Judge Judy: Shoftim

An excerpt from CGWKBK5 Vol 5
Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9    

A Judge Nose

A good judge must know thoroughly the written code of the Torah and exhibit good logic and reason.  This is an area where men excel, for their brains are designed to stay on task and think in an ordered, rational way.  They tend not to waste as much energy on emotion.   However, a good judge in Scripture goes beyond the written code; he is intuitive, a heart-prober.

A good judge hears with more than ears and sees with more than eyes. Some rabbinic sources connect the city gates in the portion, shearekha with the word for feeling or sense, meshaer.  This is what makes women good judges, and perhaps what Devorah contributed to her forty years of peaceful administration over Israel.  Women can often intuit the underlying issue and ask the right questions that seemingly have little to do with the information the witnesses choose to present.  Women can often sniff out truth like bloodhounds. 

The Seven Spirits of Adonai are listed in Isaiah 11:1-4, yet there are hints embedded in the context that give clues to Shoftim:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  and the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

When the text says that the Branch will be of quick understanding, in Hebrew it implies a sense of smell, reyach, or an odor, ruach, a root related to ruach, or spirit; in fact, traditional Jewish teaching says that the Messiah will judge cases by his sense of SMELL.  He will be able to sniff out what cannot be seen and heard plainly, but he will judge with a gift of intuition for truth. 

Additional insight into the text says that not judging after the sight of the eyes is not judging by mere appearance, and not reproving after the hearing of the ears is not judging based on rumors.  Instead, this judge waits for the facts and weighs them.  Like King Solomon judging between identical testimonies, the judge cuts to the heart motivation of the matter.

There is a very strange rhetorical question in Shoftim, "Are men trees?" Cut down trees that are not good for food, but save the trees with good fruit.  This represents the cutting down of strongholds in the process of repentance.  "The axe is already laid to the root of the tree."  Israel must bring forth fruits as signs of the completed process of repentance. 

This portion teaches discrimination between a fruit-producing tree and a tree that can be cut down to wage war against a city stronghold.  When Israel wars against a wicked city, which one may construe as a spiritual stronghold in the Land, it must not cut down a fruit-bearing tree in order to build siegeworks.  On the other hand, a non-fruit bearing tree may be cut down and burned against the city gates in order to breach them.

In a sense, a judge who gives counsel must do the same in his decision.  He must not destroy a fruit-bearing tree, which is a metaphor for a righteous man

Oaks, poplars, and evergreens were non-fruit producing trees. They are associated with pagan worship, especially gods of sex (fertility) and intoxication.  While they produced seeds for animal consumption, for the most part, they are not eaten by humans.  These non-fruiting trees were the types of trees used for carving images, which ironically are made more in the image of fallible men and women than of Elohim.  Jacob used poplars to motivate the flocks to breed, and he buried the household gods under the oak at Shechem. Job said that "wickedness will be broken as a tree." (Job 24:20) It is appropriate that these things should be cut down and used as siegeworks against the strongholds of our Promised Land.

Fruit trees represent the fruit of the Spirit, the restored fruit of fallen Adam/man.  This restoration is possible through the Last Adam Mashiach Yeshua.  Judge Deborah rendered judgment to Israel under date palms, a fruiting tree whose dates, along with pomegranates, create an especially healing juice[1]. Deborah's judgment was like a palm tree:  upright, full of good fruit, and able to draw those in need to her in times of trouble.  Her presence was proof that fresh water was within reach of the roots.  Her leaves could shade the righteous weary, and they provided the shelter for Sukkot.

The sight of a palm branch to an Israelite brings to mind the need for salvation and repentance, for with the waving of the palm branch, a shout of "Hoshi Ana!" (Save! Please!) is offered at Sukkot, yet it also occurs at Pesach, the chiastic twin of Sukkot.  Deborah's fruit tree judgment was prophecy, extending the Good News of Judge Judah from Pesach to Sukkot in Israel.  Perhaps Devorah was the first Judge Judy, sniffing out posers and deceivers.

Deuteronomy 19:5 gives a hint about men being trees. "If a man goes into a forest with his neighbor to cut wood and takes a stroke with the axe to fell a tree, but the head of the axe flies off the handle, hits his neighbor and kills him. Then he is to flee to one of these cities and live there." The accidental Israelite went into the forest to fell a "tree," and unwittingly, he did!

In the Risen Messiah, humans are like what the blind man saw, trees: "I see men like trees walking."  The blind man was in a process of repentance, and he saw men as trees, a physical picture of a spiritual condition.  A righteous person is like trees planted by the rivers of water and a cedar such as the Psalmist describes:

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.  They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Ps 92:13-15)

The righteous, like Judge Deborah and Judge Judah Messiah, bring forth fruit in the appointed seasons.  The righteous disciples of Yeshua manifest fruits of love, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, faith, meekness, things that Messiah prunes and dresses to bring forth from each tree.  These are signs of repentance, for to be in Messiah, one must repent.

Cut down the oaks and evergreens of idolatry through repentance in order to wage a successful war against the strongholds of the enemy.  Failing to cut these things down makes it impossible for an Israelite[2] to sustain a siege against the strongholds.   Burning the unfruitful trees against the wooden gates can open the gates to the judgment of the Word, and wicked gates are destroyed by the Word of the testimony. The cities' closed gates represent a people who refuse to hear and obey the Word. They are antichrist, anti-Messiah, anti-Word made flesh.  These trees need a Judge Judah judo-chop.

[1] Technion scientists say half a glass of pomegranate juice and 3 dates a day can protect arteries, reduce cholesterol buildup by 28%. ("Pomegranate-date combo helps prevent heart attacks," 4-12-14)

[2] Acts 15: fornication, idolatry, things strangled were a hallmark of pagan sacrifice, so even non-Jews are expected to put away these marks.

Starting NEW CLASSES After Sukkot!

The Weekly Torah portion and CG Workbook Two: The Wicked Lamp and the Seven Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls

Our teachings on HRN and YouTube are free, but some folks know that growth occurs with a lesson plan and systematic study. Looking for a more individual approach and the fellowship of other students?

In the past I've limited online students to 24 per class due to the cost of the plan. We will be switching to a less expensive plan on Zoom after Sukkot, which will permit up to 99 students per class (don't go looking for that lost sheep...it's me).
We hope to start enrolling new students within a couple of weeks, so stay tuned to Creation Gospel e-mails, and we will also add an enrollment info page to our website:   www.thecreationgospel.com

For those ready to enroll in the free Creation Gospel seminar, we will post that separately soon, so don't give up. We need to test and learn this new Zoom platform so that I'm ready for you! Because the preferences were split evenly between two Sunday classes and four two-hour weekday classes, I'll offer both options. Stay tuned!

Description of the Weekly Online Torah Class:

Live classes are held online each Monday night 9:00 - 10:00 pm EST or Tuesday afternoons at 1:30 - 2:30 pm EST. New classes start in October 2017, and you can join live on Zoom for the one hour teaching and after-class discussion. Each class teaching is recorded, and students receive a link to download the recording to both classes, not just their own.  

Cost is $20 per month for the live class, which may be paid through Paypal or by check to:

Hollisa Alewine
PO Box 846
East Bernstadt, KY 40729

The $20 cost is per student email login. For students who happen to be away from their computers, it is possible to log in in to the class with an iPad or iPhone. For fellowships or Bible studies who want to join as a group, contact us for special pricing.
To enroll, click on the Contact button on our website and supply the following information:

Email address for class login
Class preference (Monday night or Tuesday afternoon)

If your schedule is not a good fit, you may sign up to receive only the recordings for $10 per month. Just indicate this in your email.
For the year 2017-2018, we will be studying the Torah portions along with the material from Creation Gospel Workbook Two: The Wicked Lamp and the Seven Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls. The workbook is under revision, so students will be an active part of the rewriting process.The older version is available on our website as a 3-ring binder-ready packet.
*Due to travel for speaking engagements or classes falling on a feast day, classes occasionally are rescheduled on a different day. Students also have priority signup for special free seminars.

Looking for a great study guide for the Torah portions in Deuteronomy? Creation Gospel Workbook Five: Devarim: Volume V is now available on Amazon.
Devarim of Creation Gospel Workbook Five continues to pull the threads from the Rivers of Eden through the Torah portions. It has illustrative stories, wordplay, and thematic explorations of the text and symbols.
The Torah text is traced to its apocalyptic outcomes in some portions, and the literal text is compared and contrast ed with the figurative language often used in Scripture.

The hermeneutic device of consecutive numbers is explained, and the challenge of ritual and tradition is addressed. The Song of Moses is keyed thematically to the Book of Revelation, and the final Mosaic blessing on the sons of Israel is keyed to the Valorous Woman of Proverbs 31, revealing a secret in blessings, a blessing on the daughters.

Each portion has review questions, bonus discovery questions, and assignments suitable for both individuals and study groups.
The most important objective of the workbook, to encourage individual spiritual transformation from the Word, is included in each Torah portion.

Women of Valor in November

Women of Valor now has a new website! Registration is now open for November's conference!

LaMalah Children's Centre
Orphanage Update

  Special thanks to our regular donors and our new donors. The history of LaMalah Children's Centre is now located on our website www.thecreationgospel.com. 
If you have children's clothes or children's books (in English) to send, you can mail them to:   
Peter W Ndungu
P.O.Box 724
Limuru 00217
East Africa

If you can help toward this goal, as always, we welcome your assistance.  For those of you who send monthly support to the orphanage, we can't thank you enough for fulfilling Messiah's commission.

Another way to help...

Want to help The Creation Gospel every time you purchase something on Amazon? Our ministry is part of our local congregation, The Olive Branch, in East Bernstadt, Kentucky. If you reset your amazon home page to  https://smile.amazon.com  and select The Olive Branch Messianic Congregation Inc. as your charity, Amazon donates a small percentage of each sale. Every penny helps, and our congregation is a great help in meeting special needs at the orphanage and other outreaches.