The Sabbatical Year Found in the New Testament

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: May 15, 2014

News Letter 5850-008
17th day of the 2nd month 5850 years after the creation of Adam
The 2nd Month in the Fifth year of the Third Sabbatical Cycle
The 28th  day of Counting the Omer
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes, Famines and Pestilence

May 17, 2014

Shabbat Shalom Brethren,

I have been telling you for some time now about the power each of you has just by writing to your leadership and those on the radio and TV why they need to hear this message of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and the many prophecies they unlock.

At the same time, many of you do not do this and just let things slide. Someone else will do it, you say. I am too busy… or, I have too many other things to get done.

Those who do not like this message or the things I teach also write letters and are on the radio and TV saying things about my message and/or me to cause still others to cancel scheduled events and not have me on their shows. It happened with GLC and with Sabbath Night Live and on a few occasions with those who were going to host me to present this teaching to their group. Someone gets their underwear in a knot and just does not understand what I am doing nor why. They then go on the offensive. For some, it is because of the way I pronounce the name of Yehovah. For others it is because I use the barley or the sighted moon to determine when I keep the Holy Days.

We have examples on Amazon and Barnes and Noble of those who once liked what I was teaching until I hit one of their hot spots. Then they begin to write everyone they can to discredit this teaching and me. This past week some have written to our host in Ohio to again warn them against having me teach at their facility. If I come to teach, then they and their group will boycott the meetings.

It doesn’t matter to me if I go there or not. It costs me money out of my own pocket each time I teach. I do not charge anything. I have not charged anyone at anytime a fee for me to present this message nor guide them in Israel. But it does cost me airfare and car rental and time off work. And that I am willing to pay for out of my own pocket in order to get this message out, about what is coming. Often, many are offended by the things I say about what is coming. It is such a shock to them after they have been asleep for so long with sickening syrupy messages, to then have me tell them about the coming war and what is about to happen. It just stuns some people. I quote Yehovah’s Word and people get mad and upset with me because they are not able to accept the fact that Yehovah (or should I say the God they worship) would ever do such terrible things or allow them to come upon His people. But they forget that Yehovah did these things to Israel first and then again to Judah when they stopped worshiping Him properly.

Brethren, I have one hell of a terrible message to deliver. I never wanted it nor sought out to do so. But as I learned the Sabbatical and Jubilee years I could not deny what I was seeing. Ezekiel tells us we must tell others when we see the sword coming. I SEE THAT SWORD PLAIN AS DAY AND IT IS COMING SOON AND FAST AND IT IS GOING TO BE WORSE THAN ANYTHING I HAVE SAID. And yet many are offended at me for saying and quoting the Scriptures I do. If I was wrong, others would have shut me up by now; but no one has been able to do so as of today. Not one.

Some are mad at me for telling people that these disasters would not happen if they kept the Sabbath and Holy Days and Sabbatical years. I post pictures of those who have had their properties destroyed and lives shattered. People get upset at me when I quote Yehovah who says “Do not pray for these people I will not hear your prayers.” Or when I quote where Yehovah says “I will laugh at your calamities.” They just do not believe Yehovah would do such a thing. They completely miss the reason why! It is because these people turned away from hearing the truth when they were presented with it. AND THEY WON’T KEEP THE SABBATICAL YEARS!

I have others who have had life-altering events happen to them. A loved one dies and the same week they end up on my website looking for Yehovah.

If you want to invite me to speak somewhere, then you must get off the couch and tell the sponsors of that event they must invite me and why they need to hear this. If you want me to be on someone’s Radio or TV show, YOU have to write them and tell them why they need to hear from me. YOU HAVE TO DO IT AND KEEP DOING IT OVER AND OVER UNTIL THIS WAR IS HERE. You can also share the videos and use them to teach at your groups. But you must do something to make something happen. Because those who do not want me to share this message are out there doing their best to stop it. You have to write the Christian talk show host, the Christian TV news hosts. You also need to write to the group who have now cancelled the Shavuot meeting due to the letters they have received.

As you are about to read, my latest campaign uses tattoos, witchcraft and prostitutes to tell people that these things are legal according to the Messianic leadership. Your Messianic Leadership are those who say that we only have to keep the Sabbatical year when we are in the Land. I was showing them on Facebook that if that is true then prostitution is only prohibited when you are in the Land as well according to Lev 19. We all know this is false which means that the leaderships position on the Sabbatical year only being kept in the land is also false. But some goody two-shoes thought that was disgusting and wrote in to the hosts to complain. I see them as Tares. They are the self righteous ones holding themselves up high because of all the good they do or think they do. Yes there are tares amongst us and they look holier than thou, but by their fruits you will know them, because in real life a tare has a very little seed that is not worth harvesting and yet it sucks the minerals out of the ground to prevent the wheat from getting them. The wheat kernel or fruit is large and is worth harvesting. Both stand in the same field. By their fruits you will know them.

I can’t help but think of the following Scripture when people will seek to kill us in the name of god. People think they are doing god’s will when, in fact, they are not. They are actually working against His will. Now none of those at this group will learn about why war is coming nor how to avoid it by keeping the next Sabbatical year.

Mat 24:8  All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Mat 24:9  Then they will deliver you up to be afflicted and will kill you. And you will be hated of all nations for My name’s sake.

So I hope all of you will still write them and overwhelm them with positive feedback as to exactly WHY they need to have me come and speak. For those of you who have heard the messages I present and do understand the seriousness of the situation, I wonder how many will actually do it. We had over 11,000 on our email list at one time. This winter we dropped that list and started over with zero. We are now approaching 7000. I wonder if the host in Ohio will receive 7000 emails. Know for sure the nay-Sayers, the tares will be writing! I wonder, will those who support this message write as well?

Here is one email I got this week. It shows me Yehovah is pouring out His Spirit on all flesh. When one person can read Remembering the Sabbatical Years of 2016 in just a few days and then teach it on the next Sabbath, that is nothing short of awesome. It proves that this is not my teaching but it is the word of Yehovah.

Shalom Joseph,
Just bought the POA [The Prophecies of Abraham] and the 2016 book. Have wanted POA since it came out but haven’t had the extra money. Have watched the videos and read your newsletter for years. Thank you for all you do and the personal sacrifices you make to get the news out. Funny story, I was speaking to a friend early last week and we were discussing Behar, and I was like “you need to get Joseph Dumond’s book on Sabbatical years, he is the one whose newsletters I share with you.” Well, the Ruach must have impressed upon her because she actually did! She received it on Wed and by Shabbat had read it, marked it up, watched all your videos and signed up for the newsletter! I wish I had gotten a picture of her standing, teaching with your book in her hand. Will try to do so this coming Sabbath. Attached is picture of her explaining to the group how each cycle works. They finally all got it. Her name is Andrea  and she is a terrific teacher. We have a small Torah study group and this information will be very beneficial to everyone.
Thank you! Andrea and I have often been accused of being harsh…. But it isn’t us, it is the Truth, straight off the pages and not being watered down by commentary . The Elijah spirit is upon us and I take that seriously. I am like “if you do not want to hear Truth then you must not ask me. ” Shalom Aleichem. You made my night. Yahweh bless you and return to you many times over. And we know He will because He is The Faithful and True ONE.

Unfortunately, we need to let you all know that we have been cancelled from presenting our teachings at Yaakovsflock in Ohio for Shavuot weekend.
Here is the note that was sent to me advising me they now had some concerns. But I was never told who my accusers were.

Joseph, I wanted to drop you a note and let you know that we have been getting quite a bit of concern expressed to us about having you speak here due to the type of graphics you have been posting on Facebook these past couple of weeks. Particularly the graphics about prostitution and the devastation of the tornadoes. One of the notes we received included this statement, “I have been on Joseph’s mailing list for years. I have read many of his studies and have even used some of his research and quoted him in my teachings. However his recent postings on FB have left me shaking my head. It is one thing to cite the increase in weather occurrences and such but it is something entirely different to use pictures of the injured to promote his teachings.” My family has taken a very strong and public stance on modesty…and I have personally taught on this many times. So the immodest pictures are also very concerning. I wanted to first express the concern this is creating in our congregation and be able to talk about it with you. Second of all, I wanted to make sure that none of those type of graphics would be used in your live presentations? Thank you for talking through this with us. If you prefer to call, our phone number is 740-666-0930. As you may remember, we don’t have calling to Canada. Blessings, Jocelin

Now, having prepared this Newsletter in advance, Monday night I received the following email. No phone calls, just this email:

Dear Joseph, After much prayer and discussion as a family, we have decided to withdraw our invitation for you to speak at Shavuot hosted by Yaakov’s Flock. Our concern is not with your message nor with you personally. Our concern is with the style of delivery. We do not want our congregation exposed to shocking or uncomfortable pictures. We are particularly concerned with what the children could be exposed to. We are also uncomfortable nor do we feel it is necessary to use any curse words which we did hear in one of your posted videos which we watched over the weekend. We are also concerned about using fear to motivate people to a certain message. Again, we hope that you clearly hear us when we say our concern is not with you personally or your message but rather with the style of delivery. We appreciate your willingness to come and speak. We pray that Yahweh continues to work in your life and use you for His glory. Thank you for your understanding as we seek to do what we feel Yahweh is leading us to decide for our congregation. Blessings in Messiah, Terry, Carol, and Jocelin Boutet e-mailing or calling 740-666-0930.

Here is an email that was sent to me after these people found out I was cancelled even before I knew it:

Hello Joseph,
Received notice last night that the meeting for Pentecost weekend here in Ohio has been cancelled. No explanation or what happened. My husband and I were planning on coming, as it is less than an hour away. So sad, we would have liked to have met you. Maybe it can be rescheduled for another time.
I finally was able to finish reading the 2300 Days book. Thank you for having your tech guy re-send it to me. I was able to save it to a flash drive, but cannot save it to my PC. As long as I don’t lose the flash drive I’ll be OK. Because it has the rest of the info you didn’t have time to give at the Feast because there was so a much, it tied all the ends together. Lots of research, lots of work… Your dedication is much appreciated.
It is good that you are reminding the readers where we came from. We need to remember who we are (where our national ancestry came from)..and even more important, who we are as far as where we are going. I don’t hear much of that from our local ministry. Just hearing it on the Holy Days, if even that, is not enough. Who we are in Our Creator’s eyes and what He is making of us should have an impact on our everyday lives. Maybe I sound a little judgmental…I don’t mean to. I am rather cut of from regular, meaningful fellowship; but no one talks about these things when I do get to go to church. It was good to be reminded.

Also, some of the topics you brought up were very good. I’m sure most of the cog’ers (Church of God people) have no clue what a Suzerain Treaty is, I hadn’t even heard the word before. The other is the maladictory oath, (Vassal Treaty- an oath unto death if one does not uphold the conditions of the Treaty) which you did not mention. Abraham was asked to go through what was the precursor to the covenant at Sinai. Many ministers do not like Fred Coulter, but he did teach us a lot of stuff we never got when WWCG was alive. What you are sharing is some of the rest of the story.
Taking another look at the Daniel 9 prophecy was really interesting. When I get these chapters printed off I’ll be able to delve into it much more. It is an interesting perspective. I remember reading those Scriptures just over a year ago and thinking that it was not talking about what we have been taught by the ministry all these years, but couldn’t find a solution to that dilemma. I see what you are saying. I also realized not all concordances are the same too. Our aged one is much better and closer to the meanings you post, so will let the newer one collect dust.

Also the info on the “Covenant made with many.” Fred had touched on some of these points back in the late 90s and early 2000’s when he was focused on another topic he was focused on at the time.
Thanks….have a great day,
Carolyn Singer

The following gentleman also heard the Ohio meeting was cancelled and wrote them right away. He has read the 2300 Days of Hell and was greatly sobered by it.

I got a reply, no change. Excuses. So, I am not sure what is going on. They commented on the “style of delivery” and using fear to motivate. I have no problem with your style, I think this is the time for a sober and serious approach. Soft touch has worked on whom it has worked; now is the time to get serious and literally beat the bushes for the ones that are still His but are blind and deaf. Keep on keeping on, Grandpa.
Jim Fincham

Again, we want to let you know that we have been cancelled from presenting our teachings at Yaakovsflock in Ohio for this Shavuot weekend.

We have, however, been asked to speak in Calgary, Alberta Canada later in June. Here is the information for that:
We are still seeking those in the Calgary area to see if there is enough interest for the July 1st weekend, we are working on a speaking engagement outside of Calgary, Alberta. That is the weekend of Friday, June 27 – Sunday June 29, 2014.

Here is info about the convention in Alberta:
Check out this website for accommodations: is in the Southwest corner of Alberta, so people from British Columbia as well as Montana may be interested.  The approx.100 per person pays for 2 nights accommodations, food, and the registration. That is cheap!  Accommodation is for Friday and Saturday night. If people want to stay Sunday night, they can stay at the ranch but have to make arrangements with the owner.  There is so much to see around here; the ranch is only 30 minutes from Waterton Lakes National Park, which is actually an International Peace Park;  Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump ( World Heritage site) Frank Slide, to name a few.
Shabbat shalom and hugs,

If you are interested, please contact Barb Hemphill:  and let her know.


The Sabbatical Years in the New Testament

The following is an article by Ernest L. Marten of I have done some serious editing to his article as he promotes and uses the information of Professor Wacholder, which means he is using the Sabbatical years starting in the fall. At Qedesh La Yahweh Press you are shown each of these years that Wacholder uses and/or hides from his calculations and why his position is not sustainable. So I have edited the article as such. I may have missed some things, but this is an excellent article showing you, the reader, many things that were going on in the times before and after the arrival of Yehshua. May this article bless your understanding of the Sabbatical years even more.

The Sabbatical Years and Chronology

The correct dating of Jesus’ birth is primarily a chronological matter. What one must do is to use all avenues of investigation that contain chronological evidences (or even hints) that can reasonably establish a proper chronological background to that historical event. The prime evidence comes from those individuals who were eyewitnesses (or record information from eyewitnesses). This is why the information in the Bible itself is so important in understanding the chronology associated with the nativity of Jesus. And the information in the Bible does not disappoint us.

Indeed, there is a further method found in the Bible and history for determining the time of the birth of Jesus. This is the Old Testament legislation which demanded that the Jews let their lands in the region of Palestine, lie fallow each seventh year. 1 Every seventh year, all commercial farming or agricultural activity came to a halt. These years (every seventh year) were known as Sabbatical Years. These Sabbatical Years are important, especially in determining the length of Herod’s reign.

Josephus tells us that the battle in which Herod captured Jerusalem took place during a Sabbatical Year, and that he captured the city on the Day of Atonement. We now have abundant evidence that the occurrence of this Sabbatical Year when this well-known conquest of Jerusalem occurred was in 36 B.C.E. The Jewish king Antigonus was killed a few months later. Josephus tells us that Herod reigned 34 years after the death of Antigonus. This means that Herod reigned unto 2 to 1 B.C.E.

This is precisely what I am showing in this book. What I will do in this appendix is to reveal that the New Testament itself supports the fact that the Sabbatical Cycle of years makes the summer of 36 B.C.E. to have been a Sabbatical Year. This will show Herod’s death to be in 1 B.C.E.

The Jews and Sabbatical Years

The Jews, both before and during the time of Jesus, were following the Mosaic Law for agricultural inactivity every seventh year in the land of Palestine. Because of this practice, it affords us some excellent chronological clues regarding the time that certain historical events occurred in Palestine. This is because the records show that these events happened in association with Sabbatical Years. Thankfully, it is possible from the Bible and history to accurately determine those years in which the Jews refrained from agricultural activity. Once the cycle of those seven years is understood, then those Sabbatical Years can be used as chronological benchmarks in determining important events in Jewish history during the time of Jesus.

The Cycle of Sabbatical Years Can Be Known

New evidence has become available which gives powerful proof for properly dating the years of Jesus’ ministry and even the year of his crucifixion is able to be determined. This new information from the New Testament itself provides a major key which makes other chronological indications of the New Testament more understandable. It also shows that the Sabbatical Year in which Herod captured Jerusalem was indeed 36 B.C.E.
The Gospel of John records some prime chronological references for reckoning the years of Jesus’ ministry that the other three Gospels do not report. For example, John mentions three Passovers which occurred during the ministry of Jesus (2:13; 6:4; 13:1). Other Jewish festivals were acknowledged as well. There was the “unknown feast” between the first two Passovers (5:1), and after the second Passover he mentions the feasts of Tabernacles (7:1) and Dedication (10:22). These feasts provide some chronological indications for establishing the proper sequence of years associated with Jesus’ ministry.
The new evidence that I am presenting in this book centers on a statement given by Jesus that John positions between his first two Passovers (2:13 and 6:4) and before his “unknown” feast (5:1). This reference is an important piece of historical information that up to now has been completely overlooked and misunderstood. But when the new research is recognized, we will have one of the most significant chronological keys for ironing out the historical difficulties associated with the chronology of Jesus’ life.

A New Testament Chronological Indication

It is first essential to understand the historical environment in which this new chronological evidence occurs. Once this is understood, the year in which Jesus began His ministry can be determined, which in turn will also reveal the exact year in which Jesus was born according to New Testament historical indications. This new biblical evidence is important. Let us look at it.

At the end of the third chapter of John’s Gospel we are told that Jesus left Jerusalem after the first Passover mentioned by John and He started on His journey toward Galilee (John 4:3). His route necessitated traveling through Samaria. Upon His arrival at Jacob’s well, being weary from his journey, Jesus talked to a Samaritan woman while His disciples went into the village to fetch food. No other people were around when the discussion mentioned by John took place (John 4:6–26). However, upon the conclusion of the dialogue, the disciples returned with food. Jesus then gave them some spiritual teaching about what true food actually represented. It is this particular teaching (when the woman had left and no other Samaritans were around) that solves a major chronological problem regarding the time and length of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus said,

“Say ye not, ‘There are yet four months and then cometh the harvest?’ behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white [ripe] already for harvest” 2

The real meaning of Jesus’ words has not been understood, yet his intention is so easy to comprehend if the legal requirements governing Palestinian agriculture in the 1st century are taken into account. In a moment I will show what Jesus had in mind when he made this statement, but let us first review the normal interpretations given by scholars to explain what Jesus meant.

Some Opinions of Theologians

There are two explanations normally proffered by theologians.
1)   Since Jesus was speaking within a context of sowing and reaping, it is recognized (correctly) that Jesus was calling attention to the barley and wheat harvest which farmers reaped between Passover and Pentecost (from late March to early June). Scholars have seen significance in the phrase “four months unto the harvest.” If Jesus meant that there were yet four months until the time of the Palestinian grain harvest, then it is supposed He must have uttered his statement about late December or early January. This would allow the phrase four months to harvest to make reasonable sense. If this is the case, scholars have surmised, it would mean that Jesus gave this illustration to the disciples some 8 or 9 months after John’s first Passover, and about 4 months before the beginning of the regular grain harvest which started about late March. So, most conservative theologians have felt that this is a chronological statement which can be placed within the months of December or January near the end of Jesus’ first year of ministry.

2)   The other theory, however, suggests that Jesus was simply stating a well-known proverb about some four month interval of time from sowing to harvest, and that no chronological significance is to be interpreted from this so-called “proverbial” reference.

There are flaws in both suppositions. For one, Jesus’ statement could hardly have been made some 8 or 9 months after John’s first Passover because in verse 45 (given shortly after He returned to Galilee) his Galilean acquaintances recalled the signs He had recently accomplished at John’s first Passover. These were Galileans who had gone to the FEAST“for they also went unto the FEAST.” Anyone should recognize that this refers to the first Passover mentioned by John which happened about six or seven weeks before. If this is not the case, then the words of John’s Gospel are incomprehensible. To say that the Galileans were referring to an unmentioned feast of Pentecost, or an unnamed feast of Tabernacles (or even the feasts of Dedication or Purim) is stretching the matter beyond reasonable belief. Truly, the Galileans must have been talking about the previous feast of Passover during which they had seen Jesus perform certain miracles and that Passover had occurred no more than 40 or 50 days before. This means that Jesus’ statement (made at Jacob’s Well, about a week before He met the Galileans in Nazareth) was not uttered in the months of December or January, and not 8 or 9 months after John’s first Passover. Clearly, Jesus stated His remark in late May or early June. (The reason He did so at that time will be shown shortly.)

The second explanation offered by many scholars is also suspect because no proverb has been found in Jewish literature which refers to a four-month season from sowing to harvest. The period for wheat was more like six months according to the Jewish Mishnah. 3

The Real Meaning of Jesus’ Statement

Jesus said that His disciples would reckon four more months to the harvest, yet His statement was proclaimed in late May or early June, right in the midst of the wheat harvest. There is really no doubt that this is the case. Origen who lived in Palestine in the 3rd century recognized that Jesus’ teachings in John 4:35 were stated in the middle of the actual harvest season 4 Even Jesus Himself acknowledged that this time was during the regular grain harvest.

“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields for they are white [ripe] already for harvest.” 5

This reference by Jesus shows that the grain was already available for harvest (after all, it was late May or early June), but for some reason He put it in the mouths of the disciples that they would not expect anyone to harvest the grain for another four months. Why on earth did Jesus say there were yet four more months before harvest, when the harvest season was at its height?

The answer is simple if one remembers the agricultural legislation that Moses imposed on Jews and Samaritans living in the Holy land. There were agricultural rules that both groups observed in the 1st century. The truth is, Jesus made His statement in the midst of what the Jews and Samaritans called a Sabbatical Year. Such a year was one in which no sowing or reaping were permitted, from the New Year of one autumn to the New Year of the next. When this is realized and understood, all chronological difficulties associated with John 4:35 thoroughly disappear (though they appear to be outright contradictions on the surface).

The Simple Answer

Notice how plain the whole matter becomes. Jesus gave His teaching near the end of the second Hebrew month or the start of the third (late May or early June). When a person counts forward four more months, the month of Tishri is reached. This is the month in which all Sabbatical Years ended and people could legally begin to harvest once again. Jesus was saying what the apostles and the general population were well aware of. That year was a Sabbatical Year. No one could commence any harvesting (even though one were in the midst of the harvest season for grain) until the Sabbatical Year was over. This is the reason Jesus said it was still “four months” to the period of harvest. (We have left Mr. Martens comments as he has stated. We do not agree nor do other Sabbatical year proof’s agree with him. The Sabbatical year begins and ends at Aviv.)

There is more evidence to support this interpretation. Jesus elaborated on His teaching about the harvest by saying in John 4:

“And herein is this saying true, ‘One soweth and another reapeth.’ I send you to reap that which ye bestowed no labor.”
John 4:37–38

Even Jesus adopted the theme of a Sabbatical Year by telling his disciples that the harvest He asked them to engage in was one in which they HAD DONE NO LABOR. How true this illustration would have been even for the physical harvest of a Sabbatical Year. During Sabbatical Years no one could labor on the land. No sowing, plowing, pruning or harvesting were permitted. So even Jesus’ statement that the disciples had bestowed no labor on the harvest that He was talking about, is indicative of the fact that that year was sabbatical. Jesus used terms only applicable to Sabbatical Years.

Another point needs to be made. Since Jesus gave His illustrations in John 4:35–38 at the time the fields were already white for harvest, He strongly implies that no one was in the fields doing any reaping. If all the fields were then ripe for harvest (and that is what Jesus said), this is a powerful suggestion that none of the fields (no matter how many there were) was then being harvested by the people. And, of course, this would have been the case in a Sabbatical Year. All the fields were not then being harvested.

In case some might doubt that fields in Sabbatical Years would produce much grain, since they had not been sowed in the previous autumn and winter, all one has to do is to recall that Leviticus 25:5 indicates there would always be a crop during the fallow Sabbatical Year from the grains that fell on the ground in the sixth year of harvest. Grain was in the stalks, but unharvested.

The Day of Pentecost?

There is yet another piece of evidence that the event which occurred at Jacob’s Well happened in a Sabbatical Year. This is Luke’s parallel account of what transpired in Galilee soon after Jesus had returned to His hometown of Nazareth from the Passover at Jerusalem. Luke tells us in the Greek that on “The Day of the Sabbaths” (or, “The Day of the Weeks”) [another possible way of saying Pentecost to agree with the terminology of Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10; and 2 Chronicles 8:13], Jesus was handed the scroll of Isaiah and He read chapter 61, verses 1 and 2. Luke recorded the occasion. [I am translating from the Greek.]

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the Day of the Sabbaths [or, The Day of the Weeks] and stood up to read. And he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the scroll, and found the place where it was written: ‘The Lord’s Spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and sight to the blind, to set free the bruised, to proclaim the Lord’s acceptable year.’ And he rolled up the scroll, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon him. And he began to say unto them, ‘Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears’.” 6

It should be noted that the synagogue attendant handed Jesus the scroll of Isaiah. This hints that the synagogue liturgy required Isaiah to be read that day. If so, this could indicate that Jesus read the regular triennial cycle selection from the prophets that accompanied the sequential readings from the five books of Moses. It is interesting that the section that Jesus quoted was that which paralleled the readings from the Law of Moses for Pentecost on the second year of the triennial cycle. 7 This is just another indication that this event in the synagogue in Nazareth occurred on Pentecost.
(It is this same triennial reading of the scriptures that we provide at the end of each study each week)

Though I am in no way insisting that the phrase “The Day of the Weeks” on which Jesus read Isaiah 61:1–2 was Pentecost (yet it may have been), it is still clear that the event happened in the late springtime just after Jesus had returned from Jerusalem from John’s first Passover. It was certainly the same year that Jesus gave His teaching about the Sabbatical Year in John 4:35. With this in mind, we have a further reference that that year was a sabbatical. Note that Jesus called that year “the acceptable year of the Lord.” This is a phrase indicating the time of release. Even the use of this phrase shows that this year was a Sabbatical Year.

The First Year of Jesus’ Ministry was Sabbatical

These terms that Jesus was using in His discourse at the synagogue at Nazareth were those associated with Sabbatical Years (and with the Jubilee which was a type of Sabbatical Year). Jubilee Years were not being celebrated by the Jews in the 1st century, yet the ordinary seven-year sabbatical cycle was very much in evidence among the Jews and Samaritans.

Look at the factors within Jesus’ quote from Isaiah which suggest this. He said that,
He was anointed, to preach good tidings to the poor. This is a reflection on the sabbatical regulations that the poor and the stranger could eat from the fields without hinder.

He was to proclaim a release and to free the bruised. This recalls the sabbatical release regulations and being free of debt as mentioned in Deuteronomy 15:1–6.

And, Jesus was ordained to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. This is a reference to a sabbatical period.
Such years are always associated with “unloosing the bands of wickedness, undoing heavy burdens, letting the oppressed go free, and the breaking of every yoke” (Isaiah 58:6). This is the type of “acceptable year” that Jesus was proclaiming at the synagogue in Nazareth, and the theme is clearly that of a Sabbatical Year.

There is even more proof to show that this year was a Sabbatical Year. This is because Luke states that a few weeks later the disciples found themselves on a day that Luke called the “second-first Sabbath” and they began to eat from the grain that was in the ears of the wheat. What is the “second-first” Sabbath? The “second-first Sabbath” was the second Sabbath counting the Omer from the wave sheaf day during the days of Unleavened Bread.
The fact is, in normal harvest years ALL the grain found in barley and wheat stalks would have been harvested. But here were the disciples on the second weekly Sabbath of the month of Aviv and they were still finding fields with grain in them. This again shows that the year in which this happened was a Sabbatical Year. That Sabbatical Year lasted until Aviv the following year. But again, that summer in Palestine in which all of this happened was a Sabbatical Year.

This means that we have several biblical proofs that the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry and that of Jesus’ teaching started in a Sabbatical Year. This is why it makes excellent sense why so many people were able to follow both of them during the times of their preaching. Many of the people would have been off from their farm labor and able to travel at leisure over the land of Palestine.

The Sequence of Sabbatical Years

Though over the past few centuries historians studying the records about Sabbatical Years have been able to arrive at their former sequence within a year or two, only within the last 50 years (and especially the last 30), has it become possible, through archaeological discoveries, etc., to determine to a near certainty what the exact Sabbatical Years’ sequence was and is.

We are told by 1 Maccabees 6:49 that Judas Maccabee’s defeat at Beth-Zur was in a Sabbatical Year. And this can be dated to the Sabbatical Year of 162 B.C.E. (

Josephus, the Jewish historian, shows the murder of Simon the Hasmonean as happening in the Sabbatical Year of 134 B.C.E. (

Josephus shows Herod’s conquest of Jerusalem as occurring in the last part of the Sabbatical Year 36 B.C.E.  (

King Agrippa the First recited the section of Deuteronomy which a king was required to do as associated with the Sabbatical Year (Deuteronomy 31:10–13). He performed it at a time which historically shows that Agrippa’s Sabbatical Year was C.E. 42. (
A papyrus document written in Aramaic has recently been found in Palestine which is dated to the second year of Nero, and it says that that year was a Sabbatical Year. Thus, C.E. 56 was Sabbatical. (

A reference in the 2nd century Jewish work called the Seder Olam can be interpreted as showing the Temple at Jerusalem being destroyed in a Sabbatical Year. That would have been C.E. 70. (

Dated documents have been found concerning the Bar Kokhba revolt of the Jews against the Romans which show that the year C.E. 133 & 140 were also  Sabbatical Years. (

The ruins of an ancient synagogue have recently been uncovered which have a date, in a mosaic, for the Jewish year 4000, and that it was the second year of a Sabbatical cycle. This answers to C.E. 238. (I can find no references for this.)

There is a reference in the Jewish Talmud (Sanhedrin 97b) that the Messiah will release the world from its bondage of corruption in the year after 4291 of the Jewish calendar. Since it was believed this would occur in a Sabbatical Year, this reference becomes important (though the prophecy did not occur) because the year after 4291 was C.E. 532, and it was Sabbatical. (
We also have as of Sukkot this year of 2013 been shown two more Sabbatical years in the Tombstones from the Dead Sea.


The Sequence of Sabbatical Years is now Known

The interesting thing about these Sabbatical Years is the fact that they are all in proper sequence. This gives the historian a great deal of confidence that they are correct. This would mean that all the Sabbatical Years in between can be known.
While Schurer, following Zuckermann, felt that the Sabbatical Years’ cycle was a year earlier than the one presented above, Qedesh La Yahweh Press has shown this to be untenable. For example, in Schurer’s sequence, the year C.E. 40 to 41 was Sabbatical, but Josephus says that crops were able to be harvested that year. 11 Even Schurer admits to the difficulty. 12Indeed, to use Zuckermann’s and Schurer’s cycle of years, C.E., 61 to 62 would have been Sabbatical, but Josephus makes it clear that in the spring of C.E. 62 people were working at the threshing floors. 13 But, in the very next year (C.E. 63), Agrippa II started to rebuild Caesarea Philippi which is what would ordinarily have happened when many farmers were seeking work in the building trade during a Sabbatical Year.

Historical Events in Judaea Can Now Make Better Sense

Once the proper annual occurrences of Sabbaticals are understood, all other intervening years in sequence can be tallied. We then discover how important events occurred on them. Those years were times when the majority of the population (being mostly in agriculture) were off from their ordinary jobs, and something had to be done to keep them busy and earning a proper living. There was a simple answer to this that many people have not thought of. During the six years of farm labor the government took some grain and foodstuffs (like Joseph did in Egypt) and when the Sabbatical Year came around, they paid the people this produce to work at construction or other types of labor. Since there was a vast reservoir of workers then available, new buildings, cities, walls, roads, irrigation projects were undertaken. For the most part the people did the work willingly because they believed God to be behind their efforts of keeping the Sabbatical Years. Note examples of these building activities.
Herod commenced his work on the outer parts of the great Temple of God on the Sabbatical Year of 22 B.C.E.

16 This was also the exact year he commenced work on building the new city of Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast. 17 And later, Herod’s son Philip started to build Caesarea Philippi 18 in the Sabbatical Year 1 B.C.E.

The city of Tiberias probably had its founding in C.E. 21, which was also the beginning of a Sabbatical Year. 19 Also the expansive third wall around the northern parts of Jerusalem (which, if finished, Josephus said would have made Jerusalem impregnable) was no doubt started by King Agrippa the First in the Sabbatical Year of C.E. 42.

20 And, as I stated earlier, his son Agrippa II also began huge construction projects in similar circumstances in the Sabbatical Year of C.E. 63. Josephus said that,
“King Agrippa enlarged Caesarea Philippi and renamed it in honor of Nero. He furthermore built at great expense a theatre for the people of Beirut and presented them with animal spectacles, spending many tens of thousands of drachmas upon this project. 21

It is because so many Jews had to take different types of jobs in Sabbatical Years that it was common for most of them in the 1st century to have two trades. Recall that the apostle Paul was a trained tentmaker. 22 Most learned these secondary trades during the Sabbatical Years when so many new construction projects were then underway. This is one of the main reasons that the Jewish people went along with many of the building endeavors of Herod during Sabbatical Years.

The Sabbatical Year of Jesus’ Ministry

The sequence of Sabbatical Years is now established with certainty by Qedesh La Yahweh Press. This information, with the new interpretation of John 4:35 that I am giving in this book, provide a logical chronology for the years of Jesus’ ministry. We can now know that Jesus gave His information about the “four months to harvest” in a Sabbatical Year and that year is C.E. 28.

There is another chronological indication in Luke’s Gospel that helps substantiate this. Luke said that John the Baptist began his ministry in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar. 23Scholars have recognized several ways of reckoning this fifteenth year, but with our new information identifying Jesus’ first year of teaching as the Sabbatical Year of 28, we are now helped in understanding the regnal years of Tiberius as reckoned by Luke.24 We can now consider two of the explanations which blend in perfectly well with this new chronological information.

If one acknowledges the fifteenth year of Tiberius as being in conformity with the non-accession method based on the official Roman Year (called the Julian), that fifteenth year would be from January 1, C.E. 28 to December 31, C.E. 28. This would dovetail nicely with our new proposal, yet it would mean that John the Baptist began baptizing in January C.E. 28 in the Jordan Valley. This would be acceptable since it was not excessively cold in the Jordan depression even during mid-winter. However, it does press events between January and the next Passover (which occurred in late March or early April) into a “hurry up” situation. (Recall that Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness after His baptism.) Though this reckoning for the fifteenth year is not improbable, it is not to be preferred over the following determination which fits in much better with all factors. Let’s notice it.

Since Luke was a Gentile and writing to a nobleman named Theophilus (traditionally both were from Antioch, Syria), it is possible that Luke was using the non-accession method of reckoning regnal years in Syria from the time of Augustus to Nerva. The fifteenth year of Tiberius was then from Tishri 1, C.E. 27 to Tishri 1, C.E. 28. This would mean that Luke was calculating the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry (and consequently that of Jesus’ ministry) according to the calendar with which he and Theophilus would have been familiar.25  The Jewish authorities in the Talmud state clearly that this is the very method used by Gentile rulers in relationship to the calendar of the Jews. The Gentile Romans commonly reckoned Jewish years from Tishri One. 26

Chronological Importance of Sabbatical Years

What a significant symbolic time for John and Jesus to start their ministries. The Jewish people were keenly aware of the prophetic significance of Sabbatical Years as they related to prominent people of the Old Testament periods, and also to the advent of the Messiah into the world. In literature written not long before Jesus began to preach, we have these symbolic features about Sabbatical Years emphasized. The non-canonical Book of Enoch presents an apocalyptic account based on the seven sabbatical ages, and in Enoch 91:12–17 it adds three more, a total of ten sabbatical periods. The Book of Jubilees records that at the creation God partitioned off time periods into Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles. 27 The births of significant people such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, and other patriarchs were timed to dovetail precisely with Sabbatical eras. 28 The Dead Sea sectarians recognized future reigns of the Kings of Wickedness and Righteousness relative to a Sabbatical calendar, and believing that the last year of the cycle would be the start of the Messianic age. 29
These early opinions on the symbolic teaching concerning Sabbatical Years were no doubt prompted by the Sabbatical periods recorded by the Prophet Daniel. His Seventy Weeks’ prophecy was an extension of a Sabbatical Years’ theme, and this prophecy was the prime reference point for the advent of the Messianic age that the Jews were expecting in the 1stcentury. “Passover of the Sabbatical Year became the period when the redeemer’s coming was expected most.” 30

Many People Were Off Work During Sabbatical Years

It is thus no surprise that vast crowds of people came out in the Sabbatical Year of C.E. 28 to be baptized of John the Baptist and Jesus. This was not only a time when a great percentage of the people would have been free of agricultural duties and able to travel at leisure following the great teachers around Palestine, but it was also the Sabbatical Year when many of them were expecting Messianic signs to occur.

Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and then returned to Galilee. It appears that He was waiting for Passover in C.E. 28 to begin officially his ministry. As Prof. Wacholder states, “Passover of the Sabbatical Year became the period when the redeemer’s coming was expected most.”

It was also in the Sabbatical Year of C.E. 28 that Jesus was 30 years of age. At the Passover of C.E. 28, when He officially began his ministry, He was within His year 30. It would be rather a strange way for us westerners to reckon the years of a person’s life. During the whole of a person’s 30th year the word meaning “about” or “as if “ was used to denote the year. Luke records: “Jesus began [his ministry] about thirty years of age.”31 Irenaeus, however, shows what Luke meant. “For when he [Jesus] was baptized, he had not yet completed his thirtieth year [He was indeed 30 already, but He had not completed year 30], but was beginning to be about thirty years of age.” 32 Irenaeus had just said He was already 30 in paragraph 4, so “beginning to be about 30” was used of a person all the way from the beginning to the ending of a person’s year 30.

During the whole of a person’s year 30, the word meaning “about” or “as if” was applied. When His year 30 ended, He had then concluded his year 30. This means that Jesus was indeed 30 when He began His ministry, but He had not yet completed His 30th year. Irenaeus said this was the time that the Jews called a man a “Master.” 33 It may appear strange to us that the word “about” is used to indicate something like our word “being,” but this is the way it was interpreted by Irenaeus and he spoke Greek in the idiom that was near that of the New Testament. Gregory Nazianzen also understood the idiom to signify the fact that Jesus was a full 30 years of age. He said: “Christ was thirty years old when he was baptized.” 34 A man had to be fully 30 to be a “Master.”

More Evidence from the Apostle Paul

In the Book of Galatians the apostle Paul said the Gentile Galatians were suddenly going over to keeping the Mosaic law because people from Jerusalem taught them the need to do so. Indeed, the Galatians were “observing days, months, times, and years.” 35 Note the italicized word “years.” Within the context of Paul’s rebuke to the Galatian Gentiles, this can only refer to their observing (the verb is in the present tense) the Sabbatical Years of the Mosaic law. This, again, is an important chronological clue.

The sequence of Sabbatical Years in the period when the Book of Galatians could have been written was C.E. 42, C.E. 49; and C.E. 56. Since C.E. 56 is well after the Jerusalem Council of C.E. 49, this could not be the Sabbatical Year the Galatians were observing. It is manifestly too early for C.E. 42 to be considered. The only possibility is the Sabbatical Year of C.E. 49. If this were the Sabbatical Year they were actively observing (and note that Paul used the present tense “observing”),  but here were the Galatians (and Gentiles at that) now observing the official Sabbatical Year of C.E. 49 in Asia Minor — and only that year fits.

Important New Testament Deductions

Once the proper sequence of Sabbatical Years is understood, we can now appraise some significant New Testament historical statements in a much better way. For one, we now know that  C.E. 49 was a Sabbatical Year. This is a time when all agricultural activity in Palestine would have ceased. Such ritualistic requirements were often very traumatic for the Jewish people who lived in the Holy land and this was especially true in the six months’ period that succeeded any Sabbatical Year. The fact is, they had effectively been cut off from earning any money from land products during the Sabbatical period. This point is a major one in interpreting several statements in various sections of the New Testament. Since the Jews were usually in dire economic straits during Sabbatical Years, and the six months that followed, it was customary for Jews in the Diaspora (those living outside Palestine) to send money and foodstuffs to their brethren in the Holy land.

However, when Palestine was not undergoing drought or keeping Sabbatical Years, there is ample evidence to show that the region was very productive in which to live. Even Titus, the later Roman emperor, said that Judaea was proportionately more prosperous than Rome itself. 36 But when the Jews ceased agricultural pursuits in Sabbatical Years, many of them became poor as the Scriptures attest. It may seem like a moot point, but when Paul and Barnabas were given the right hand of fellowship that they should go to the Gentiles and the “pillar” apostles were assigned to the circumcision, the only extra requirement imposed on Paul was that he “remember the poor.” 37 The poor in question, as the context certainly shows, were the poor among the Jews in Palestine because Paul and Barnabas would surely have considered it incumbent on them to show benevolence upon the Gentiles to whom they were commissioned to preach.

Why were the Jews poor? The answer should be evident once the sequence of Sabbatical Years is recognized. The truth is, C.E. 49 was a Sabbatical Year, and the apostle Paul had the conference with the “pillar” apostles sometime in C.E. 48 right before a Sabbatical Year. There would have indeed been many poor in Palestine during the next year or so. It was always the year after a Sabbatical that was most severe in food shortages. Yet there is more.
The apostle Paul went to Corinth while on his second journey, arriving there near the autumn of C.E. 50 or early C.E. 51. He spent 18 months in Corinth. 38 There is archaeological information which shows that Gallio, the Roman proconsul, was in office between January 25, C.E. 52 and before August 1, C.E. 52. 39 Paul went before Gallio at that time. 40 Afterward, in the middle part of C.E. 52, Paul went to Jerusalem, and finally back to his home base in Antioch of Syria. 41 Then in the spring of C.E. 53, Paul started out on his third journey, 42 reaching Ephesus in late spring of C.E. 53. He stayed there for two years 43 and near that end of that period, and just before the Passover season in C.E. 55, he wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians. 44 He ordered them, as he had those in Galatia, to save up money and goods to give to the poor saints at Jerusalem. 45

Afterwards, he went to Macedonia (from whence he wrote Second Corinthians in late C.E. 55). He wrote the Corinthians (two long chapters) about the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem, praising them that even “from before” the Sabbatical Year began with Aviv in C.E. 56, the Corinthians had started to save their money and produce. 46 Then, in late C.E. 55, Paul went on to Corinth, where he wintered with them for three months (Acts 20:3). This is when he wrote his epistle to the Romans, telling them he was soon journeying to Jerusalem to deliver the collections he had secured from Galatia, Macedonia, and Greece.47 The Book of Romans was written in the early spring of C.E. 56. He then left Corinth and went to Ephesus, now telling them it had been three years since he started preaching to them. 48 He got to Jerusalem about Pentecost in C.E. 56 49 shortly after the Sabbatical Year had begun in Aviv of C.E.56.
Why are these chronological data important to know? Because they show that Paul was taking produce and money to Jerusalem to help them through the Sabbatical Year of C.E. 56. Not only does this information help us date the times when the epistles of First and Second Corinthians (as well as Romans) were written, but also the evidence helps to confirm the sequence of Sabbatical Years which Qedesh La Yahweh has provided. When the complete ramifications of this chronological subject are recognized, it will be seen how important the proper interpretation of John 4:35–38 really is. Jesus in that verse is talking about a Sabbatical Year. That indication represents a powerful chronological benchmark which can help us identify the years when the festivals took place that John mentioned in his Gospel. When it is realized that the Sabbatical Year of C.E. 28 is the first year of Jesus’ ministry, most of the other chronological indications in the Gospels and epistles can make much better sense. It especially denotes that 30 years before this Sabbatical Year, one arrives at 3 B.C.E. for the birth of the Jesus. All makes sense when these things are understood.

1 Leviticus 25:1–7.
2 John 4:35.
3 Mishnah, Ta’anith, 1.7.
4 Commentary on John, tom.xiii.39, 41.
5 John 4:35.
6 Luke 4:17–21.
7 See the chart accompanying the article on the “Triennial Cycle” in the Jewish Encyclopedia (Funk and Wagnalls, 1906).
8 See my proof of this in chapter five of this book.
9 Leviticus 25:1–22, see especially verse 9 which shows that Sabbatical Years began and ended on the Day of Atonement.
10 B.Z. Wacholder, Hebrew Union College Annual (43) 1973, “The Calendar of Sabbatical Cycles During the Second Temple and the Early Rabbinic Period” (pp. 183–196), andAnnual (46) 1975, “The Timing of Messianic Movements and the Calendar of Sabbatical Cycles” (pp. 201–218). See also, “The Calendar of Sabbath Years During the Second Temple Era: A Response,” Annual 54 (1983).
11 Josephus, War II.200; Antiquities XVIII.271–284.
12 Schurer, History of the Jewish People, I.I., 42–43.
13 Antiquities XX.206.
14 Ibid., 211–214.
15 See also “The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible,” Suppl. Vol., pp.762–763.
16 Josephus, War  I.101 and Loeb, vol.Vlll, p. 184 note c.
17 Cf. Josephus, Antiquities XV.341 and Loeb note d.
18 Cf. Schurer, JPJC, I.I., 42–43, revised., II.169–171.
19 Ibid., 179.
20 Josephus, War II.218.
21 Josephus, Antiquities XX.211.
22 Acts 18:3.
23 Luke 3:1.
24 For a full discussion on the various ways that Tiberius’ fifteenth year have been reckoned, see the works of Prof. Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, First Edition, pp.259–273, and Prof Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, pp.29–37.
25 Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, pp.34–35.
26 Abodah Zarah, 10a.
27 Jubilees 1:27–29.
28 4Q181, fragments 1–2.
29 1 Qmelch.3:2.
30 Wacholder, lnterpreters’ Dictionary, One Vol., supplement, 763.
31 Luke 3:23
32 Against Heresies, II,xxii,5.
33 Ibid.
34 Gregory Nazianzen, Oration on Baptism, XXIX.
35 Galatians 4:10.
36 Josephus, War III.516–521; VI.317, 333–336; Antiquities V.76–79.
37 Galatians 2:10.
38 Acts 18:11.
39 Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, First Edition, 316–318.
40 Acts 18:12–17.
41 Acts 18:21–22.
42 Acts 18:23.
43 Acts 19:10.
44 1 Corinthians 16.
45 1 Corinthians 16:15.
46 2 Corinthians 8:10; 9:2
47 Romans 15:25–33.
48 Acts 20:31.
49 Acts 20:16.

Triennial Torah Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading

Gen 38    2 Sam 3     Ps 78   Mark 16-Luke 1:26


Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38)

The story of Judah and Tamar is of notable significance. It is placed here in the middle of Joseph’s story, not because it is directly related, but because the events took place after Joseph was sold into slavery and before the sons of Jacob traveled to Egypt. As can be seen, the end of the account is the birth of twin sons, Perez and Zerah, to Tamar. These two boys become important fathers in the lineage of future kings. If Onan and Judah had had their way, Tamar would not have given birth to the very son whose descendants include both King David and Yeshua Messiah.

Although the account does prominently show some of Judah’s shortcomings, that is not its main purpose. This account is about proving lineage. Both Luke 3:33 and Matthew 1:3 show that Perez is the son of Judah through whom Yeshua was descended. The Messiah would be a descendant of Judah (see Genesis 49:10). But why the detailed version of this lineage? Many of the other lineages in Genesis simply list who fathered whom—wouldn’t that suffice? No, for without the story of how Tamar conceived and Judah’s subsequent public acknowledgment of fatherhood, the Jewish heritage of the descendants of Perez, including Yeshua, may have been unknown or disputed.

Another interesting item in the account is Judah’s statement: “She has been more righteous than I.” This was certainly true. Notice that although Tamar did dress as a prostitute, it was Judah who solicited her. Yet later, Judah sentenced Tamar to be burned as punishment, even though he had been very willing to go into one whom he thought was a harlot and participate in such a sin himself. In contrast, Tamar was ensuring that an heir would be raised up to her husband (compare Deuteronomy 25:5-6), a responsibility that Judah had willfully abandoned (Genesis 38:14).

David’s Harem; Abner’s Defection (1 Chronicles 3:1-4; 2 Samuel 3:2-21)

Clearly one of David’s weaknesses is his passion for women. And in the ancient Middle East, kings were often judged by the size of their harems. The larger the harem, the more powerful the king was considered to be. But Israel was supposed to be different. One of God’s instructions for Israel’s king was written in Deuteronomy 17:17: “Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away.” Sadly, David succumbed to this temptation, which would cause hardship in his family and his own life and set a terrible example for his son Solomon. Listed here are David’s wives and the sons he fathered by them while he lived and reigned in Hebron:

Ahinoam (Jezreelitess) bore Amnon (later killed by his half-brother Absalom)
Abigail bore Chileab (Daniel)
Maacah (Geshurite) bore Absalom (who later betrayed David and was killed by Joab)
Haggith bore Adonijah (later executed by Solomon for betrayal)
Abatal bore Shephatiah
Eglah bore Ithream

That’s at least six children by six different women in seven years—not a very good way to start a family. And his former wife Michal is about to be thrown into this mix. What a terrible mess!

After a power struggle between Ishbosheth and Abner over one of Saul’s concubines, Abner, probably seeing the handwriting on the wall, is now ready to pledge his loyalty to David. David tests that loyalty by demanding that his first wife, Michal, be returned to him. Ishbosheth (who fears Abner, 2 Samuel 3:11) carries out the demand. Though David seems satisfied with Abner’s pledge of support, it is not so with Joab, who will not forget that his brother died by Abner’s hand.

“Again and Again They Tempted God” (Psalm 78)

Like Psalm 74, Psalm 78 is a maskil—an instructional psalm or “contemplation” (NKJV)—of Asaph. In this closing psalm of the first cluster of Book III, the second-longest psalm in the Bible, Asaph reflects on God’s faithfulness despite Israel’s history of rebellion against Him—and on God’s decision to dwell with Judah rather than with Israel at large. Where the KJV and NKJV have “my law” in verse 1, the NIV has “my teaching,” as the Hebrew word torah means instruction—principles to understand and live by, thus a law for life (compare Proverbs 1:8; 3:1; 4:2).

In Psalm 78:2, “the terms parable and dark sayings or riddles indicate sayings with ‘deeper meanings’ or ‘teachings with a point’ (Prov. 1:6)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Psalm 78:1-2). The apostle Matthew quoted Psalm 78:2 as a prophecy of Yeshua’s use of parables (Matthew 13:34-35)—using stories to teach lessons. In Psalm 78 the story is that of Israel’s history—a pattern followed by Christ’s disciple Stephen in his message of Acts 7.

The general instruction here is not new, Asaph explains, as it was to have been passed down from one generation to the next so that succeeding generations would come to know God’s laws and learn from the mistakes of past generations who failed to follow these laws (Psalm 78:3-8). Asaph is participating in this passage of instruction on a broad scale through the composition and performance of his psalm for the national audience.
Yet what may be new, the more subtle point of the psalm, as we will see, concerns the shift of the center of God’s worship and of civil rule from the northern tribes to Judah. This is first hinted at in verses 9-11. The tribe of Ephraim son of Joseph here, as the leading tribe in Israel, was representative of the nation of Israel in general, particularly the northern tribes. Indeed, the mention of Ephraim in verse 9 with respect to a battle may be specific. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states: “From the description of God’s judgment on Israel, on Shiloh ([the site of His tabernacle through the period of the judges] located in the mountains of Ephraim), and, particularly, on Ephraim (vv. 56-64, 67), the psalmist may be thinking of the Philistine incursion and victory at Ebenezer, which resulted in the loss of the ark and the destruction of Shiloh (1 Sam 4:1-11)” (note on Psalm 78:9).

The loss at Shiloh, due to Israel’s refusal to obey God, was a momentous development, as the psalm later points out. Yet it followed a pattern of Israel’s rebellion since the nation’s deliverance from Egypt, which is recounted in the psalm. (Zoan in verses 12 and 43 was an Egyptian city in the Nile Delta.)
Despite God’s awesome deliverance (verses 12-16), the Israelites rebelled in the wilderness, trying God’s patience (verses 17-18). Though He had divided the Red Sea, they didn’t believe He would provide food and drink for them in the desert. They thought they would starve because of His “deliverance” (see Exodus 16). And when He did provide, they were later unsatisfied with what He gave them (see verses 18-22)—even though He gave them manna, the “bread of heaven…angel’s food” (verse 24), which Yeshua later explained was symbolic of Himself given for others to partake of in a spiritual sense (see John 6). So God gave them what they craved—sending birds in abundance to provide them with meat—but He struck them with a plague for their voracious lust and outrageous ingratitude (Psalm 78:26-31). The full account of this episode is found in Numbers 11.

“In spite of this,” says Psalm 76:32, the Israelites continued to sin against God, not believing “in His wonderful works” (Psalm 78:32). How is this possible when they saw the supernatural intervention with their own eyes? Perhaps some did not trust what they had seen—or they willfully forgot. Yet on a wide scale this probably means that the people did not retain confidence in these things as proof of God’s care for them or an indication that He would judge evil the next time as He had before. This too is a form of forgetfulness. In Hebrews 3:12-13, believers are warned against following the Israelites’ example in developing an “evil heart of unbelief…hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Because they didn’t believe Him, God caused the Israelites to spend the rest of their days “in futility” and “fear” rather than entering the Promised Land (Psalm 78:33). For 40 years they wandered, seeking God then forgetting Him and becoming unfaithful (verses 34-42). Yet in His compassion, God averted His wrath on many occasions, remembering “that they were but flesh” (verses 38-39). God is still the same merciful God, for which we can be ever thankful (compare Malachi 3:6).

Again, at the root of the Israelites’ unfaithfulness was their failure to remember—in the way they should have—God’s power as exercised to deliver them from their enemies (Psalm 78:42). Asaph, expressing what parents should have been teaching their children, again recounts God’s striking of Egypt to free His people and His driving out of the Canaanites to give His people the Promised Land (verses 43-55). Having come to “His holy border” in verse 54, “this mountain” in the same verse is evidently the whole land of Israel (as mountains often represent nations in Scripture).

Even in the Promised Land, the people “turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers” (verse 57). A major reason is probably that succeeding generations failed to pass on what God did for the nation—and to pass on God’s laws. Verses 58-59 show that the Israelites sank into syncretistic and idolatrous practices, which infuriated God.

We come, then, to verse 60. Because of their pattern of unfaithfulness, God forsakes the tabernacle at Shiloh, allowing the enemy Philistines to capture, for a period of time, “His strength…and His glory” (verse 61)—referring to the Ark of the Covenant (compare 1 Samuel 4:22). Many Israelites were killed in the battle, including the high priest Eli’s wicked sons Hophni and Phinehas (see Psalm 78:62-64; 1 Samuel 4).

In Psalm 78:65-66, God is portrayed as afterward rousing Himself and, with a great shout, beating back His enemies, putting them to a “perpetual reproach.” Asaph is speaking of events leading up to the time he wrote this, essentially describing God leading Israel to defeat its enemies in the time of King David, creating an ongoing period of Israelite peace and triumph under Solomon.

As part of this process, Asaph says that God “rejected the tent of Joseph, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved, and He built His sanctuary like the heights” (verses 67-69). Thus, the center of worship is moved from the tabernacle of Shiloh in the territory of Ephraim to the temple of Jerusalem in the land of Judah. Focus is also placed on God choosing David, of Judah, as king over all Israel (verses 70-71). David’s demeanor and care-giving knowledge as an actual shepherd of sheep was valuable training for shepherding God’s people on behalf of God Himself, the great Shepherd (see Psalm 23).

Yet there may be much more to this psalm. After all, Psalm 78:2 is prophetic of Christ’s parables. His parables mostly concerned His servants and the Kingdom of God. Might there be a Kingdom parable here in Psalm 78? Certainly the need to remain faithful to God and His continual faithfulness to forgive upon repentance are Kingdom themes. But there may be more.

The exaltation of Judah as God’s dwelling in Psalm 78 would take on greater meaning after the division of the kingdom into north and south upon Solomon’s death and the subsequent apostasy of the northern kingdom. As the prophet Hosea would later write in Hosea 11:12: “Ephraim has encircled Me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit [following Israel’s historical pattern in Psalm 78—see especially verse 36]; but Judah still walks with God, even with the Holy One who is faithful.” Judah was in essence the faithful remnant of Israel. But Judah would later apostatize as well. Even then, however, an elect few remained as the true Jews, so to speak—the true Jews of today, the elect remnant according to grace, being God’s people (compare Romans 2:28-29; 11:5).

In that sense, God building His sanctuary on Mount Zion could today figuratively represent the building of His spiritual temple, His people, the spiritual Zion. Indeed, the psalm could be seen, in type, as showing the center of God’s worship being moved from the physical nation of Israel to the spiritual remnant of Israel—again, the people. Yet in looking forward to God’s Kingdom, we should understand that the people of spiritual Zion will be established at the earthly Zion and all Israel will ultimately be saved—no longer enslaved to the pattern outlined in this psalm. David in the concluding verses of Psalm 78 is in this picture representative of the rulers of God’s coming Kingdom, especially the chief ruler, David’s descendant Yeshua Messiah, the Good Shepherd who will reign from the throne of David over all nations. David himself and all the saints will then reign with Him in perfect integrity and skill.

Mark 16 – Luke 1:26

The two Miryams go to the tomb to anoint the body of Yeshua, but when they arrived, they saw He was not there. A young man wearing a white robe told them that Yeshua had been raised and for them to go and tell His taught ones that He would go before them to Galil.
Mark records the appearances of Yeshua to people: first to Miryam of Magdala, then to two others on the road to Emais, then to all the other taught ones.
He instructed them to go into all the world and proclaim the Good News to every creature.


Luke begins his account as writing to Theophilos, and believes he is worthy because he did witness many or most of all the matters that were being testified of in that day.

He begins with Zekaryah and Elisheba and their miraculous birth bringing forth Yohanan. He tells of the experience Zekaryah had with the messenger of Elohim while conducting his duties of burning the incense in the Dwelling Place during a festival time. This child will “turn many of the children of Yisra’el to YHWH their Elohim.”