A Snake and an Adulterous Woman
Part Two of Shemot (Names)
Ex. 1:1-6:1
Photo by  David Clode  on  Unsplash

Are you saying Yeshua was a snake?

Okay, let's clear this up before we start.  No.  Yeshua was not a snake.  The snake in Jacob's blessing on his son Dan is a symbol, like Judah's lion or Naphtali's deer.  They have prophetic meaning.  A quality of righteous character.  A contranym is a word that is its own opposite, so a snake, nachash, can symbolize a judge, like Dan, or a deceiver, like the snake in the Garden.  

Scriptures give contranyms, words that have the potential to function as their own opposite, like shachor, both dawn and darkness.  This is true even in English.  To cleave is to stick closely, but to cleave is also to split apart.  The adulterous and the virtuous woman will have a strong resemblance to one another in their appearance.  It is one's position of obedience to the Word that determines whether it is a blessing or a curse.  We will look at an example of Yeshua being asked to judge in which he will demonstrate the "snake blessing" of judgment given to the Tribe of Dan.

Okay, then, are you saying men are women?


A woman in Scripture sometimes symbolizes Israel, so yes, the woman can represent the group, both men and women.  When faithful to her Covenant, she is a Virtuous Woman, Israel, as described in Proverbs 31.  A man in Scripture sometimes represents a beast, which can characterize both men and women in Israel when they are apostate from the Covenant.  Man and beast were created on the Sixth Day, so they share the same number, six.  

It goes back to symbols, patterns, and principles.  

Dan, the Snake and the Judge

Joseph had to be cured of informing before he could ascend in royalty.  He informed on his brothers with information that was probably true, but it was placed wrongly.  Let's float an idea here:  Was the content of Joseph's reports against his brothers true, but nevertheless brought to Joseph's attention  in order to test him?  
The scribes and Pharisees tested Yeshua concerning the woman caught in adultery, but what if they did so between last week's Torah portion and this week's?  The listeners would have heard just the week before:  
"Dan [Heb: Judge] shall be a serpent in the way,
A horned snake in the path,
That bites the horse's heels,
So that his rider falls backward." (Ge 49:17)
A horse represents pride, war, or glory in Scripture.  In the case of the woman accused, it's possible to make a deeper case for all three, but the plain sense of the example is pride.  When we presume to test someone as some of the scribes and Pharisees did to Yeshua with the adulterous woman, then the motivation is religious pride.  The last thing sincere religion should produce is pride, for the true fruit, as the Apostle James wrote, was "to visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction and to keep one's self unspotted from the world."
Often those who insist upon strict, literal, and harsh judgment only pretend to act on the behalf of Elohim.  The letter of the law is only good to them as long as it makes them feel righteous and better than others.  It squashes others with accusations so that the snake remains the expert and authority. He aggressively judges others, which keeps the victim on the defense. Bad snake. Crooked snake.  When you march into the house of an aggressively judgmental religious person and open the closet, all sorts of putrid things will tumble out.

Yeshua makes this kind of "rider" fall backward.  Instead of riding roughshod over his victims, Yeshua has a blessing of judgment like Dan, and he makes the proud riders fall backward into the motivation for their attack or trap.  He cracks the aggressor's closet door open enough to make him retreat.  Yeshua accomplishes this with the accusers in these consecutive Torah portions, Vayechi and Shemot, and then he signs his work.  Perhaps with the finger of Elohim [God as Judge] as Pharaoh's magicians told him?

Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, " Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.  Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?"   They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.  But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, " He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the groundWhen they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.   Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." (Jn 8:2-11)
How did the older ones know that they shouldn't be informers and accusers?  What would happen if they did?  Why did they call him "Teacher"? Let's explore.
The event takes place "early in the morning."  As with Pharaoh unjustly, but unknowingly, taking Sarai from Abraham, Abimelech does likewise, taking Sarah as a wife.  Adonai comes to Abimelech in a dream and says he is a dead man for taking another man's wife:

Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid. (Ge 20:8)

They should have been afraid.  Being a dead man can mean literally dead or stricken with a plague like leprosy.  Abimelech needs no further persuasion to release Sarah to Abraham along with lots of silver money as restitution.  The money was an earnest sign that he had not touched Sarah. She was not an adulterous woman, but virtuous.  

The religious accusers were testing Yeshua, not really because they cared about the woman's transgression, but because they wanted to accuse him. They were informing on the woman, but they made so many mistakes in their rush to use the woman to accuse Yeshua that they made numerous mistakes according to the very law of Moses that they cited.  

Why did they take her before an itinerant preacher in the Temple court, Yeshua, instead of the appointed religious court?

Where were the two or three witnesses to the act?  You can't say, "She has been caught," you must say, "I caught her."

Where is her companion in adultery?  Men don't get a free pass in the law of Moses.  They die, too.    

Sarcastically, the accusers call Yeshua "Teacher."  Moses is told,  "Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say...and I will teach you what you are to do." (Ex 4:1, 15)   Twice in the portion Moses is assured that he will be taught what to say.  If Yeshua is truly a "Teacher," then he will respond from "Moses," the Torah, and YHVH Himself will put the words in his mouth and teach him how to respond."

Yeshua's very posture will teach a visual lesson along with his finger.  Yeshua "sat" teaching in the Temple, Moses' posture at the well when the seven shepherdesses are chased by evil shepherds.  Let's assume Yeshua, like Moses, would have stood at the commotion before him.  Straight, like rod, the rod of a shepherd-king.  Next, he stoops to the dust, like a rod to the dust of the earth, and writes with his finger.  His posture would have curled down like a snake must curl in the dust, like Moses would have seen his rod transform.  Think of Dan, the judge, the serpent biting the horse's heels so that the rider falls backward.

Next, Yeshua stands up straight again, like a rod.  The accusers don't get it, so he repeats the action and stoops to write in the dust.  Like a rod thrown down before the Israelite elders as a sign of Moses' forgiveness to his brothers, the older ones who would have remembered Moses from forty years ago.  Moses' presence says "I believe in you in spite of your history. People can change."

The one without sin can throw the first stone, says Yeshua.   The older ones know that Moses went to the elders of Israel with the message and signs of the snake and leprosy first.  If they spoke ill and challenged spiritual authority like the snake, they could "fall" and contract a plague of leprosy. Immediately.
Signs and plagues are the "finger," or signature of God.  They leave an enduring  roshem, or writing, on the victim in the form of plague or curse. The rod is not just a shepherd's tool, but a measurement tool.  It metes out judgment and symbolizes the authority of the bearer.  Remember the ornate golden shepherd's rod ( heka) of Pharaoh? It was a symbol of his kingship. Moses' shepherd rod was an in-your-face challenge to Pharaoh's claimed ignorance of the Shepherd of Israel who redeemed Jacob from all evil (Ge 49:24) and blessed the "lads," his descendants Ephraim and Menashe.

The next Torah portion, as the elders would well know, connects the staff, the dust, the plague, the finger of God, and one who would not listen:

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, ' Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.'" They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt.  The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast.  Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, " This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. (Ex 8:16-19)

The elders knew better than to harden their hearts.  When they "heard" what Yeshua said, they left.  Who wants a plague for evil when he knows his motivation is wrong?  Who wants a plague for evil when the messenger may possibly be teaching the actual Words of the Holy One of Israel?  Who wants a plague for evil when the woman may be innocent of wrongdoing?  Who wants to be an informant when his own staff of judgment will be swallowed by one who has the greater power in his, the power of a true Shepherd, one who has a heart aflame for Israel?

Only a dead man.  
Yeshua stands up straight when the accusers leave, a merciful judge, not the snake-judge he had to be in order to ambush the proud riders trampling their victim with accusations. "Neither do I condemn you."  Like Moses, Yeshua believes that people can change.  Yeshua cautions the woman against sinning again.  Repent.  Change.  One day he will judge with a rod of iron, but he takes the opportunity to teach his disciples:

"But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me." (Jn 8:16)
Rashi says that the anger of Adonai burned against Moses with the signs of the snake and leprosy because Moses spoke of the Israelites' unbelief. He mistakenly thought he was expected to be the power, not a mere vessel.  Moses is reassured that he does not go alone but  Eh-he-yeh goes with him to testify to Pharaoh.  Yeshua reminds the disciples:
I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me." So they were saying to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Jesus answered, " You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also." (Jn 8:18-19)
When your brothers and sisters in Messiah disappoint you and inform on you, believe they can change.  It may take forty years, but believe it.  You have no other choice if you want Eh-he-yeh to teach and accompany you on your journey.  

Pharaoh claimed not to know YHVH, so he was unable to believe the testimony of Moses.  
But Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?  I do not know the LORD , and besides, I will not let Israel go." (Ex 5:2)

Want to avoid snakes and leprosy?  Be very judicious in whom, why, and how you accuse a brother or sister in Yeshua.  If you don't get it exactly right, then consider what the elder accusers remembered first.  It could bring a lasting roshem, or signature plague, on you or your home. Don't confuse your role in a brother or sister's life and apply judgments without all the evidence or the place of authority to do so.  Those roles are set in Scripture.  

The Virtuous Woman, Her Children, and the 70 Nations

Like Yeshua's father Joseph, Moses' father plays a small role in his story.  It is his mother (nurse) Yocheved, sister Miriam, adopted mother Batya, and wife Tzipporah who influence him.  Tzipporah recalls the nickname of Messiah's palace in the Lower Garden of Eden: Kan Tzippor, or "Bird's Nest."  A wife in Scripture is sometimes his "tent" and "bread."  Tzipporah is both, a nest for young who want to return to the Garden.
Pharaoh's daughter adopts Moses as her own, just as many among the nations are adopting the testimony of Yeshua and the commandments of Elohim as their own.  Exodus 2:5 reads:

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the  basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her.

Rashi comments to the verse above:

"Her maidservant means her 'arm.'  Our Rabbis expounded that  amatah et means 'her arm,' and according to their interpretation, her forearm became lengthened by many amot to enable it to reach the basket and draw it out of the river.  Its midrashic interpretation is that she saw the Shekhina, the Divine Presence with Moses." 
We know from previous lessons that "hand" implies present, and "arm," implies prophetic future.  What Pharaoh's daughter saw was prophetic, a future savior for the 70 nations represented by Egypt.  In Vayechi, we saw that the 2,000 amot, from amah, was the distance of a Sabbath day's journey. Where did Pharaoh's daughter start?  Symbolically, she started her journey with Moses by taking hold of Shabbat, a great place to begin experiencing the Shekhina of Moses and Yeshua.  

Pharaoh's daughter, who is known as Batya, or Yah's Daughter, tied her future into Moses' and the Israelite peoples'.  Her name was never given in Scripture because she was the daughter of Yah and a mother in Israel, an identity that occluded that of Pharaoh's daughter and mother in Egypt.
For those among the 70 nations who think that they can escape the informant's plagues because they are not native-born Israelites, consider the following:
Then Pharaoh commanded  all his people, saying, " Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive." (Ex 1:22)
The decree was already made upon the Israelites, but Pharaoh's magicians could not tell him exactly whether the savior of Israel would be a Hebrew or from those among his own people. Pharaoh ordered all the sons who were born during that time period to be cast into the Nile.  I can't help wondering how many of those Egyptians forced to drown their sons had informed on the impending births of the Hebrew women to the government officials.
For all their lying wonders and communication with the dark spiritual forces of Abaddon, the magicians could not identify the Savior of Israel, and they doomed their own people to the destruction of Abaddon, just as they later tell Pharaoh, 
"Don't you know that Egypt is destroyed [ avdah /Abaddon]?"  (Ex 10:7)
In the Virtuous Woman, Sarah, Jerusalem Above, is the hope of all the righteous among the symbolic 70 nations of the earth.  Abraham is the father of all who believe, not just those of flawless physical pedigree. Jerusalem has 70 names in Scripture.  Joseph was the instrument who brought the 70 people of Israel down to Egypt for a period of multiplication as well as tribulation to see what was in their hearts.  The children of Israel had to endure the same tests Joseph did for giving evil reports of his brothers:
a) success and blessing [in Goshen] with a sense of redemption
b) imprisonment in the country
c) slavery and harsh labor along with feelings of abandonment 
Israel in Egypt experienced those tests in reverse order that Joseph did, but the tribulations led to a Passover and exodus from Egypt.  That ability to be free was questioned by Moses, who had forty years' worth of me, myself, and mine with his wife, sons, and in-laws.  For those forty years of separation, he judged his Hebrew brothers on the basis of two informants and his ancestor Joseph, the former informer.
There are 70 names for Jerusalem in Scripture.  There is much room for righteous Egyptians like Batya, Moabites, like Ruth, Canaanites, like Rahab, and even adulterous women who will hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and stop sinning.  Jerusalem Above loves the Father, loves His Son Yeshua, loves the commandments, and loves her brothers and sisters in Israel.  She does not mock others or entrap them.  She is a Virtuous Woman, and the Torah of kindness is on her tongue (Pr 31:26), which enrages the bad, accusing, informing Serpent.

Don't worry, kind Lady.  The serpent accusing you will be thrown down, and his time will be short.  

Let the older beware and the younger take care.

70 Names of Jerusalem in Hebrew

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The word "Pharisee" in modern use means a hypocrite. Bible students rarely challenge this stereotype, but a closer reading of the gospel texts and First Century history bring new insights into the role of the Pharisees and their relationship to Yeshua (Jesus). 

A brief overview of the Jewish sects and cultural dynamics opens up the dialogues among Yeshua and his audiences, adding depth perception impossible when the Pharisees are dismissed as the arch-enemies of Yeshua. By comparing the Pharisees' own view of hypocrites and greed, Yeshua's corrections are understood as intra-faith discussion, not a Jesus-versus-the-Jews polemic. 

The most important legacy of the Pharisee is the formulation of a resurrection doctrine that most Christian readers take for granted. The First Century world, however, was not completely convinced. The timing of a Messiah preaching resurrection was perfectly cued to the Pharisees' short appearance in religious history, especially a zealous Jew named Paul. 

In explaining the "synagogue of Satan" in its First Century context, John's expressions in the Book of Revelation are understood in the original context, comparing the two schools of Pharisees and their treatment of Gentile converts.

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