Parashah 35: Nazo (Take)
Numbers 4:21 through 7:89

Parashah 35: Nazo (Take); Numbers 4:21 through 7:89.

Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Judges 13:2-25.

B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Acts 21:17-32.

Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadash Scriptures from the Aramaic English New Testament.

Welcome "newbies" and "oldies!" As you all know, Torah was written by Moshe (Moses) and consists of the first five Books of the Bible which contain God's original Divine Instructions in Righteousness. Since this is a Netzarim (Nazarene/Messianic) website, we refer to God by His proper Name: Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, transliterated into English as YHWH, and most likely pronounced "Yah-way" (see Exodus 3:13-15). His Son's Name is Y'shua (most likely pronounced "Ye-shoo-ah"). Enjoy this week's Torah portion!

This week's parashah covers a multitude of commands, and one can only imagine the magnitude of the undertaking of 600,000 Israeli men, plus the women, and the "mixed multitude" totaling more than 2 million people attempting to do YHWH's will!

We start with Numbers 4:21-49 which continues with YHWH explaining the census and the respective tasks to be carried out by His people, Israel. Just take a look at the detailed instructions His people were expected to adhere to!

Numbers 4: 21 ADONAI said to Moshe, 22 "Take a census of the descendants of Gershon also, by clans and families; 23 count all those between thirty and fifty years old, all who will enter the corps doing the work of serving in the tent of meeting. 24 "The Gershon families are to be responsible for serving and for transporting loads. 25 They are to carry the curtains of the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, its covering, the fine leather covering above it, the screen for the entrance to the tent of meeting, 26 the tapestries for the courtyard, and the screen for the entrance to the courtyard by the tabernacle and around the altar, along with the ropes and all the utensils they need for their service; and they are to do the work connected with these things.

27 Aharon and his sons are to supervise all the work of the Gershon clan in transporting loads and serving, and to assign them who is to carry what. 28 This is how the Gershon families are to serve in the tent of meeting, and they are to be under the direction of Itamar the son of Aharon the cohen. 29 "As for the descendants of M'rari, take a census by clans and families 30 of all those between thirty and fifty years old, all who will be in the corps doing the work of serving in the tent of meeting. 31 "Their service for the tent of meeting will be to carry the frames, crossbars, posts and sockets of the tabernacle; 32 also the posts for the surrounding courtyard, with their sockets, tent pegs, ropes and other accessories, and everything having to do with their service. You are to assign particular loads to specific persons by name.

33 This is how the M'rari families are to serve in the tent of meeting, directed by Itamar the son of Aharon the cohen." 34 Moshe, Aharon and the community leaders took a census of the descendants of K'hat by their clans and families, 35 all those between thirty and fifty years old who were part of the corps serving in the tent of meeting. 36 Registered by their families, they numbered 2,750. 37 These are the ones counted from the K'hat families of all those serving in the tent of meeting, whom Moshe and Aharon enumerated, in keeping with the order given by ADONAI through Moshe. 38 The census of the descendants of Gershon, by their clans and families, 39 all those between thirty and fifty years old who were part of the corps serving in the tent of meeting, 39 all those between thirty and fifty years old who were part of the corps serving in the tent of meeting, 40 yielded 2,630, registered by their clans and families. 41 These are the ones counted from the families of the descendants of Gershon of all those serving in the tent of meeting, whom Moshe and Aharon enumerated, in keeping with the order given by ADONAI.

42 The census of the families of the descendants of M'rari, by their clans and families, 43 all those between thirty and fifty years old who were part of the corps serving in the tent of meeting, 44 yielded 3,200, registered by their families. 45 These are the ones counted from the families of the descendants of M'rari, whom Moshe and Aharon enumerated, in keeping with the order given by ADONAI through Moshe. 46 The census of the L'vi'im, whom Moshe, Aharon and the leaders of Isra'el enumerated by their clans and families, 47 all those between thirty and fifty years old who were part of those working to serve and working to carry loads in the tent of meeting, 48 yielded a total of 8,580 persons. 49 According to ADONAI's order they were appointed by Moshe, each one to his specific service or work. They were also enumerated, as ADONAI had ordered Moshe.

In Numbers 5:1-8 YHWH reiterates the need for cleanliness, both inward and outward.

Numbers 5: 1 ADONAI said to Moshe, 2 "Order the people of Isra'el to expel from the camp everyone with tzara'at, everyone with a discharge and whoever is unclean because of touching a corpse. 3 Both male and female you must expel; put them outside the camp; so that they won't defile their camp, where I live among you." 4 The people of Isra'el did this and put them outside the camp - the people of Isra'el did what ADONAI had said to Moshe.

5 ADONAI said to Moshe, 6 "Tell the people of Isra'el, 'When a man or woman commits any kind of sin against another person and thus breaks faith with ADONAI, he incurs guilt. 7 He must confess the sin which he has committed; and he must make full restitution for his guilt, add twenty percent and give it to the victim of his sin. 8 But if the person has no relative to whom restitution can be made for the guilt, then what is given in restitution for guilt will belong to ADONAI, that is, to the cohen - in addition to the ram of atonement through which atonement is made for him.

Numbers 5:9-10 goes on to discuss the consecration of contributions. Here you can see YHWH earnestly took the smallest detail into consideration!

Numbers 5: 9 "'Every contribution which the people of Isra'el consecrate and present to the cohen will belong to him. 10 Anything an individual consecrates will be his own [to allocate among the cohanim], but what a person gives to the cohen will belong to him.'"

Numbers 5:11-31 touches upon a very sticky subject: Adultery and jealousy...If you haven't done so, please read this most unusual and interesting passage!

The rabbis of old believed that when Israel was in Egypt, the Hebrew women all remained faithful to their husbands and did not intermarry or participate in extramarital affairs with Egyptian men. Still - because humans are prone to sin and need a blueprint for moral, holy living - YHWH provided a means of testing a woman's fidelity to her husband in cases where there was reasonable doubt.

In this ritual, a husband would bring his wife to the priest with a "jealousy" offering that the priest would put in the woman's hand - and the woman was then required to make an oath of her innocence before YHWH.

It was a complicated ritual, but basically, the priest would prepare "bitter water" potion consisting of water, dirt, and letters dissolved from a parchment containing the portion of the Torah concerning suspected wives. The name of God also appeared on this parchment and was dissolved in the water (something normally forbidden).

If she was truly guilty of adultery, become an object of cursing among her people (as you can see in verse 27), her body would swell, her face would become ashen, and her limbs would weaken. (If she was guilty, according to Talmud (rabbis commentary on Torah), the man she committed adultery with would also be given the death sentence.) But if she was NOT guilty, the water would not harm her, and she was given a special blessing that she would no longer have pain during childbirth.

Next, in Numbers 6 we see YHWH discussing the proper way to conduct vows - specifically a Nazarite vow. Please read the whole chapter to get the gist of the holiness that was expected of those who took the vow. Below is just a sample:

Numbers 6: 1 ADONAI said to Moshe, 2 "Tell the people of Isra'el, 'When either a man or a woman makes a special kind of vow, the vow of a nazir, consecrating himself to ADONAI; 3 he is to abstain from wine and other intoxicating liquor, he is not to drink vinegar from either source, he is not to drink grape juice, and he is not to eat grapes or raisins. 4 As long as he remains a nazir he is to eat nothing derived from the grapevine, not even the grape-skins or the seeds. 5 "'Throughout the period of his vow as a nazir, he is not to shave his head. Until the end of the time for which he has consecrated himself to ADONAI he is to be holy: he is to let the hair on his head grow long. 6 "'Throughout the period for which he has consecrated himself to ADONAI, he is not to approach a corpse. 7 He is not to make himself unclean for his father, mother, brother or sister when they die, since his consecration to God is on his head. 8 Throughout the time of his being a nazir he is holy for ADONAI.

This purification theme is carried into the "New Covenant" where we see Rabbi Paul explaining these rites...

For those who know the Bible from cover to cover, we can see there's a definite thread running through the Scriptures. Take a look....

From this week's Torah Portion:

Numbers 5: 21 then the cohen is to make the woman swear with an oath that includes a curse; the cohen will say to the woman, ". . .may ADONAI make you an object of cursing and condemnation among your people by making your private parts shrivel and your abdomen swell up! 22 May this water that causes the curse go into your inner parts and make your abdomen swell and your private parts shrivel up!"- and the woman is to respond, "Amen! Amen!" 23 The cohen is to write these curses on a scroll, wash them off into the water of embitterment 24 and make the woman drink the water of embitterment and cursing - the water of cursing will enter her and become bitter. 25 Then the cohen is to remove the grain offering for jealousy from the woman's hand, wave the grain offering before ADONAI and bring it to the altar.

26 The cohen is to take a handful of the grain offering as its reminder portion and make it go up in smoke on the altar; afterwards, he is to make the woman drink the water. 27 When he has made her drink the water, then, if she is unclean and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that causes the curse will enter her and become bitter, so that her abdomen swells and her private parts shrivel up; and the woman will become an object of cursing among her people. 28 But if the woman is not unclean but clean, then she will be innocent and will have children. 29 This is the law for jealousy: when either a wife under her husband's authority goes astray and becomes unclean, 30 or the spirit of jealousy comes over a husband and he becomes jealous of his wife, then he is to place the woman before ADONAI, and the cohen is to deal with her in accordance with all of this law. 31 The husband will be clear of guilt, but the wife will bear the consequences of her guilt.'"

Now check out Deuteronomy 29, Ezekiel 16: 38, Jeremiah 9: 13-16 and Revelation 8:10:

Deuteronomy 29: 18 So let there not be among you a man, woman, family or tribe whose heart turns away today from ADONAI our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Let there not be among you a root bearing such bitter poison and wormwood. 19 If there is such a person, when he hears the words of this curse, he will bless himself secretly, saying to himself, 'I will be all right, even though I will stubbornly keep doing whatever I feel like doing; so that I, although "dry," [sinful,] will be added to the "watered" [righteous].' 20 But ADONAI will not forgive him. Rather, the anger and jealousy of ADONAI will blaze up against that person. Every curse written in this book will be upon him. ADONAI will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 ADONAI will single him out from all the tribes of Isra'el to experience what is bad in all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the Torah.

Ezekiel 16: 38 I will pronounce on you the sentence that applies to women who commit adultery and murder; I will bring on you the death [decreed for] furious jealousy.

Jeremiah 9: 13 ADONAI answers: "Because they abandoned my Torah, which I set before them, and neither listened to what I said nor lived accordingly, 14 but have lived by their own hearts' stubbornness and by the ba'alim, as their ancestors taught them 15 therefore," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot, the God of Isra'el: "I will feed this people bitter wormwood and give them poisonous water to drink. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known. I will send the sword after them until I have wiped them out."

Revelation 8: 10 The third angel sounded his shofar; and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky onto a third of the rivers and onto the springs of water. 11 The name of the star was "Bitterness," and a third of the water became bitter, and many people died from the water that had been turned bitter.

As you can see, YHWH is VERY serious about obedience to His Divine Instructions in Righteousness!

Haftara reading:

Please read Judges 13:2-25 which reveals how "an angel" came to the wife of Manoach to tell her that, even though she had been barren, she was to have a son who was to be a lifelong Nazir - a son who would begin to rescue Israel from the power of of Phillistines. This son was Shimshon or Samson!

Judges 13: 3 The angel of ADONAI appeared to the woman and said to her, "Listen! You are barren, you haven't had a child, but you will conceive and bear a son. 4 Now, therefore, be careful not to drink any wine or other intoxicating liquor, and don't eat anything unclean. 5 For indeed you will conceive and bear a son. No razor is to touch his head, because the child will be a nazir for God from the womb. Moreover, he will begin to rescue Isra'el from the power of the P'lishtim." 6 The woman came and told her husband; she said, "A man of God came to me; his face was fearsome, like that of the angel of God. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, 'Listen! You will conceive and bear a son, so now don't drink any wine or other intoxicating liquor, and don't eat anything unclean, because the child will be a nazir for God from the womb until the day he dies.'"

Notice, this entity was referred to both as an angel and "man of God." Reading further into this chapter, we see this may very well have been Y'shua! Why? Please keep reading!

Judges 13: 17 Manoach said to the angel of ADONAI, "Tell us your name, so that when your words come true we can honor you." 18 The angel of ADONAI answered him, "Why are you asking about my name? It is wonderful." 19 Manoach took the kid and the grain offering and offered them on the rock to ADONAI. Then, with Manoach and his wife looking on, the angel did something wonderful - 20 as the flame went up toward the sky from the altar, the angel of ADONAI went up in the flame from the altar. When Manoach and his wife saw it, they fell to the ground on their faces. 21 But the angel of ADONAI did not appear again to Manoach or his wife. Then Manoach realized it had been the angel of ADONAI.

22 Manoach said to his wife, "We will surely die, because we have seen God!" 23 But his wife said to him, "If ADONAI had wanted to kill us, he wouldn't have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from us, and he wouldn't have shown us all this or told us such things at this time." 24 The woman bore a son and called him Shimshon. The child grew, and ADONAI blessed him. 25 The Spirit of ADONAI began to stir him when he was in the Camp of Dan, between Tzor'ah and Eshta'ol.

The couple thought they had "seen God" (verse 22). Plus, the "angel of ADONAI" said his name was "wonderful." Where have we seen that before? In this passage:

Isaiah 9: 6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name Pele-Yo'etz El Gibbor Avi-'Ad Sar-Shalom (Wonder [or wonderful] of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace).

Interesting to note is verse 14 of Judges 13 because it puts an end to the squabbles of the "holier-than-thou" who insist God's people cannot partake of wine today, even though Yeshua did, "because wine in Biblical times didn't contain alcohol." The following verse suggests otherwise:

Judges 13: The angel of ADONAI said to Manoach, "The woman should take care to do everything I said to her. 14 She shouldn't eat anything that comes from a grapevine, she shouldn't drink wine or other intoxicating liquor, and she shouldn't eat anything unclean. She should do everything I ordered her to do."

Brit Chadashah reading:

Acts 21: 17. And when we arrived at Urishlim, the Brothers received us with great happiness. 18. And the next day, with Paul, we went to Ya'akov, when all the Elders were with him. 19. And we gave them (wishes) of peace: and Paul narrated to them in great detail what Elohim had created among the Gentiles by his ministry. 20. And when they heard (it) they glorified Elohim. And they said to him: "Our brother, You see how many myriads there are in Judaea who have believed: and these are all zealous for Torah![1] 21. And it has been told them, of you, that you teach all the Jews that are among the Gentiles to depart from Moshe, by telling them not to circumcise their children, and not to observe the rites of Torah.[2] 22. Now, because they have heard that you have arrived here, 23. do what we tell you. We have four men, who have vowed to purify themselves.

24. Take them, and go and purify yourself with them, and pay the expenses along with them, as they will shave their heads; that every one may know, that what is said against you is false, and that you fulfill and observe Torah. 25. As to those of the Gentiles who have believed, we have written, that they should keep themselves from (an idol's) sacrifice, and from sexual sin, and from what is strangled, and from blood." 26. Then Paul took those men, on the following day, and was purified with them; and he entered and went into the temple, explaining to them how to complete the days of the purification, up to the presentation of the offering[3] by each of them.

27. And when the seventh[4] day arrived, the Jews from Asia saw him in the temple: and they excited all the people against him, and laid hands on him, 28. crying out and saying: "Men, sons of Israel; help. This is the man, who teaches in every place, against our people, and against Torah, and against this place; and he has also brought Gentiles into the Temple, and has polluted this Set Apart place." 29. For they had previously seen with him in the city Trophimus the Ephesian; and they supposed, that he had entered the Temple with Paul. 30. And the whole city was in commotion; and all the people assembled together, and laid hold of Paul, and dragged him out of the temple: and instantly the gates were closed. 31. And while the multitude were seeking to kill him, it was reported to the Chief Captain of the cohort, that the whole city was in uproar. 32. And immediately he took a centurion and many soldiers, and they ran upon them. And when they saw the Chief Captain and the soldiers, they ceased from beating Paul.

Footnotes from the AENT:

[1] Most translations read "zealous for the law"; it is a self-evident truth that myriads of Netzarim followers of Y'shua were also zealous for Torah! The work of the Ruach haKodesh (Set-Apart Spirit) is to write Torah (instructions in righteousness) upon the hearts of YHWH's people, both Jew and Elohim Fearers.

[2] Attacks against Rav Shaul by factions of rabbinical zealots were manifold. Shaul taught that faith and intent of the heart determines whether a person is ready to be circumcised and walk in Torah. At no time did Shaul teach against either circumcision or Torah; however, he opposed the "traditions of the Pharisees" who demanded blind observance to their religious traditions. Shaul required that Gentile converts be taught about covenant and have clear understanding of what they were doing, in relationship to YHWH and His Mashiyach.

To be expected to know and observe complex halakha at early stages of belief is unacceptable. Both the Pharisees and Netzarim taught that a person must study to develop their understanding and establish the intent in their heart before circumcision, rather than blindly follow the wishes of others. Only a small group of zealots demanded immediate circumcision, which is something Rav Shaul clearly opposes. It is very evident that Awraham received instruction before his circumcision, and he is the father of Faith for both Jews and Gentiles alike.

[3] This event clearly establishes Rav Shaul as a Torah observant Jew; however, mainstream Christians twist Paul into being a man pleaser - as though his offering was solely to please Jews, as some sort of political posturing. There is no conflict between atonement made by Y'shua's blood and the giving of offerings in the Temple. Paul walks in the footsteps of Y'shua, King David, and all the Yisrael of Elohim, when he declares "I rejoice in the Torah of Elohim, in the inner man." (Romans 7:22.) Each and every blood sacrifice and offering made in the Temple points to Mashiyach's perfect blood. The Temple stood until 70 AD. The followers of Y'shua met daily in the Temple and gave offerings unto YHWH, but they also knew atonement was accomplished through the precious blood of Y'shua; there is no conflict here.

[4] Rav Shaul has been seen in the Temple for sometime; here he is found celebrating Shabbat in the Temple. Rav Shaul is not posturing; his relationship with YHWH and Mashiyach requires observance of Shabbat. Paul is not mixing Pagan ideas with Y'shua, as most Christians suggest; rather, he interprets the observance of Torah through Mashiyach, rather than through Pharisaical tradition. This in no way diminishes but, rather, establishes Torah.

Parashah Nazo also covers something extremely important: YHWH's command for proper B'racha - Blessing.

Did you know the first words the human being heard YHWH speak were words of blessing? That's right! It appears in Genesis 1:28. Right after He created man in His own image, Torah tells us YHWH "blessed them", telling them to "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and every living creature that crawls on earth."

Whether we realize it, or not, we all long for blessings....The word "blessing" is tossed around constantly in religious circles; and it's basically just another meaningless, overused, religious cliche. But the thing is, receiving a blessing from our heavenly Father should stir our souls and cause us to be joyous!

So - after addressing the negative things (the loss of trust, jealousy, vengeance and punishments) and the positive things (the Nazir's life of piety and dedication to YHWH and all humanity) of human existence, the Parashah is interrupted in Numbers 6:24-26 by YHWH instructing the priests how to bless the people! He provides a few words through which we are given the ability to constantly remind ourselves and each other that YHWH is conscious of our existence, and that we are truly blessed. Take a look:

Y'varechecha YHWH [May YHWH bless you]

v'yish'merecha [and zealously cherish and keep watch over you]

Ya'er YHWH panav elecha [May YHWH's Face shine upon you]

v'chuneka [and shower you with grace]

Yisa YHWH panav elecha [May YHWH lift up His countenance upon you]

v'yasem lecha shalom [and may He give you wholeness, wellness, security, abundant provision, and peace].

The pronunciation of this blessing over our wives/husbands/children is a wonderful thing that resounds through the distance and rests upon those who have been blessed - whoever and wherever they are, whether they know it or not....

Such is the power of the blessing which is the very Word of YHWH, our Creator!

There is so much more that could be said about today's study, and we wholeheartedly urge you to read the cited scriptures through, if you haven't already done so. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write! Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and we pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH. And, as always, please let us know if you ever see anything in our studies that sounds "off the mark"! Nobody has the market cornered on absolute Truth; we are all learning and obeying to the best of our abilities....

The next parashah reading:

Parashah 36: B'Ha'alotcha (When you set up); Numbers 8:1 through 12:16.

Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Zechariah 2:14-4:7.

B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): John 19:31-37; Hebrews 3:1-6.

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