Suggested Apostolic Readings for Parsha V'zot HaBracha

New Testament passages related to Torah portion V'Zot HaBracha (Deuteronomy 33-34):
  • Deuteronomy 33:1-29
    • Matthew 25:14-30
    • Mark 14:3-9
    • Luke 21:10-28
    • Luke 22:24-30
    • 2 Corinthians 9:9-15
    • 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
  • Deuteronomy 34:1-12
    • Luke 2:22-35
    • John 14:6-31
    • Hebrews 3:1-19
    • Jude 1:8-25

Did Miriam Author Part of the Bible?

There is an obvious chiasm in Exodus 1-2 in the story of Moses' birth and adoption into Pharaoh's house. The chiasm includes at least Exodus 1:22-2:9, and possibly as much as Exodus 1:5-2:15.

This image shows the clearest segment:

Here is the expanded chiasm, which I think is correct:

A .v8-19 - Egyptians oppress Hebrews. Midwives rescue. Answer demanded. Escape.
B ...v20-21 - God's favor on the Midwives and growth of their families.
C .....v22 - Pharaoh said, "Take the son away. Let the daughter live."
D .......v1 - Amram went and took his wife, Jochebed.
E .........v2 - Jochebed conceived and bore a son.
F ...........v2 - Jochebed saw that the child was fine, took pity on him, and hid him for 3 months.
G .............v3 - Jochebed went to the river and hid the child in a basket in the river.
H ...............v4 - Miriam stood at a distance to learn what would happen.
G .............v5 - The princess went to the river and found the basket in the river.
F ...........v6 - The princess revealed the child, saw him crying, took pity, and recognized him.
E .........v7 - Miriam found a woman who had born a child.
D .......v8 - Miram went and called the child's mother, Jochebed.
C .....v9 - The princess said, "Take the child away. Pay the woman her wages."
B ...v10-11a - The princess's favor on Moses and his growth into a man.
A .v11b-15 - Egyptians oppress Hebrews. Moses rescues. Answer demanded. Escape.

Chiasms are always fascinating. The most interesting part is usually at the center, and this one is no exception. Miriam is at the center of a chiasm on the birth, near death, and adoption of Moses, and not just Miriam, but her observing and studying the process of Moses' transformation from Hebrew to Egyptian and back again to Hebrew.

What does this mean?

It probably means that Miriam was the source of the first part of Exodus; it might even record her exact words. How do we know what happened with the midwives and Jochebed and the basket and Pharaoh's daughter? Miriam witnessed it all so that Moses could his story as seen through her eyes and possibly even her words.

Knowledgeable Bible students will recall that this isn't the only extended record of Miriam's words. Exodus 15:1-21 contains The Song of Miriam.

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.