More from Deuteronomy 23
Deuteronomy 23:9, Keep yourself from every wicked thing. An aspect of physical warfare or, more importantly as it pertains to the saint, in spiritual warfare that many Bible teachers who teach on the subject fail to cover is the spiritual state of the warrior. The focus is usually on the enemy or the battle tactics employed, but, again, not on the condition of soldier who is going up against the enemy of the people of Elohim. This section of the Torah covers this oft-overlooked subject (vv. 9–14).
The word wicked as found in this verse is the generic Hebrew word ra or ra’ah meaning in its most basic sense “evil, bad or distress.” So what does the Torah state in this passage that makes a person evil or bad and unclean and is thus offensive to Elohim? Simply this: bodily emissions that happen to naturally emanate from the human body whether it be human waste or seminal emissions. Such occurrences take a man from a state of ritually purity or being clean (Heb. tahor) to being unclean (Heb. tamay). The solution to the problem is, in the case of nocturnal emissions, cleansing by water, and in the case of the eliminations of bodily waste, burying the waste. What this teaches us it that if one goes into battle in an unclean state, this is offensive to Elohim, and the soldier may not have the favor of Elohim while he is engaging the enemy in battle. This is not a good thing for the warrior!
When it comes specifically to spiritual warfare (as outlined in 1 Cor 10:4–6 and Eph 6:10–18), the drash or homiletical level understanding of this passage teaches us that when engaging the enemy in spiritual battle, the saint must be as clean as possible spiritually. That means that all unconfessed sins need to be repented of and that all illicit behavior must be eliminated from one’s life if one expects the benefits of YHVH’s miraculous aid. One be continually washed clean of sin by the blood of Yeshua the Messiah and by the water of the Word and the Spirit of Elohim.
Because these principles of ritual and spiritual purity are usually not taught to the saints, it is no wonder that many times our prayers are not answered and that the enemy trounces Christians on the streets, in the courts, in the political arena and many other battlefields in various venues in our society.
All this is to say that the saint must clean up his own act and house first before confronting the enemies of Elohim to do the same. Both Yeshua and Paul address the hypocrisy of those who point the fingers at others while guilty of the same or similar sins.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matt 7:1–5)
Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of Elohim is according to truth against those who practice such things. (Rom 2:1–2)
Deuteronomy 25:4, You shall not muzzle. According to Hirsch, this law applies not only to animals, but to workmen as well. It stands to reason logically, if YHVH cares about feeding animals while working, how much more should employers be concerned for their workmen? Rashi disagrees and says it refers only to animals (and not to workmen) and specifically to those animals that are involved in the production of food as would be the case with an ox that was used in treading out grain (to separate the kernel from the chaff). Paul disagrees with Rashi and views this Torah command as a more broadly applicable proverb implying that an employer should not deprive his employees of their wages. He specifically applies this principle to individuals who minster the gospel (1 Cor 9:9; 1 Tim 5:19). Those who work in YHVH spiritual field (the church), Paul reasons, should be supported by those they serve.
Deuteronomy 25:13–16, Different weights. When the Torah was written there was no money. Coinage originated around 600 B.C., about 1000 years after the Torah was written. Prior to coinage, people carried around nuggets of gold and silver and a certain amount would be weighed out using stone weights as a counter balance. Dishonest merchants would carry two sets of stones: a heavy and a light stone. If a stone was represented as weighing one shekel the dishonest merchant would have a stone weighing more than a shekel for cheating a seller when buying goods, and one weighing less than a shekel for cheating a buyer when selling a good. What are some modern parallels of dishonest weights and measures? For example, at your job, do you charge your employer for eight hours when in reality you only worked seven and three quarters? Do you give an honest day’s work to your employer or clients (if self-employed)? How many times have you gone to the store to buy some ice cream or a can of juice and you get home and you read the label and it’s a now a smaller volume or weight than before, but for the same price? How about a box of cereal or chips? The box is large, but in reality it is only half full. The rest is air. This is a form of false advertising. You pay more and get less. The deception of false weights and measures comes in many forms. Inflation is another example. Your money is worth less and less as time goes on. This is due to the fraudulent practices of the greedy mega-bankers who control the world economies. The list goes on of examples of diverse weights and measures. This is how most of the mega-rich get become wealthy—by cheating others. But the rich aren’t the only ones guilty of this sin.
Deuteronomy 25:19, Blot out Amalek. The Hebrew name Amalek literally means “I am king.” Remember how the people of Amalek attacked the children of Israel as they were coming out of Egypt (Exod 17:8)? These heathens attacked the weary, stragglers and weak Israelites who were falling behind in the rear ranks (Deut 25:18). For this evil deed, Elohim put a curse on them. What can we learn about Israel’s ancient enemies and it relates to us today? Who are the modern “Amalekites” and how can the saints defeat them?
The Israelites ended up defeating Amalek militarily under the leadership of Moses and Joshua when Moses stood on a hill with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross (Exod 17:10–13). It was at this spot that Israel learned that YHVH Elohim was their spiritual banner (Heb. Yehovah Nissi; Exod 17:15).
There is a spiritual lesson in this story for us today. Amalek is a spiritual picture of the world, the flesh and devil that will attack and try to destroy us spiritually as we’re coming out of our own spiritual Egypt and beginning our trek through the wilderness of life en route to Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance, which is the kingdom of Elohim from heaven.
This reminds us of Yeshua’s Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:3–9) where the good seed of the Word of Elohim was sown on four types of soil. The seed failed to grow in the three types of soil representing the world, the flesh and the devil (Matt 13:18–23). This is another picture of Amalek. What defeated Amalek? Joshua the valiant warrior defeated the Amalekites militarily, while at the same time Moses was perched on a hill overlooking the battlefield with his arms raised to heaven. Both Joshua and Moses are a prophetic picture of Yeshua the Messiah. Joshua’s Hebrew name is Yehoshua, which is the long version of the name Yeshua or Joshua in English.
At the same time, on the mountain Moses’ arms grew tired and had to be supported by Aaron and Hur and in so doing his arms took the form, more or less, of a cross or the even universal sign of surrender. What are these things a spiritual picture of? Moses and Joshua combined form a prophetic picture of Yeshua defeating the world, the flesh and the devil at the cross on Golgatha’s hill. Coincidentally, as Yeshua had two other men crucified with him—one on each side, Moses had a man each side of him. This is another shadow picture pointing forward to the Messiah and his death on the cross.
Another way to look at the picture of Moses with his arms upraised is this: When Moses surrendered to the will of YHVH and completely trusted in him, the Israelites experienced victory over their enemies. This same principle can be applied in our lives when we are facing enemies who are intent on destroying us. The Bible declares that we are more than conquerors through Messiah and that nothing can defeat us if we are in the will of our Father in heaven (Rom 8:37 cp. vv. 28–29), and greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). And finally, if Elohim is for us, who can be against us (Rom 8:31)?
Only when Moses’ arms were outstretched and raised up to heaven in openness, surrender and supplication to the Almighty did Joshua experience victory over the Amalekites. Similarly, only through prayer and the intercession with arms open and upraised to heaven as we beseech our Heavenly Father as we come before his throne through the blood of the resurrected Yeshua the Messiah in heaven, who is acting as our Great High Priest before Elohim’s throne will we be able to defeat the spiritual enemies that are attempting to prevent us from entering the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance.as our Great High Priest before Elohim’s throne will we be able to defeat the spiritual enemies that are attempting to prevent us from entering the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance.
The enemies of our salvation will attempt to destroy us when are weak, tired and falling behind in our spiritual walk, even as Amalek attacked the weak and straggling Israelites who had fallen behind the camp. However, when we recognize our plight and weakness and then determine to fight, we have Yeshua’s victorious death on the cross as well as his help in heaven to overcome our enemies.
One of YHVH’s covenant names is Yehovah Nissi or YHVH Is My Banner. A military banner is something used to help build the morale of troops during the battle. YHVH is our strength and morale booster in the time of battle, and through or faith in YHVH-Yeshua, we already have the victory over the world, the flesh and the devil!
This lesson illustrates the fact that the Scriptures contain many rich and deep spiritual mysteries and truths that if it weren’t for the physical examples or prophetic shadow-types contained therein they might otherwise be obscured to us and too difficult to comprehend.