Numbers 15:1-41


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It is somewhat strange that the last episode ended with a slaughter by the Amaleki and Kena'ani, and this just carries on with the same divine promises as if nothing had taken place. And remember, though there is a chapter break in the English translations, there is no chapter break, nor even a sedra break, in the original Yehudit.


15:1 VA YEDABER YHVH EL MOSHEH LEMOR

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר

KJ (King James translation): And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

BN (BibleNet translation): Then YHVH spoke to Mosheh, saying:


Did the whole of the last chapter not happen? Did YHVH not just lose his temper, and tell them they would be consumed by carrion before anyone (save Kalev and Yehoshu'a of course) would be allowed anywhere near the land? And now here is, giving them laws for what to do when they get there. It undermines. It undermines.


15:2 DABER EL BENEY YISRA-EL VE AMARTA ALEYHEM KI TAVO'U EL ERETS MOSHVOTEYCHEM ASHER ANI NOTEN LACHEM

דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶלאֶרֶץ מוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם

KJ: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land of your habitations, which I give unto you,

BN: Speak to the Beney Yisra-El, and tell them: When you come into the land which you are going to inhabit, which I am giving you...


15:3 VE ASIYTEM ISHEH LA YHVH OLAH O ZEVACH LEPHAL'E NEDER O VI NEDAVAH O BE MO'ADEYCHEM LA'ASOT REYACH NIYCHO'ACH LA YHVH MIN HA BAKAR O MIN HA TSON

וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אִשֶּׁה לַיהוָה עֹלָה אוֹ זֶבַח לְפַלֵּא נֶדֶר אוֹ בִנְדָבָה אוֹ בְּמֹעֲדֵיכֶם לַעֲשׂוֹת רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה מִן הַבָּקָר אוֹ מִן הַצֹּאן

KJ: And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the LORD, of the herd, or of the flock:

BN: And you bring a fire-offering to YHVH, a burnt-offering, or a sacrifice, in fulfilment of a vow clearly uttered, or as a freewill-offering, or in your appointed seasons, to make a sweet savour for YHVH, from the herd, or from the flock...


All these are laws that have already been given in Exodus and Leviticus. Is this simply an alternate version again? Or are the Beney Yisra-Eli holding yet another religious ceremony that repeats, as annual ceremonies do, as a tour of the shrines, which this appears to be?


15:4 VE HIKRIV HA MAKRIV KARBANO LA YHVH MINCHAH SOLET ISARON BA LUL BI REVI'IYT HA HIN SHAMEN

וְהִקְרִיב הַמַּקְרִיב קָרְבָּנוֹ לַיהוָה מִנְחָה סֹלֶת עִשָּׂרוֹן בָּלוּל בִּרְבִעִית הַהִין שָׁמֶן

KJ: Then shall he that offereth his offering unto the LORD bring a meat offering of a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of oil.

BN: Then shall he who brings his offering present to YHVH a meal-offering of one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil


The Bible as recipe book! Again! YHVH does rather sound like he enjoys his offerings. He is very precise about how he likes his food cooked. Just one-tenth of an ephah of flour, a quarter of a hin of oil... not too pasty, not too oily, medium rare...

For more detail on the weightsand measures, click here

REVI'IYT: Spelled with an additional Yud below; why can't the Masoretic editors make up their minds and be consistent?!


15:5 VE YAYIN LA NESECH REVIY'IYT HA HIN TA'ASEH AL HA OLAH O LA ZAVACH LA KEVES HA ECHAD

וְיַיִן לַנֶּסֶךְ רְבִיעִית הַהִין תַּעֲשֶׂה עַל הָעֹלָה אוֹ לַזָּבַח לַכֶּבֶשׂ הָאֶחָד

KJ: And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb.

BN: And a quarter of a hin of wine for the drink-offering; thus shall you prepare the burnt-offering or for the sacrifice, for each lamb.


To the extent that we are surprised he isn't requesting rosemary and mint sauce.

As to the wine... see "A Myrtle Among Reeds" pages 95ff

REVIY'IYT: see my note to the previous verse


15:6 O LA AYIL TA'ASEH MINCHAH SOLET SHNEY ESRONIM BE LULAH VA SHEMEN SHLISHIT HA HIN

אוֹ לָאַיִל תַּעֲשֶׂה מִנְחָה סֹלֶת שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים בְּלוּלָה בַשֶּׁמֶן שְׁלִשִׁית הַהִין

KJ: Or for a ram, thou shalt prepare for a meat offering two tenth deals of flour mingled with the third part of an hin of oil.

BN: Or for a ram, you shall prepare for a meal-offering two tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour mingled with the third part of a hin of oil


Slightly less oil, because the ram is older meat, and therefore likely to have nore of its own fat to cook in.

SHNEY ESRONIM: "Two tenth parts" appears not to be the same as "one-fifth" - see my note to Leviticus 24:5


15:7 VE YAYIN LA NESECH SHLISHIT HA HIN TAKRIV REYACH NICHO'ACH LA YHVH

וְיַיִן לַנֶּסֶךְ שְׁלִשִׁית הַהִין תַּקְרִיב רֵיחַ-נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה

KJ: And for a drink offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.

BN: And for the drink-offering you shall present one-third of a hin of wine, of a sweet savour to YHVH.


Yes, the smell of the gravy while the meat is still cooking; that's the best part. With a touch of sweet red wine - I wonder if he preferred Palwin or Manischewitz


15:8 VE CHI TA'ASEH VEN BAKAR OLAH O ZAVACH LE PHAL'E NEDER O SHELAMIM LA YHVH

וְכִי תַעֲשֶׂה בֶן בָּקָר עֹלָה אוֹ זָבַח לְפַלֵּא נֶדֶר אוֹ שְׁלָמִים לַיהוָה

KJ: And when thou preparest a bullock for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice in performing a vow, or peace offerings unto the LORD:

BN: And when you prepare a bullock for a burnt-offering, or for a sacrifice, in fulfilment of a vow clearly uttered, or for peace-offerings to YHVH...


Maybe this passage does logically follow the previous one; if it was indeed liturgical, and connected to the Selichot, then the detail of the penances is needed. And if YHVH was really that angry, and the men went up the mountain to speak to him despite Mosheh saying don't, then a good sacrifice was their best chance of getting what they wanted... only... didn't the whole fuss start over a lack of meat, and end with the slaughter of hundreds? We want meat? Who will feed us meat? And yet there seems to be plenty of meat for the sacrifices, and not just the human carcasses left behind by Amalek and Kena'an. Then it has to be liturgy.


15:9 VE HIKRIV AL BEN HA BAKAR MINCHAH SOLET SHELOSHAH ESRONIM BA LUL BA SHEMEN CHATSI HA HIN

וְהִקְרִיב עַל בֶּן הַבָּקָר מִנְחָה סֹלֶת שְׁלֹשָׁה עֶשְׂרֹנִים בָּלוּל בַּשֶּׁמֶן חֲצִי הַהִין

KJ: Then shall he bring with a bullock a meat offering of three tenth deals of flour mingled with half an hin of oil.

BN: Then you shall present with the bullock a meal-offering of three-tenth of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with half a hin of oil.


15:10 VE YAYIN TAKRIV LA NESECH CHATSI HA HIN ISHEH REYACH NICHO'ACH LA YHVH

וְיַיִן תַּקְרִיב לַנֶּסֶךְ חֲצִי הַהִין אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה

KJ: And thou shalt bring for a drink offering half an hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

BN: And you shall present for the drink-offering half a hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour to YHVH.


15:11 KACHA YE'ASEH LA SHOR HA ECHAD O LA AYIL HA ECHAD O LA SEH VA KEVASIM O VA IZIM

כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה לַשּׁוֹר הָאֶחָד אוֹ לָאַיִל הָאֶחָד אוֹ לַשֶּׂה בַכְּבָשִׂים אוֹ בָעִזִּים

KJ: Thus shall it be done for one bullock, or for one ram, or for a lamb, or a kid.

BN: Thus shall it be done for each bullock, or for each ram, or for each of the he-lambs, or of the kids.


And of course it isn't really YHVH who is going to eat. Killing food for meat is anathema, because YHVH created all things, and killing is not permitted. But permission can be granted, and this is the meaning of "sacrifice" - literally, from the Latin: "to make sacred". The purpose of sacrifice then is eating, not just propitiating the god. And so it needs to be properly barbecued, with the right amount of oil, and herbs, and a good wine to accompany it. And cheesecake for dessert - if you are a Kara'ite; sadly non-Kara'ites have denied themselves the pleasures of cream after meat.


15:12 KA MISPAR ASHER TA'ASU KACHA TA'ASU LA ECHAD KE MISPARAM

כַּמִּסְפָּר אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשׂוּ כָּכָה תַּעֲשׂוּ לָאֶחָד כְּמִסְפָּרָם

KJ: According to the number that ye shall prepare, so shall ye do to every one according to their number.

BN: According to the number that you prepare, so shall you do for each one, according to that number.


15:13 KOL HA EZRACH YA'ASEH KACHA ET ELEH LE HAKRIV ISHEH REYACH NICHO'ACH LA YHVH

כָּל הָאֶזְרָח יַעֲשֶׂה כָּכָה אֶת אֵלֶּה לְהַקְרִיב אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה

KJ: All that are born of the country shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

BN: Everyone who is home-born shall do these things, in this manner, when they present a fire-offering of a sweet savour to YHVH.


"Home-born" infers "native", and as such is not really an accurate translation of EZRACH, though it is the one you will find in most Bible dictionaries and translations. Today the word means "citizen"."Home-born" would exclude or exempt a member of the Beney Yisra-El who happened to be born outside the country, and would include or permit non-members of the cult who were native; neither of these appears to be the intention.


15:14 VE CHI YAGUR IT'CHEM GER O ASHER BETOCH'CHEM LE DOROTEYCHEM VE ASAH ISHEH REYACH NICHO'ACH LA YHVH KA ASHER TA'ASU KEN YA'ASEH

וְכִי יָגוּר אִתְּכֶם גֵּר אוֹ אֲשֶׁר בְּתוֹכְכֶם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם וְעָשָׂה אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשׂוּ כֵּן יַעֲשֶׂה

KJ: And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD; as ye do, so he shall do.

BN: And if a stranger sojourns with you, or anyone else who may be staying with you, throughout your generations, and wishes to make a fire-offering, of a sweet savour to YHVH; as you do, so shall he do.


15:15 HA KAHAL CHUKAH ACHAT LACHEM VE LA GER HA GAR CHUKAT OLAM LE DOROTEYCHEM KACHEM KA GER YIHEYEH LIPHNEY YHVH

הַקָּהָל חֻקָּה אַחַת לָכֶם וְלַגֵּר הַגָּר חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם כָּכֶם כַּגֵּר יִהְיֶה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה

KJ: One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.

BN: As for the congregation, there shall be one statute both for you, and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute for ever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before YHVH.


Two possible interpretations of this law (probably more than two, but I shall present these two):

a) Previously we have applauded the equalities affirmed by this statement, but on this occasion it is not so commendable. On all previous occasions, the statement was about the legal status of slaves, employees, wives, debts, inheritances etc, and what was being ordained for all was a moral precept. Here, however, religious observance and practice is being universalised, so that a non-YHVH-worshipper who settles in the land, whether for a brief sojourn while passing through or for an extended stay as a worker or immigrant, effectively is forced to convert - precisely what will happen to the Beney Yisra-El throughout their future history in the Diaspora.

b) On several previous occasions we have witnessed laws that impose obligations on non Yisra-Elim, whether they want them or not. Here we have an expression of extraordinary hospitality: those non-Yisra-Eli who wish to bring an offering to YHVH - who after all is not their god - are welcome to do so, provided that they do it in the manner laid down for all sacrificers.

How do we determine which is correct?


15:16 TORAH ACHAT U MISHPAT ECHAD YIHEYEH LACHEM VE LA GER HA GAR IT'CHEM

תּוֹרָה אַחַת וּמִשְׁפָּט אֶחָד יִהְיֶה לָכֶם וְלַגֵּר הַגָּר אִתְּכֶם

KJ: One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.

BN: There shall be one law and one ordinance, for you and for the stranger who resides among you.


pey break


15:17 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:


15:18 DABER EL BENEY YISRA-EL VE AMARTA ALEYHEM BE VO'ACHEM EL HA ARETS ASHER ANI MEVI ET'CHEM SHAMAH

דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם בְּבֹאֲכֶם אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מֵבִיא אֶתְכֶם שָׁמָּה

KJ: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land whither I bring you,

BN: Speak to the Beney Yisra-El, and tell them: When you come to the land to which I am bringing you...


Wait a minute, didn't you just tell them that they couldn't go to the land, that they were being punished for their complaints by being made to die in the wilderness, save only Kalev and Yehoshu'a ? Then the passage that stated that must have been added later... as I suggested at the time.



15:19 VE HAYAH BA ACHALCHEM MI LECHEM HA ARETS TARIMU TERUMAH LA YHVH

וְהָיָה בַּאֲכָלְכֶם מִלֶּחֶם הָאָרֶץ תָּרִימוּ תְרוּמָה לַיהוָה

KJ: Then it shall be, that, when ye eat of the bread of the land, ye shall offer up an heave offering unto the LORD.

BN: Then it shall be, that, when you eat of the bread of the land, you shall set apart a portion for a gift to YHVH.


TERUMAH: King James renders this is a gift, but that makes it sound like a way of celebrating YHVH's birthday, or the bottle of wine you bring to a dinner party. And correctly that would be a MINCHAH anyway. This is an offering.


15:20 RESHIT ARISOT'CHEM CHALAH TARIMU TERUMAH KI TERUMAT GOREN KEN TARIMU OTAH

רֵאשִׁית עֲרִסֹתֵכֶם חַלָּה תָּרִימוּ תְרוּמָה כִּתְרוּמַת גֹּרֶן כֵּן תָּרִימוּ אֹתָהּ

KJ: Ye shall offer up a cake of the first of your dough for an heave offering: as ye do the heave offering of the threshingfloor, so shall ye heave it.

BN: From the first of your dough you shall set apart a loaf as an offering; in the same way that you set apart a corner of the threshing-floor, so shall you set it apart.



CHALAH: yes, the plaited bread eaten by Jews on Friday night, brioche with poppy seeds. Though back then it was probably more like pita bread. This is presumably the showbread, or shewbread, of which twelve were kept permanently, covered by a blue cloth, on their own table adjacent to the altar - see Leviticus 24:5 and Numbers 4:7.

ARISOTECHEM: This is "dough", and not the "leaven" that is central to the Passover (Exodus 12:15, 13:7, Leviticus 2:11) - that is SE'OR (שְּׂאֹר). Nehemiah 10:37 (10:38 in some versions) and Ezekiel 44:30 both use it. Scholars of this particular esoterica seem to think that ARISAH was polenta derived from barley, where the leaven prohibited on Passover is leaven derived from corn; speaking entirely as an amateur in this abstruse field, I simply can't imagine my Friday night chalah as a barley cake, but so apparently it was. And anyway, all the chefs insist that Polenta is made from corn-meal - click here.


15:21 ME RESHIT ARISOTEYCHEM TITNU LA YHVH TERUMAH LE DOROTEYCHEM

מֵרֵאשִׁית עֲרִסֹתֵיכֶם תִּתְּנוּ לַיהוָה תְּרוּמָה לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם

KJ: Of the first of your dough ye shall give unto the LORD an heave offering in your generations.

BN: From the first of your dough you shall give YHVH a portion as an offering throughout your generations.


samech break


15:22 VE CHI TISHGU VE LO TA'ASU ET KOL HA MITSVOT HA ELEH ASHER DIBER YHVH EL MOSHEH

וְכִי תִשְׁגּוּ וְלֹא תַעֲשׂוּ אֵת כָּל הַמִּצְוֹת הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה

KJ: And if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments, which the LORD hath spoken unto Moses,

BN: And whenever you do wrong, and fail to observe all these commandments, which YHVH has spoken to Mosheh...


15:23 ET KOL ASHER TSIVAH YHVH ALEYCHEM BE YAD MOSHEH MIN HA YOM ASHER TSIVAH YHVH VE HAL'AH LE DOROTEYCHEM

אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֲלֵיכֶם בְּיַד מֹשֶׁה מִן הַיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה וָהָלְאָה לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם

KJ: Even all that the LORD hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the LORD commanded Moses, and henceforward among your generations;

BN: Everything that YHVH has instructed you by the hand of Mosheh, from the day that YHVH gave instruction, and on throughout your generations...


HAL'AH


15:24 VE HAYAH IM MEY EYNEY HA EDAH NE'ESTAH LI SHEGAGA VE ASU CHOL HA EDAH PAR BEN BAKAR ECHAD LE OLAH LE REYACH NICHO'ACH LA YHVH U MINCHATO VE NISKO KA MISHPAT U SE'IR IZIM ECHAD LE CHATAT

וְהָיָה אִם מֵעֵינֵי הָעֵדָה נֶעֶשְׂתָה לִשְׁגָגָה וְעָשׂוּ כָל הָעֵדָה פַּר בֶּן בָּקָר אֶחָד לְעֹלָה לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה וּמִנְחָתוֹ וְנִסְכּוֹ כַּמִּשְׁפָּט וּשְׂעִיר עִזִּים אֶחָד לְחַטָּת

KJ: Then it shall be, if ought be committed by ignorance without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour unto the LORD, with his meat offering, and his drink offering, according to the manner, and one kid of the goats for a sin offering.

BN: Then it shall be, if it is done in error by the congregation, they not being aware that they have done it, that all the congregation shall offer a single young bullock as a burnt-offering, for a sweet savour to YHVH, with its meal-offering, and its drink-offering, according to the ordinance, and one billy-goat for a sin-offering.


15:25 VE CHIPER HA KOHEN AL KOL ADAT BENEY YISRA-EL VE NISLACH LAHEM KI SHEGAGAH HI VE HEM HEVIYU ET KARBANAM ISHEH LA YHVH VE CHATATAM LIPHNEY YHVH AL SHIGEGATAM

וְכִפֶּר הַכֹּהֵן עַל כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְנִסְלַח לָהֶם כִּי שְׁגָגָה הִוא וְהֵם הֵבִיאוּ אֶת קָרְבָּנָם אִשֶּׁה לַיהוָה וְחַטָּאתָם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה עַל שִׁגְגָתָם

KJ: And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for it isignorance: and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their ignorance:

BN: And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the Beney Yisra-El, and they shall be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, a fire-offering to YHVH, and their sin-offering before YHVH, for their wrong-doing.


Modern Ivrit uses SHEGIYAH (שְׁגִיאָה) for an error; how is this different from SHEGIGAH here? There is also a distinction to be drawn between this, which is an error in the sense of "made in ignorance", and SHIGAYON (שִׁגָעוֹן), with an Ayin (ע) not an Aleph (א) and therefore a completely different root, which means error in the sense of "madness".


15:26 VE NISLACH LE CHOL ADAT BENEY YISRA-EL VE LA GER HA GAR BETOCHAM KI LE CHOL HA AM BI SHEGAGAH

וְנִסְלַח לְכָל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתוֹכָם כִּי לְכָל הָעָם בִּשְׁגָגָה

KJ: And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance.

BN: And all the congregation of the Beney Yisra-El shall be forgiven, and the stranger who is dwelling among them; for in respect of all the people it was done in error.


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15:27 VE IM NEPHESH ACHAT TECHETA VI SHEGAGAH VE HIKRIYVAH EZ BAT SHENATAH LE CHATAT

וְאִם נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת תֶּחֱטָא בִשְׁגָגָה וְהִקְרִיבָה עֵז בַּת שְׁנָתָהּ לְחַטָּאת

KJ: And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering.

BN: And if one person should sin through error, then he shall offer a yearling she-goat for a sin-offering.


15:28 VE CHIPER HA KOHEN AL HA NEPHESH HA SHOGEGET BE CHET'AH VI SHEGAGAH LIPHNEY YHVH LECHAPER ALAV VE NISLACH LO

וְכִפֶּר הַכֹּהֵן עַל הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַשֹּׁגֶגֶת בְּחֶטְאָה בִשְׁגָגָה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו וְנִסְלַח לוֹ

KJ: And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.

BN: And the priest shall make atonement before YHVH for the soul that does wrong, when he sins through error, to make atonement for him; and he shall be forgiven


15:29 HA EZRACH BI VENEY YISRA-EL VE LA GER HA GAR BETOCHAM TORAH ACHAT YIHEYEH LACHEM LA OSEH BI SHEGAGAH

הָאֶזְרָח בִּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתוֹכָם תּוֹרָה אַחַת יִהְיֶה לָכֶם לָעֹשֶׂה בִּשְׁגָגָה

KJ: Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.

BN: Both he that is home-born among the Beney Yisra-El, and the stranger who is dwelling among them: you shall have one law for anyone who does anything in error.


15:30 VE HA NEPHESH ASHER TA'ASEH BE YAD RAMAH MIN HA EZRACH U MIN HA GER ET YHVH HI MEGADEPH VE NICHRETAH HA NEPHESH HA HI MI KEREV AMAH

וְהַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה בְּיָד רָמָה מִן הָאֶזְרָח וּמִן הַגֵּר אֶת יְהוָה הוּא מְגַדֵּף וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִקֶּרֶב עַמָּהּ

KJ: But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

BN: But the soul who does anything wilfully and deliberately, whether he be home-born or a stranger, this person blasphemes YHVH; and his soul shall be cut off from among his people.


MEGADEPH: YAD RAHAM: "high-handedly" in many translations. Merriam-Webster defines "high-handedly" as "having or showing no regard for the rights, concerns, or feelings of others : arbitrary,overbearing". The Cambridge English Dictionary goes even further: "using power or authority more forcefully than is needed, without thinking about the feelings or wishes of other people". So I can't resist wondering if LEGADEF, which is the key verb here, is also the root of the word Gaddafi.


15:31 KI DAVAR YHVH BAZAH VE ET MITSVATO HEPHAR HIKARET TIKARET HA NEPHESH HA HI AVONAH VAH

כִּי דְבַר יְהוָה בָּזָה וְאֶת מִצְוָתוֹ הֵפַר הִכָּרֵת תִּכָּרֵת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא עֲוֹנָה בָהּ

KJ: Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

BN: Because he has despised the word of YHVH, and has broken his commandment; that soul shall utterly be cut off, his iniquity shall be upon him.


Which does rather set up the cult as a totalitarian institution, and not the expression of humanitarian freedom from bondage that it likes to claim. Once again I find myself wondering whether there is not a discrepancy between the Mosaic and the Isaiac, the latter imposing his Prophetic ideas on those of his predecessor (and if not Yesha-Yahu, then the Guilds of Prophets as a whole)

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15:32 VA YIHEYU VENEY YISRA-EL BA MIDBAR VA YIMTSE'U ISH MEKOSHESH EYTSIM BE YOM HA SHABAT

וַיִּהְיוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמִּדְבָּר וַיִּמְצְאוּ אִישׁ מְקֹשֵׁשׁ עֵצִים בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת

KJ: And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.

BN: And while the Beney Yisra-El were in the desert, they came upon a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.


A fable, or parable, or precedent, or exemplar, to confirm the ruling.


15:33 VA YAKRIVU OTO HA MOTS'IM OTO MEKOSHESH EYTSIM EL MOSHEH VE EL AHARON VE EL KOL HA EDAH

 וַיַּקְרִיבוּ אֹתוֹ הַמֹּצְאִים אֹתוֹ מְקֹשֵׁשׁ עֵצִים אֶל מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל כָּל הָעֵדָה

KJ: And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.

BN: And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Mosheh and Aharon, and to all the congregation.


Slightly odd syntax. 


15:34 VA YANICHU OTO BA MISHMAR KI LO PORASH MAH YE'ASEH LO

וַיַּנִּיחוּ אֹתוֹ בַּמִּשְׁמָר כִּי לֹא פֹרַשׁ מַה יֵּעָשֶׂה לוֹ

KJ: And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.

BN: And they remanded him in custody, because it had not yet been decided what should be done to him.


MISHMAR: "ward" makes for an odd translation, as though avoiding the issue. MISHMAR means gaol, so why not say gaol? Because it is hard to imagine a gaol in the wilderness? Some closely guarded tent perhaps. We have seen this before, on several occasions; Yoseph in Genesis 39, the butler and baker in Genesis 40, and then his brothers in Genesis 43; also in Leviticus 24. But note that there appears to be a difference between a formal prison - BEIT SO'AR (בֵית הַסֹּהַר), such as Yoseph's, and this moreinformal holding-pen; though remand on each occasion is Mishmar

Is the problem what to do with him at all, or what to do with him on Shabat? 

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15:35 VA YOMER YHVH EL MOSHEH MOT YUMAT HA ISH RAGOM OTO BA AVANIM KOL HA EDAH MI CHUTS LA MACHANEH

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה מוֹת יוּמַת הָאִישׁ רָגוֹם אֹתוֹ בָאֲבָנִים כָּל הָעֵדָה מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה

KJ: And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.

BN: And YHVH said to Mosheh: The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.


Justice, Mercy and Compassion, the three greatest attributes of the Judeo-Christian deity. And this for collecting sticks on shobbas!

Actually, I think there's a textual error, leading to a mistranslation. The original read:

VA YOMER YHVH EL MOSHE: TIVDOK SHE HU BE EMET HE'EVIN ET HA MITZVAH, SHE HU LO ANALPHABETI O DYSLEKTI, VE APHILU IM LO, TELAMED OTO OD PA'AM ECHAD, VE TEN LO OD HIZDAMNUT. VE IM HU BE EMET GANAV O MEGADEF, AZ, BE SEDER, TIRGOM OTO BA AVANIM KOL HA EDAH MI CHUTS LA MACHANEH...

I leave you to find a translation for that in your own time.


15:36 VA YOTSI'U OTO KOL HA EDAH EL MI CHUTS LA MACHANEH VA YIRGEMU OTO BA AVANIM VA YAMOT


וַיֹּצִיאוּ אֹתוֹ כָּל הָעֵדָה אֶל מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וַיִּרְגְּמוּ אֹתוֹ בָּאֲבָנִים וַיָּמֹת כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת מֹשֶׁה

KJ: And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

BN: And all the congregation brought him out of the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died, as YHVH had instructed Mosheh. 


Not "all" the congregation, which would have been a million plus stones; but the intention is that the whole community consented. Of greater significance, is that we now have a clearer picture of what MOT YAMUT means in practice: YHVH orders the death, Man carries it out. Even on Shabat. Apparently it's ok to stone a man to death on Shabat, but not to collect a few sticks for a fire. Or maybe, because the text doesn't specify, maybe they waited until Shabat was ended, and then they stoned him (or maybe they hired a shobbas goy and had him do it). If so, one has to admire their piety, their absence of hypocrisy (cf John 8:7 and 58).

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15:37 VA YOMER YHVH EL MOSHEH LEMOR

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר

KJ: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

BN: Then YHVH spoke to Mosheh, saying:


15:38 DABER EL BENEY YISRA-EL VE AMARTA ALEYHEM VE ASU LAHEM TSITSIT AL KANPHEY VIGDEYHEM LE DOROTAM VE NATNU AL TSITSIT HA KANAPH PETIL TECHELET

דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם וְעָשׂוּ לָהֶם צִיצִת עַל כַּנְפֵי בִגְדֵיהֶם לְדֹרֹתָם וְנָתְנוּ עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף פְּתִיל תְּכֵלֶת

KJ: Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:

BN: Speak to the Beney Yisra-El, and tell them that, for all time, they are to sew fringes on the corners of their garments, and to set the fringe in every corner with a thread of blue.



There needs to be a better way in English of distinguishing VA YOMER from VA YEDABER; SAID versus SPOKE is simple, but too prosaic. This needs to be applied throughout the text.

Grammatically odd here too. YHVH says speak to them and tell them, but instead of reported speech we get continued narrative.

For an explanation of the TSITSIT see "A Myrtle Among Reeds".


15:39 VE HAYAH LACHEM LE TSITSIT U RE'ITEM OTO U ZECHARTEM ET KOL MITSVOT YHVH VA ASIYTEM OTAM VE LO TATURU ACHAREY LEVAVECHEM VE ACHAREY EYNEYCHEM ASHER ATEM ZONIM ACHAREYHEM

וְהָיָה לָכֶם לְצִיצִת וּרְאִיתֶם אֹתוֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם אֶת כָּל מִצְוֹת יְהוָה וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם וְלֹא תָתוּרוּ אַחֲרֵי לְבַבְכֶם וְאַחֲרֵי עֵינֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם זֹנִים אַחֲרֵיהֶם

KJ: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:

BN: And it shall serve you as a fringe, that you may look on it, and remember all of YHVH's instructions, and carry them out; so that you do not go about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you used to go astray


Is it coincidental that this law is given, with its specific reference to remembering the laws, immediately after the stoning of a man for not remembering them?


LEVAVECHEM: no coincidence that this word is the one chosen here: a clear reminder of the third line of the SHEMA (Deuteronomy 6:5):


VE AHAVTA ET YHVH ELOHEYCHA BE CHOL LEVAVECHA BE CHOL NAPHSHECHA U VE CHOL ME'ODECHA

וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָלנַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָלמְאֹדֶךָ


And you shall love YHVH your god with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.


EYNEYCHEM: Will come up again repeatedly in Yehoshu'a and especially Judges, where the people are constantly described as doing KE MOTSE CHEN BE EYNEYCHEM - as they deemed proper in their own eyes.


A huge theological debate opens on this verse, most particularly the Kara'ites, who rejected Rabbinic authority, insisting - and using the very next verses of the Shema as their justification - that every Jew needed to study the Torah for himself, and reach his own interpretation. Not surprisingly, the Kara'ites are rejected by the Rabbinic authorities and denominations.
   The debate is not only with the Kara'ites, however. Within mainstream Judaism it is argued that, if Humankind is forbidden to follow its heart and its eyes, the implication is that it is incapable of informed choice and has no free will, which rather renders Judaism as a theocratic despotism; and yet the whole business of Talmud, Tosephah and onwards is about the need to interpret Torah because it is unclear and needs deducing; a task that can only be undertaken by making informed choices and using, however limitedly, free will.

ZONIM: here translated as "go astray" but a ZONAH is usually regarded as a prostitute. I have discussed this previously, in relation to the concept of the KADESHA or hierodule; see the notes to Yehudah in the Tamar story in Genesis 38.

The full implications of this verse can be read in the chapter entitled 'The Grand Inquisitor', in 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


15:40 LEMA'AN TIZKERU VA ASIYTEM ET KOL MITSVOTAI VI HEYIYTEM KEDOSHIM LE ELOHEYCHEM

לְמַעַן תִּזְכְּרוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת כָּל מִצְוֹתָי וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים לֵאלֹהֵיכֶם

KJ: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.

BN: That you may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your god.


ELOHEYCHEM, not YHVH, in this verse, which is surprising (though the Sema also uses Eloheychem). I have not, however, translated it as "gods", even though that is what it says. The issue is grammatical rather than theological; because the monotheistic YHVH is regarded as the anthology of all the powers and forces in the cosmos, the multiple plural Elohim is used, rather than the singular EL (which would cause confusion with the chief god of the Kena'ani polytheistic pantheon) or the regular plural ELIM, which is used for idols in general. So the multiple plural becomes a form of the universal singular, and YHVH is One, as the next verse confirms.


15:41 ANI YHVH ELOHEYCHEM ASHER HOTSETI ET'CHEM ME ERETS MITSRAYIM LIHEYOT LACHEM LE ELOHIM ANI YHVH ELOHEYCHEM

אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם

KJ: am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.

BN: I am YHVH your god, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim to be your god: I am YHVH your god.


But fully clarified here. YHVH now equals ELOHIM. The transition to monotheism has been completed. Confirmation of the lateness of this text.

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