder, kidnapping, and striking or even cursing a parent (reviling in the Greek/Hebrew), all carry the death penalty (Ex 21:17). Only if a death occurs as an accident, is the person allowed to go take refuge to present his case. Laws were also given regarding how to make reparation/amends for assault and injuries caused by animals, as well as damage to crops or livestock. They prohibit seduction of virgins, the practice of sorcery, bestiality, idolatry, and mistreating the disadvantaged of society. Infractions of these laws often carried the severest of penalties — death — since God wanted to keep peace and order within the camp.

  • According to Jewish teaching, there are 4 types of death penalties in the Torah:

    1. Sekila (stoning): done outside the camp by the whole assembly (Acts 7);

    2. Serefah (burning): done by melting lead, and pouring it down the throat of the condemned person;

    3. Hereg (beheading): also known as “being put to the sword”;

    4. Chenek (strangulation): a rope was wound around the condemned person’s neck, and the executioners (the witnesses by whom the person got proven guilty) pulled from either side to strangle the condemned person.

  • According to the law, a person was to be condemned on the account of 2-3 reliable witnesses.

  • God has genuine concern for justice and the well-being of the individual (and this is what love is all about). For instance, if a widow or fatherless child is to cry out to God because of someone’s ill treatment of them, God promises He will pour out His fierce wrath upon their oppressor and kill them so that their wives would be widows and their children fatherless (Exo. 22:21–23). This concern extends to the accused; the judgements have to be rendered on certitude that the person is truly guilty; better of acquitting a guilty person because of lack of evidence, than punishing an innocent one (Exo. 21:20-21). In this case of the servant being beaten up what we are told here is 2 fold:

    1. That 1-2 days after, if they can’t be sure that the death of the slave came from the beating, there could possibly be another cause;

    2. That because the slave wasn’t killed there and then, it shows that the intent was not to have the slave killed and therefore the loss of him/her will be enough loss to the master.

  • Now beyond this, we know that God is the ultimate judge and someone may escape human punishment, but no one escapes God’s judgement. And that is why the law is done this way; so the judges won’t be guilty of punishing innocent people, but the Lord knows the intent of the hearts of men and will render proper justice.

  • Now let’s look at the 4 capital punishments and their spiritual meanings:

    1. Death by stoning: it is described as highly painful, ripping the flesh away and crushing the bones, leading to death. If anyone suffers with ailments that might relate to this, such as breaking of skin caused by bad skin conditions, brittle bones etc. It may be due to a sin committed (either personal or generational) that has similar spiritual repercussions as the punishment of stoning. It can also come in the form of things/problems continually being thrown your way until you break (either mentally or physically).

      Sins leading to this death penalty:

      • Intercourse between a man and his mother;

      • Intercourse between a man and his father’s wife (not necessarily his mother);

      • Intercourse between a man and his daughter in law;

      • Intercourse with another man’s wife (adultery when betrothed or newlywed);

      • Intercourse between two men;

      • Bestiality;

      • Cursing the name of God; blasphemy;

      • Idol Worship; spiritual adultery;

      • Giving one’s progeny to Moloch (child sacrifice)/ passing children through the fire (practice found nowadays on a spiritual level by some churches and known as ‘fire tunnels’/ giving one’s progeny to a ruler (either physical or spiritual ruler);

      • Necromantic Sorcery; worship of the dead; summoning the dead; mediumship;

      • Pythonic Sorcery; all types of divination;

      • Attempting to convince another person to worship idols;

      • Instigating a community to worship idols (or go into idolatry);

      • Witchcraft, Sorcery/Pharmakia;

      • Violating the Sabbath;

      • Cursing/reviling one’s own parent;

      • A stubborn and rebellious child (remember that God is the Father of all).

    2. Death by burning: that would be by having all the insides melting away, liquefying, breaking down of the inner organs etc. If anyone suffers with ailments that might relate to this, it may be due to a sin committed (either personal or generational) that has similar spiritual repercussions as the punishment of burning.

      Sins leading to this death penalty:

      • Prostitution by the child of a priest (we are all a royal priesthood);

      • Intercourse between a man and his daughter;

      • Intercourse between a man and his granddaughter;

      • Intercourse between a man and his wife’s daughter (not necessarily his own daughter);

      • Intercourse between a man and his wife’s granddaughter;

      • Intercourse between a man and his mother in law;

      • Intercourse between a man and his mother in law’s mother;

      • Intercourse between a man and his father in law’s mother.

    3. Death by beheading: this punishment causes the person to lose their head, which could mean mental illnesses or sicknesses (Schizophrenia, paranoia etc.); this doesn’t mean that all mental illnesses are due to breaking these laws, but those who do commit these sins will be cursed in this way.

      Sins leading to this death penalty:

      • Unlawful, premeditated killing (i.e. murder);

      • Rape;

      • Being a member of a city (congregation/community) that has gone astray.

    4. Death by strangulation: feelings of chocking, can’t breathe, feeling betrayed by close ones (the ones strangulating are the witnesses to that person’s sins), anxiety, fears, sleep apnoea, asthma etc. (keep in mind these ailments are not always linked with these sins but that those committing these sins will develop part of these ailments).

      Sins leading to this death penalty:

      • Committing adultery with another man’s wife (when married for a while and not newlywed or betrothed – different to the adultery for the stoning penalty);

      • Wounding one’s own parent;

      • Kidnapping another member of Israel;

      • Prophesying falsely (including accepting and seeking false prophecy);

      • Prophesying in the name of other deities;

      • A person who shows contempt of court rulings.

  • Everyone needs to remember that according to the NT there is neither males nor females in Christ, so each type applies to everyone. Also, each congregation of the Lord is like a city or a court unto Himself, because our body is a temple for the Lord and each one of us are a brick unto the temple of God (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 6:1-5, 19; 1 Pet. 2:5). Also the sins leading unto death are not only through physical deeds but also through doing them in our hearts (Mat. 5:27-28).

  • Exo. 21:22-23 – In this Parasha we find the law concerning the unborn children and that unborn life is less valuable than one who is born, according to the Masoretic texts. The LXX presents a slight nuance though. The differentiation is not between born and unborn but between fully or pecfectly formed or not in the womb. A foetus (not fully/perfectly formed child) calls for financial reparation, whilst a baby (fully/perfectly formed child) would be the same as a born person (life for a life, etc.).

  • Exo. 22:1-15 – This parasha presents the Laws of restitution when robbed, when there is a dispute about ownership or when ownership is abused. What’s important to understand in those verses is that the differences between repayments (best of the person’s property, double and 4 or 5 times) are based on the usefulness and importance of what was stolen in regards to its ability to make your ends meet. Also these precepts clearly show that a person is entitled to defend his property, even violently, but not to the point of killing the thief, unless an accidental death happens; that’s the difference between the punishment for killing a thief at night time or during day time. When it’s day time the striker sees what he is doing and as no excuse for killing the thief, when it’s night time it was hard to discern and lethal accidents could happen. Also one could add there the heighten level of stress and adrenaline whilst it’s night time compare to day time.

  • This week’s Parashah also reveals the law of the Sabbath, which is more than a Sabbath of rest for people every seventh day. Every seven years, the land is also meant to enjoy a Sabbath rest called the Shemitah (Israel ended its seventh year of letting the land rest in September 2015). As well, the three pilgrimage festivals are mentioned as a time when all adult Jewish people are to appear before the Lord: Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). These 3 feasts being the 3 main prophetic events to be fulfilled:

    1. The death of Christ to renew God’s covenant with His people and give them a better way to be set free;

    2. The coming of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction; lead us into understanding the law; to fulfil it in ourselves like Christ did; and to empower us for the work of the ministry;

    3. The second coming of Yeshua; to finish off the rebellion against truth, justice, righteousness, holiness and all that is good on earth; to judge the nations and establish His kingdom on earth; to bring His faithful ones unto Himself, and to rule with them.

  • Exo. 23:4-5 – This key point of today’s parasha links directly with Yeshua commanding us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us (Luk. 6:27-28). To make it plain, no matter how we feel we need to love our enemies and do good to them. This is possible because we have been given the possibility to make choices before or as the emotions come up. Without Yeshua it is impossible to do and it will eventually affect the body, because it’s a repression or suppression of the emotions. But in the Lord we can choose how we will act and refuse to let ourselves being taken down with the emotions, like taking the thoughts into captivity. To go further let’s study Joh. 1:12:

    He gave them power (KJV)/the right (CJB)/authority (ISV) to become the sons of God. That word here translated in so many ways is the word exousia in Greek and meaning (Thayer’s definition):

    1. power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases

      1. leave or permission

    2. physical and mental power

      1. the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises

    3. the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)

    4. the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)

      1. universally

        1. authority over mankind

      2. specifically

        1. the power of judicial decisions

        2. of authority to manage domestic affairs

      3. metonymically

        1. a thing subject to authority or rule

          • jurisdiction

  • It’s the power to choose, to make decisions, the authority over ourselves to rule and decide if we want to be part of the kingdom of light or to continue in darkness. At their core all emotions are first and foremost decisions, as in cease from anger, forsake wrath (Psa. 37:8); do not fear/don’t be afraid or dismayed (Deu. 20:3; Jos. 10:25; Psa. 56:4), instead be meek, rejoice, be of good courage, be bold in the Lord. All these are choices to make through an act of will. When we live by the Spirit — that is when we embrace the nature of Yahweh’s Spirit expressed in His words — we then become empowered by this selfsame Spirit to face whatever circumstance is confronting us (either external or internal, including DID, SRA, demonization, oppression, etc…), to put our flesh under subjection. For when we are able to separate each emotion from its associated feeling then we are free to choose how to act or behave towards circumstances, no matter how we feel about them. Again this means that when we are a believer we are responsible of our acts and we are able to override any wrong thought or emotion and that includes the Mind Control, SRA, DID, MPD, demons, etc… No matter how much trauma you have been through, if there is any part in you who has chosen to follow the Lord and be Christ like — to want the truth, seek the truth and follow the truth — then you have the ability, whilst walking in the spirit, to override triggers, programs or even being reprogrammed. As a matter of fact we’ve seen that as we go through deliverance or/and healing of the soul, it’s by willingly letting go (allowing, deciding to go with it) that we have other parts coming front or demons being fully exposed. The believer can choose to force everything down and not let it manifest. Faith or trust in the Lord then becomes actionable as a choice over feelings or imaginations. The act of embracing the life Yeshua lived amongst us, that is to try to become Christlike, gives us the authority to choose life over death, the blessing over the curse. This is the opposition between living in the flesh, carnally and living in the spirit.

  • This is establishing the kingdom of God within us and that releases God’s power and light through us. Too often we have the tendency to look at our circumstances (be it demons, mind control, mental issues, physical problems, etc.) as all too big to deal with, this is falling under the flesh instead of looking at it from the Spirit. This is the kingdom of darkness pressing on us and us giving in to it.

  • The fact is that Yeshua has come as a light into the world so that those believing in Him wouldn’t abide in darkness (Joh. 12:46). Do you know why? Because light dissipates darkness, where the light is there is no darkness, for darkness is just the absence of light. That’s why David called on the Lord to lighten his darkness and he trusted in that, for the Lord being a lamp, no darkness could abide (Psa. 18:28; 2 Sam.22:29).

  • When the darkness is lighten up, nothing can hide anymore, everything is revealed for what it is, even amnesia walls for example. The traumas will be exposed, as will everything else. If you’re a multiple person (MPD, DID, DDNOS) and want to be whole, it’s not a matter of letting the alters come up, it’s a matter of lighting up, through actions, every part of your soul, of your being. Then the reuniting will happen and looking like coming by itself. When Jesus came in contact with the demon possessed Gadarenes, darkness was pushed away for these persons to be able to cry out for help, all insanity was immediately on the back foot and the person able to be coherent enough to ask Yeshua for help. When the person focus on the light instead of the horrors of that personal darkness, then freedom comes in. When that happens the demons will be exposed and therefore manifest, no need of commanding them up to cast them out.

    If you look at the life of Yeshua when He was casting out devils or healing the sick (especially from the demented ones), there is no account of anyone attacking Him. That there was thrashing around, certainly but the darkness couldn’t approach to fight Him, even when the soldiers came to take Him, they were able to lay their hands on Him when He allowed them. That should be the same with us when we walk after the spirit instead of the flesh.

  • Isa. 58:9-10 – If our gaze is fixed on the Lord and Who He is and we do His works as He did them then our darkness is lighted up, all what’s hidden cannot hide anymore, it becomes like noonday, which is without any shadow to hide. In this scripture remove the yoke means don’t force anyone, don’t Lord it over anyone; stop accusation and slander, pointing the finger and speaking vanity or murmuring (KJV & LXX). Meeting the needs of the person in trouble or satisfy the afflicted (troubled) soul is to do it as Yeshua did it, not as we think we ought to do it, nor as therapist are doing it. The light of Yeshua shined forth to such intensity that even the demon possessed recovered enough of their senses to ask for help, the people close by could be healed and the demons cast out without effort.

  • What I am saying here might seem out there and defying our experience but it’s because our experience is limited by our darkness and belief systems. As believers start on that journey they might go downhill because it seems all too big, all very hard and a drawn-out process. But Exo. 23:29 states that this work will not take less than one year, lest we be overcome, but it could therefore be done in just over a year! What the word says for all this to happen is that it’s just a matter of choice and trust.

  • And if you think that’s too simplistic well Yeshua called all of us to have the trust that children have, nothing complicated in that. Knowledge and understanding are very important but without the simple trust of a child we can be bogged down.

  • Act. 11:13-14; 16:31 – There is another meaning to that Greek word exousia and that is the power to influence. It’s not about the person’s family but about those living in close contact with the light. If we keep our light shining it will have an effect on the people close by, for it dissipates darkness. As long as we don’t force but speak and act the word, choose the word instead of the feelings and imaginations then, with the loving compassion we are called to have as ministers of the Lord all around will be changed.

  • Exo. 23:20-23 – The LXX reads “My angel” and not “an angel”, so a strong case can be made that the Lord was speaking about sending Yeshua Himself. First the NT tells us that Yeshua was with Moses (Act. 7), then we are told here that this angel will lead them to war against the 7 nations they have to destroy and that points the the Captain of the hosts appearing to Joshua when the conquest of the promise land started (Jos. 5:14-15). To finish on that point we are told that the name of the Lord is in him. This can’t be a matter of just having the name El or Yah within the name of that angel. because all, or just about all, of them do. The meaning is deeper than that, by “My name” here is meant the fullness of God, all He represents (Col. 2:9)

  • Exo. 24:7-8 – Moses read before all the people the Book of the Covenant that God had given Israel. After the people committed to keeping God’s law, Moses sprinkled blood upon the altar and on the people as well, since all covenants are formally ratified and usually sealed with blood. Likewise, the New Covenant was sealed with blood — that of the Messiah, Yeshua, the Lamb of God. At the Passover meal with His disciples, Yeshua held up the cup of redemption and said, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (Luk. 22:20). The most righteous of all men — Yeshua HaMashiach became the final atonement for all generations who accept His sacrifice on their behalf. Whoever puts themselves under His blood falls under that covenant. But like all covenants, it is important to know that there are things to do. You will not get the promises of the covenant unless you act. That’s why we are told in the NT not to be only hearers of the word, but doers also.

    Isa. 42:6-7 – the Lord called Jesus to be a light to the world to set them free. In the NT, that covenant we have come into is calling us to be Christ-like. The doing starts with prayer, and as we grow, we will move into more things. But we cannot do nothing (Mat. 25:15-30).

  • Remember what happens to those who break the commandments of the Lord; they move away from the kingdom of God to be in the kingdom of darkness, which means that those people lose the blessings from God for the part of their life which is subject to sin, and instead gain blessings from Satan, and this is nothing short of being under a curse. Worse still, is for those who understand the sin they are in, and the curse they are under, repent and turn from their wrong ways, but go back into their old sins as soon as things get better again. This brings swift destruction upon them for they are then rejecting God’s covenant made with them (Jer. 33:25-26; 34:8-22).

  • In the covenant Israel passed with God then, the rulers agreed to free the Hebrew slaves who had been held longer than the prescribed term of six years. Sadly, it seems the people tried to manipulate God by freeing their slaves as God commanded so that He would turn back siege forces coming against Jerusalem. Once those siege forces turned back, the people broke the covenant by forcing the freed men and women back into slavery. God reminds them of the seriousness of this covenant with each other by including in Jeremiah’s prophecy their act of walking between two halves of a slaughtered animal. Why such a gory scene? Covenants are not to be taken lightly. As covenant parties walked through these bloodied carcasses, they saw the punishment to themselves for violating the covenant they made — they would also be cut in two, metaphorically if not literally.

  • In this Haftarah (prophetic portion of the Parashah), God chastised the people for violating the covenant they made. They also violated the law God gave their ancestors when they left Egypt — to free slaves after six years of work. As a result, God promised to release famine, pestilence, and the sword over the city, to bring Babylon against Jerusalem, which occurred under Zedekiah’s watch.

  • Jer. 34:8–16 is a judgement prophecy against the re-enslavement of Judean slaves and the breaking of covenant.

  • Still, today, we cannot make a covenant with God in order to get a particular result (in this case, the safety of Jerusalem), and then renege on our agreement once we get what we want. Just as God had His eye on the covenant made with Zedekiah, He has His eye on the covenants and promises that we make with Him and with one another. Moreover, we cannot expect to treat people as less worthy than ourselves; to take away their inalienable rights or take advantage of their time, talents, or labour, and still expect God’s blessings. God is not like that; He is a covenant-keeping God and He wants us to be just as faithful in all things.

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