KJ: Without the vail of
the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from
the evening unto the morning before the LORD continually: it shall be a
statute for ever in your generations.
BN: Have Aharon arrange it, outside the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, from evening till morning, before YHVH, permanently; this is an eternal statute, throughout your generations.
The inference of this is that the eternal lamp was only needed at night-time. Whereas TAMID clearly means "eternal", and "MEY EREV AD BOKER" could, given that a 24-hour day is lunar in the world of the Beney Yisra-El, be a poetical way of intending the full 24 hours. All synagogues today hang an eternal lamp in front of the curtain of the Ark that contains the Torah scrolls, as a symbolic continuation of this law, but they do it all day as well as all night (and with the help of electricity).
24:4 AL HA MENORAH HA TEHORAH YA'AROCH ET HA NEROT LIPHNEY YHVH TAMID
KJ: He shall order the
lamps upon the pure candlestick before the LORD continually.
BN: He shall arrange the lamps on the pure candlestick, before YHVH, continually.
Is this the same lamp as the eternal One in verse 2 and 3; that appeared to be a single lamp (YA'AROCH OTO in verse 2), whereas the Menorah described here is plural (ET HA NEROT). However the Menorah was a seven-branched candlestick, so verse 2 could be referring to the candlestick and verse 4 to the number of candles in it. pey break 24:5 VE LAKACHTA SOLET VE APHITA OTAH SHETEYM ESREH CHALOT SHENEY ESRONIM YIHEYEH HA CHALAH HA ECHAT
KJ: And thou shalt take fine
flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake.
BN: And you shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes with it: two tenth parts of an ephah shall be in each cake.
SHENEY ESRONIM: two-tenths, rather than one-fifth; which might just be the way of saying it in those days, except that we have one-fifth on many occasions (Genesis 41:34, Leviticus 27:31 et al). So is it an oddity, or a very specific measurement, stated this way for a reason? Click here for more detail of Biblical weights and measures. 24:6 VE SAMTA OTAM SHETAYIM MA'ARACHOT SHESH HA MA'ARACHET AL HA SHULCHAN HA TAHOR LIPHNEY YHVH
KJ: And thou shalt set
them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD.
BN: And you shall set them in two rows, six on each row, on the pure table before YHVH.
I find the repetition of the TAHOR odd too (here, and for the Menorah, above; and then the frankincense below); unless there is also an impure Menorah in the tent, and an impure table, or the only one is not being maintained properly, why would YHVH need to state it? 24:7 VE NATATA AL HA MA'ARECHET LEVONAH ZACHAH VE HAYETAH LA LECHEM LE AZKARAH ISHEH LA YHVH
KJ: And thou shalt put
pure frankincense upon each row, that
it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an
offering made by fire unto the LORD.
BN: And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, to flavour the bread which is the memorial-part of the fire-offering to YHVH.
As noted many times, what YHVH likes best from these sacrifices is the wafting odour, which meat provides naturally, but corn-cakes need a little bit of spicing-up, and frankincense works just lovely! 24:8 BE YOM HA SHABAT BE YOM HA SHABAT YA'ARCHENU LIPHNEY YHVH TAMID ME ET BENEY YISRA-EL BRIT OLAM
KJ: And the son of an
Israelitish woman, whose father was an
Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the
Israelitish woman and a
man of Israel strove together in the camp;
BN: And the son of a Yisra-Eli woman, whose father was a Mitsri, went out among the Beney Yisra-El; and the son of the Yisra-Eli woman and a man of Yisra-El got into a fight in the camp.
The rare event, in Leviticus, of a parable, or an actual case, being used to furnish or explain a law.
YISRE-ELIT: I believe that this and the next verse are the only occasions in the Tanach when this particular term is used. It parallels Yehudit in Ezraic times, when Yisra-El and Beney Yisra-El were no longer in use.
24:11 VA YIKOV BEN HA ISHAH HA YISRA-ELIT ET HA SHEM VA YEKALEL VE YAVIY'U OTO EL MOSHEH VE SHEM IMO SHELOMIT BAT DIVRI LE MATEH DAN
KJ: And the Israelitish
woman's son blasphemed the name of
the LORD, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his
mother's name was Shelomith,
the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:)
BN: And the son of the Yisra-Eli woman blasphemed the Name, and cursed; and they brought him to Mosheh. Now his mother's name was Shelomit bat Divri, of the tribe of Dan.
SHELOMIT BAT DIVRI LE MATEH DAN: To the English reader this is simply her name; to the reader of Yehudit it is far more subtle; and every Jew knows that there is nothing in a Jewish parable that doesn't have at least three meanings, two of which are entirely questionable, two of which have been mis-interpreted but we follow the ensuing tradition anyway, and at least two of them are quite simply wrong. SHELOMIT = "peace"; DIVRI comes from DAVAR = "to speak", and is understood from the endlessly repeated VA YEDABER YHVH EL MOSHEH... to be "the word of YHVH", as well as having links with the oracle of the bee-goddess, the Prophetess Devorah (Deborah); DAN = "judge". Her name could therefore be translated as "peacemaker in the name of YHVH from the tribe of judgement". John Bunyan chose names for his "Pilgrim's Progress" in much the same manner. 24:12 VA YANICHUHU BA MISHMAR LIPHROSH LAHEM AL PI YHVH
KJ: And they put him in
ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them.
BN: And they placed him in custody, that the matter might be resolved through the mouth of YHVH.
MISHMAR: "ward" - ? meaning "in prison", surely, though they are unlikely to have had a prison as such in the wilderness (how would you run a prison in a desert?). Presumably he was placed under some kind of tent arrest. But what does the latter phrase mean? That DIVRI in Shelomit's name is the clue. The phrase is to be taken as an idiom, rather than literally. Putting him in ward also takes us back to the tale of Yoseph, who was put in the Beit ha Sohar (בבית הסהר) in Genesis 39:20, without the word "ward - mishmar", but was then joined by Pharaoh's butler and baker in Genesis 40:3-7, and in their case it is specifically "mishmar beit sar - ward in the house of the captain of the guard" (see also Genesis 41:10, and 42:17-19 where the same word is used for the imprisonment of Yoseph's brother Shim'on).
AL PI YHVH: A phrase familiar to every regular attender of Sabbath prayers, because it is part of the song that is sung when the Torah is lifted at Hagbahah (הגבהה), for its return to the Ark after the weekly reading. In full: VE ZOT HA TORAH ASHER SAM MOSHEH LIPHNEY BENEY YISRA-EL, AL PI YHVH, BE YAD MOSHEH. The phrase itself is a liturgical combining of two phrases, the first part (to the first comma) from Deuteronomy 4:44, the remainder from Numbers 9:23.
So we can understand the meaning of this verse: they put him under armed guard of some sort, and waited for some oracle, some prophetess, some Shelomit bat Divri le mateh Dan, to declare the resolution of this incident, and thereby the precedent for any future comparable incidents, in her capacity as prophetess; alas, in the final Redaction, she has herself been put into that section of the prison-house where the ideologically unwanted go, and so, instead, it is the standard YHVH-Mosheh male-patriarchal resolution that we are given, and wonder why the text bothered to name her in the first place.
Perhaps - and it would require an additional verse tomake this point, but there isn't one - to add a reminder to the Beney Yisra-El that visiting ba'alot ov - oracles, witches, soothsayers - is now prohibited; cf Exodus 22:17 (22:18 in some versions)and Leviticus 20:27!
24:13 VA YEDABER YHVH EL MOSHEH LEMOR
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר
KJ: And the LORD spake
unto Moses, saying,
BN: Then YHVH spoke to Mosheh, saying:
The start of a new fragment; each one beginning, as we have seen, with this standard phrase, the equivalent of a "whereas" clause in modern legislation. 24:14 HOTS'E ET HA MEKALEL EL MI CHUTS LA MACHANEH VE SAMCHU CHOL HA SOM'IM ET YEDEYHEM AL RO'SHO VE RAGMU OTO KOL HA EDAH
KJ: Bring forth him that
hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay
their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.
BN: Take the one who cursed out of the camp; and let everyone who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let the whole congregation stone him.
An officially approved lynch-mob - exactly the sort to which Jesus will later demand that he who is without sin should cast the first stone (John 8:7). Note, however, that everyone who stones must also bless - which may actually use human conscience to achieve what Jesus wanted: you try looking someone in the face and giving them a blessing, and then generate enough hatred and dispassion to throw stones at them. And remember the concept of RATSON: that every life that is taken in ritual manner must both go willingly and be taken willingly. There are very few records, in all the long hagiomaniacal history of the Beney Yisra-El, of any stoning actually taking place; one exception in the Bible is Achan, in Joshua 7. KOL HA EDAH: requires two comments. First, as we have noted before, an EDAH is specifically a religious congregation, so the tale must belong to the pilgrimage and covenant-renewal version and not to the Exodus-from-Egypt version. Second, if it was the second version, the whole EDAH constitutes, including the children and the elderly, around two million people, according to the numbers in the Book of Numbers; an improbable number anyway, but if the "whole congregation" is to undertake this brutality, where in this sandy desert do they expect to find that many stones? And if "the whole congregation" is simply a generic statement, after which a group representing "the whole congregagtion" executes the judicial descree - how do you get chosen? 24:15 VE EL BENEY YISRA-EL TEDABER LEMOR ISH ISH KI YEKALEL ELOHAV VE NASA CHET'O
KJ: And thou shalt speak
unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his
BN: And you shall speak to the Beney Yisra-El, and tell them: Whoever curses his god shall bear his sin.
NASA CHETO: The phrase "shall bear his sin" or "shall bear his iniquity" comes up repeatedly in these laws; but what does it actually mean? "Shall have to face the consequences", or "shall have to accept the responsibility", perhaps. 24:16 VE NOKEV SHEM YHVH MOT YUMAT RAGOM YIRGEMU VO KOL HA EDAH KA GER KA EZRACH BE NAKVO SHEM YUMAT
KJ: And he that
blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the
congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is
born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of
the LORD, shall be put to death.
BN: And he who blasphemes the name of YHVH, he shall surely be put to death; the while congregation shall be required to stone him; both the stranger and the home-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he shall be put to death.
One of the difficulties of exegesis lies in the multiplicity of purpose that so often exists behind the text, often because an ancient text containing its own purpose (moral, law, history, story-telling) is then reused by the Redactor for a secondary purpose. Is this anecdote being told to reiterate the laws and punishments concerning blasphemy, or to reiterate the equality before the law of Yisra-Eli and non-Yisra-Eli? Ultimately it becomes both.
HA SHEM: The source of another continuing superstition in this religion in which all superstition is prohibited, on pain of death. Many modern Jews will not pronounce the name of the deity (I, for example, refuse to say, or write, God, with a capital G, unless I am speaking about the Christain deity, whose name that is). The Yehudit name for the deity is either YHVH, which is probably not a name anyway but perhaps an acronym, perhaps a name-substitution, perhaps a reduction of the full name to this superstitious alternative, or Elohim, which is a multiple plural used as a singular, and so just as complicated. But orthodox Jews do not pronounce YHVH, not as Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, nor Yahweh, Yahve, Jehovah, or any other variation; they say Adonai, which means "My Lord", and this is the way that a vassal addresses his master in a relationship based on Avodah, which is either "worship" or "slavery" as you prefer. Alternately, for Elohim, some will say Elokim. But HA SHEM is commonplace too, and this law, as noted at the start of this paragraph, is its source.
24:17 VE ISH KI YAKEH KOL NEPHESH ADAM MOT YUMAT
וְאִישׁ כִּי יַכֶּה כָּל נֶפֶשׁ אָדָם מוֹת יוּמָת
KJ: And he that killeth
any man shall surely be put to death.
BN: And he who strikes another man in a way that causes harm shall be put to death.
Is this now providing a piece of salient information that was casually or sloppily or even deliberately left out before, that the fight in verse 10 wasn't just an exchange of blows, but something rather more wounding? Given that it was the son of the Yisra-Eli woman who was then stoned, it would have been the son of the Egyptian who was harmed; why was the man then stoned for blasphemy and not for harm? Far too much of the story has been left out for this to make meaningful sense; all we can say is that the Redactor got two laws out of it, and actually several more as well (see below), and an opportunity to marginalise women. Nice work!
YAKEH: The root means "to hit", and one can hit without killing, so it is not obvious why this is translated as "kill". The word is used repeatedly for conquering people in war, which obviously includes deaths, but the verb in that instance is about the conquest, not the deaths. 2 Samuel 11:15 has David instructing his general to put Ur-Yah in the vanguard "וְנִכָּה וָמֵת - VE NIKAH VA MET - so that he will be struck, and die", which is as clear as it can be that the root does not presume death. But the text here states KOL NEPHESH ADAM. If it were simply a matter of stoning anyone who hits another person, the word NEPHESH would be superfluous; the key is that he has been hit in such a way that harm has been caused - a long-term physical injury perhaps, or even a psychological trauma, or a social impact of an enduring kind. But that still does not presume death.
HOWEVER! See below. 24:18 U MAKEH NEPHESH BEHEMAH YESHALMENAH NEPHESH TACHAT NEPHESH
BN: And he that killeth a
beast shall make it good; beast for beast.
KJ: And he who harms an animal so that it dies shall make good for it: a life for a life.
MAKEH: What was true of YAHEK above must also be true of MAKEH here - except that the concept of "life for life" goes with "eye for eye" that was given previously (Exodus 21:24), and which was very exact: "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot..." So this is not about hitting an animal and leaving it lame; the animal has died - or else we have a law of considerable absurdity: you kicked my donkey and bruised its shin, so justice requires me to kick your dockey and bruise its shin. Using the 13 hermeneutical rules of Rabbi Yishmael, which require that consecutive verses are read as being related, this clear use of MAKEH to mean "hit and kill" must alter a traditional Jewish reading of the previous verse, and understand that too as "kill", and not mere "hit and harm" as well.
HOWEVER! See the next verse.
Once again we are receiving laws already given; confirming that Leviticus is not part of the original Torah. But what an extraordinary law – life for life, even when the victim was an animal. Owners of Rottweilers and Pit-Bulls beware!
Note also the phrase used here for killing an animal: MAKEH NEPHESH BEHEMAH. Not SHOCHET, which is killing by ritual slaughter for food, not ROTS'E'ACH, which would connect to the commandment "You Shall Not Kill", which is understood to mean "wilful and premeditated murder". In the previous verse, which inspired this one, and in verse 21 below, the same phrase: ISH KI YAKEH KOL NEPHESH. The root means "to strike", but not in the sense that Labour unions employ it.
24:19 VE ISH KI YITEN MUM BA AMIYTO KA ASHER ASAH KEN YE'ASEH LO
KJ: And if a man cause a
blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;
BN: And if a man maims his neighbour - as he has done - so shall it be done to him.
HOWEVER! Once again applyingthe 13 hermeneutical rules of Rabbi Yishmael, which require that consecutive verses are read as being related, this verse tells us explicitly that the man was not killed, but only maimed. And we know that the same incident is being used as parable here, from the phrase KA ASHER ASAH - "as he has done". Or do we? Note the different uses of punctuation in the King James and my versions, both of which are valid within the phrasing of the verse; but mine confirms the previous incident, where King James provides an alternate idiom for NEPHESH TACHAT NEPHESH - a life for a life" - in verse 18. The Yehudit text has no punctuation. ISH KI: sometimes the text prefers ISH KI, sometimes ISH ASHER...
From this verse we now have to go back to the previous chapter in which the MUM was spoken about as an impurity; it appears to me to have been a very different understanding of what a MUM was. 24:20 SHEVER TACHAT SHEVER AYIN TACHAT AYIN SHEN TACHAT SHEN KA ASHER YITEN MUM BA ADAM KEN YINATEN BO
KJ: Breach for breach, eye
for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be
done to him again.
BN: Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has maimed a man, so shall it be done to him.
Once again, we note the scale of appalling barbarism of these laws, concurrent with their quite extraordinary humanism. A paradox that can only be understood in the context of an epoch, though in fact variations of the same paradox co-exist in every epoch, including our own. I try to imagine, as an example, the man given the task of throwing acid in someone's face, as a punishment for their throwing acid in someone else's face. See my story "A Singular Judicial Procedure" in "The Captive Bride".
AYIN: This too has appeared before (Exodus 21:24-25), but with rather more examples - "hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe".
24:21 U MAKEH VEHEMAH YESHALMENAH U MAKEH ADAM YUMAT
KJ: And he that killeth a
beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to
BN: He who kills an animal shall make good for it; but he who kills a man shall be put to death.
Does this not contradict what was written above? Note the name Adam here; not the ancestor from the Garden of Eden but simply the Yehudit name for Humankind. This is a verse that should not be read by Jews or Christians who support fox-hunting or any form of wild-game trophy-collecting. It quite clearly outlaws the killing of animals for any other purpose than food.
24:22 MISHPAT ECHAD YIHEYEH LACHEM KA GER KA EZRACH YIHEYEH KI ANI YHVH ELOHEYCHEM
KJ: Ye shall have one
manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD
BN: You shall have one manner of law, both for the stranger and for the home-born; for I am YHVH your god.
I am quite certain that I don't need to underline this paragraph, because the Prime Minister of Israel is a self-proclaimed orthodox Jew, unlike those atheistic Socialists David Ben Gurion and Golda Meir; so he knows perfectly that this business of "the same law for the stranger as for the citizen" applies in the secular state of Israel to this day.
And on a slightly lesser note, this is another piece of case-law that prohibits the usage of a shobbas goy.
24:23 VA YEDABER MOSHEH EL BENEY YISRA-EL VA YOTSIY'U ET HA MEKALEL EL MI CHUTS LA MACHANEH VA YIRGEMU OTO AVEN U VENEY YISRA-EL ASU KA ASHER TSIVAH YHVH ET MOSHEH