Are you a motzi sheim ra, Speading Lashon Ha-ra

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.
Published: Feb 8, 2012

News Letter 5847-047
16th day of the 11th month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 11th Month in the Second year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences.

February 11, 2012


Shabbat Shalom Brethren,

Just a reminder, that if you’re in the Ocala Florida area come on out to learn about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years at the Forest Community Center at Sandhill Park
777 South 314-A, Ocklawaha, FL 32179 [ FCC phone # 1.352.438.2840 ].

This event is being hosted by Ken & Jan Gordon 1.352.625.4236

We had a great meeting in Hanover on short notice as we explained the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. Even this basic understanding is shocking to those who have never heard of this. I look forward to being able to share this with your group in your town. If you’re moved to have this teaching of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and the prophecies they reveal please contact Lora Skeahan at and you can make arrangements for me to come and share this with you.

The teaching I did in Hanover Ontario will be found in audio only at

Here is what Brother John Bennett had to say about this teaching.
Part I AND Part II of Sabbaticals and Jubilees by Brother Joseph Dumond – Joseph takes his hearer through the reasons why we MUST keep sabbatical years and the consequences for disobedience. He exposes the different false theories regarding Jubilee chronology and then teaches how to keep sabbatical years according to Scripture. The judgment of YHVH is upon us now so it is HIGH time to wake up: you never know you are asleep until you wake up! Here are 3 hours of jammed packed TRUTH!

Also for those who are wanting to learn more about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years Lora is doing a weekly Webinar and taking it one step at a time and doing it in such a way that everyone can understand and learn. And if you get on with her live you can even ask questions as you go and she will explain them live. You can watch past sessions and know when future ones will be at

I am also looking for comments from those of you who have come out to Abilene Texas, or Ashland Kentucky or Barrie, or Toronto or Hanover Ontario or Jerusalem Israel or Ocala Florida next week and hear the presentation I have been giving to write in what you thought of it and what you learned and whether or not you would recommend others come out and hear this. I would also like to hear what you have been doing with this information since you first heard it at these meetings. If you could take a few moments to write a few words then I could post them in an upcoming News Letter. Thank you.

Over the past year a very strange thing has happened to me.

I would never have guessed this would take place had I not seen it with my own eyes.

I have received a steady supply of vicious and evil email.

I would understand it if it came from those who do not believe. In fact I expect it from them. But the emails I am getting are coming from those who use the name and keep the Sabbath and Holy Days. From those who are suppose to be brethren.

Yehshua said Mat 7:15 “But beware of the false prophets,1 who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are savage wolves. Footnote: 1See v. 23 16 “By their fruits you shall know them. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 “So every good tree yields good fruit, but a rotten tree yields wicked fruit.

You will know them by their fruit.

I have considered posting their evil diatribes but I am not going to expose you all on Shabbat to such wicked attitudes. And some of them come from those that call themselves leaders.

You will know them by their fruit.

And why have these people chosen to write me with such venom? Is it to show me by the scriptures that what I have said is wrong? No that is not it.

Is it to prove the Sabbatical years that we teach here to be in error? Again no as they do not even mention this, which is what most of the News letters revolve around.

Almost 100% of the hate email I get is a personal attack on me. On my history of where I went to church in the past, on the way I do not say the name correctly as they do, and on a whole host of imagined erroneous thinking they have conjured up on me. They have tried to accuse me of many things. Actually baiting me to respond in kind.

And when you go to their web sites you see them attacking almost every person who is teaching the best they can. Accusing each leader of this or that and the only one teaching the absolute truth is themselves.

Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in the heaven, “Now have come the deliverance and the power and the reign of our Elohim,1 and the authority of His Messiah, for the accuser of our brothers, who accused them before our Elohim day and night, has been thrown down. Footnote: 1See 11:15.

Satan and about one third of the angels with him have just one job. To accuse you of all the wrong you have done before Yehovah. How many of you have joined up with Satan and begun accusing the brethren? You point the finger and wage your heads thinking yourselves better than everyone else. Be very careful when you do this. Be very careful.

Many of those who are doing this evil tongue waging are also striving to be most like what they believe being Jewish to be. Jewish wanabees but they are not Jewish. No these people were some sort of Christian faith a number of years back and have now seen the errors of their ways. But unless everyone is the exact same way as they are then they have this right to verbally attack and slander them or gossip about them.

Jas 3:3 Look, we put bits in the mouths of horses, for them to obey us, and we turn their body. 4 Look at the ships too: although they are so big and are driven by strong winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot intends. 5 So too the tongue is a little member, yet boasts greatly. See how a little fire kindles a great forest! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the world of unrighteousness. Among our members the tongue is set, the one defiling the entire body, and setting on fire the wheel of life, and it is set on fire by Gehenna. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man is able to tame the tongue. It is unruly, evil, filled with deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Elohim and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of Elohim. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be so. 11 Does the fountain send forth the sweet and the bitter from the same opening? 12 My brothers, is a fig tree able to bear olives, or a grapevine figs? So neither is a fountain able to make salt and sweet water. 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good behaviour his works in meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast against and lie against the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom coming down from above, but it is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and self-seeking are, there is confusion and every foul deed. 17 But the wisdom from above is first clean, then peaceable, gentle, ready to obey, filled with compassion and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousnessis1 sown in peace by those who make peace.

You can find on the web sites of these people the names of many of the Messianic leaders who have taught you many things. You will find these critics are not afraid to let their tongues ignite many fires without remorse and to slander everyone they do not agree with.

And when you go to their web sites you will see they attack many others. And as you have just read in James 3:15 this is demonic and not what Brethren should be found doing or spreading and forwarding to others.

John agrees with James as to where this sort of evil comes from. Yes this very same evil that Supposedly Brethren are spewing out of their own mouths and on their own web sites.

1Jn 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

And from our very own Torah portion which we did last week we have this gem.

Pro 26:18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, 19 Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “I was only joking!” 20 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. 21 As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife. 22 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body. 23 Fervent lips with a wicked heart Are like earthenware covered with silver dross. 24 He who hates, disguises it with his lips, And lays up deceit within himself; 25 When he speaks kindly, do not believe him, For there are seven abominations in his heart; 26 Though his hatred is covered by deceit, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. 27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him. 28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, And a flattering mouth works ruin.

Where there is no wood the fire goes out. If you do not listen to those who spew out hate then they will have no one to keep telling it to. By listening to them or forwarding on their hatred you become the wood that keeps their fire going.


So I am now going to quote from Judaism 101.


Speech and Lashon Ha-Ra

Level: Intermediate
Gossip and slander are serious sins in Judaism
• Judaism forbids causing any deception or embarrassment through speech
• It is forbidden even if the statement is true
• There are some exceptions that allow tale-bearing

When non-observant people talk about how difficult it is to observe Jewish law, they usually mention the difficulty of observing Shabbat or keeping kosher or other similarly detailed rituals. Yet the laws that are most difficult to keep, that are most commonly violated even by observant Jews, are the laws regarding improper speech. This is a very important area of Jewish law; entire books have been written on the subject.

The Power of Speech

Judaism is intensely aware of the power of speech and of the harm that can be done through speech. The rabbis note that the universe itself was created through speech. Of the 43 sins enumerated in the Al Cheit confession recited on Yom Kippur, 11 are sins committed through speech. The Talmud tells that the tongue is an instrument so dangerous that it must be kept hidden from view, behind two protective walls (the mouth and teeth) to prevent its misuse.

The harm done by speech is even worse than the harm done by stealing or by cheating someone financially: money lost can be repaid, but the harm done by speech can never be repaired. For this reason, some sources indicate that there is no forgiveness for lashon ha-ra (disparaging speech). This is probably hyperbole, but it illustrates the seriousness of improper speech. A Chasidic tale vividly illustrates the danger of improper speech: A man went about the community telling malicious lies about the rabbi. Later, he realized the wrong he had done, and began to feel remorse. He went to the rabbi and begged his forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends. The rabbi told the man, “Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers to the winds.” The man thought this was a strange request, but it was a simple enough task, and he did it gladly. When he returned to tell the rabbi that he had done it, the rabbi said, “Now, go and gather the feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words have done than you can recollect the feathers.”

Speech has been compared to an arrow: once the words are released, like an arrow, they cannot be recalled, the harm they do cannot be stopped, and the harm they do cannot always be predicted, for words like arrows often go astray.



There are two mitzvot in the Torah that specifically address improper speech: Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy people (Lev. 19:16), and ye shall not wrong one another (Lev. 25:17, which according to tradition refers to wronging a person with speech).

Tale-bearing is, essentially, any gossip. The Hebrew word for tale-bearer is “rakhil” (Reish-Kaf-Yod-Lamed), which is related to a word meaning trader or merchant. The idea is that a tale-bearer is like a merchant, but he deals in information instead of goods. In our modern “Information Age,” the idea of information as a product has become more clear than ever before, yet it is present even here in the Torah.

It is a violation of this mitzvah to say anything about another person, even it is true, even if it is not negative, even if it is not secret, even if it hurts no one, even if the person himself would tell the same thing if asked! It is said that the telling of gossip leads to bloodshed, which is why the next words in the Torah are “you shall not stand aside while your fellow’s blood is shed.” The story of Do’eig the Edomite (I Samuel Chs. 21-22) is often used to illustrate the harm that can be done by tale-bearing. Do’eig saw Achimelekh the Kohein give David bread and a sword, a completely innocent act intended to aid a leading member of Saul’s court. Do’eig reported this to Saul. Do’eig’s story was completely true, not negative, not secret, and Achimelekh would have told Saul exactly the same thing if asked (in fact, he did so later). Yet Saul misinterpreted this tale as proof that Achimelekh was supporting David in a rebellion, and proceeded to slaughter all but one of the kohanim at Nob.

The person who listens to gossip is even worse than the person who tells it, because no harm could be done by gossip if no one listened to it. It has been said that lashon ha-ra (disparaging speech) kills three: the person who speaks it, the person who hears it, and the person about whom it is told. (Talmud Arachin 15b).

In Jewish law, all things are considered to be secret unless a person specifically says otherwise. For this reason, you will note that in the Torah, G-d constantly says to Moses, “Speak to the Children of Israel, saying:” or “Speak to the Children of Israel and tell them:” If G-d did not specifically say this to Moses, Moses would be forbidden to repeat his words! Nor is there any time-limit on secrets. The Talmud tells the story of a student who revealed a secret that he had heard 22 years earlier, and he was immediately banished from the house of study! (Talmud Sanhedrin 31a)

The gravest of these sins of tale-bearing is lashon ha-ra (literally, “the evil tongue”), which involves discrediting a person or saying negative things about a person, even if those negative things are true. Indeed, true statements are even more damaging than false ones, because you can’t defend yourself by disproving the negative statement if it’s true! Some sources indicate that lashon ha-ra is equal in seriousness to murder, idol worship, and incest/adultery (the only three sins that you may not violate even to save a life).
It is forbidden to even imply or suggest negative things about a person. It is forbidden to say negative things about a person, even in jest. It is likewise considered a “shade of lashon ha-ra” to say positive things about a person in the presence of his enemies, because this will encourage his enemies to say negative things to contradict you!

One who tells disparaging things that are false is referred to as a motzi sheim ra, that is, one who spreads a bad report. This is considered the lowest of the low.

It is generally not a sin to repeat things that have been told “in the presence of three persons.” The idea is that if it is told in the presence of three persons, it is already public knowledge, and no harm can come of retelling it. However, even in this case, you should not repeat it if you know you will be spreading the gossip further.


When Tale-Bearing is Allowed

There are a few exceptional circumstances when tale-bearing is allowed, or even required. Most notably, tale-bearing is required in a Jewish court of law, because it is a mitzvah to give testimony and that mitzvah overrides the general prohibition against tale-bearing. Thus, a person is required to reveal information, even if it is something that was explicitly told in confidence, even if it will harm a person, in a Jewish court of law.

A person is also required to reveal information to protect a person from immediate, serious harm. For example, if a person hears that others are plotting to kill someone, he is required to reveal this information. That is another reason why the commandment not to go about as a tale-bearer is juxtaposed with “you shall not stand aside while your fellow’s blood is shed.”

In limited circumstances, one is also permitted to reveal information if someone is entering into a relationship that he would not enter if he knew certain information. For example, it may be permissible to tell a person that his prospective business partner is untrustworthy, or that a prospective spouse has a disease. This exception is subject to significant and complex limitations; however, if those limitations are satisfied, the person with the information is required to reveal it.

In all of these exceptions, a person is not permitted to reveal information if the same objective could be fulfilled without revealing information. For example, if you could talk a person out of marrying for reasons other than the disease, you may not reveal the disease.


Wronging a Person through Speech

Leviticus 25:17 says, “You shall not wrong one another.” This has traditionally been interpreted as wronging a person with speech. It includes any statement that will embarrass, insult or deceive a person, or cause a person emotional pain or distress.
Here are some commonly-used examples of behavior that is forbidden by this mitzvah:

• You may not call a person by a derogatory nickname, or by any other embarrassing name, even if he is used to it.
• You may not ask an uneducated person for an opinion on a scholarly matter (that would draw attention to his lack of knowledge or education).
• You may not ask a merchant how much he would sell something for if you have no intention of buying.
• You may not refer someone to another person for assistance when you know the other person cannot help (in other words, it’s a violation of Jewish law to give someone the run-around!).
• You may not deceive a person, even if no harm is done by the deception; for example, you may not sell non-kosher meat to a non-Jew telling him that it is kosher, even though no harm is done to the non-Jew by this deception.
• You may not sell a person damaged goods without identifying the damage, even if the price you give is fair for the goods in their damaged condition.
• You may not offer a person a gift or invite a person to dinner if you know that the person will not accept.
• You may not compliment a person if you do not mean it.


You will know them by their fruit.

You will know them by their fruit. Do not spread Lashon ha-ra, do not forward it, do not be a part of it. As you have just read there three people who are hurt by this. The one who said it; the one who it was directed towards and the one who pass it on and did nothing.


Triennial Torah Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading

Lev 15      Jer 52     Prov 27     Acts 24


Leviticus 15 (same as last week)

Laws Regulating Disease and Bodily Discharges (Leviticus 13-15)

Modern leprosy, also called Hansen’s disease, is, according to Mosby’s Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary, a “chronic, communicable disease… that may take either of two forms, depending on the immunity of the host. Tuberculoid leprosy, seen in those with high resistance, presents as thickening of [skin] nerves and [insensitive], saucer-shaped lesions. Lepromatous leprosy, seen in those with little resistance, involves many systems of the body, with widespread [deposits forming hardening] and [small lumps] in the skin, [eye inflammation], [corneal inflammation], destruction of nasal cartilage and bone, testicular atrophy, [swelling of extremities], and involvement of the [immune] system. Blindness may result. Death is rare unless… tuberculosis [or a related illness] occurs concurrently. Contrary to traditional belief, leprosy is not very contagious, and prolonged, intimate contact is required for it to be spread between individuals” (4th ed., “Leprosy”).

Still, it is contagious nonetheless. As the Encylopaedia Britannica states in its article on the disease: “The prevention of leprosy rests upon the recognition of bacteriologically positive cases so that they may be isolated and treated” (1985, Vol. 7, p. 287). And this is quite biblical. While treatment is not emphasized in Leviticus, the priests, as medical control officers, were to diagnose individuals and then take action to protect the community from further infection—by isolating those displaying the disease’s symptoms.

It may even be that the “leprosy” identified in Leviticus 13-14 was far more communicable than the modern disease of that name. “There is some debate among medical scholars about whether the Hebrew word translated ‘leprosy’ in the Bible is exactly the same disease as the modern variant. It may have been another deadly infectious disease that differs from modern forms of leprosy” (Grant Jeffrey, The Signature of God: Astonishing Biblical Discoveries, 1996, p. 147). Indeed, The Nelson Study Bible notes on the word “leprous” in Leviticus 13:2, “Hebrew saraath, disfiguring skin diseases, including leprosy.” So there may have been an immediate concern about a very infectious disease at the time God inspired Moses to write Leviticus.

Of course, it is also possible that the leprosy of the time was the same as today. In that case, God may have simply been instituting a general way of dealing with communicable illness—that is, quarantine. In any case, He was also illustrating the need for removing spiritual uncleanness by the lesson of such physical separation—and made this even clearer by certain ritual or ceremonial ordinances. “Leprosy” on house walls and garments, it should be pointed out, was almost certainly “decomposition by mildew, mold, dry rot, etc.” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 14:34)—spreading fungus. “All of these were harmful growths, whether on human skin, clothing, or the wall of a house.”

It is especially interesting to read the requirements of shaving and washing in water. Incredibly, the idea of microscopic germs passing on illness, which Leviticus seems to take for granted, was not even generally believed in until very modern times. Indeed, Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor, was ridiculed by the entire medical establishment in the mid-1800s for instituting handwashing before examining patients—as if there were some invisible infectious agents to be worried about. Thankfully, his notion eventually caught on—but not until many died unnecessarily and until he died as well, following decades of rejection that, sadly, drove him into a mental institution (Jeffrey, pp. 145-146, from S.I. McMillen, None of These Diseases).

Yet consider the time during which Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Ancient Egyptian medical knowledge was primitive compared to that of the 1800s. It is obvious from the Papyrus Ebers manuscript and other ancient sources that there was no sense of sanitation in Egypt whatsoever. For instance, dung, from many different animals, was a primary ointment ingredient for all manner of ailments. The ancient laws of the Israelites, on the other hand, show nothing but concern for sanitation. They would have protected against microscopic pathogens. Yet how could Moses have known of the existence of such germs? The Egyptians certainly did not—nor did any other ancient culture.

In fact, “until this century, all previous societies, except for the Israelites who followed God’s medical laws regarding quarantine, kept infected patients in their homes—even after death, exposing family members and others to deadly disease. During the devastating Black Death [or bubonic plague] of the fourteenth century, patients who were sick or dead were kept in the same rooms as the rest of the family. People often wondered why the disease [which killed half of Europe and seemed unstoppable] was affecting so many people at one time. They attributed these epidemics to ‘bad air’ or ‘evil spirits.’ However, careful attention to the medical commands of God as revealed in Leviticus would have saved untold millions of lives. Arturo Castiglione wrote about the overwhelming importance of this biblical medical law, ‘The laws against leprosy in Leviticus 13 may be regarded as the first model of a sanitary legislation’ (Arturo Castiglione, A History of Medicine… 1941, p. 71). Fortunately, the church fathers of Vienna finally took the biblical injunctions to heart and commanded that those infected with the plague… be placed outside the city in special medical quarantine compounds. Care givers fed them until they either died or survived the passage of the disease. Those who died in homes or streets were instantly removed and buried outside the city limits. These biblical sanitary measures quickly brought the dreaded epidemic under control for the first time. Other cities and countries rapidly followed the medical practices of Vienna until the Black Death was finally halted” (Jeffrey, pp. 149-150).

No, Moses simply could not have understood the need to institute such laws through the natural means available to him at the time. But the Creator God did understand. And in commanding that His instructions for handling such situations be preserved in the Bible, the Eternal has given us one more amazing proof that this wonderful book is truly His inspired Word.

Jeremiah 52

The fall of King Zedekiah. He began his reign at twenty-one years of age and we are told the name of his mother, Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. This is not the prophet Jeremiah. Zedekiah did evil in the eyes of Yehovah according to all that Jahoiakim did. He rebelled against Nebukadreststsar and Babel following his placement by him as governor of Jerusalem. So Nebukadreststsar came against Zedekiah and encamped around the city of Jerusalem with all his army. This happened in the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah. The Babylonian army built a siege wall against the city. The city remained under siege until the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah, amounting to two years.

The scarcity of food became severe such that there was “no food in the city for people to eat.” Eventually the wall of the city was breached by the Babylonian army, and the men of battle of the city of Jerusalem fled. These men, along with the King, sneaked out of the city by night near the garden of the King. The Chaldean army was throughout the city and eventually tracked down Zedekiah and his men and overtook them in the desert plains of Jericho. Zedekiah was brought to the sovereign of Babel and he was judged. The king of Babel slew the sons of Zedekiah and all the heads of Judah right in front of him. Zedekiah was blinded by having his eyes put out and was taken in bronze shackles to Babel and imprisoned until the day of his death.

Nebuzaradan, who was chief of the guard of Babel, was sent to Jerusalem to burn the House of Yehovah, the King’s house, and all of Jerusalem. Some of the poor were exiled, and some were left in the city. Some of the poor who were left in the city were used by the King of Babel to work the land to produce grapes and to farm the land. The army had destroyed everything; all the gold pillars of the temple, the brazen laver, and took all of the temple utensils and took them to Babylon. We are told of the specifics concerning the two columns to the temple, the two capitols of bronze. Nobles of all offices were taken out of the city and were put to death by Nebuchadnezzer in Riblah.

There were three different exiles performed upon Judah by the King of Babylon. In his seventh year of reign, three thousand and twenty-three, in the eighteenth year: eight hundred and thirty-two, and the in the twenty-third year: seven hundred and forty-five Yahudim.


Proverb 27

First Part of Hezekiah’s Solomonic Collection Cont’d (Proverbs 27)
12. Boasting and Praise (27:1-2)
“TYPE: CATCHWORD….These two proverbs both begin with the same verbal root [the words translated “boast” and “praise” both coming from the Hebrew halal]. Behind both is the contrast between arrogance and humility….The two verses together espouse an attitude of humility before the sovereignty of God and the judgment of the community” (NAC). Proverbs 27:1 is alluded to in James 4:13-16, where planning for the near future without taking into consideration unexpected circumstances that God may allow or bring to pass is referred to as arrogant and evil boasting.

13. Unbearable Personalities (27:3-4)
“TYPE: THEMATIC, GRAMMATICAL PARALLEL….These two proverbs strongly parallel each other in the Hebrew. Both concern behavior that cannot be endured” (NAC). As noted in our introduction to Proverbs, the wording of verse 3 about fools being heavy i.e., hard to bear is similar to a saying written later about grief in the Assyrian “Words of Ahiqar”: “I have lifted sand, and I have carried salt; but there is naught which is heavier than {grief}” (quoted in Expositor’s, introduction to Proverbs).

14. Honest Friendship (27:5-6)
“TYPE: THEMATIC, CATCHWORD….In addition to a common catchword [the Hebrew root meaning ‘love’], both verses concern the nature of genuine friendship” (NAC)?which is characterized by openness and honesty, including rebuking the friend if necessary for his own good. This is contrasted with hidden love (being too timid to be frank, more concerned with oneself being rejected rather than the welfare of the other person) and with an enemy’s deceptive show of affection.

15. Real Friends, Close at Hand (27:7-10)
“TYPE: PARALLEL….The four verses are arranged in parallel (A B A B) and generally concern forming significant friendships. Verses 7 and 9 both deal with pleasant substances (honey, incense, oil) and the paradox that what may seem bitter (bitter food or direct advice) can actually be sweet. Verse 8 decries the man who wanders far from home while verse 10 urges the reader to cultivate neighbors [near at hand] as friends to whom one can go in time of crisis [rather than relatives far away]” (NAC). By itself, verse 7 would seem to point out merely that those with much (in the way of good food or perhaps luxuries in general) get sick of it, no longer appreciating what they have, while a person with little delights in whatever he is able to get. Yet in context of the preceding and following verses the proverb could also refer to friendship and counsel perhaps a caution to be sparing in friendly advice, lest the recipient grow tired of it.

16. Fatherly Advice (27:11-27)
“TYPE: THEMATIC….Verse 11 is a fatherly plea for the son to heed wisdom similar to those that begin lengthy exhortations in Prov 1?9. If v. 11 does form a heading to a series of paternal teachings here (and is not just an interjection with no following material), one may ask how much of what follows may be placed under this heading. It is perhaps significant that vv. 12-27 for the most part concern matters about which a father might naturally teach his son: sound business practices and skills in dealing with men in the community” (NAC).

The first two proverbs here are nearly identical to proverbs in Solomon’s major collection (compare 27:12 with 22:3 and 27:13 with 20:16).

Proverbs 27:14 gives further counsel on friendship (in a similar vein to 25:20). A show of friendliness without proper social sensitivities can be obnoxious. Speaking of obnoxious, the following verse, 27:15, compares a nagging or argumentative wife to a constant dripping as in 19:13. The next verse, 27:16, must accompany the previous one as it would be incomprehensible on its own. It is commonly understood to mean that a contentious wife is also uncontrollable like trying to stop the wind or keep oil from slipping through one’s fingers. However, the Hebrew of the verse is difficult and the translation not certain.

The point of verse 17 about iron sharpening iron (e.g., an iron file on an ax head) is that friends are “sharpened” (made more effective in various ways) through close interaction with one another. This includes the rebuke and hearty counsel mentioned in verses 5-6 and 9.

Verse 18 concerns a servant or employee looking after his master or employer’s estate or business and receiving livelihood and honor from that source (symbolized by the fig tree). Ultimately, this would apply to the blessings and future reward of God’s servants for being faithful stewards in the work He has entrusted them with.

Verse 19 is subject to various interpretations. “The Hebrew could be more literally rendered, ‘Like the water, the face to the face, so the heart of the man to the man'” (NAC). The NKJV rendering of the second colon makes more sense if reversed, as we cannot see men’s hearts. The meaning would be that a man’s heart is revealed by the man that is, the man (what we see of him, what he says and what he does) reveals what is in his heart.

The word “hell” in verse 20 is translated from the Hebrew sheol, meaning “grave.” A comparison is made here that is also a warning. As the grave and destruction are never full being pictured as ravenous monsters that never seem to get enough since people continue to die and meet destruction (compare 30:16)?so the eyes of man, representing his covetous desires, are never satisfied. In the parallel, besides covetous being voracious, we may note that “the avaricious appetite of humans is compared to that which destroys” (NIV Application Commentary, note on verses 19-20). Thus the proverb may imply not only that people are greedy, but that having greedy eyes leads to the devouring of others and eventually the self.

The first line of verse 21 is identical to 17:3. In the previous verse the focus on the crucible concerned the refining process compared to God’s refining of people’s character. Here the focus is on what the refining process reveals the pure metals the comparison being with the revealing of a man’s character by what people say of him. Of course, we must consider this in general terms. The righteous may well experience public censure over issues of righteousness (see Matthew 5:11), though some will nonetheless take note of good character (compare 1 Peter 2:12). Indeed, if we inquire of the right people about someone (those of good character who know the person in question), we are likely to gain a proper assessment.

Verse 22 contains another metaphor of processing natural materials mortar and pestle rather than crucible. The point is that fools cannot be separated from their foolishness showing the importance of being careful in choosing one’s associates.

Unlike the preceding short proverbs, verses 23-27 constitute an extended poem. The message here, though couched in pastoral terms, can be generally applied to one’s means of earning a living. “Take care of your business, and it will take care of you” (NAC). This is the reward for diligence.

Proverb 28

Second Part of Hezekiah Collection Mostly Antithetical (Proverbs 28:1-11)

As earlier noted in regard to the Hezekiah collection of Solomonic proverbs (Proverbs 25?29), the first part (25?27) contains mostly synonymous proverbs, while the second part (28?29), which we are now reading, contains mostly antithetical proverbs contrasting the righteous with the wicked.

17. A Life of Fear (28:1)
“TYPE: INDIVIDUAL PROVERB” (NAC). This verse speaks of one’s way of life determining his mental outlook. The wicked, some afflicted by a guilty conscience and fearing consequences and others just chalking life up to whim and chance, live with uncertainty and perhaps even paranoia. The righteous, on the other hand, knowing that God is ultimately in charge and that they are in His care, face life with faith and confidence.

18. Civil Unrest Evil Causes vs. Righteous Stability (28:2)
“TYPE: INDIVIDUAL PROVERB” (NAC). Most commentators take many rulers here as a reference to a succession of many rulers one after the other over a short time due to a period of political instability. This certainly happened to Israel and Judah because of unrighteousness. Some, however, see the rulers here as many governors or overlords ruling simultaneously, increasing the burden on the people the idea being bloated government. Since the contrast is with justice being prolonged as a mark of stability the former explanation seems to fit better.

19. Oppression, Keeping in the Right Way, and the Law (28:3-11)
“TYPE: PARALLEL….These verses set up a parallel with an extra verse on the law in the middle of the parallel, as follows:

The language of the first line of verse 3 is disputed. The New King James presents “a poor man who oppresses the poor.” Others contend that this should be translated “A poor man and one who oppresses the poor.” Alternatively, the line could perhaps mean that a man is poor who oppresses the poor. This would fit the imagery of the second line a driving rain that leaves no crops. Consider a landlord or employer oppressing his workers so much that they cease to produce for him or big businesses or abusive governments extorting from the common people to the point that the people can no longer buy enough goods or pay sufficient taxes to support the economy or government. This corresponds to verse 8, which says that the person who abuses others financially is gathering not ultimately for himself but for those who will treat the poor properly. That is, those who treat the poor well are the ones who will end up with all the material blessings in the end. To some extent, this is true during this lifetime, but in an ultimate sense it applies to the inheritance of the righteous at the end of the age.

Verse 6 is one of the proverbs of Hezekiah’s Solomonic collection that are very similar in meaning to verses in the major Solomonic collection (see 19:1).

The next verse, 28:7, warning that a companion of gluttons shames his father, recalls 23:20-25 from the Words of the Wise.

Proverbs 28:9 says that if people won’t listen to God, then He won’t listen to them. Indeed, their prayer is an arrogant affront to Him. He considers it loathsome just as He looks on their other displays of worship (compare 15:8).

The warning against leading the upright astray in 28:10 resembles Jesus’ warning against causing His disciples to sin in Matthew 18:6. This is looked on in the proverb as an entrapment, with the perpetrator falling into his own pit, similar to Proverbs 26:27.

For 28:11, the NIV has: “A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him.” As The New American Commentary notes: “In this context the idea probably is that the wealthy think that their money proves they are smarter and morally superior, but the poor see that they are just more ruthless.”

Hezekiah’s Solomonic Collection Continued (Proverbs 28:12?29:2)
20. Various Proverbs (28:12?29:27)
The remainder of Hezekiah’s collection of proverbs by Solomon concerns “the general health of society. The text emphasizes the need for moral leadership, decries all attempts at easy money, and stresses the need to maintain the fundamental institutions of society….

“(1) Good Government and Bad Government I (28:12) ….TYPE: INDIVIDUAL PROVERB” (NAC). Here we see the righteous rejoicing contrasted with the wicked arising. In context, the righteous rejoicing has to do with them having a reason to rejoice that being that righteousness is prevailing in society, as opposed to the contrast where wickedness is prevailing. To reflect this idea, some versions use the word “triumph” instead of rejoice this being the reason for the exultation. Contrariwise, when the wicked take charge of society, people make themselves scarce to avoid suffering abuse and exploitation. This verse corresponds to similar language in verse 28 and 29:2.

“(2) Turning From Sin (28:13-14) …. TYPE: THEMATIC” (NAC). Verse 13 shows the importance of admitting guilt. Yet it also shows that it’s not enough to merely confess our sins. We must also forsake them that is, turn our lives around in repentance. In verse 14, the word rendered “reverent” in the NKJV actually means “in dread” probably in the sense of being fearful of consequences. Besides the religious meaning here, there may also be a general societal application to these verses those who are quick to confess mistakes or even crimes remorsefully, making changes with appropriate fear of consequences, are more likely to obtain mercy from others in various settings, whether social, employment or court.

“(3) Tyranny (28:15-16) ….TYPE: THEMATIC….
“(4) Guilt and Innocence (28:17-18) …. TYPE: THEMATIC” (NAC). Verse 17 concerns a murderer trying to escape but not succeeding. The statement “Let no one help him” does not mean that we should not help murderers in any way. After all, we should try to help all sinners admit guilt and come to repentance. The point is that we should not help them in their flight either supporting their attempt to run from justice or aiding them in their mental flight from guilt by seeking to make them feel better about what they’ve done.

“(5) Prosperity by Fair Means and Foul (28:19-27) …. TYPE: THEMATIC …. While not condemning possessions in themselves, Proverbs always rejects greed. It contrasts financial prudence, diligence, and generosity with the desire for quick and easy money. Greed can be manifested in unrealistic business enterprises (v. 19), accepting bribes (v. 21) [though there is some question on the point of this verse], ingratiating oneself with powerful people (v. 23), taking from one’s parents (v. 24), and general greediness (vv. 22, 25)” (NAC).

Verse 19 is one of the proverbs of the Hezekiah collection that are close in wording or meaning to verses in the main Solomonic collection (compare 12:11).

Proverbs 28:20 warns against hastening to be rich. One major problem here, as verse 22 shows, is that a person engaged in this pursuit has an “evil eye”?being self-absorbed when it comes to money. Recall 23:6, where the NKJV has “miser” when the literal meaning, as the margin shows, is “one who has an evil eye” (compare 22:9, where words literally meaning “good eye” are translated as “generous eye”). This self-focus leads a person to disregard others, to not care if he is taking advantage of them. Pursuing quick and easy money is also a sign of folly in that one is trying to circumvent the principles of hard work and patience laid out in many proverbs. This sooner or later leads to poverty.

The point of verse 21 is disputed. Some see the verse as showing partiality resultant from a very small bribe. Others maintain that the point is that judges not show partiality to the rich in a dispute with the poor as the poor may be acting out of desperation. Still others argue that the point is for judges to not show partiality to the poor that despite their regrettable circumstances the law must be upheld.

In verse 24, the one who says there’s nothing wrong with having robbed his parents perhaps maintains this on the grounds that he will receive an inheritance eventually anyway or perhaps he simply sees it as something his parents would never seek to punish him over. Yet the verse goes on to label the offender as companion to a destroyer (see the similar phrase in 18:9). This is essentially saying that the son is among those who tear down society. Moreover, if one would treat his own parents this way, how will he treat the rest of society?

Verse 27 shows that those who give to others in need will not lack. On a merely human level, generous people are better liked, which serves for advancement in life, and when generous people themselves suffer need, others come to their aid. Furthermore, of course, God rewards the kindnesses we show others. As to those who shut their eyes to the needs of the poor, they will also not suffer lack of curses, that is! As with the positive result, this negative one is partially because of people’s natural reaction and partially because of God’s intervention.

“(6) Good Government and Bad Government II (28:28?29:2)….TYPE: THEMATIC, INCLUSIO….The verses echo 28:12.” Between the framing verses contrasting wicked and righteous rule (28:28; 29:2), 29:1 assures that those who persist in wickedness will ultimately fall. This is because they stubbornly refuse to change illustrating the importance of heeding rebukes when given.


Acts 24

So apostle Sha’ul is now going to be on trial in Caesarea in front of the governor. It took five days for Sha’ul’s accusers to arrive there: Hananyah, with elders, and one Tertullus, and they brought charges against Sha’ul. They all had Tertullus speak for them, and he begins with great flatteries towards the Roman rule of Felix. He accuses Sha’ul of causing dissention and being a ring-leader of a sect called the Natsarenes, of profaning the Set-apart place, and that the Yahudim wish to judge Sha’ul according to their law.

Now it was Sha’ul’s turn to speak. He told the governor he had been in Jerusalem for only twelve days, and that he had not been found in the Set-apart place disputing anyone, nor was he stirring up dissention or causing a ruckus. He also stated the fact they these men cannot prove the charges being brought against him. He confessed that according to The Way of which they were calling a sect, he in fact believed all that is written in the Torah and in the Prophets, and that he believes in the resurrection of the dead, both of the righteous and the unrighteous.

He spoke of his testimony and kind deeds to the Jews in Asia for which he was not brought up on charges in the city by them, and advised that if he had done anything improper that they should be there also at this trial as witnesses. He told Felix that all had been fine until he mentioned the resurrection of the dead, then all the people became in an uproar. Then Felix, knowing about the work and belief of The Way brought an end to the trial and said he would make a judgment upon the return of Lysias the commander. He ordered Sha’ul to be taken and held in custody until then for his protection and to be treated with kindness – also allowing his friends to visit him.

Even after a few days of Sha’ul’s imprisonment, Felix brought his wife Drusilla who was Jewish down to hear Sha’ul and he shared the Good News with both of them concerning Messiah. Sha’ul shared about righteousness, and self-control, and the judgment to come – which Felix became uncomfortable with – and he sent him away that day. Felix kept Sha’ul in prison for two years, calling on him often to come speak to him concerning the Faith (hoping in a bribe of silver for his release which never came). Eventually Porcius Festus succeeded Felix and wishing to please the Jews, Felix did not release Sha’ul upon his leaving his position. He remained imprisoned.


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