Suggested Apostolic Readings for Parsha Bechukotai

New Testament passages related to Torah portion Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34):

  • Mark 5:25-34
  • Romans 5:1-6:5
  • Colossians 1:19-23
  • 1 Peter 1:13-25

Texas SB1978, the So-Called "Save Chick-Fil-A Bill"

Texas Senate Bill 1978 (SB1978) forbids the government from punishing people for their religious affiliations. Sounds like a First Amendment no-brainer to me.

It's not an pro-discrimination bill. It's an anti-discrimination bill.

In fact, it's really not much more than a restatement of section 4 of the Texas Bill of Rights, explicitly extending this basic protection to employees, contractors, and anyone else conducting official business with the state.

No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

From The Statesmen: House gives preliminary OK to ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill
From openstates: SB 1978 - Texas Senate (86)

Chiasm in Leviticus 24 on the Justice Required for Blasphemy, Injury, and Murder

A>V13 - YHWH spoke to Moses
B>>>V14 - Bring the man out of the camp and stone him
C>>>>>V15 - Speak to the people (whoever curses God… whoever blasphemes God…)
D>>>>>>>V16 - Same for sojourner and native
E>>>>>>>>>V17 - Whoever takes a human life
F>>>>>>>>>>>V18 - Whoever takes an animal’s life
G>>>>>>>>>>>>>V19 - Whoever injures his neighbor
H>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>V20a - Fracture for fracture
I>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>V20b - Eye for eye
H>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>V20c - Tooth for tooth
G>>>>>>>>>>>>>V20d - Whatever injury he gives a person
F>>>>>>>>>>>V21a - Whoever kills an animal
E>>>>>>>>>V21b - Whoever kills a person
D>>>>>>>V22 - Same for sojourner and native
C>>>>>V23a - Moses spoke to the people of Israel
B>>>V23b - They brought the man out of the camp and stoned him
A>V23c - The people did as YHWH commanded Moses

This chiasm highlights the principle of man as the image of God. Murder and injury to your neighbor is an assault on the very image of God. The punishment is to be commensurate with the crime (the meaning of "eye for eye and tooth for tooth"), which is why the punishment for intentional blasphemy against God is death. His name is that much higher, that much holier than the name of a man.

Chiasm in the betrayal of Yeshua by Yehudah

  • V1 – Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, called Passover
    • V2 – Priests and scribes wanted to kill Yeshua, but feared the people
      • V3 – Satan entered (filled?) Judas, one of the twelve
        • V4 – Judas met with the priests about betraying Yeshua
      • V5 – The priests filled with gladness, agreed to give him money
    • V6 – Judas wanted to betray Jesus, but feared the people
  • V7 – The day of unleavened bread arrived, when the Passover is to be killed

Fear Your Mother

Leviticus 19:3 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.

The command to honor our parents is the only one of the Ten Commandments to be accompanied by a promise. This command to fear them as well is associated with the Sabbaths in part because both are given for our own benefit. We are not to keep the various Sabbaths for God, but for ourselves.

God gains nothing tangible by the honor and fear we give our parents, while we gain longer and happier life through obedience and learned wisdom.

Mothers are given precedence because we do not naturally fear them. (I suppose that greatly depends on your mother!) In most circumstances, it is easier for a child to fear his father. He is threatening and powerful, while mothers are kind and comforting. Yet God says that we are to treat our mothers with fear for our own profit in spite of our natural inclination.

Chiasms in Leviticus 15

There are at least 2 nested chiasms in Leviticus 15. The first encompasses almost the entire chapter from verse 2 through 33.

  • V2-15 - Abnormal male discharge
    • V16-17 - Normal male discharge 
      • V18 – If a man lies with a woman
    • V19-24 - Normal female discharge
  • V25-33 - Abnormal female discharge

The second centers on the sexual discharge of a man in verses 2 through 15:

  • V2 – Man with an issue
    • V2b-4 – Primary transmission to inanimate objects
      • V5-10 – Secondary transmission from objects to people
    • V11-Primary transmission to people
  • V12-15 – Resolution of uncleanness

The focus of both chiasmi seems to be the intersection of two things which cause the transmission of uncleanness from one to the other.

Bible Passages about the Weekly Sabbath

I'm currently working on a series on the weekly Sabbath. In the process, I compiled this list of Sabbath-related Bible verses/passages. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who could use this list, so here it is. Feel free to suggest additions in the comments.

  • Genesis 2:2-3 – God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because he rested from his work in creation.
  • Exodus 16:1-30 – Gather manna for 6 days. Gather twice as much on the 6th. Do not gather on the 7th.
  • Exodus 20:8-11 - Remember the Sabbath day. Keep it holy. Do all work in 6 days. 7th is a Sabbath to God. No work for anyone in your house or city because God created in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Blessed the Sabbath and made it holy.
  • Exodus 23:12 – 6 days work, 7th day rest for animals, family, and everyone.
  • Exodus 31:12-17 – Sabbath important. Sign between God and Israel that the people are sanctified like the day. Death for profaning it. Cut off for doing work. 6 days work. 7th day a solemn rest, holy to God. Death for working on it. Covenant forever. 6 days God created, 7th day rested and refreshed.
  • Exodus 34:21 – 6 days work, but the 7th is a Sabbath.
  • Exodus 35:1-3 – 6 days work. 7th day is a Sabbath. Death for working. No kindling fires. Set between Moses going into the Tabernacle to commune with God and the people giving gifts for the Tabernacle’s construction.
  • Leviticus 19:3 – Revere your parents and keep my Sabbaths.
  • Leviticus 19:30 – Keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary.
  • Leviticus 23:1-3 – Sabbath is one of God’s feasts. Work 6 days, rest on the 7th.
  • Leviticus 24:1-9 – Showbread arranged on the Sabbath.
  • Leviticus 26:2 – Keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary.
  • Numbers 15:30-36 – The man profaning the Sabbath by collecting firewood.
  • Numbers 28:9-10 – Sabbath day sacrifices.
  • Deuteronomy 5:12-15 – Keep the Sabbath. 6 days labor, 7th is Sabbath to God. No work for anyone in your house or city. You were a slave, so give your slaves a Sabbath.
  • Joshua 6:1-5 – God commanded Israel to march around Jericho on the Sabbath day.
  • 2 Kings 4:23 – The Shunammite woman regularly went to Elisha on the Sabbath and new moons.
  • 2 Kings 11:5-9 – The priests and Levites who served as Temple and royal guards changed shifts at the beginning of the Sabbath.
  • 2 Kings 16:18 – It had once been tradition for the King to attend at the Temple every Sabbath.
  • 1 Chronicles 9:32 – The showbread prepared every Sabbath by Kohathites.
  • 1 Chronicles 23:31 – Special prayers and songs offered to God during the Sabbath day offerings.
  • 2 Chronicles 2:4 – Sabbath offerings one of the purposes of the Temple.
  • 2 Chronicles 8:12-13 – Sabbath offerings made every week at the Temple.
  • 2 Chronicles 23:1-11 – The priests and Levites who served as Temple and royal guards changed shifts at the beginning of the Sabbath. 
  • 2 Chronicles 31:2-3 – Sabbath offerings restored with the rest of the Law.
  • Nehemiah 9:14 – Sabbath revealed by God at Sinai.
  • Nehemiah 10:31 – The people vow not to sell on the Sabbath.
  • Nehemiah 10:32-33 – The people vow to make offerings for the Sabbath and feast days.
  • Nehemiah 13:15-22 – Nehemiah rebukes the people for profaning the Sabbath.
  • Isaiah 1:12-14 – Don’t keep the Sabbath disingenuously. 
  • Isaiah 56:1-8 – Blessed is the man who keeps the Sabbath. Foreigners who keep the Sabbath made to be Israelites.
  • Isaiah 58:13-14 – If you keep the Sabbath, not doing your own thing, you will be blessed.
  • Isaiah 66:23 – From Sabbath to Sabbath…
  • Jeremiah 17:19-27 – Blessings for keeping the Sabbath. Curses for breaking it.
  • Lamentations 2:5-7 – God made Israel forget the feasts and Sabbath because they profaned them.
  • Ezekiel 20:11-24 – Sabbaths as a sign of sanctification. They rejected the Sabbath. Curses for profaning the Sabbath.
  • Ezekiel 22:8 – Judgment for profaning the Sabbath.
  • Ezekiel 23:36-49 – Judgment for profaning the Sabbath.
  • Ezekiel 44:24 – Priests in the Millennial Era will teach the laws and keep the Sabbath.
  • Ezekiel 46:1-3 – The gate of the New Jerusalem will be closed 6 days and opened only on the Sabbath. People worship on the Sabbath and new moons.
  • Hosea 2:11 – Sabbath taken away with feasts as punishment.
  • Amos 8:4-14 – Impatience for the Sabbath to end is equated to oppression of the poor.
  • Matthew 12:1-14 – Walking, plucking grain, and healing on the Sabbath. Lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
  • Matthew 24:20 – Pray you don’t have to flee on the Sabbath.
  • Matthew 27:62 – Chief Priests and Pharisees gathered to accuse Yeshua on the Sabbath. Weekly Sabbath or Unleavened Bread?
  • Matthew 28:1 – Women went to the tomb after the Sabbath.
  • Mark 1:21-34 – Yeshua taught in the synagogue and healed on the Sabbath.
  • Mark 2:23-28 – Walking, plucking grain on the Sabbath. Sabbath made for man. Yeshua is lord of the Sabbath
  • Mark 3:1-6 – Yeshua healed in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
  • Mark 6:2 – Yeshua taught at the synagogue on the Sabbath. 
  • Mark 15:42 – The day before the Sabbath called the Preparation. Weekly or Feast Sabbath?
  • Mark 16:1 – After the Sabbath, the women took spices to anoint Yeshua’s body.
  • Luke 4:16-41 – Yeshua read Isaiah and taught in the synagogues and healed on the Sabbath. He also walked from one town to another.
  • Luke 6:1-5 – Walking, plucking grain on the Sabbath. Yeshua is lord of the Sabbath.
  • Luke 6:6-11 – Teaching and healing on the Sabbath. 
  • Luke 13:10-17 – Yeshua teaching in the synagogue and healing on the Sabbath.
  • Luke 14:1-6 – Yeshua dined with Pharisees and then healed on the Sabbath.
  • Luke 23:54-56 – Women prepared for Yeshua’s burial on the Preparation day and then rested on the Sabbath
  • John 5:1-18 – Yeshua healed on the Sabbath. “My Father is working, so I am too.”
  • John 7:22-24 – Circumcision and healing on the Sabbath. 
  • John 9:1-41 – Yeshua heals the faithful blind on the Sabbath.
  • John 19:31 – Take Yeshua from the cross on the preparation day before the high Sabbath.
  • Acts 1:12 – Mt of Olives is a Sabbath Day’s journey from Jerusalem, right outside the city.
  • Acts 13:14-15 – Paul and friends went to synagogue on Sabbath and were invited to teach.
  • Acts 13:27 – The prophets read in the synagogues every Sabbath.
  • Acts 13:42 – The people begged Paul and friends to teach on the next Sabbath too.
  • Acts 13:44-48 – Paul and Barnabas teach gentiles on the Sabbath.
  • Acts 15:21 – Moses is read in the synagogue every Sabbath.
  • Acts 16:13-15 – Apostles find a place of prayer and ministry for the Sabbath. Teach gentile women.
  • Acts 17:1-9 – Paul customarily went to the synagogue and taught on Sabbath days. 
  • Acts 18:4 – Paul went to the synagogue every Sabbath and reasoned with the Jews.
  • Colossians 2:16-19 – Don’t let anyone pass judgment on you for not keeping the Sabbath according to man-made rules.
  • Hebrews 4:1-10 – A Sabbath rest for the people of God. Rest on the Sabbath like God did.