The Tenth Commandment Turbulent Waters

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, 2013
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News Letter 5848-050
27th day of the 11th month?5848 years after the creation of Adam
The 11th Month in the Third year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences
This is also the end of the Forty Sixth week of this the Third Tithe Year for the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow?Deuteronomy 26:12


February 9, 2013


Shabbat Shalom To The Royal House of Israel,


Look for the New Moon of the 12th month this Monday night or Tuesday.

Last weeks News Letter on Cannibalism got mixed reviews. I want to once again ask you all, if you see the things I am seeing then go and tell others. Not just one or two or ten, but tell everyone you can and only stop when you run out of breath.

Once again fidockdave has done an exceptional job at showing us the very curses we have been telling you about from Lev 26 for not keeping the Sabbatical years and the Holy Days and the weekly Sabbath. Before you read any more of this News Letter please watch this 14 minute video. It shows a lot of Australia. You can bet as much as you want that the USA will face similar things this year of 2013.

This also came in on Friday last week. When you look at the size of the blocks of ice that fell from the sky think of what happened in Egypt at Passover. Each and every plague of Egypt will come to visit us if we forget to keep the Torah.
Nine people killed as freak hailstorm rains massive boulders down on Indian villages



In the email bag this week

Hello Joseph’
Once again that you for all the information you send me I am very enlightened by it. There is so much to learn and so much we have been led astray on- its really sad.


But not everyone like what we send out. Another one wrote this;


Please remove me from your email list. Week after week all I receive from you is Doomsday Gloomsday News. You may think you’re called to do this, but I think you need to study the Torah more – HaShem did not make you His Prophet.

Adios Joseph.


Each week I question why I am the only one teaching about the Sabbatical years and their curses. I doubt myself all the time. Who am I to teach any one? After all I am just a ditch digger. Perhaps this person is right in what they say. And yet when I look around me and see the video which we asked you to watch this week and I have seen this now since 2005, what am I to do? Do I just shut up and say to bad for them? Or do I try and warn as many as I can by any means I can, the exact same way any one would scream out when they saw immediate danger about to happen. I cannot be an ostrich and bury my head in the sand. If I do then I still have my butt exposed to the danger and will get it severely kicked.

Rest assured Brethren, I am not leaving or saying “adios”, I will continue to do this thankless job. Noah too was called a doomsday gloomsday type person. Jeremiah was too and both of them did not convince anyone of the things they were saying. I know how much that sucks. I often feel no one believes this message. Then a few write to let me know they get it. But there are so many like the person who wrote this email above. Brethren who keep Torah with their heads buried in the sand and their ass flapping in the wind exposed to the danger coming.

Brethren it cannot just be me doing this. Each of you was called to do the work in the vineyard. Whether that was long ago at the beginning of the day or now in the late of the day. The pay is the same, so pull up your socks, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Stop hiding behind others and get to work. Tell people about the Sabbatical years, teach them. Or you can help by sending people to the web site. You can use the new book “Remembering the Sabbatical Year 2016” which is about to be released. It answers every question. Every question.

Stop finding excuses why you can’t do it and find reasons why you have to do it.

After preparing this message I got the following encouragement.

The article by Walid Shoebat has been censored/removed. Did you copy the whole article and if so, could you please send it. I would like to get the word out to others, especially because our media in USA censors these things out. and Cannibalism (Censored/Removed)


Thank you and thank you, so very much, for your teachings. I have learned many things. My husband and I have a small rural house church and incorporate some of your teachings.


We also were blessed to get the following email of which we do plan to post more articles on health and nutrition. We, myself included, we all need to get in shape if we want to survive what is coming. It is time to clean up the Temple.


Glad to read info about proper nutrition will be a part of your Newsletter.

Obviously avoid the GMO and pesticid laced veggies found in produce section of supermarkets. Yes, buy organic. HOWEVER, not many realize that even organic produce is grown in soil depleted of minerals and essential elements. Your soil must be restored, or even organic (pesticide free) produce will not provide you with the essential – some say – 90 minerals and trace elemens we need for health.
Dr. Charles Morton, in his book Eat Better Than Organic speaks about restoring YOUR soil in YOUR garden. Worth a look. We should all be growing at least some of our own food.

In the end, even this will not help, as believers will be fleeing to the mountains and wilderness. But for now grow a garden if you possibly can.

Thanks, Peter



On that note, about your body being the Temple, If Yehovah is dwelling in your Temple, in you, what does it look like?

If the Queen was coming to your home what would it look like? Would you clean it up and make it shine with spit and polish or would she find dust and spider webs everywhere she touched. Garbage under the couch, smelly diapers at the front door.

In like manner if you were go to visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace, would you wear your work clothes or would you put on the best you had.

Then based on the obvious answers to this you had better get your Temple ship shape ASAP. The Creator of the Universe is going to dwell there. And when you come to your appointment to meet with Him each Shabbat in your assemblies stop wearing your just rolled out of bed clothes. Or the clothes that have not seen a washing machine in months. Make an effort to dress the best you can to meet the Creator of the Universe. Iron those shirts and comb your hair. Each person at this meeting represents an Ambassador of the Kingdom of the most High. Treat them as such and with the utmost respect. Or you will be held accountable by the King.

In the West we have such a shallow regard for the Office of our King. It is time to change this and to esteem it with the utmost respect we can muster. Dress for the appointment you are going to have each Shabbat, treat the other ambassadors with the esteem and respect they deserve whether earned or not.

I once corresponded with a friend about the 3 ½ year Torah study and each time he addressed me he would call me Your Majesty and he treated me with the utmost respect. I asked him why he did this. His answer was because that is the office I am called to hold as he was and as you are. It did not matter that he knew much more than I did. In time I would learn and catch up.

So, Your Majesty, your Royal Highness, please treat the other Royalty with the respect and honour becoming of the office they are being trained to occupy. Please dress according to the high stature you have now been called to administrate and when you come before the King of all Kings on each Shabbat, know before whom you are to come and dress and act with the utmost regard to Him who hears you and your conversations and sees your actions before and during and after the appointment. And tremble He does not execute the judgment on you that you so freely do on others be they in the faith or not.

I have two other things I want to say this week. When you come to offering up your prayers, are they the end of the day sleepy ones which never get done because you fall asleep? Or are they not done at all?

The daily offerings were done at 9am and 3 pm each day. These are what Daniel is talking about in his prophecy of the 2300 morning and evenings. These were the grain offerings and they were to be the finest of flour for these offerings which any one could make. They had to be the very best that one could muster up. Generally they were made with wheat.

You Brethren represent the wheat and the very best will be what we offer up in our prayers, which was what Daniel did at 9 and 3 each day. He could not do the lambs but he could do the prayers at that time and he did. As did David and I am finding a number of other places that also did so.

I have been trying to do this this past week and I have found it to be very hard to do. Eitehr I forget or something happens at work about this time. But I am making it part of my time when I am going to pray. I just have to get it into my habits.

We need to change our attitudes about our prayers, our time at Shabbat and with each other.

Stop giving Yehovah your sleepy time prayers; stop coming to Sabbath so casual that we can’t tell if you on your way to work or Shabbat; Stop treating each other and Yehovah as common. You are to be Holy. You prayers are to be Holy, and the brethren are to be Holy and your gathering on Shabbat is a Holy time. Stop making everything that is Holy common. Start treating each other like Royalty; Start treating the time on Shabbat like you are at Buckingham Palace; start dressing up as if you are to meet the King of Kings. Start acting like the King is about to come and visit you. Treat your spouse as the King or the Queen they are.

One last thing before we go to our study on the Tenth Commandment.

Many of you have been trying to put together teachings for your home groups. So at these meetings you will have a DVD of someone or an audio. And that is your lesson for this week. Many times it does not fit what your group needs.

A number of years ago I began to study at the Hebrew Roots Teaching Institute. I was going to get my MBA in Hebraic eschatology. I wanted to be able to teach you things and to do it proper. I never did complete the course.

During the time that has past Professor Liebenberg has read my News Letters and watched the DVD about the Sabbatical years and read The Prophecies of Abraham. He was blown away by these things. IN fact he said in a letter to me one time that if he could do it all over he would come back and study Torah from a Sabbatical and Jubilee perspective, which is what I have been doing. Professor Liebenberg also nominated The Prophecies of Abraham for a Nobel Prize in 2011 and he has endorse the newest book “Remembering the Sabbatical Year 2016” which is soon to be released.

Recently the Professor has asked me to share with you some of the teachings they are giving out in order to promote the courses they offer. I have had the institute on my web site for years now. It is the only one I have ever advertised for. I get nothing for this, but I do find the things they teach and the people I have met in Israel who are associated with the school to be of top quality.

Do we agree on everything? No and it is these areas that make for great midrashes. But we do agree on many other things and the insights I have learned from them on many things are outstanding.

He has 4 teachings for you to study and consider and discuss. I am not able to produce them all here for you. But you can write and ask for them. They are;

Henk Keuris Prof WA Liebenberg
Proofread by: Lynette Schaefer
All rights reserved.?No portion of this book may be reproduced or copied.
Distributed by: Hebraic Roots Teaching Institute Pretoria – South Africa Email: Mobile: +27 (0)83 273 1144
Facebook Page: “Hebraic Roots Teaching Institute” Website:

No.1 – “Is Your Messiah of Jewish Origin or from the Western Nations?”
By?Professor WA Liebenberg
Christiain Foundational Teaching

No.2 – “Your Identity” (Intermediate) The Ultimate Mystery in the Bible Christians has Grossly Missed
Henk Keuris & Professor WA Liebenberg
Proofread by: Lynette Schaefer

No.3 – “There is only “One” Covenant, and Christians have grossly Missed It”
Henk Keuris Professor WA Liebenberg
Proofread by: Lynette Schaefer

No. 4 – “The Torah is YHWH’s “Grace” and Christians have Grossly Missed It”
Henk Keuris Professor WA Liebenberg
Proofread by: Lynette Schaefer

These are the five lessons you can have right now to study into. Will you agree with them all? Whether you do or not you will learn many other things along the way. IN order to have them sent to you in PDF you will have to write the Prof. at the email below.

And here is something for all the groups to consider. They are offering to help anyone set up a Yeshiva. A place to study Torah and will provide the power point slides so you can teach a lesson each week. You decide what you want to teach and then select the powerpoint presentation. You can add to it or take away from it. You are in control of what is presented.
Here is his email to us all.

Beloved Friend,

Pray you are all in good faith and spirit and health. Many Believers have approached us requesting answers on what it entails to open a Hebraic Roots Yeshiva School. Well good news has come your way. We have listed a short summary below on how easy it is to open a school which will pleasantly surprize you, it is very easy and user-friendly, smile.

Short and easy guidelines to open your Yeshiva:

· Who may open one? – Any person matured enough and who accepted Y’shua as Messiah.
· What minimum qualification do I need? – There is no qualification required. The same principle applies: “Moshe (Moses) as the people ask questions, you will learn with them”.
· Can I open one anywhere? – Yes, there are many Yeshivas in a single street in Jerusalem and students follow their preferred teacher.
· Must I follow a fixed and prescribed dogma? – No, our Statement of Faith on our Website gives the perimeters as basis for the material, however we stay by our motto “We Inform, You Choose”. You teach as you are guided by YHWH’s Ruach (Spirit).
· How is the teaching material presented? – Most teachings are in the most beautiful Pictorial Powerpoint Presentation format which the presenter may use via projecting it on a big screen. Others are in PDF booklet format which may be printed and used as hand-outs to the student. The owner (Dean) may make his own Manuals from the MS Word Powerpoints or PDF books.
· What material does it cover? – Typology, Hebrew Roots, Spirit World, Torah, Midrashic Eschatology, Ruach, Hebrew Language, Festivals, Y’shua’s life, Exegesis on biblical books, and a host of other topics. You choose what you would like to present. It covers basically seven years of studies. See detail of each Module at the link provided below.
· How long does it take to open a Yeshiva? – It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes to register and then couple of days to receive your material.
· What procedure must I follow? – Click on this link for the short, easy and user-friendly procedure to open your School.
· Will you help me to promote my Yeshiva? – Yes we list your Yeshiva’s detail on our Website (“Yeshiva Locations”) at no cost at all should anybody in your area would like to attend your School.
· How much does it cost for opening a Yeshiva? – To open a Yeshiva is totally free for the Unfortunate Countries and includes the items listed below. For any other country there is a standard donation to cover the costs for the study material production, shipping and to sponsor one unfortunate person. The donation fee involved in total to open a Yeshiva is $150 US (±R1350 SA) all inclusive for any country. The donation fee includes: 1) The Course material on CD, 2) The Yeshiva’s Presenter Certificate, 3) The Yeshiva to be logged on the HRTI Website with Yeshiva Dean and Presenter’s detail, and 4) The shipping and administration.
· We include attached a free gift of four A5 booklets which is also included in the Yeshiva material. These would change your life radically, please read through them and distribute them as far and wide as possible, especially to family members, friends, and Church Leaders.
· Attached is a Yeshiva Registration Form for your convenience. After completing it please mail it to Jan Lamprecht who is HRTI’s International Yeshiva Co-ordinator – You may invite Jan and his wife Esme to come and visit your Yeshiva.
· Please also read through all the details concerning Yeshivas at link

Thank you so very much for the great work you are doing to expand YHWH’s Kingdom and to glorify Y’shua our Messiah, we love you!

With Shalom in Y’shua haMashiach I greet you and yours
(see further below what this greeting entails)

Cher & Prof WA Liebenberg

Y’shua said, if you love me do my commandments (Torah/Instructions)…
Believers have left the commandments of YHWH to follow the traditions of men,
and the end is awful to contemplate… we need to get back to our ancient paths

We are here to prepare the Hebrew Bride for The Hebrew Messiah
– the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel

Hebraic Roots and Jewish Eschatology
+27 (0)83 273 1144È
+27 (0) 86 528 3461 7 (Fax) ?
Facebook Page

So there you go Brethren.

Now let me ask you all a very simple question.

We are about to begin a Yehshiva here in Hanover. When we do, how many of you would join up. And how much would you be willing to pay per year for these courses. We have 4 men here we can draw from to help teach each week. In fact they are very excited and want to start this right away. We are meeting this Shabbat as you read this to discuss this very thing. And to have it on Radio and Video online for you.

The reason I am asking is because I would need to hire a tech guy to make sure everything was working so you could watch and listen to the teachings. If this is what we have to do then we will do this and there are other costs associated with presenting this. So I ask are you willing to help us in this?

Then in order for us to do this and teach you these courses and also about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and to continue with the News Letter and the Radio show we are working towards doing, it would mean I would have another full time job. With these other 3 men this will be very good. So I am asking how many of you would be seriously interested in having a once or twice a week Yeshiva and be willing to pay for it and how much would you pay per year.

Let me know by email this week and we will see what the numbers are and consider this. Many of you have no instruction each Shabbat. Some of you get together with others but have no one to lead you or stretch your minds. Some of you use this very News letter. We have been talking amongst the 5 leaders in our two groups and we are wondering if there is the demand. Consider this and do let us know. Also pray the men who have agreed to join with me in providing you the very best we can teaching you the Hebraic truths of the Torah.


The Tenth Commandment


Exodus 20:17 “You do not covet your neighbor’s house, you do not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, not his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbor.”

This commandment is so very critical to us. Please do not just read through this article without pausing and contemplating what is being shared. Inherent in this commandment and all its implications is a severe condition of our hearts, thoughts, minds, and bodies. Many believers teach that the fist commandment to mankind is: “To believe there is a God,” and point of fact we are told that we must first believe that Yehovah exists; “But without belief it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Elohim has to believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

The first half of the commandments could fall under this category in that we must first believe “He is” then we are commanded to “Love Him”. Keeping this command to Love Elohim with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength covers this, just as Yeshua affirmed. We do not put any other mighty one before or beside Him. We do not worship any other but Him. We do not bring His Name to nothingness or cause it to be of no value. We honor and keep the Sabbath day set apart.

The Tenth commandment is truly the “bookend” to these two tablets of stone upon which Yehovah Himself wrote the Ten Words. Do an exercise in your mind to work the commandments five through ten backwards. In other words, after the Fourth Commandment concerning the Sabbath day with these four concerning our relationship and worship of Yehovah, and how to “first believe that He is.” Go now to our Tenth Commandment and contemplate why it would be that He has to give us this commandment. What is it, about the condition of ourselves and our hearts toward one another and ”for” ourselves, that Yehovah has to command us or instruct us in this way. We must consider now, after considering who He is… just who it is we are.

What do we need to believe when we read the Tenth Commandment? Looking at the words of Hebrews from above: “But without belief it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Elohim has to believe that He is…”
We need to believe our condition that exits without Him.

Consider ourselves. Consider the Tenth Commandment not to desire, long for, lust after, find pleasure in, delight in “anything that belongs to our neighbor”

Do you see here, in this Tenth Commandment, the realization that we “must believe that within us is the nature to desire what Yehovah rejects or does not desire.” This puts us in opposition to our Elohim who we are to love with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. This ought to spark immediate concern, evaluation, and introspection into the heart of every believer.

If we could understand, guard, and obey the Tenth Commandment to the depth and degree required of us, all of the other commandments involving our fellow man is taken care of. Think about this for a while and consider it. When we read, “love covers a multitude of sins” I cannot help to think of the Tenth Commandment.

As we have done for all the commandments, we are going to look now at the verb in this instruction – covet – in the Hebrew and get an idea of what Yehovah is truly saying. We leave behind preconceived notions and teachings we have heard all our lives on a continual basis and we are going to truly look at this word – covet.

It is an extraordinary word. It is the Hebrew word chamad and many, many pages could be spent on this one word alone dissecting it, looking at the pictograph of the word, untold applications and implications for this word. We will do some of that now and if you allow your mind to “picture” this word, it truly is just as effective and penetrating as was the word “zakar” in our Fourth Commandment to “zakar” the Sabbath Day. So let’s take a look…

Covet – Strong’s H2530
chamad {khaw-mad’} a primitive root; TWOT – 673 AV – desire 10, covet 4, delight 2, pleasant 2, beauty 1, Lust 1, delectable things 1; 21 v 1) to desire, covet, take pleasure in, delight in 1a) (Qal) to desire 1b) (Niphal) to be desirable 1c) (Piel) to delight greatly, desire greatly n f 2) desirableness, preciousness

So what do we have here in the word picture?

We have a “ch” which is the letter chet, or some write it hhet. It is the picture of a fence or a border of some sort, a boundary. We can even picture a headgerow, or a row of tents or houses in a neighborhood.

Next letter is “mem” Mem is always water, the picture of waves on an ocean or lake. Mem is water. With waters, as we all know, they can be calm, chaotic, still, frozen solid, a vapor, running gently, peaceful. All of these things water can do, even cleansing and life sustaining. Our physical bodies are mostly water.

Chamad (covet) ends in a “d” for the letter “dalet” In my limited experience with Hebrew there are some things I have noted that always turn up. One of those things is whenever I see the dalet, there is the idea of movement. One way or the other. The “dalet” or “d” in Hebrew is a pictograph of a door. Anytime the “door” appears in a word, in other words, anytime the “d for dalet” appears in a word… look for some type of decision to be made within yourself. Just as a door swings two ways, open and closed, so does the dalet in a word – almost rendering the word with a double meaning yet in opposite directions.

The door in the Hebrew mindset is something that swings. It is like our door today in that it opens and closes on a hinge. The ancient Hebrew door is similar only it opened and closed in a vertical fashion: either rolled up or let down because it was the door of a tent. People who go camping know what this looks like.

Anyway… we can picture now this word chamad. Notice where the mem is for water? Yes, it is located between a door that can opened and/or closed and a boundary line or fence.. maybe even an embankment.

You, beloved, are this water in this word chamad. You are in between a boundary and a door and your emotions (the water) is in between. Are your waters calm and peaceful, or are they raging out of bounds? Fascinating isn’t it? Are you “bubbling over” with heat of anger or passion? And then is that passion in line with Yehovah’s passion, your own passion, or perhaps even the passion of the adversary? See what I mean about this word! Yehovah did not choose this word randomly, He is trying to get something across to us about how He created us. We must realize these things, listen to His Voice, and monitor ourselves and our emotion, thoughts, desires, and passions. He created us to be emotional beings. We reflect His Image in this fashion… but we need boundaries, we need gates and doors and we need discernment. This chamad (coveting) on the wrong things He instructs us… “no,” do not cover these things. As always, He tells us this for our benefit.

Just think of the list of many, many things we can covet! So many! We shall covet love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, long-suffering, goodness. So much of the time we focus and are in some ways taught to focus on the negatives of these instructions from our Father. They are not negative, they are only boundaries built upon love and grace.

Let’s continue on with looking now at some other uses of this word, or parts of this word to re-enforce what we have learned through the Hebrew lesson.

Remember a man name Cham? Some may say “no”, however if you were asked about a man named Ham you would answer “yes” I know about him. He was the son of Noah who did something very wrong to Noah which resulted in a cursing. We are not going to talk about that particular incident at this time, but what we are going to talk about is his name. In the West, we pronounce the “ch” with an “h”, but note that in the Hebrew, the name Ham, is truly the name Cham. Anyone can look it up to see it written in the Hebrew with a “chet” like we learned earlier.

Now Cham has the pictograph of a boundary on one side of the waters and nothing on the other side of that water. No door, no fence, no rock or embankment of any kind. And what do we know about Cham? He was ruled by his emotions and his passions. In fact, we are told his name means: hot. We see a man whose waters are raging, boiling, and flow out from him like a flood drowning whatever he comes into contact with. His captain is his own desire and we read that he will be the “servant to the servant.” Do you know what this means? I heard that it means he was told he was going to be a servant to the lower nature, the animal nature that follows after its own desires continuously. The appetites we are created with are there to serve our Spirit man, not our animal natured man.

The proper order for life is from Elohim’s Spirit to our Spirit. Then our spirit is to instruct our soul (our appetite nature) in what to do, feel, think, and behave…based upon the instruction we have received from Elohim’s Spirit. Then our soul is to tell the physical body: the hands, feet, eyes, ears what to do in the physical world. Cham was told, that because he did not control his animal nature, that hot uncontrolled selfish passion, that he would serve that which was supposed to be the servant. This is the definition of disorder and chaos.

Who is controlling and keeping the waters within you? From where does your fountain come?

We can also look at the origin and direction of the flow of your waters. Is it stagnant and rotting, doing nothing at all? Is it flowing out of knowledge of Torah or does it rage in all directions according to wild emotions based upon every whim that enters the boundaries of your eyes and ears or maybe the desires of your own heart and not from Yehovah?

If our fountain originates from any other source but Yehovah and His Torah (His Instructions for life), we are going to experience chaotic waters within our souls and within our being. We are going to experience raging waters, without boundaries, without directions, and without order. We will be led into trespass, death, and destruction. We will spend our lives serving the servant, not serving the Master.

Water also flows along the path of least resistance doesn’t it, unless a outside source comes along and “creates” a boundary and “causes” it to flow in a desired direction? Is it easier to be thankful for what we have or to always be wanting more than? It is easier to always want more… right? It takes work to be thankful for what we have. Which means we must PURSUE it. We must purposefully pursue being thankful and gracious.

Is it easier to toil, practice patience, do without… or to take things from others and grab what we can get when we have opportunities? Look at all the families who have both parents working to obtain “things” and keep us with society and the desire of it. Whenever a parent presents issues of things like problems involving decisions over sport games on Saturday, and keeping the Sabbath, the answer is simple and can be posed with another question: Do you want to raise a Priest and King or an athlete? It has to do with the chamad, the desire of the heart.

The Tenth Commandment is so full of grace and mercy unto us. Many teach that grace is unmerited favor, but truly, this definition fits more with the meaning of mercy.
What other mighty one in all the earth gives warnings to his children? The list of items we are not to covet protects us from a great many other trespasses. If we heed the tenth commandment, we will not commit adultery, we will not steal, we will not bear false witness, we will not murder. At the end of all these things is “hot, uncontrolled, untamed passions and desires, lusts of the heart, eyes, the soul.”

Father Yehovah does not instruct us: “do not covet” only.

There are untold examples in His Word where coveting the proper things in life are positive, beautiful, righteous, and to be desired. But He lovingly warns us of what “not” to covet, because these ones will lead us into trespass and sin. He knows this. This is a gift of wisdom to us and a perfect picture of His Grace.

Let us turn now to Scripture and discover more about this word and look at examples of the positive and negative chamad brings to us depending upon whether our water is flowing from Him… or from ourselves.

First mention of this Hebrew word chamad is Genesis 2:9. Among the Ten Commandments, the misuse of this one with chamad placed upon something Yehovah has instructed against, is found in relationship to the Fall of Mankind. We cannot get any more significant than that!
And out of the ground YHWH Elohim made every tree grow that is pleasant (chamad) to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

We see here that ALL the trees were pleasant to the sight and good for food. All of them, to include the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. But Yehovah told us: Do not partake of that one, the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil.

Yehovah’s trees in the Garden of Eden were “pleasant” to the sight. Genesis 2:9 we read “And out of the ground Yehovah Elohim made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

So we can see here that chamad is not a negative thing or action or feeling at all. It is what we have chamad “for”. Do we find pleasant and desirable the same things Yehovah finds pleasant and desirable? Or do we find pleasant and desirable all those “other” things that He has not given us and that belong to someone else?

Inordinate, ungoverned, selfish desire. This is the “chamad” Yehovah instructs us against.

We can talk about cars, homes, clothes, and jewelry. We can talk about gold, silver, fine linens, and diamonds. We can talk about awards, medals, popularity, accolades, and commendations. We can talk about being famous, being a movie star, being a rock star, being a star athlete, and an elected politician of some sort. Pray tell… which one of these things leads us to Yehovah? Which one? Which one of these things do we find in His Torah of commandments, instructions, statutes, and ordinances. Yet, these are the things that fill up our every day and our entire lives.
“I wish I had a big house like so and so”
“I sure would like to have that car!”
“I observe Christmas (the pagan winter solstice celebration) like my friends and family because they are having so much fun and I also desire to have that fun” We do it for the children to make them happy. Where is the commandment from Yehovah “You must keep your children happy by giving them worldly materials.” It is nowhere to be found.
We are instructed to “teach the children the ways of Elohim” though, Deuteronomy chapter 6

Coveting, desiring what others have will lead each of us into false worship and away from Him until finally separation from Him. Remember this commandment, “Do not learn the way of the heathen to inquire after their gods and ask how to serve them.” Many times it “appears” to us they are being blessed, because of what our eyes see and the material wealth they may obtain. Let us remember the law of obedience. Obedience brings blessing whether we obey Yehovah or whether we obey the adversary. Many of us do not realize this truth. Material blessings are worldly blessings and they come to those who obey the ways of the world. Worldly praises are from the world and come to those who do as the world does.

Notice Yehovah did not say, “Do not covet” and leave it at that. He adds a sort of list for us, so that we may understand.
To find desirable, pleasant, delight… is not a trespass against Him. The question for us is: what is it we are finding desirable, pleasant, delightful? What are we coveting? Things of Yehovah, or things of man?

To delight in what our Father delights in is perfection.
Be set apart as I am set apart is what He tells us.

Genesis 3:6 is the second occurrence of chamad:

And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that is was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable (chamad) to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate. And she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

So this matter of the heart that is in our commandment is the same matter of the heart that was in the Garden of Eden and involved in the fall of Adam and Eve. Pretty important matter to be aware of within ourselves wouldn’t we think? Each of these commandments truly requires self- evaluation, prayer, and work on our part. We would do well to search our hearts and take inventory of ourselves.

Yehovah gives us specific restrictions on coveting. This is something interesting to ponder. The list He gives us is somewhat of a guard or boundary for us. If we keep ourselves from coveting (desiring or delighting in) the items on that list… we will be kept from many of the other trespasses such as adultery, theft, murder, lust, and deception.

The Tenth Commandment is also interesting in that it addresses temptation of the heart. The coveting which this commandment forbids is one for which the individual is responsible. In effect, the individual is held accountable for discovering the sin, and for dealing with it. This is necessary because no other human being can know our thoughts. Yehovah thus holds us responsible for what we determine in our hearts and minds.

Let us look at the event between Cain and Abel next. They both were instructed to bring an offering, a gift to Yehovah. He accepted Abel’s gift, but rejected Cain’s. Cain desired so greatly to be accepted by Yehovah and to worship in his own way, that he murdered his brother. His chaotic waters of emotion and passion overcame him and caused his hands (his servant) to murder his brother. He was even warned by Yehovah, “Sin is crouching at the door” He told Cain, but the uncontrolled, selfish desires of his heart spilled over the boundary and then he sinned because he did not gain dominion over them. We should not even covet the acceptance of Yehovah over our brother to this uncontrolled point, but if our brother or sister is being blessed of Yehovah with spiritual blessings and spiritual fruit, our response should be to find out what it is they are doing… and emulate them. We should not go about engaging in slander, jealousy, false witness and murder through our tongues, words and actions.

Emulating the beloved of Yehovah is called discipleship.

There is another person in scripture who obtained the description: “as unstable as water.” Do you know who that is? The firstborn son of Israel (Jacob), Reuben. Genesis 49:4 “Boiling like water, you do not excel because you went up to your father’s bed, then you defiled it – he went up to my couch.” This was part of the blessing and prophecy Jacob pronounced over Reuben. Jacob saw the uncontrolled, selfish desires that Reuben had within him that overflowed to the point of trespass against righteous behavior. Rueben was a man of hot emotions and passions he could not control and Jacob saw this as boiling water. Jacob is right too in his summation of what happens to people with this nature and they do not find the wisdom to control it – they do not excel. The impulse, the anger, the rage, the chaos, selfishness within these people spills over into the physical and will continue to lead them into sin and problems.

People who are like this usually know how they are and many times do not like how they are. They just do not know how to “tame the beast” Yehovah created you with great passion. Your single and foremost reason for living is to learn how to redirect the boiling waters within you. Direct those passionate waters away from your needs and direct them to the needs of others. In doing this, you will go from breaking all of the commandments to keeping them all. Obtain a good and loyal confidant who can hold you accountable for your lifelong work on this wonderful gift you have been given by Yehovah.

Exodus 34:23-24

“Three times in the year all your men are to appear before the Master, YHWH, the Elohim of Israel, for I dispossess nations before you, and shall enlarge your borders, and let no one covet your land when you go up to appear before YHWH your Elohim three times in the year.”

What a fantastic promise here Yehovah gives us. If we are obedient to Him and worship Him according to His instructions, He will literally intervene into the hearts and minds of gentile men and women such that they will not covet our land. The fear of Yehovah will be upon them and He is our rear guard and protector.

In Deuteronomy 5:21 we see an additional item we are not to covet, but this should not surprise us when we understand we simply are not to covet anything that our neighbor possesses in materials. Moses adds our neighbor’s field to the list.
“You do not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor do you desire your neighbor’s house, his field, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, his ox, nor his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbor.”

We have a very strong and specific instruction from Yehovah concerning idols, and the silver and gold used to cover them. Did you realize that when you bring something into your home that is accursed; you are tempting the spiritual realm in bringing curses upon you and your home? Consider this matter intently with prayer.

Deuteronomy 7:22-26
‘And Yehovah your Elohim shall drive out those nations before you, little by little. You are not allowed to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.
But Yehovah your Elohim shall deliver them over to you and destroy them with a great destruction until they are consumed. And He shall give their sovereigns into your hand, and you shall destroy their name fro under the heavens. No one is going to be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them.
The carved images of their mighty ones you are to burn with fire. Do not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it, for it is an abomination to Yehovah your Elohim.
And do not bring an abomination into your house, lest you be accursed like it. Utterly loathe it and utterly hate it, for it is accursed.”

Joshua 7:20-21
So Akan answered Joshua and said, “Truly, I have sinned against Yehovah Elohim of Israel, and this is what I did:
“When I saw among the spoil a lovely garment from Shin’ar, and two hundred sheqels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty sheqels, I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the ground in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”

The words of Akan, “I coveted them and took them.” It is a fact of the human experience that we are going to “see things” we desire, we are going to “hear things” that cause us to desire, and we are going to “experience things” that give us temporary pleasures in this life. Yehovah, out of His great love, mercy, and grace does not intend for us to live by our appetites. This type of life is what we see in the animals. We are created to rule, have dominion both over them and over the beast within us. What makes the difference? His Words to us and His Spirit within us. When we feel the raging and chaotic waters within our beings begin to boil and rage… step back and consult Yehovah. Take His counsel on the matter and act accordingly. If you are struggling with this you are not alone… not by a long shot. We all struggle with these things. However, the learning and blessing is in the struggle itself. We get to know ourselves and our Elohim whom we serve and love. Sit at His Feet and take His Counsel with your problems, He wants you to.

Have you ever seen those bumper stickers that read, “Jesus is my co-captain”? This is a recipe for disaster. Does this mean we get to over-rule His instructions if we don’t like them or they don’t fit our heart’s desire? Or if He says to stay on the path of righteousness, but we desire to take another route then it is “ok”? Just as children cannot be allowed to govern the world around them, neither can we as Yehovah’s children govern the world around us. We look to Him and His Word, for His Wisdom in all matters.

Psalm 19:9-10
The fear of Yehovah is clean, standing forever; The right-rulings of Yehovah are true, They are righteous altogether, More desirable (chamad) than gold, than much fine gold; And sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.

Proverbs 1:20-28
Wisdom calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the broad places.
At the head of the noisy streets she cries out (ears), at the openings of the gates (eyes),
In the city she speaks her words; “How long, you simple ones, would you love simplicity, and shall scoffers delight (chamad) in their scoffing, and fools hate knowledge?
“Turn at my reproof. See, I pour out my spirit on you, I make my words known to you.
“Because I called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one inclined, and you spurned all my counsel, and would not yield to my reproof, “Let me also laugh at your calamity, mock when your dread comes, “When your dread comes like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.
“Let them then call on me, but I answer not; Let them seek me, but no find me.”

Proverbs 6:20-35
My son, watch over your father’s command, and do not forsake the Torah of your mother.
Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you are walking about, it leads you;
When you lie down, it guards you and when you have woken up, it talks to you.
For the command is a lamp, and the Torah a light, and reproofs of discipline a way of life,
To guard you against an evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a strange woman.
Do not desire (chamad) her prettiness in your heart, neither let her captivate you with her eyelids.
For because of a whore [one is brought] to a crust of bread. And an adulteress hunts a precious life.
Would a man take fire to his bosom, and his garments not be burned?
Would a man walk on hot coals, and his feet not be scorched?
So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her goes unpunished.
They do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is starving.

Yet if he is caught he repays sevenfold; he gives all the wealth of his house.
He who commits adultery with a woman lacks heart; He who does it destroys his own life.
He finds smiting and shame, and his reproach is not wiped away.
For jealousy enrages a man, and he does not spare in the day of vengeance.
He does not regard any ransom, nor accept your bribe, however great!

Proverbs 12:11-12
He who tills his land is satisfied with bread, but he who pursues vanities is lacking heart.
The wrong shall covet the catch of evil-doers.

Isaiah 1:28-29
And the destruction of transgressors and of sinners is together, and those who forsake Yehovah shall be consumed.
For they shall be ashamed of the terebinth trees which you have desired (chamad). And you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens which you have chosen.

Isaiah 44:9
Those who make an idol, all of them are emptiness, and their delights (covets) do not profit. And they are their own witnesses; they neither see nor know, so that they are put to shame.

Isaiah 53:1-2
Who has believed our report? And to whom was the arm of Yehovah revealed?
For He grew up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or splendor that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should desire Him –
We are told Yeshua (the Son of Elohim and Elohim manifested in the flesh) did not have the “appearance” of one to be desired (chamad). Yehovah’s way are not our ways.

Micah 2:1-2
Woe to those plotting wickedness, and working out evil upon their beds! In the light of the morning they practice it, because it is in the might of their minds.
And they coveted fields and seized them, also houses, and took them away. And they oppressed a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.

Romans 10:1-2
Truly brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to Elohim for Israel is for deliverance.
For I bear them witness that they have an ardor for Elohim, but not according to knowledge.

Romans 13:9
For this, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other command, it is summed up in this word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Romans 7:7
What, then, shall we say? Is the Torah sin? Let it not be! However, I did not know sin except through the Torah. For also the covetousness I knew not if the Torah had not said, “You shall not covet.”

1 Corinthians 12:31
But earnestly seek the better gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

Acts 5:17-18
But the High Priest rose up, and all those with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees, and they were filled with jealousy, and seized the emissaries and put them in the public jail.

Is there anyone we are jealous of? Is there someone in our lives where we witness them always getting accolades, always being loved by everyone else, liked by everyone, and getting attention? This may even begin between brothers and sisters many times… even husbands and wives, even between pastors, teachers, friends, co-workers. If there is someone in your life like this, and they evoke an emotion of jealousy in you… talk to the Father about it. Don’t let it simmer and boil until it causes you to sin.

What if you think they don’t deserve it? Does that make any difference at all between you and Elohim? He will deal with them. If they are a righteous person, emulate them. If they are not righteous (keeping Yehovah’s commandments) then work on disregarding the situation, calming the raging waters within, and focus on Yeshua. Do not covet what they have.

Remember what our Master said about these things also. When people are rewarded here on earth before others, they have their reward. But He desires that we work and serve and do our good in secret thereby we testify and we know that our reward is from our Father in heaven. For every problem we experience here with others and ourselves, our Father gives us help and instruction.

Galatians 5:20
Selfish ambition
The Assemblies and churches are full of pastors, teachers, and preachers today who forsake the truth of Yehovah’s Word in order to keep their positions. They choose to teach falsehoods rather than be outcast. This breaking of the Tenth Commandment leads so many to the path of destruction and death.

James 3:14
But if you have a bitter jealousy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast against and lie against the truth. This is not the wisdom coming down from above, but it is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and self-seeking are, there is confusion and every foul deed.

On the surface, covetousness may not seem to be related to the subject of goals. We will see, however, that what we covet becomes our goal. If we covet the wrong things, we will have the wrong goals, and we thus sacrifice things of great value in our effort to attain what has little ultimate and eternal value.

It is a matter of the heart, an attitude, a matter of strong emotion. As such, coveting is somewhat unique among the evils condemned by the commandments. The evils prohibited by the other commandments were such that one could be tried and found guilty of committing a certain act. This act was based upon attitudes, of course, but a society cannot convict people for what they are thinking and feeling. The final commandment is a forbidden feeling, as it were, not a forbidden act.

Coveting is a consuming desire, which is highly competitive. It is an evil attitude, which will likely lead to an evil act.

Coveting is a kind of conspiracy in one’s soul to commit evil. This is what was trying to be expressed earlier in this article. We need to know and believe Yehovah exists, and we need to know and believe there is an adversary that desires to dwell in our minds and hearts and is opposed to Him. This wicked seed exists within us and it is our life’s work to weed it out and throw it into the fire.

Habaqquq Chapter 2 speaks very strong words against those who exist and now are truly growing in number throughout the world today – those who serve themselves and are full of covetousness.

I stand at my watch, and station myself on the watchtower, and wait to see what He says to me, and what to answer when I am reproved. 2And YHWH answered me and said, “Write the vision and inscribe it on tablets, so that he who reads it runs. 3“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, and it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it lingers, wait for it, for it shall certainly come, it shall not delay. 4“See, he whose being is not upright in him is puffed up. But the righteous one lives by his steadfastness.

5“And also, because wine betrays him, a man is proud, and he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his appetite as the grave, and he is like death, and is not satisfied, and gathers to himself all nations and heaps up for himself all peoples. 6“Shall not all these lift up a proverb against him, and a mocking riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases what is not his! Till when is he to load on himself many pledges’?

7“Do not your creditors rise up suddenly? And those who make you tremble wake up and you be plunder for them? 8“Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the people shall plunder you, because of men’s blood, and doing violence to the land, to the city, and to all who dwell in it.

9“Woe to him who is getting evil gain for his house, in order to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of evil! 10“You have counseled shame for your house, to cut off many peoples, and your being is sinning. 11“For a stone from the wall cries out, and a beam from the timbers answers it. 12“Woe to him who builds a town by blood, and establishes a city by unrighteousness! 13“See, it is not from YHWH of hosts that peoples labor only for fire, and nations weary themselves for naught, 14for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the esteem of YHWH, as the waters cover the sea!a 15“Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbour, pouring out your wineskin, and also making him drunk – in order to look on their nakedness! 16“You shall be filled with shame instead of esteem. Drink, you too, and be exposed as uncircumcised! The cup of the right hand of YHWH shall come around to you, and great shame upon your esteem. 17“For the violence done to Lebanon is to overwhelm you – and the ravaging of beasts by which you made them afraid – because of men’s blood and the violence to the land, to the city and of all who dwell in it. 18“Of what use shall a carved image be? For its maker has carved it: a moulded image and teacher of falsehood! For the maker trusts what he has made: to make dumb idols! 19“Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ to silent stone, ‘Arise!’ Is it a teacher? See, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no spirit at all inside it. 20“But YHWH is in His set-apart Hekal. Let all the earth be silent before Him.”

Coveting wants what is forbidden, that which belongs to another and which cannot be obtained. It is possible, of course to buy a neighbor’s animal, but not his wife. The assumption here, I believe, is that what we covet is what we cannot have, that is, what our neighbor either cannot give up (like his wife, or his land), or what he will not give up.

“If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the YHWH your Elohim is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. Beware, lest there is a base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the Yehovah against you, and it will be a sin in you. You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing YHWH your Elohim will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings Deuteronomy 15:7-10

“Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness And his upper rooms without justice, Who uses his neighbor’s services without pay And does not give him his wages, Who says, ‘I will build myself a roomy house With spacious upper rooms, And cut out its windows, Paneling it with cedar and painting it bright red.’ Do you become a king because you are competing in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, And do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?” declares the YHWH. “But your eyes and your heart Are intent only upon your own dishonest gain, And on shedding innocent blood And on practicing oppression and extortion” Jeremiah 22:13-17

“And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as My people, but they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain” Ezekiel 33:31

Woe to those who scheme iniquity, Who work out evil on their beds! When morning comes, they do it, For it is in the power of their hands. They covet fields and then seize them, And houses, and take them away. They rob a man and his house, A man and his inheritance Micah 2:1-2

These things are happening today worldwide to so many people, and they will continue to get worse and worse because of the times we are living in. Our Father says Woe to these people. Their end will come upon them and be destroyed by Yehovah.

And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts and fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” Mark 7:20-23

Coveting is a reflection of our value system. No person covets what he believes to be of no value. We do not covet our neighbor’s garbage, we covet those possessions of our neighbor which we value highly. I have never known a man who coveted another man’s wife, whom he thought to be ugly and undesirable. We covet most those things which we value most.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul speaks about our thoughts, our value system, the things we allow ourselves to think upon and are consumed with.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not fight according to the flesh. For the weapons we fight with are not fleshly but mighty in Elohim for overthrowing strongholds, overthrowing reasoning’s and every high matter that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, taking captive every thought to make it obedient to the Messiah, and being ready to punish all disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

There is no understating the importance of our thoughts and their impact upon our actions and also our temptations. Every person reading this article should be able to, in the blink of an eye, admit to yourself what your weaknesses are in worldly matters. If we cannot do this in the blink of an eye… we have not been working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. That is a fact. The next question is: are you working on ridding yourself of these thoughts, imaginations, and sins. This is the Tenth Commandment: our thought life, the imaginations of our hearts, the worldly things we allow to tempt us into committing trespass against ourselves, others, and Yehovah.

The imaginations of the heart
Walking in stubbornness
The evil inclination
All of these things begin in the heart and mind and with the Tenth Commandment

Genesis 6:5
And Yehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 8:21
And Yehovah smelled a soothing fragrance, and Yehovah said in His heart, “Never again shall I curse the ground because of man, although the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, and never again smite all living [creatures], as I have done.

Deut 29:16-19
“For you know how we dwelt in the land of Egypt and how we passed through the nations which you passed through, and you saw their abominations and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were with them, lest there should be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe, whose heart turns away today from YHWH our Elohim, to go and serve the mighty ones of these nations, lest there should be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood. And it shall be, when he hears the words of this curse, that he should bless himself in his heart, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart,’ in order to add drunkenness to thirst.

Jeremiah testified greatly concerning this condition among the people during his day.

Jeremiah 3:17
“At that time Jerusalem whall be called the throne of YHWH, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the Name of YHWH, to Jerusalem, and no longer walk after the stubbornness of their evil heart.”

Jeremiah 7:23-24
“But this word I did command them, saying, ‘Obey My Voice, and I shall be your Elohim, and you be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, so that it be well with you.”
“But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in the counsels, in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.”

Jeremiah 9:13-14
And YHWH says, “Because they have forsaken My Torah which I set before them, and have not obeyed My Voice, not walked according to it, but they have walked according to the stubbornness of their own heart and after the Ba’als, which their fathers had taught them.”

Jeremiah 11:8
“But they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart. So I brought on them all the world of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, and they did not do.”

Jeremiah 13:10
“This evil people who refuse to hear My Words, who walk in the stubbornness of their heart, and walk after other mighty ones to serve them and to bow themselves to them, is like this girdle which is completely useless.” [like the fig leaf Adam and Eve put on after they followed after the desire of their own heart and not after the Words of Yehovah]

Jeremiah 16:12
‘And you have done more evil than your fathers, for look, each one walks according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me.”

Jeremiah 18:11-12
“And now, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus said YHWH, “See, I am forming evil and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your deed good.”’ [Can’t you just picture here Yehovah forming a dam to stop the flow of the chaotic waters of all the lusts of their evil hearts here?]
But they shall say, “It is no use! For we walk according to our own plans, and we do each one the stubbornness of his evil heart.”

Matthew 13:44-46 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

Yeshua here taught that what one recognizes to be of great value he will seek to attain, and that he will pay a high price to do so. In the context, it is clear that it is the kingdom of Elohim which is the treasure which men should sacrifice anything to attain. He is the kingdom personified, so that it is Yeshua Messiah who is most precious, for whom men should be willing to give up all to gain.

The word is translated in the NASB version as coveting, desire, desires, earnestly, impulses, long, lust, lusts, and lustful. Sometimes these are good and sometimes evil. What makes lust evil is the way that we intend?to fulfill, against the will of Yehovah, to our destruction and His dishonor.

James 1:12-15.
Blessed is the man who does endure trial, for when he has been proved, he shall receive the crown of life which the Master has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is enticed, “I am enticed by Elohim,” for Elohim is not enticed by evil [matters], and He entices no one. But each one is enticed when he is drawn away by his own desires and trapped.
Then, when desire has conceived, it give birth to sin. And sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.

I want to share with you a familiar event in the history of Israel concerning the coveting of a field and all the trespass that it led to. But as we read this event in history, let us not focus as much on the evil of King Ahab and Jezebel, but on the man Naboth and his words. His words are such a treasure for us today and can serve as a monument of remembrance before us in our hearts and minds. I am writing now about our treasure, our inheritance of which Yehovah has spoken to us. Let Naboth’s words be also our words when it comes to what we covet in our lives.

1 Kings Chapter 21
And it came to be, after these events, that Naboth the Yizre’elite had a vineyard which was in Yisre’el, near the palace of Ahab the sovereign of Samaria. And Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying,
“Give me your vineyard, and it shall be a vegetable garden for me, since it adjoins my house. And let me give you a better vineyard for it. If it is good in your eyes, let me give you its worth in silver.”

And Naboth said to Ahab, “Far be it from me, by Yehovah, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!”

And Ahab went into his house embittered and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Yizre’elite had spoken to him when he said, “I do not give you the inheritance of my father.”

And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and did not eat food. And Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him,
“Why is your spirit so embittered that you are not eating food?”

And he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Yizre’elite, and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for silver, or if you prefer, I give you another vineyard for it.’

But he answered, ‘I do not give you my vineyard.’”

So Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now rule over Isra’el? Rise up, eat food, and let your heart be glad. Let me give you the vineyard of Naboth the Yizre’elite!”

Then she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth.
And she wrote in the letters, saying, “Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth at the head of the people, and seat two men, sons of Beliya’al before him to bear witness against him, saying, ‘You have blasphemed Elohim and the sovereign.’ Then you shall take him out, and stone him to death.”

And the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had said to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them.

They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth at the head of the people.
And the men, sons of Beliya’al, came in and sat before him. And the men of Beliya’al witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth has blasphemed Elohim and the sovereign!”

So they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, and he died.
And they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”

And it came to be, when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Yizre’elite, which he refused to give you for money, for Naboth is not alive but dead.”

And it came to be, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose to go down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Yizre’elite. And the word of Yehovah came to Eliyahu the Tishbite, saying,

“Rise up, go down to meet Ahab sovereign of Yisra’el, who lives in Samaria. See, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it.

And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus said Yehovah, “Have you murdered and also taken possession?” ‘ And you shall speak to him, saying, Thus said Yehovah, “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, the dogs are going to lick your blood, even yours.”’”

The name Naboth tells us who this man is and who he represents. His name is a “nun” a “beyt” and and “tav”
This is the life or seed of the house of the covenant.
Naboth was offered a “better” field, if he so “desired” than the one he currently had. But let us take note, this field that Naboth possessed was the inheritance of his fathers.

You, beloved, are Naboth. You have been given an inheritance, a promised land, and eternal Kingdom. You are the living seed in the House of the Covenant. You own ALL. There is nothing in this world that can be offered you, presented to you, and there is nothing in this world you are lacking. You have all when you have Him and His Promises.

Yeshua knew this too when He was tempted in the wilderness by the adversary using the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. He used the Word of Yehovah to battle the enemy.

Ahab’s coveting led to murder, false witnesses, and theft. But Naboth is the hero of the event to teach us. His treasure was above and beyond any earthly King, earthly silver or gold, or earthly land that others may have considered more valuable than the inheritance that was his. Naboth’s inheritance is representative of our eternal inheritance from our Father and paid for with the Blood of His Son. Let us remember this the next time we see something we think we need or want, or even the next time someone tries to tempt us to exchange our eternal inheritance for anything temporal.

Some may point out that Naboth died, being stoned to death and falsely accused. But he died owning his inheritance. This is and may be some of our paths to travel too. Only Yehovah knows each of our ends. If Naboth can do it… so can we.

Let us all pray to remember to evaluate our desires the next time we believe we don’t have enough, want more, more “things” in life. May we have the courage to ask Yehovah to remove those things from us that stand between our commitment to Him and the worldly desires of our hearts.

This commandment, unlike all the others, is a commandment directly to our “inner man” and addresses that part of us that thinks prior to any action taken by our members. When we have dominion over this part, when we seek to have Yehovah Himself determine the flow of those raging, chaotic waters and where they go, we have kept the commandments.


Triennial Torah Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading

Deut 4      Habakkuk 1-3      2 Cor 12-13


Moses Exhorts Obedience (Deuteronomy 4:1-43)

Moses cautions Israel not to “add to” nor “take from” God’s commandments (verse 2), but, rather, to “carefully observe” them and to “act” in accordance with them (verses 2, 14, 5-6). To know God’s Word is not enough—indeed, it is quite useless unless one acts on it and does His will (see Matthew 5:19; 7:24-27; James 1:22-25). If Israel does this, then they will be recognized by others as a great, wise, understanding, righteous and God-fearing nation (verses 6-8). But since such recognition could be a source of pride, Moses warns them to not forget God and His wonders (verses 9-10). He reminds them that God was the originator of this wise law—that He appeared to them on the mountain to proclaim His Ten Commandments (verse 10).

At that time, the people did not see a “form” of God (verse 12). He points this out to dissuade the people from crafting any images of Him. However, as a consequence of this statement, some believe that God is formless and shapeless. Yet this is emphatically false, as the fact that God does have form is clearly stated in Numbers 12:6-8. In fact, God created man in His image, in accordance with His likeness (Genesis 1:26), as Adam’s son Seth was in the image and likeness of Adam (5:3). Moreover, God revealed His glorified form to Moses (compare Exodus 33:18-23). Both the Father’s and the Son’s glorified appearance are described in the Bible (compare Daniel 7:9, 13; Ezekiel 1:26-28; Revelation 1:12-16; 4:2-3; 5:1), clearly proving that God has form. Further, although the people as a whole did not see any form when God spoke to them from the mountain, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the 70 elders of Israel clearly did see a form shortly thereafter (Exodus 24:9-11). Nevertheless, in no encounter did anyone see the full glorified appearance of the Almighty. And not only can no image truly capture God’s glory, but any image would limit Him in people’s minds.


In Deuteronomy 4:13,

we read that God “declared…His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.” Some have taken this passage to mean that the Old Covenant was the same as the Ten Commandments, and that when the Old Covenant was abolished, so were the Ten Commandments. This understanding, however, is not correct—since a covenant is a contract or an agreement, which is based on law but not identical to the law. For instance, we read in Exodus 24:8 that God made a covenant with Israel “according to all these words.” The Revised English Bible renders this, “on the terms of this book.” In Exodus 34:27, it is again explained that a covenant is made based on law, as we read, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made [or, better, I will make] a covenant with you and with Israel.” Again, the Revised English Bible states that “the covenant I make with you and with Israel is on those terms.” We have already seen that the Ten Commandments were in force long before Moses lived, so the Old Covenant did not bring them into existence—nor was it identical to them. What the Old Covenant did not bring into force could not be abolished when that covenant ended at the time of Christ’s death. The reason that the Ten Commandments are especially emphasized in Deuteronomy 4:13 is that they are the heart and core of the law on which the Old Covenant was based (compare 5:22)—but they are not all the law on which the covenant was based (compare 4:14).

Moses begins to admonish the Israelites again not to make any carved images, in whatever form, to portray or picture God as an aid to worship (verses 15-18, 23-25). Further, he warns them not to worship anything else in place of the true God (verse 19). Earlier, in Exodus 32, God had condemned Israel for making a golden calf representing Him (verse 8). Rather than using physical pictures, portrayals or representations of God in our worship of Him, we are to worship God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24)—not with idolatrous images and practices adopted from false religions. Moses warns the Israelites that if they would not obey God’s commandments, God would scatter them among the nations so that only few would survive (verses 26-27). The fulfillment of this prophecy lies ahead of us, as it was meant for the end time or the “latter days” (verse 30).

A hint of man’s amazing destiny is given in verse 19, where it says that “the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven” are for “all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.” Thus, though mankind was only given dominion over the earth in Genesis 2, we are to ultimately inherit the entire universe. This is the same incredible message conveyed in Romans 8:16-25 and Hebrews 2:5-11.

Deuteronomy 4:29 is a wonderful comfort. It assures us that we will find God if we search for Him will all our heart and soul (compare Jeremiah 29:13). Indeed, God wants not just part of our affections but our entire being devoted to Him (compare Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 22:37).


Introduction to Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1-2)

Habakkuk, whose name appears to mean “Embraced”—that is, it is typically concluded, by God—may have served as part of the temple music service at the time of his writing (see Habakkuk 3:19). The inscription in the Greek Septuagint to Bel and the Dragon, an apocryphal book in which Habakkuk is mentioned, says he was a Levite, which would fit with such musical service (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary, introductory notes on Habakkuk).

In his prophecy, Habakkuk decries the wickedness of the Jewish society around him, and God warns that punishment is soon going to come from the Chaldeans—the ruling class of Babylon. The prophet’s “reference to the Babylonians indicates that they had already become an independent and terrifying presence, a state of affairs which surely presupposes the accession of Nabopolassar to Babylonian kingship in 626 (1:6-11)” (Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, p. 455). That is, Nabopolassar must already have been on the throne and advancing against Assyrian power. As we have seen, his forces, along with others, finally sacked Nineveh in 612 B.C. and thereupon began a mop-up operation to stamp out pockets of Assyrian resistance. In 609 a residual Assyrian force was defeated at Haran, but Assyria’s ally Egypt gained control over Judah and Syria upon the death of Josiah. Four years afterward, in 605 B.C.—as we will see more about later—the Babylonian forces under Nabopolassar’s son Nebuchadnezzar crushed the last Assyrian holdouts and their Egyptian allies at Carchemish on the Euphrates. Egypt retreated and Judah came under Babylonian dominion.

For this reason, Habakkuk’s book being no later than “605 is virtually certain since the judgment upon Judah appears to be totally in the future. On the other hand, Judah is in such a perilous state—injustice abounds and there is no redress—that one can hardly envision Josiah in power any longer. The description of moral and civil anarchy fits very well the early years of Jehoiakim (608-605) just before the evils of Judah brought divine intervention in the form of Nebuchadnezzar” (p. 455). A date of “somewhere around 607 or 606 b.c.” seems most likely (p. 455, footnote).

Habakkuk is disturbed at the rampant sin around him—yet he is disturbed still further at the agents of punishment God is going to use to deal with that sin. “Some people believe that human beings should never question the ways of God. They may even feel that it borders on sin to ask God, ‘Why?’ But the book of Habakkuk counters that idea. It is filled with a prophet’s perplexing questions—and the Lord’s penetrating answers. God never seems to reproach his servant for asking two basic questions: Why does the Lord seem not to respond (Hb 1.2-4) to the injustice and violence that Habakkuk sees around him?; How can God use the vicious and idolatrous Babylonians (1.12-17) to judge his people?” (“Questioning God,” Word in Life Bible, sidebar on 1:2).

As in Psalm 73, “this problem has troubled believers in one form or another from the beginning. Why does God permit the wicked to succeed in this world? Why doesn’t He act, so that the good rather than the wicked prosper? The answers we find in Habakkuk show us that the wicked do not succeed—and that no one, good or bad, can avoid the disciplining hand of God. There are moral and theological questions raised by sin’s presence, in our own lives and in the ways of the wicked. Perhaps the best and most satisfying answers to be found in Scripture are revealed here in this small, but vital, Old Testament book” (Bible Reader’s Companion, introductory notes on Habakkuk).

It should be noted that while the book of Habakkuk was a message to the people of his day, it well applies to our time too. Indeed, while the terrible societal problems the prophet mentions at the outset no doubt applied to what he himself witnessed in seventh-century-B.C. Judah, it is interesting that the nation of Judah is not actually named. Thus, it could also apply to all of Israel in the end time—which, as is clear from other prophecies, will suffer at the hands of a modern revival of Babylon. Notice Habakkuk 2:3 regarding Babylon’s fall: “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak….” While this could have applied to ancient Babylon, the fall of which occurred nearly 70 years later, it seems more applicable to events much farther off in time. The “day of trouble” here (3:16) is the time of the fall of Babylon—and the ultimate day of trouble, which will accomplish the ultimate fall of Babylon, is the future Day of the Lord, immediately preceding the time of Jesus Christ’s return. Finally, the clearest indication of all that this is a prophecy of the last days is the mention of Christ’s future reign over all nations (2:14).


Habakkuk’s Questions; Chaldean Invasion (Habakkuk 1-2)

The book begins with Habakkuk’s first question. He asks God about the violence, lack of justice, and lawlessness he sees (1:2-4). He does not state where these problems are occurring, but “when these terms are used in the O[ld] T[estament] without reference to some specific foreign enemy, they typically characterize conditions among God’s people” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verse 3). Indeed, it is likely that this is what Habakkuk witnessed in the society of Judah in his day. However, his words “Why do You show me…and cause me to see…?” may also indicate that these were visions God gave him of the future—of our day.

Verse 4 says, “Therefore the law is powerless.” This can be viewed in one of two ways. For one, all the law that God gave is powerless to itself properly direct one’s conduct. It is up to each person’s choice and will whether or not he or she will obey God. The apostle James later described how someone could look at God’s instructions and ignore them (James 1:22-25). Yet, while a true principle, that may not be Habakkuk’s actual point here. The NIV renders his words, “Therefore the law is paralyzed.” The implication seems to be that the legal system—the administration of law as given in the Law of Moses—is supposed to function so that the innocent are vindicated and the guilty are punished. But when witnesses and those who run the system are given over to wrong values and behavior, the law—again, the legal system—is prevented from functioning as it should. That was true when Habakkuk wrote—and it is sadly true today (considering that numerous elements of modern justice systems in the free world derive from Mosaic precepts).

In the face of such rampant evil and corruption, Habakkuk essentially asks God, “Why don’t You do something about all this? When are You going to act?”

God responds in verses 5-11. He has an “astounding” plan underway to punish His people. God says this will happen “in your days” (verse 5). But it is not clear exactly whom God is speaking to here. It could be Habakkuk. But God says, “…which you would not believe, though it were told you” (same verse). While this could perhaps mean that it was too horrible for any person to really grasp even if he thought he did, it seems more likely to refer to a faithless rejection of God’s message. Since Habakkuk himself does believe God, as the rest of the book shows, the message would appear to be directed at God’s faithless people—God speaking through Habakkuk but to them. Thus, the “your days” would be their days. It likely did apply to the Jews of the prophet’s time. But it could also be addressed to all Israel of our day.

In responding, God lays out the terrible punishment that is coming. The instruments of punishment will be the Chaldeans, a terribly fierce people (verses 6-11). During earlier days of Assyrian rule, these people had moved southeast from the area of Armenia down into Babylonia. The emerging Neo-Babylonian Empire was thus a mixture of earlier Babylonians and the Chaldeans—the Chaldeans actually making up the ruling class. Babylon was currently ruled by the Chaldean king Nabopolassar, who led the overthrow of Assyria. His son and soon-to-be successor Nebuchadnezzar would soon visit destruction on Judah—an obvious fulfillment of this prophecy. But it was also a prototype fulfillment of a greater fulfillment to come in the end time. As explained earlier in the Bible Reading Program, many of the descendants of the Babylonians—original and Chaldean—later ended up in Italy and other areas of southern Europe (see highlights for Isaiah 13:1-14:2). In the last days, they and the modern Assyrians of north-central Europe will together form a final revival of the Roman Empire that the Bible refers to as Babylon (see Revelation 17-18). This final Babylon—a significant portion of its population actually being Chaldean—certainly fits the description given in Habakkuk’s prophecy. This coming empire will be used to invade and destroy end-time Israel and Judah and take those who are left of them into captivity.

The translation of Habakkuk 1:11 is not certain. This rendering makes sense: “Then they sweep on like the wind and are gone [on to some new conquest], these men whose power is their god” (Today’s English Version).

This brings Habakkuk to his second question. He is glad that God is going to take action on his initial complaint—and that God will deliver the righteous in the land. But he is confused as to why God would use the wicked Babylonians to bring judgment. He basically asks God, “How can you, the Holy God, use an evil, treacherous people for correcting your nation? The Babylonians’ sins are worse!” (compare verses 12-13). Habakkuk wants to know why God would allow it to appear “that mankind is like fish in the sea, with no moral governor supervising human affairs. How can God permit the wicked to prosper and thus raise questions, not only about His moral governance of the universe, but about His very existence?” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verses 13-17). Habakkuk reasons with God this way: “With the Babylonians allowed to continue conquering other nations, they’re not learning to worship You. They’re worshiping their tools of conquest. So why do You let them enjoy the fruit of their conquests and keep devouring other nations?” (compare verses 15-17).

Habakkuk then recommits himself to the responsibility God has given him to serve as a watchman and relate what he sees and hears to others. He is most interested to hear what God has to say in response to what he’s just said (2:1). Indeed, his wording almost makes it look like he is braced for impact—knowing that he has made some pretty bold statements. But he is in no way antagonistic toward God. In fact, he deeply wants God to set Him straight (same verse).


The Just Shall Live by Faith; Woes for the Wicked (Habakkuk 1-2)

The rest of chapter 2 is God’s answer. God tells Habakkuk to write it “in large legible characters…upon tables—boxwood tables covered with wax, on which national affairs were engraved with an iron pen, and then hung up in public, at the prophets’ own houses, or at the temple, that those who passed might read them” (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary, note on verse 2). “We might paraphrase the meaning here by saying ‘Write it on a billboard, so large a running man might read it.’ What God is about to reveal to the prophet is important, and everyone [not just Habakkuk] needs to understand the Lord’s response” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verse 2).

In verse 3, God is basically saying, “Look, what I’m about to tell you isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take time for the full measure of these words to be demonstrated—indeed, that won’t happen in an ultimate sense until the end of the age. But just wait—you’ll eventually see that it’s just as I’m saying.” The New Testament book of Hebrews, likely written by the apostle Paul, quotes this verse as applying to the return of Christ, who will bring with Him the full measure of reward to the righteous and of punishment to the wicked (10:37).

Returning to Habakkuk 2, God’s explanation then begins. “The proud” of verse 4 refers to the Babylonians, those exulting in great conquests, as is clear from verses 5 and 8. “His soul is not upright in him” could simply mean “His life is not straight,” that is, his path of life is crooked and twisted—cursed. On the other hand, “the just shall live by his faith.” In contrast to the cursed path of the wicked, the righteous have a blessed life—a happy and hopeful life guided by faith. This doesn’t mean nothing bad ever happens to them. But by faith they know that God’s way is right and will ultimately bring great reward; and this causes them to live the right way and experience true blessings thereby—ultimately life eternal. Verse 4 is quoted in Hebrews 10:38, just after the Hebrews quote previously mentioned, to show that faith gives us endurance to ultimately be saved (see verses 35-39). Paul also quoted Habakkuk 2:4 in relating the fact that we as Christians must live through believing the gospel message Christ brought—as it is the way to eternal salvation (see Romans 1:16-17). And in another context he used the same verse to show that justification—being right with God—comes through faith (Galatians 3:11).

Continuing in Habakkuk 2, God then runs through the cursed life of the proud such as Babylon. “The Lord shows Habakkuk that He does not tolerate the treacherous. Even as the wicked appear to triumph, God is in fact at work judging them! Their success is superficial, for the wicked are never satisfied (vv. 4-5). Their mistreatment of others creates enemies (vv. 6-8). They are driven to build ‘secure’ retreats which will never protect them (vv. 9-11), for they have no future (vv. 12-14). Coming disgrace is certain (vv. 15-17), for they have no place to turn for guidance or help (vv. 18-20). When we understand what is going on within the heart of the wicked, and when we understand that forces their wicked acts set in motion will surely destroy them, we realize that God does not tolerate them. At the height of their success He is in the process of judging them. Severely” (Bible Reader’s Companion, chapter 2 summary).

In verse 5, the transgression appears to begin with wine. “Love of wine often begets a proud contempt of divine things, as in Belshazzar’s case, which was the immediate cause of the fall of Babylon (Dan. 5:2-4, 30; cf. Prov. 20:1; 30:9; 31:5)” (JFB Commentary, note on verse 5). However, the wine here is most likely figurative—expressive of intoxication over former success. It is also possible that it relates to false ideology, as Revelation 17:2 mentions the “wine” of Babylon’s immorality. This is what leads them into their false pursuits. In any case, whatever they have is not enough. They are never satisfied (Habakkuk 2:5; drawing imagery from Proverbs 27:20). “What a terrible judgment this is. To have everything you want—except satisfaction” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on Habakkuk 2:4-5).

Verse 6 introduces a taunting song or poem: “The ‘derisive song’ here begins [with the word ‘woe’], and continues to the end of the chapter. It is a symmetrical whole, and consists of five stanzas…. Each stanza has its own subject, and all except the last begin with ‘woe’; and all have a closing verse introduced with ‘for,’ ‘because,’ or ‘but'” (JFB, note on verse 6).

In the first stanza (verses 6-8), God condemns Babylon’s aggression, thievery and bloodshed. He states that the conquered peoples who’ve been stolen from will rise up and demand what is theirs—and seek vengeance over the harm they’ve been done (verses 7-8). In the second stanza (verses 9-11), the taunt is over their covetousness and attempt to secure themselves through wealth. In verse 10, Babylon has conquered many peoples to build its “house” or empire but this will come back on its head—for various parts of the “house” will call for rebellion and others will join in (verse 11).

In the third stanza (verses 12-14), the concern is over building an empire through bloodshed and lawlessness. The fact of the matter is that all their efforts are going into something that will ultimately be burned to the ground (verse 13). In verse 14 God reiterates His wonderful millennial prophecy from Isaiah 11:9. “God intends to fill the earth with the knowledge of the Lord, not with monuments to murderers. Whatever the wicked accomplish will crumble, and the wicked person himself will be forgotten” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on Habakkuk 2:12-14).

The fourth stanza (verses 15-17) describes the inhumanity of the evil Babylonian system, which seeks to make others drunk in order to molest them. Ancient Babylon’s captives suffered a condition comparable to drunkenness—swooning, humiliation and utter incapacitation. And this prophecy certainly ties to Revelation 17, where Babylon, the great false church of the end time, is described: “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (verses1-2). This system is pictured with “a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication” (verse 4). Horrifyingly, it is drunk with the blood of God’s saints (verse 6). God says he has a new cup for this system to drink (Habakkuk 2:16)—one of retribution (verse 17). Babylon itself will be attacked and defiled and ultimately revealed as uncircumcised—despite its claim to being the spiritually circumcised church of God. The “Lebanon” of verse 17 most likely refers to Jerusalem (see again the highlights on Jeremiah 22:10-17). What Babylon has done to God’s people will be done to Babylon in return.

The fifth stanza (verses 18-20) condemns the idolatry of Babylon. Even today, the system of worship descended from ancient Babylon still venerates idolatrous images. In contrast to lifeless idols, God is very much alive in His holy temple in heaven—from where He sees everything and hears the constant din of billions of false prayers to false concepts of divinity. God orders everyone to just “shut up” (see verse 20)—for judgment is about to fall (compare Zephaniah 1:7; Zechariah 2:13).


The Psalm of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3)

Habakkuk 3 is a prayer of Habakkuk arranged as a psalm. Observe, for instance, the musical term Selah in verses 3, 9 and 13 (which may denote a musical rest or interlude) and the liturgical note at the end of verse 19, “To the Chief Musician,” which occurs in the heading of 55 psalms, and “With my stringed instruments,” which essentially appears in the heading of several psalms. In verse 1, Shigionoth is apparently the plural of Shiggaion, which occurs in the heading of Psalm 7. “The word shiggayon comes from shagah, ‘to wander,’ a wandering song” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary, note on Psalm 7; see note on Habakkuk 3:1). It is “apparently an indication of the musical setting to be employed for this poem. It may derive from a verbal root meaning ‘to reel’ or ‘to err,’ and if so points to some irregular rhythmic mode. At all events, as when such words occur in Psalm titles, it points to the use of this hymn in Temple worship” (New Bible Commentary, note on verse 1).

Having heard the details of God’s coming judgment, Habakkuk is sobered and states his concern (verse 2)—apparently for his own people but perhaps also for the rest of mankind, even including the Babylonians. While he asks that God revive His mighty works of old “in these years” (same verse, Tanakh)—that He would act soon to set things right—He pleads with God to exercise mercy in the dealing out of His judgment.

Habakkuk then reviews some of God’s awesome works of the past: His appearance in great power and might at Mount Sinai and His judgments through the wilderness wanderings (verses 3-7), His division of the Red Sea to save His people and destroy the Egyptians and perhaps His division of the Jordan River so the Israelites could invade Canaan (verses 8-10), His judgment on other nations when He intervened for Israel in battle (verses 11-15). “These poetic descriptions are intended to pull away the veil of space and time and look beyond the material universe to sense God’s elemental power unleashed in judgment…. The specific incidents in which God’s anger flared are only hinted at…. What we are to realize is that the historical events, as terrible as they are…pale when compared to the burning anger of God which the material universe currently conceals. How awful it will be for those who one day experience that anger face-to-face” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verses 3-15).

The prophet trembles at the prospect of people having to face the unleashed power of the Creator (verse 16). But he then states that he will stand through whatever may come—making him an example to others of living faith (verses 17-19). Habakkuk “now trembles and melts with fear as he seems to hear the on-coming march of…God. The end of the verse [i.e., 16] seems full of paradox. How can he tremble and totter and at the same time quietly wait with an apparently assured calm? [Continuing in verses] 17-18 His assurance is born of the living faith which these verses so beautifully express. Though everything which, humanly speaking, supports life may fail, yet he can now rejoice in the Lord. Personal faith is the practical answer to life’s discontents. The contemplation of the history of God with His people, that all His deeds are ‘for the salvation of thy people’ (v. 13), now leads the prophet to rejoice in the God of my salvation. [Concluding in verse] 19 Thus Habakkuk has discovered the answer to his initial questioning, and his deep contentment with the answer is expressed in the testimony that he makes my feet like hinds’ feet. He feels as if he is ‘walking on air,’ so light-hearted and sure-footed is he. Not even the most trying high places (cf. Dt. 32:13) through which life’s path may lead can daunt the man of faith” (New Bible Commentary, notes on verses 16-18).

Let us all keep this focus as we face the difficult times ahead. For beyond them lie better days than mankind has ever seen.


2 Corinthians 12

The apostle’s revelations. (1-6) Which were improved to his spiritual advantage. (7-10) The signs of an apostle were in him, His purpose of making them a visit; but he expresses his fear lest he should have to be severe with some. (11-21)

Commentary on 2 Corinthians 12:1-6

There can be no doubt the apostle speaks of himself. Whether heavenly things were brought down to him, while his body was in a trance, as in the case of ancient prophets; or whether his soul was dislodged from the body for a time, and taken up into heaven, or whether he was taken up, body and soul together, he knew not. We are not capable, nor is it fit we should yet know, the particulars of that glorious place and state. He did not attempt to publish to the world what he had heard there, but he set forth the doctrine of Messiah. On that foundation His Assembly is built, and on that we must build our faith and hope. And while this teaches us to enlarge our expectations of the glory that shall be revealed, it should render us contented with the usual methods of learning the truth and will of Elohim.

Commentary on 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

The apostle gives an account of the method Yehovah took to keep him humble, and to prevent his being lifted up above measure, on account of the visions and revelations he had. We are not told what this thorn in the flesh was, whether some great trouble, or some great temptation. But Yehovah often brings this good out of evil, that the reproaches of our enemies help to hide pride from us. If Elohim loves us, he will keep us from being exalted above measure; and spiritual burdens are ordered to cure spiritual pride. This thorn in the flesh is said to be a messenger of Satan which he sent for evil; but Yehovah designed it, and overruled it for good. Prayer is a salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady; and when we are afflicted with thorns in the flesh, we should give ourselves to prayer. If an answer be not given to the first prayer, nor to the second, we are to continue praying.

Troubles are sent to teach us to pray; and are continued, to teach us to continue instant in prayer. Though Elohim accepts the prayer of faith, yet he does not always give what is asked for: as he sometimes grants in wrath, so he sometimes denies in love. When Yehovah does not take away our troubles and temptations, yet, if he gives grace enough for us, we have no reason to complain. Grace signifies the good-will of Yehovah towards us, and that is enough to enlighten and enliven us, sufficient to strengthen and comfort in all afflictions and distresses. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Thus his grace is manifested and magnified. When we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Master Yeshua Messiah; when we feel that we are weak in ourselves, then we go to Yeshua, receive strength from him, and enjoy most the supplies of Divine strength and grace.

Commentary on 2 Corinthians 12:11-21

We owe it to good men, to stand up in the defence of their reputation; and we are under special obligations to those from whom we have received benefit, especially spiritual benefit, to own them as instruments in Yehovah’s hand of good to us. Here is an account of the apostle’s behaviour and kind intentions; in which see the character of a faithful minister of the gospel. This was his great aim and design, to do good. Here are noticed several sins commonly found among professors of religion. Falls and misdeeds are humbling to a minister; and Yehovah sometimes takes this way to humble those who might be tempted to be lifted up. These vast verses show to what excesses the false teachers had drawn aside their deluded followers. How grievous it is that such evils should be found among professors of the gospel! Yet thus it is, and has been too often, and it was so even in the days of the apostles.


2 Corinthians 13

The apostle threatens obstinate offenders. (1-6) He prays for their reformation. (7-10) And ends the epistle with a salutation and blessing. (11-14)
Commentary on 2 Corinthians 13:1-6

Though it is Yehovah’s gracious method to bear long with sinners, yet he will not bear always; at length he will come, and will not spare those who remain obstinate and impenitent. Messiah at his crucifixion, appeared as only a weak and helpless man, but his resurrection and life showed his Divine power. So the apostles, how mean and contemptible they appeared to the world, yet, as instruments, they manifested the power of Elohim. Let them prove their tempers, conduct, and experience, as gold is assayed or proved by the touchstone. If they could prove themselves not to be reprobates, not to be rejected of Messiah, he trusted they would know that he was not a reprobate, not disowned by Yeshua. They ought to know if Yeshua Messiah was in them, by the influences, graces, and indwelling of his Spirit, by his kingdom set up in their hearts. Let us question our own souls; either we are true believers, or we are deceivers. Unless Yeshua be in us by his Spirit, and power of his love, our faith is dead, and we are yet disapproved by our Judge.


Commentary on 2 Corinthians 13:7-10

The most desirable thing we can ask of Yehovah, for ourselves and our friends, is to be kept from sin, that we and they may not do evil. We have far more need to pray that we may not do evil, than that we may not suffer evil. The apostle not only desired that they might be kept from sin, but also that they might grow in grace, and increase in holiness. We are earnestly to pray to Yehovah for those we caution, that they may cease to do evil, and learn to do well; and we should be glad for others to be strong in the grace of Yeshua, though it may be the means of showing our own weakness. let us also pray that we may be enabled to make a proper use of all our talents.


Commentary on 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

Here are several good exhortations. Yehovah is the Author of peace and Lover of concord; he hath loved us, and is willing to be at peace with us. And let it be our constant aim so to walk, that separation from our friends may be only for a time, and that we may meet in that happy world where parting will be unknown. He wishes that they may partake all the benefits which Yeshua of his free grace and favour has purchased; the Father out of his free love has purposed; and the Set Apart Spirit applies and bestows.


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