This is what YHWH says,

"Stand ye in the ways,

and see,

and ask for the old paths ,

where is the good way,

and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls."

Jeremiah 6:16 

Life Skills from the Word of YHWH

Shoftim (Judges)
         (Sefer Devarim) Deuteronomy 16:18 - 21:9

 16:18- "Judges and officers shall thou make thee in all thy gates, which YHVH thy Elohim gives thee, 

        throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.
  Thou shall not wrest judgment; thou shall not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift does

        blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
   That which is altogether just shall thou follow, that thou may live, and inherit the land which  

        YHVH thy Elohim gives thee.
  17:8-   If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and

        plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shall

        thou arise, and get thee up into the place which YHVH thy Elohim shall choose;
  And thou shall come unto the kohanim the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days,

        and inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment:
 And thou shall do according to the sentence, which they of that place which YHVH shall choose

        shall show thee; and thou shall observe to do according to all that they inform thee:
   According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment

        which they shall tell thee, thou shall do: thou shall not decline from the sentence which they shall

        show thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.
 And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the kohain that stands to

        minister there before YHVH thy Elohim, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shall

        put away the evil from Yisrael.
   And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.
 18:1-   The kohanim the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Yisrael:

        they shall eat the offerings of YHVH made by fire, and his inheritance.
 For YHVH thy Elohim has chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of

        YHVH, him and his sons for ever.
 YHVH thy Elohim will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like

        unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
   According to all that thou desires of YHVH thy Elohim in Chorev in the day of the assembly,

        saying, Let me not hear again the voice of YHVH my Elohim, neither let me see this great fire any

        more, that I die not.
   And YHVH said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
   I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in

        his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
   And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in

        My name, I will require it of him.
   But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded

        him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
   And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which YHVH has not spoken?
   When a prophet speaks in the name of YHVH, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the

        thing which YHVH has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously: thou shall not

        be afraid of him."


"Beforetime in Yisrael, when a man went to inquire of Elohim, thus he spoke, Come, and let

  us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer."
                                                                                                               (1 Samuel 9:9)

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and

 your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your

 young men shall see visions."
                                                                                                              (Joel 2:28)

"The lion has roared, who will not fear?  Adonai YHVH has spoken, who can but prophesy?"
                                                                                                              (Amos 3:8)

"That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the Torah of

 YHVH: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right

 things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits."
                                                                                                              (Isaiah 30:9-10)

"For thus says YHVH Tzivaot, the Elohim of Yisrael; Let not your prophets and your

 diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which

 ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent

 them, says YHVH."
                                                                                                             (Jeremiah 29:8-9)

"To the Torah and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is 

  because there is no light in them."
                                                                                                              (Isaiah 8:20)
"And if the prophet be deceived when he has spoken a thing, I YHVH have deceived that

 prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst

 of my people Yisrael."                                                                  (Ezekiel 14:9)



Shoftim - Summary:
1.    Confronted with Judgments Conveyed by Priests and Prophets:

          Beyond all the recorded statutes, ordinances, and judgments delivered in Torah, there remains the need for a living testimony of what truly is HaShemís will in the matter.  Rather than being merely confined to a rule book which indeed can modify outward behavior, Torah is clear in parasha Shoftim, that Elohimís Eternal desire was to have a vibrant rapport with mankind.  Just as He communicated His will through Moshe, Adonai Shamah, the One who is present, has always purposed to speak with men.  For Moshe, himself, the great expositor of Heaven's desires, eradicated any doubts of limitless speech, declaring in Numbers 11:29:

   "...Envy thou for my sake?  O that all YHVH's people were prophets,  and that YHVH would put His

     spirit upon them!"

          With the institution of judges, priests, kings, and prophets and their defining roles, is evidence of their place within the developing community.  Yet, due to their mediatory nature, resolving issues between both man and HaShem, as well as settling disputes among men, conflict is often associated with them.  While they did not create the trouble but responded to it, frequently they are deemed the culprit in a matter.  Even as Moshe was blamed for his intervention during the nation's formidable years, so there would be many who would follow as Divine arbitrators, attempting to aid an apostate people in mending their ways.  Sadly, the reaction was most often the same: The covenant nation resisted the messenger and rejected the message.  When the people were not taking up stones to silence the prophets, they chose instead to minimize their divine decrees; in Ezekiel 33:31-33, there is great insight offered regarding the heart of unregenerate man:

   "And they come unto thee as the people comes, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy

     words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after

     their covetousness.  And, lo, thou are unto them as a very lovely song of one that has a pleasant voice,

     and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.   And when this

     comes to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet has been among them."


2.    Polluted by Prophets with Presumptuous Hearts:

         What is left for a people who prefer to fashion a god in their own image and after their own ways?  In an amazing display of true justice, the Holy One of Yisrael has time and again allowed wickedness to catch up with those whom He sought to bless, yet continued to rebel.  Psalms 18:26 describes His righteous methods:
   "With the pure thou will show thyself pure; and with the forward thou will show thyself forward."
With each subsequent generation demonstrating dishonor by revolt, the sin of Yisrael and the sin of the world added greater judgment to the scales of Justice.  Instead of using the voice of sought-after prophets to bring mankind into a repentant state with Him, the converse became true as Elohim became an adversary just as He'd warned.  1 Kings 22:22 illustrates the plight of a people who had long rejected His counsel, namely:
    "And YHVH said to him, By what means? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the

     mouth of all His prophets. And He said, Thou shall persuade him and prevail: go forth, and do so."

          When a nation arrives at such a state, what more is left, but a the fury of Adonai Tzivaot.  For a people to find themselves with such a future or, for a soul to discover that HaShem really did mean what He said is indeed dreadful.   Numbers 15:30-31 describes the impending doom for self-willed living, as is written:

   "But the soul that acts presumptuously, either born in the land or a stranger, the same reviles YHVH;

     and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.  Because he has despised the word of YHVH,

     and has broken His commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him."
Ironically, when a nation continues to prefer the poison of the false prophets, it will not be long before they begin to perceive the disconnect they now have with Heaven.  Recognizing, the lies of promised peace and prosperity, they will at last admit their deficiency and cry out the words of Psalms 74:9, acknowledging:           "We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: nor is there among us any that knows how long."



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