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Parashah 18: Mishpatim

Parashah 18: Mishpatim (Judgements) - Exodus 21:1 through 24:18.

Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Matthew 5:38-42; 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23;
10:17-31; Acts 23:1-11; Hebrews 9:15-22; 10:28-39.

Summary & Overview

o Exodus 21:1 | The Law concerning Slaves
o Exodus 21:12 | The Law concerning Violence
o Exodus 21:28 | Laws concerning Property
o Exodus 22:1 | Laws of Restitution
o Exodus 22:16 | Social and Religious Laws
o Exodus 23:1 | Justice for All
o Exodus 23:10 | Sabbatical Year and Sabbath
o Exodus 23:14 | The Annual Festivals
o Exodus 23:20 | The Conquest of Canaan Promised
o Exodus 24:1 | The Blood of the Covenant
o Exodus 24:9 | On the Mountain with God

The purpose of YHVHs Commandments is to

reveal Himself to us. When we study His
Commandments, we get to understand what
was on His mind and which things are important
to Him. It is like reading YHVHs Autobiography
finding personal details about the unseen God
and Creator of all things. To get this knowing,
you need to go beneath the surface of His
Word to see right into His heart and mind. The
Commandments are spiritual, Holy and good as
Paul teaches in 2 Tim 3:16, saying that all Scripture is God-breathed, inspired
by YHVH and profitable for teaching, for reproof, correction and training in
righteousness. The Scriptures He referred to was the Torah (the
Commandments) and the Prophets, because the NT was not compiled yet.
One thing you need to understand is that YHVH expressed His Torah in such a
way so that people could relate to it and understand it, meeting them at the
place they were at. The Book of Exodus captured the Words of YHVH speaking
to an audience that consisted of people that lived a few thousand years ago,
who just left a land of slavery and were going into an agricultural type of
economy. He used terms and examples of situations that related to their
everyday lives so that they could understand His Torah.
When you read the Commandment about an ox falling into a ditch, you cannot
just say that this does not apply to me. You have to search beneath the surface
to glean the wisdom beneath the surface in order to understand what YHVH
thought when He gave that particular Commandment so that you can apply that
wisdom in your life.

There is not one of the 53 Commandments listed in this Torah Portion that will
not apply to us in some way or form. What you have to do is to respect YHVHs
Word, guard it and then peel away the layers to find the hidden gems and
principles and how they can enrich your life. For example, Paul teaches in 1 Tim
5:18, using the Commandment about not to muzzle an ox, to reveal wisdom that
applies to us, underlining how the Commandment is given for our sakes as
believers in Messiah. If you believe the Torah is abolished, then you will dismiss
and erase all the wisdom that is God-breathed and essential for our daily living.

This Torah Potion lays the foundation of how to live as free
people, to a nation that just came out of slavery, on their
way to a land of promise and blessing. The Parashah starts
with Commandments, and you may think that this not about
freedom at all, but of bondage, loading another 53
Commandments on the people after receiving the Ten
Commandments at Mt Sinai. When we hear about
Commandments we think of rules and laws that only
restricts us, we never think of them in relation to freedom.

Q - What is this new freedom all about or is it just another

form of bondage and slavery? How do you think Israel reacted when they
received more Commandments?
The word Freedom is found the context of a slave being set free, and is the
first Commandment in this Torah Portion found in Exo 21:2. The slave is set
free at no charge, this implies no cost to the slave. This word free (no charge)
in Hebrew is the word chinnam, that comes from the root word chen that is
translated as grace. So grace is connected to the price that was paid to
ensure that there is no cost to the slave who is redeemed.
Grace or chen is first found in Scripture in Gen 6:8 where it said that Noah
found favour (chen) in the eyes of YHVH. We all know the story of Noah where
YHVH saved him and his family in a time of Judgement, and this is the context
of wherein Grace and Salvation is found in. We see the same theme of
Judgement when YHVH freed Israel from Egyptian bondage. This means that
Israel was Saved through Grace in a time of Judgement, setting them free as
slaves at no charge. The same applies to us where we will be saved through
grace during a time of Judgement at the Second Coming of Messiah.
YHVHs Grace set them free from sin and bondage (Egypt), not from His
Authority or Commandments. Sin and bondage came into being through the fall
of man, imparting a sinful nature within us. This freedom has to do with
reversing the effect of sin, freeing us from our sinful nature or old man as Paul
teaches in Rom 6:6.
Grace can be misinterpreted as a covering over us because we are sinners,
but it is actually about removing the root or origin of sin so that is the old man
or nature can be replaced with a new nature through His Spirit. But now you can
argue that the Spirit replaced the Commandments if you walk in the Spirit,
making you FREE from the bondage of the Law (Torah). That is the wrong
interpretation of the meaning of what YHVHs Spirit purpose is.

His Spirit is confirming His Commandments and writes the Torah on our hearts,
meaning that we now walk in His Commandments because of our new nature,
which is YHVHs Nature, with the help of His Spirit within us.
The Torah is the knowledge of sin is and not sin in itself that we should be
released from it. The Torah highlights and exposes sin and YHVHs Spirit set
us free from the bondage of sin so that we can move from Egypt (sin and
bondage) to the Mountain (YHVHs Torah New Nature).
Q If we have His Spirit, do we still need His Commandments?
If you ask this question, then you still do not understand that the relationship
between His Commandments and His Spirit and that they are actually One
(Echad). The Spirit reveals the Commandments to us and writes them on our
hearts. The Spirit is YHVHs Spirit and is known as the Spirit of Truth and the
Holy Spirit. This means that His Spirit will reveal the Truth to us, and His Truth
is non-other than His Commandments. His Spirit helps us to become Holy or
set apart, to be Holy as He is Holy.
True freedom is when you are set free from judgement, and His
Commandments are the barriers along the road that guards and leads you to
the Promised Land. His Commandments protects your salvation until to the
day when you need the salvation during His final Judgement.

Judgements Placed Upon Us

The Parashah begins with the following words; Now these are the Judgements
(Mispat) you shall set before them (Israel).Set also means to put upon giving
the idea of placing the Judgements upon Israel. This links with the passage in
Gen 18:19 where the word Judgement is first found in Scripture where YHVHs
Judgements were brought upon Abraham. This was where YHVH repeated
the Covenant Promise to Abraham.
Gen 18:17-19 And YHVH said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing
which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty
nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know
him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and
they shall keep the way of YHVH, to do justice and judgment; that YHVH
may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him.
The Judgements referred to here is not the Judgement of Sodom and
Gomorrah, but the Judgement that He will bring upon Abraham that He
previously revealed to Abraham. The Judgements are the promises given to
Abraham that included becoming a great Nation. In order to bring these
Judgement upon Abraham and his descendants, he and his children had to
walk in the way of YHVH. Similar words are used at the beginning of the Torah
Portion; these are the Judgements that you shall place upon them, which is
Israel, the mighty nation YHVH that was promised to Abraham.
These Judgements (Promises) that were promised to Abraham will come upon
Israel if they keep the way of YHVH and this is what this Torah Portion is
about; learning how to keep the way or walk in the way of YHVH.

Judgement or Mispat means; a verdict (favourable or unfavourable), divine
law, justice, a participant's right or privilege, statutory or customary, custom,
measure, sentence. The word Judgement has three distinct meanings that can
be classified as Positive, Negative and Neutral.
Positive: This shows that Judgement has a positive meaning that reveals the
rights and privileges of the person being judged (right or privilege revealed). In
a practical sense, this is when you receive the blessings from YHVH because of
the promises given to Abraham, that you will receive becoming a child of
Abraham, being grafted into Israel through Messiah Yshua. Deut 28 lists all the
blessings that will come upon you if you keep the Way of YHVH.
Negative: Judgement also has a negative meaning, the
verdict spoken over a person who violated the divine law or
Commandments of YHVH that we have seen in the context of
Gen 18 where YHVH judged Sodom and Gomorrah. This
time, the Judgement is the consequences or removing of sin
from YHVHs Creation.
Neutral: Lastly we see that Judgement has a neutral meaning
that has to do with customs or the way you should conduct
yourself in order to take on your new culture becoming part of Israel. These
Judgements or Customs are detailed in Exodus Chapter 23 where it describes
the Sabbatical Years and Festivals etc. Customs are defining a culture and
every culture in the world has their own
customs that differentiate them and makes
then unique. These customs or Judgements
are also known as Ordinances. We will
discuss these Ordinances in detail later on
and if we should keep them or not, as
believers in Messiah. Should we allow YHVH
to place these Judgements upon us, as He
promised He would do with Abrahams

The Commandment of the Bondservant

The Commandment regarding the Bondservant is the first
Commandment YHVH gave Moses to give to Israel after
they received the Ten Commandments at Mt Sinai. This
indicates the importance of this Commandment and that it is
foundational in them following YHVH as their new Master. They were
not completely set free but rather changed Masters, moved from being a slave
in Egypt to becoming a Servant of YHVH.
Q What does the Commandment regarding a Bondservant has to do with us?
You will be surprised to know that Paul, Peter and John, all identified
themselves as Bondservants of Yshua in their letters to Believers in Messiah.
They knew exactly what it meant to be a Bondservant and how that relates to us
following Yshua. Let's look at the Commandment of the Bondservant and see if
we can make the same link.

Someone was sold as a servant if he owed that person money and could not
repay. After serving that master for six years, the Commandment states that he
could be set free in the seventh year and walk as a free man owing nothing. But
when the servant choose to stay in his masters house and keep on serving Him
out of free will, then he had to confess in public, that he loves his Master and
that he loves the wife and children his master gave him and that he chooses out
of free will to stay a servant in his Masters house. This servant is then called a
bondservant. To finalise this public declaration, he had to stand in his Masters
house and get his ear nailed to the doorpost. This was the visable sign and the
sign in his flesh to show that he served his Master out of free will and became a
permanent part of his household.

Being a bondservant, he had all the rights as one of his Masters children; he
lived in his Masters house, and no longer in the servants quarters, he could eat
at his masters table, and enjoy all the benefits of a child as part of his Masters
family being treated as a son.

Gal 4:6-7 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his
Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore you are no more
a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Messiah.

This verse connects to the idea of a servant becoming a son, and that is exactly
what it means to become a Bondservant, you are being adopted as a child into
the Household and Family of YHVH, your Father. To become a Bondservant
describes the process of re-birth, coming into the Kingdom of YHVH through
accepting Yshua as your Master and Savior. Then you have all the benefits as
a child of YHVH and live in His house under His authority, eat at His table and
become part of the family. This is why Paul, Peter and John called themselves
Bondservants of Master Yshua the Messiah because to be called a
Bondservant is to be a son.

The Sign of the Bondservant

The servants ear had to be nailed to the doorpost of his Masters house. What
does this symbol represent and how do we receive that sign today being
Bondservants of Messiah Yshua?

We read in Galatians 4 that YHVH has sent the Spirit of His Son
into your hearts to be a sign to you that you are a son (daughter) of
your new Master. Receiving Yshuas Spirit is the sign to us that we
are His Bondservants but where do we find the sign in public?

The servant had to confess in public that he loves his Master and
then had to go to his Masters hour to be nailed to the doorpost.
Picture the servants ear nailed to the doorpost; he would have to
stand at an angle to have his ear fixed to the doorpost.

The word for doorpost is Mezuzah, and you will find these signs displayed in
public at the entrances of Jewish homes and businesses.

This links to the Commandment in Deut 6:9 where YHVH told Israel to write
His Commandments on the doorpost, and that is what the Mezuzah
symbolise today. The ear nailed to the Doorpost links to the Shema that says,
hear oh Israel indicating that the Bondservant will listen and do whatever
his Master asks of him.

That symbol of mounting the Mezuzah on the doorpost of your home is an

Ordinance that YHVH gave Israel to remind the person living in the house as
well as those entering, that the people living here ate Bondservants of the Most
High God and they acknowledge and submit to His authority. It is declaring what
Joshua said in Josh 24:15 ...but for me and my house, we will serve YHVH.
The sign of the Mezuzah is Jewish, but the symbolism is Scriptural that still
applies to us who follow Yshua as our Master.

The Laws Concerning Violence

This is an example of showing how the Ten

Commandments from the Index for the rest of
the Commandments found in the Torah. Exo
21:12-22 covers violence and is the detail of the
6th Commandment You shall not kill.

Exo 21 V12 26: You shall not kill; if you killed

someone, then you must die. If you fought and
killed someone as a result of the fight, then you
can flee to a place YHVH appointed. Premeditated murder must be punished by
death. If you hit your parents, you must be put to death. If you curse your
parents, you will be put to death. If you kidnap someone, you will be put to

If you fight and strike someone and he is injured so that he cannot work, you will
provide for him till he is healed. If two men fight and a pregnant woman gets
injured, the husband of the woman will demand compensation from the hand of
the offender. The judges will determine what the compensation will be, even
death if the baby died. If someone other than the owner injures a servant, the
servant will be set free for the sake of his or her loss or injury.

These Commandments are not for us to enforce but are given to the leaders of
the land through the Government to execute justice and to protect the people.
Most Countries build their Justice System on the Ten Commandments, some
with and some without the death penalty. How these Commandments relate to
us is based on the Laws of the Land you live in, and that Countrys laws will
apply to you. If you return to the Land where YHVH is the Authority, then these
Commandments will be applicable to you and everybody living in the Land.
When Yshua returns He will establish His Kingdom, and His Justice System will
be the way He will Govern His People.

The Four Deadly Forces
There are a few Commandments found in Exodus chapter 21 and chapter 22
that reveals more than what is written on face value. The first Commandment
deals with a situation where someone was killed by someone elses ox. The
next Commandment deals with resolving the issues caused by an open pit and
someones ox or donkey fell into it. The following Commandment deals with
someone whose animal has eaten someone elses field or vineyard. The last
Commandment deals with fire damage to someones field.

When you read these Commandments, you might say that you are not a farmer
and you do not have livestock, a pit or a field and these Commandments do not
apply to you at all. Think again, YHVHs Word is full of wisdom that will reveal
truths that will enrich your life, or will warn you of pitfalls you need to be aware
of. Let us look at each of these Commandments from a Hebraic perspective to
unfold the wisdom within each of them.
The Ox Exo 21:28-32, 35-36 - rvs (shor) = rvs (shur) that also
means, to look. This teaches us that one of the deadly forces in our
life is the eye. This is what caused Eve to sin, she saw the fruit,
and it was good to the eye. John taught the same where he said
that the lust of the eye and the lust of the flesh are the two things to
control in your life. Faith comes by hearing, and everything that
destroys faith comes from seeing. If you talk to people and ask them
which of your 5 senses would, you hate to lose and the answer is
always eyesight. The ox is symbolised by the letter Aleph that means strength.
As you give in to fleshly desires, your flesh will grow as strong as an ox, leaving
your spirit-man weak. We as fleshly creatures that value eyesight more that
hearing, but from YHVHs perspective the most important one is hearing.

The Pit Exo 21:33-34 - rvb (bor) = rvb (bur)

ignoramus or someone who is completely ignorant. The
Sages say that an ignoramus is someone who fails to
study the Torah. Not studying Torah is dangerous in your
life, does not matter if you love Yshua / Jesus, you will
sow destruction through your ignorance. We read in
Hos 4:6 that YHVHs people perish because of a lack of
knowledge, the knowledge of the Word and specifically the
Torah. What the enemy has done to our Jewish brothers is to blind them of the
knowledge of Who the Messiah is, to the Christians, he blinded them to what
the Word is, that every part of the Torah is still applicable to believers in Yshua
/ Jesus. To be ignorant of the Torah is deadly, it is like walking without sight that
can cause you to fall into a pit where you can die of hunger and thirst. The
Torah provides all the spiritual nourishment you need for life and to avoid all the
pitfalls and traps set by the enemy.

The Eater Exo 22:5 hibm (mavah) = hibm (maveh) glutton.

Gluttony is to take form this world more than you need to. This Deadly
Force is rooted in the sin that is found in the 10th Commandment;
you shall not covet. This Commandment is the driving force for
breaking all the other Commandments.

Phil 3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and
whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
Coveting or devouring more than required has become their god meaning that
earthly things that people covet, become the gods they serve and all their
efforts and time goes into feeding this monster called greed.

The Fire Exo 22:6 - ribh (hevir) = ribh (heveir) anger.

Anger is one of the emotions that will cause you to act irrational
and out of control, resulting in the destruction of relationships.
This Deadly Force is connected to the 6th Commandment where
Yshua said that you commit murder, if you are angry with your
brother / sister without a cause, this anger is out of envy or
jealousy. Then there is the case of someone who is just
an angry person because of disappointments in life
that they cannot seem to get over, causing them to be
an angry person. This anger can be directed towards
YHVH that will damage their relationship with Him if they are believers.

Q What will cause this anger to stop and how do I manage anger that
accumulates within me?
Eph 4:26-27 In your anger do not sin : Do not let the sun go down
while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
These are wise words or wisdom that ensures that you never stay angry for
more than a day; make peace and forgive at the end of every day before you go
to sleep so that your anger will not grow and lead to your destruction. Talk to
the person you have issues with so that the air can be cleared before the end
of the day. Talk to YHVH about disappointments so that He can help you sort
things out, carrying your burdens when you face circumstances beyond your
control. Trust in Him; He will help you because He is a caring Father,
Pro 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up

The Four Guardians

Exo 22:614 speaks about four types of people who looked after someone
elses property under different circumstances and agreements.
These four types of agreements give us four different types of
relationships we as believers can have with YHVH and we will
see which one of these relationships is the ideal relationship
YHVH wants us to have with Him.

The Borrower : v 14 The Borrower is a person who

benefits from what he borrows, but the owner enjoys no
advantage. He seeks self-fulfillment and may
acknowledge who the owner is, but feels that he owes
him nothing. He borrows it, uses it, gives it back saying,
thanks a lot, and moves on. He seeks self-fulfilment alone.

This is a typical example of a non-believer or someone who knows God but
does not have a relationship with Him. You do not belong to yourself, you are
bought with a price, and you need to give YHVH what He has purchased, and
that is you. You need to lay down your rights, your privileges and your
ownership rights to yourself and you realise; I do not belong to me, I belong to
my Master. The moment you think that you have rights to your life, your time or
your possessions, then you are on the road to misery.

The Renter : v15 The Renter is similar to the

Borrower, but he borrows something with the
intention of giving to the owner. He believes to
have the right to the things he rent but feels
obligated to recognise and repay the Owner
while using it.
This is where the most believers are in their
relationship with YHVH; we know everything we
have come from Him and recognised YHVH as
the Owner. In return, we serve Him as a way to
pay Him for using all that He gave us.
Q - Is there any love in this or is it just a deal you made with Him?
This relationship is still just about yourself, your talents, your time and your
possessions, but in exchange, you will use a portion of what you received to
give back to Him. It sounds just like Jacob and the deal he made with YHVH
where he promised to give YHVH a 10th back if YHVH will bless him. What a
great deal.
Jacob is the Biblical figure we have looked at before that represents us as
Believers most accurately. We expect YHVHs blessings first, and then we are
willing to pay the rent for what He gives us. We get the most out of this deal.
The Renter has a better type of relationship with YHVH than the Borrower but
still not ideal. He also has to realise that he is not his own and belongs to YHVH
in everything he is and have. Then serve YHVH out of love first, without
expecting anything in return

The Paid Guardian : v10 The Paid Guardian is a someone who sees
YHVHs Will as the ultimate purpose of his life, but he reserves for
himself a self-interest because he thinks he deserves some payment
for his work. It is like someone who believes in serving YHVH and all his
good works will earn him treasures in Heaven or will give him a place
of authority as a reward in the Kingdom. The difference between this
person and the Renter is that he knows that everything belongs to
YHVH and serve YHVH selfless and out of love but knows that he will
receive a reward one day.

This kind or relationship is another example that is quite common

among Believers where we know YHVH as the Owner and that we are
only the Guardians, but we deserve to be rewarded for our duties. We
never own anything and are selfless in every way, except for the
reward we expect to receive at the end.

The Unpaid Guardian : v7 This is the highest form of
relationship we can have with YHVH and should aspire to. We
tend to think that everything we are, have or own, belongs to us,
but this man sees all his possessions as YHVHs property, not his
own and do not think that YHVH owes him anything. His motive
of guarding the assets of the Owner is only out of love for Him.
This is a relationship where you know you are created only to
serve YHVH, not wanting or expecting anything in return. It is a
selfless relationship that will survive even if the other person does
not love you back. This is the type of relationship YHVH has with
us and He wants us to have the same kind of relationship with Him. It is like a
Marriage relationship where both parties give a 100%.
If you want to feel miserable really, tell yourself that you deserve something.
The moment you think that I deserve (fill in the blank) or think I
deserve this or that to be happy, then you will become miserable. These are
thoughts the enemy put in your mind, things you do not necessarily need or
deserve, in order to make you needy, weak and unhappy. Adam and Eve had
been perfectly happy until Satan told them they could be happier, greater and
more successful. This allowed sin to come in and everything changed for the
worse. Let's get things straight, you do not deserve anything, and so do I. From
this knowing, look at everything you have and thank YHVH for it, even the
smallest thing and be grateful.
Q - Which one of the four relationships match your relationship with YHVH?
You can spend a fair amount of time meditating on these four types of
relationships to see which areas of your life connect to which type of
relationship. For example; you can be a Paid Guardian regarding your children
and a Renter when it comes to your abilities and a Borrower when it comes to
your finances. You need to do introspection and weigh each one up against all
the areas of your life, in order to see what you need to work on with a view to
improving your relationship with the Father / Owner.
We all need to aspire to become like Unpaid Guardians where we know the
Owner; we are aware everything is from YHVH and that we are His
Bondservants who serve Him out of love. We do not keep an eye on the reward
we will get one day and know that He is our exceedingly Great reward.

Relationship with your Father

The Torah is full of gems and can only be discovered through the Hebrew
language. One of these treasures is found in the following Commandment:
Exo 22:29 You shall not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of
thy liquors: the firstborn of your sons shall you give unto Me. (KJV)

On face value, this seems a bit odd finding an instruction about offerings, liquor
and your first-born son. This is one of the most mistranslated verses in
Scripture, not only the King James but other translations as well, they all give a
different translation:

You must be prompt in giving me the tithe of your crops and your wine,
and the redemption payment for your oldest son. (TLB)
Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. You must
give me the firstborn of your sons. (NIV)

The first part of this Commandment consists of four Hebrew words; lo (do not),
'achar (delay), mle'ah (fullness), dema (tears). This can be literally translated
as; Do not delay to bring your fullness and your tears to me.

YHVH asks us to bring our fullness to Him; when things are great,
when we are happy and full of joy about something great that
happened. These are the offerings of thanksgiving and praise to
Him as a result of the fullness we received from Him.
He also asks of us to bring our tears to Him, tears that result from
lifes dynamics, things that happened unexpectedly that caused you
pain. He wants you to bring those tears as an offering to Him
without delay so that He can help you deal with it. Whatever you are
going through, good or bad, YHVH wants to be part of that. He
wants to share your life with you so that He can be part of your
fullness and your tears, your joys and your struggles.
We typically share these things with loved ones and friends, people
we can trust, and YHVH wants to be included in your inner circle of
confidence and be part of your family. He wants to celebrate your
victories and support you in a time of need as a loving and caring
This Commandment is a beautiful picture of a loving Father and His
involvement in our lives. If you just take the Commandment only on face value,
you would have probably turned the page over thinking that this does not apply
to you, but you would then have missed the heart of the Father.