Parashat Nasso / פרשת נשא

Pentateuchal Targumim

The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel
On the Pentateuch With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee

THE ARAMAIC  PALESTINIAN TARGUM

ON THE BOOK OF NUMBERS.

SECTION OF THE TORAH

Ch. 4-7

SECTION XXXV.

NASA.

AND the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Take the account of the Beni Gershon also, from thirty years to fifty years, of all who come by bands to do the work of the tabernacle of ordinance. And this is the service of the family of Gershon, to serve and to carry. They shall carry the curtains of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of ordinance, its covering, and the hyacinth covering which is upon it above; and the hanging of the gate of the tabernacle of ordinance; and the curtains of the court, and the hanging for the gate of the court which is by the tabernacle round about, and their cords and all the vessels of their service, and all that is delivered to them to serve with. Upon the word of Aharon and his sons shall be all the service of the Beni Gershon, for all their burdens and service, and of their whole work shalt thou ordain the charge upon them. This is the ministry of the family of the Beni Gershon, in the tabernacle of ordinance; and the care of them shall be in the hand of Ithamar bar Aharon the priest.

 

The sons of Merari shalt thou number, from thirty years to fifty years, everyone who cometh with the band to minister in the work of the tabernacle of ordinance. And this shall be the charge of the burdens of all their service in the tabernacle of ordinance, the boards of the tabernacle, its bars, pillars, and bases; the pillars of the court also round about, their pins and their cords, with all the instruments of their whole service, and all those of the charge of their burdens, thou shalt number by their names. This is the work of the family of Merari, according to all their service in the tabernacle of ordinance, under the hand of Ithamar bar Aharon the priest.

 

And Mosheh arid Aharon numbered the sons of Kehath by their families, and by the house of their fathers, from thirty years to fifty years; every one who came with the band to serve in the tabernacle of ordinance; and the sums of them were two thousand seven hundred and fifty. These are the numbers of the family of Kehath, of all who ministered in the tabernacle of ordinance; whom Mosheh and Aharon numbered upon the mouth of the Word of the Lord by Mosheh.

 

The numbers of the Beni Gershon, after the families of their father’s house from thirty years to fifty years, every one who who came with the band to serve in the tabernacle of ordinance; the sums of them were two thousand six hundred and thirty. These are the numbers of the Beni Gershon, of all who ministered in the tabernacle of ordinance, whom Mosheh arid Aharon numbered upon the mouth of the Word of the Lord by Mosheh.

 

And the numbers of the Beni Merari, by the families of their father’s house, from thirty to fifty years, every one who came with the band to the service of the tabernacle of ordinance, were three thousand two hundred. These are the numbers of the Beni Merari, whom Mosheh and Aharon numbered upon the mouth of the Word of the Lord by Mosheh.

 

The whole sum of the Levites whom Mosheh arid Aharon and the princes of Israel numbered, from thirty to fifty years, all coming by bands to fulfil the charge and service of the porterage of the tabernacle of ordinance, was eight thousand five hundred arid eighty. By the mouth of the Word of the Lord were they numbered by Mosheh, every man according to his service and burden; and the numbering of them was as the Lord commanded Mosheh.

 

  1. And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Command the sons of Israel to send away from the camp every one who is leprous, or who hath an issue, or is unclean by having defiled himself (by touching) the dead. From a male to a female thou shalt send them away, and separate them without the camp, that they may not defile their tents; for the Shekinah of My Holiness dwelleth among you. And the sons of Israel did so, and sent them away from the camp; as the Lord had commanded Mosheh, so did the sons of Israel.

 

And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Say to the children of Israel: A man or a woman who committeth any human sin, in acting perversely before the Lord, and hath become guilty; they shall make confession of their sins which they have committed. If he hath extorted money from his neighbour, he shall restore (the amount of) his sin in the principal thereof, and add to it a fifth of its value, and give (both) principal and fifth to him against whom be hath sinned. And if the man (hath died and) hath no kinsman to whom the debt may be rendered, the debt to be restored (shall he render) before the Lord; he shall give it to the priest, besides the ram for his atonement, by which atonement is to be made for him. And every separation of all consecrated things of the children of Israel which they bring to the priest shall be his. The consecrated tithe, also, of any man shall be his, that his substance may not fail; whatever a man giveth unto the priest shall be his.

 

And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Speak with the sons of Israel, and say to them: If the wife of any man go astray and commit wrongness against him, and another man lie with her, and it be hidden from her husband’s eyes, and be concealed, and she be contaminated: or, if the testimony be not clear which is witnessed against her, and she be not convicted; or, if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, that she hath been defiled, or the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, though she hath not been defiled; and though that man may have not brought separation or tythe, there is constraint upon him to bring his wife unto the priest. Now, because she may have brought delicacies to the adulterer, she ought to bring an appointed oblation of her own, a tenth of three sata of barley flour, that being the food of beasts: he shall not pour oil, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is a mincha (on account) of jealousy, a mincha of a memorial which calleth guilt to mind.

 

And the priest shall bring her near, and cause her to stand before the Lord.

 

And the priest shall take holy water from the laver with an ewer, and pour it into an earthen vessel; because she may have brought the adulterer sweet wine to drink in precious vases; and he shall take of the dust that is upon the ground of the tabernacle,-because the end of all flesh is dust,- and put it into the water. And the priest shall cause the woman to stand before the Lord, and bind a cord over her loins and upon her breast,- because she should have bound her loins with a girdle; and he shall uncover the woman’s head, because she had tied a fillet upon her hair.

 

And he shall put the mincha of memorial, the mincha of jealousy, into her hand; while in the hand of the priest shall be the bitter water of the trial.

 

And the priest shall adjure her by the adjuration of the Great and Glorious Name, and shall say to the woman:

 

If thou hast not turned aside, to defile thyself by acting against the right of thy husband, be thou unhurt by these bitter waters of trial. [JERUSALEM. Be thou made innocent by these waters of trial by their probation.] But if thou hast turned aside against the right of thy husband, and art defiled in having shared the bed with a man against thy husband’s right:-Then shall the priest adjure the woman by the oath of malediction, and say to the woman,-The Lord make thee a curse and an execration among the children of thy people, in causing thy thigh to corrupt, and thy belly to swell;. and may these waters of trial enter into thy bowels, to cause thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to corrupt.

 

And the woman shall answer and say: Amen, if I was polluted when betrothed; Amen, if I have been polluted since my marriage. [JERUSALEM. And the woman shall answer, Amen, because I have not been unclean; Amen, if ever I shall have wrought uncleanness.]

 

And the priest shall write these maledictions upon a parchment, and wash it out with the water of trial, and cause the woman to drink the bitter trial water: the trial water of malediction shall be received by her. But the priest shall (first) take from the woman’s hand the mincha of jealousy, and uplift the mincha before the Lord, and lay it on the side of the altar. And the priest shall take a handful of the portion for its memorial, and burn it at the altar; and after that the woman shall drink the water.

 

And when he hath caused her to drink the water, it will be that if she hath been defiled by adultery, and hath acted with wrongness against her husband, those proving waters will enter into her with a curse, and her belly will swell, and her thigh become corrupt, and the woman will be an execration among the children of her people. The adulterer as well will be detected by these waters of probation, in whatever place he may be. But if the woman hath not been defiled by adultery, but is innocent, they will enter without harm, and her brightness will shine forth, and she will find affection before her husband, and become the mother of a son.

 

This is the declaration of the law of jealousy, when a woman hath fallen away from the right of her husband, and become defiled by adultery; or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon a man, that he be so jealous of his wife as to make her stand before the Lord, then shall the priest perform all this law. But if the man be innocent of transgressions, then let that woman bear her iniquity.

 

  1. And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Speak with the children of Israel, and say to them: When a man or, woman, seeing her who had gone astray in her corruption, shall (resolve to) become abstinent from wine, or for any other cause shall make the vow of a Nazir in separating one’- self unto the Name of the Lord, he shall abstain from wine, new and old, he shall drink neither vinegar of old wine or new; neither may he drink liquor in which grapes have been crushed, nor eat of grapes either fresh or dried. [JERUSALEM. From wine, new or old, be shall abstain, (keep apart,) and vinegar of old wine he may not drink, nor any liquor. of grapes.] All the days of his vow he shall not eat of the tree which maketh wine, from the husks of grapes even to the kernels within them. All the days of his nazir‑vow the razor shall not pass upon his head until the time when the days of his separation to the Name of the Lord be fulfilled; he shall be consecrate, letting the hair of his head grow. All the days of his separation to the Name of the Lord he shall not go in where there is a dead man. For his father, or his mother, his brother, or his sister, he shall not make himself unclean through their decease; for the crown of Eloah is upon his head; all the days in which he is a Nazir lie shall be sacred before the Lord.

 

But if a person die near him suddenly, and he unawares defile the head of his vow, let him shave his head on the day of his purification; on the seventh day let him shave it. And on the eighth day let him bring two turtle doves, or two young pigeons, unto the priest at the door of the tabernacle of ordinance. And the priest shall make one a sin offering, and one a burnt offering, and atone for him on account of that in which be hath sinned, in defiling himself by the dead: and he shall consecrate his head on that day. And let him dedicate before the Lord the days of his nazirate (afresh), and bring a lamb of the year for a trespass offering; but the former days will have been in vain, because he had defiled his nazirate.

 

And this is the law of the Nazir on the day when his separation days are fulfilled: Let him present himself at the door of the tabernacle of ordinance, and bring his oblation before the Lord, one lamb of the year unblemished for a burnt offering, and one ewe Iamb of the year unblemished for a sin offering, and one ram unblemished for the consecrated oblation; and a basket of unleavened cakes of flour with olive oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with olive oil, their minchas and libations. And the priest shall offer before the Lord, and perform the sin offering, and the burnt sacrifice; and make the ram a consecrated victim (peace offering) before the Lord, with the basket of unleavened; and the priest shall make its mincha and its libation. And the Nazir shall shave his consecrated head, without, after the offering of the holy oblations at the door of the tabernacle of ordinance, and take the hair of his consecrated head, and lay it on the fire that is under the cauldron of the peace offering. And the priest shall take the shoulder that is boiled, entire from the ram, and one unleavened cake from the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and put upon the hands of the Nazirite, after he hath shaved his head of the consecration. And the priest shall uplift them for an elevation. It is sacred; it belongeth to the priest, with the breast of the elevation, and the separated shoulder. And after that the Nazirite may drink wine.

 

This is the declaration of the law of the Nazir who shall have vowed his oblation before the Lord for his separation, besides what may come into his hand according to the rule (or measure) of his vow, to bring that which he had vowed; so shall he do according to the law of his nazirate.

 

And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Speak with Aharon and his sons, saying: Thus shall you bless the children of Israel, while spreading forth the hands from the high place;[1] in this tongue.[2] The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and grant thee peace. The Lord bless thee in all thy business, and keep) thee from demons[3] of the night, and things that cause terror, and from demons of the noon[4] and of the morning, and from malignant spirits arid phantoms. The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, when occupied in the law, and reveal to thee its secrets, and be merciful unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee in thy prayer, and grant thee peace in thy end. And they shall bestow the benediction of My Name upon the children of Israel, and I, by My Word, will bless them.

 

VII. And it was on the day which begins the month of Nisan, when Mosheh had finished to uprear the tabernacle, he took it not in pieces again, but anointed and consecrated it and all its vessels, the altar and all the vessels thereof, and he anointed them and hallowed them; then the leaders of Israel, who were the chiefs of the house of their fathers, brought their offerings. These were they who had been appointed in Mizraim chiefs over the numbered, and they brought their offering before the Lord; six waggons covered and fitted up, and twelve oxen; one waggon for two princes and one ox for each. [JERUSALEM. Six waggons yoked.] But Mosheh was not willing to receive them, and they brought them before the tabernacle. And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: Take them, and let them be used for the need of the appointed (work), and let the oxen and the waggons be for the work of the service of the tabernacle of ordinance, and give them to the Levites, to each according to the measure of his work. And Mosheh took the waggons and the oxen, and gave them to the Levites. Two waggons and four oxen he gave to the sons of Gershon, according to the amount of their service, and four waggons and eight oxen gave be to the sons of Merari, according to the measure of their service, by the band of Ithamar bar Aharon the priest. But to the sons of Kehath he gave neither waggons nor oxen, because on them was laid the service of the sanctuary, to be carried on their shoulders. And the princes offered at the dedication of the altar by anointing, on the day that he anointed it did the princes present their oblations before the altar. And the Lord said unto Mosheh, Let the princes offer each, one prince on one day, their oblations at the dedication of the altar by anointing.

 

He who on the first day presented his oblation was Nachshon bar Amminadab, prince of the house of the fathers of the tribe Jehudah: and his oblation which he offered was one silver bow, thickly embossed, (or, crusted,) in weight one hundred and thirty shekels, in shekels of the sanctuary; one silver vase, slightly embossed, of seventy shekels, in shekels of the sanctuary; both of these vessels he brought filled with flour of the separation, sprinkled with olive oil for a mincha; one pan (censer) weighing ten silver shekels, but it was itself of good gold; and he brought it full of good sweet incense of the separation; one young bullock of three years, one ram of two years, and one lamb of the year. These three did the chief of the tribe Jehudah bring for a burnt offering; one kid of the goats he brought for a sin offering; and for consecrated victims, two oxen, five rams, five goats, lambs of the year five: this is the order of the oblation which Nachshon bar Amminadab offered of his wealth. [JERUSALEM. And the oblation which he offered was one silver dish, &c., in the same words as above.]

 

On the second day, Nethanel bar Zuar, chief of the house of the fathers of the tribe Issakar, brought his oblation. He brought his oblation after Jehudah by commandment of the Holy: one silver dish thickly embossed, one hundred and thirty shekels, &c., as the first.[5]

 

On the third day, Eliab bar Helon, prince of the Beni Zebulon, offered. On the fourth, Elizur bar Shedeur, prince of the Beni Reuben; on the fifth, Shelumiel bar Zurishaddai, prince of Shemeon; on the sixth, Eljasaph bar Dehuel, prince of the Beni Gad; on the seventh, Elishama bar Ammihud, prince of the Beni Ephraim; on the eighth, Gamaliel bar Pedazur, prince of Menasheh; on the ninth, Abidan bar Gideoni, prince of Benjamin; on the tenth, Achiezer bar Amishaddai, prince of the Beni Dan; on the eleventh, Pagiel bar Achran, prince of Asher; and on the twelfth day, Achira bar Enan, prince of the Beni Naphtali, offered.

 

This is the oblation at the anointing of the altar, on the day that they anointed it, from the riches of the princes of Israel: twelve silver bowls, answering to the twelve tribes; twelve silver vases, answering to the twelve princes of the Beni Israel; twelve golden pans, answering to the twelve signs (mazalia[6]). One hundred and thirty shekels was the weight of each silver bowl, answering to the years of Jokebed when she bare Mosheh; and seventy shekels was the weight of each vase, answering to the seventy elders of the great Sanhedrin: all the silver vessels, two thousand four hundred shekels, in shekels of the sanctuary. The golden pans were twelve, answering to the princes of Israel, full of good sweet incense; the weight of ten shekels was the weight of each pan, answering to the Ten Words; all the gold of the pans, one hundred and twenty (shekels), answering to the years lived by Mosheh the prophet. All the bullocks for the burnt offering, twelve, a bullock for a prince of the house of the fathers; twelve rams, because the twelve princes of Ishmael would perish; twelve lambs of the year, because the twelve princes of Persia would perish; and their minchas, that famine might be removed from the world; and twelve kids of the goats for the sin offering, to atone for the sins of the twelve tribes. And all the oxen for consecrated victims, twenty‑four, answering to the twenty‑four orders (of the priests); the rams, sixty, answering, to the sixty years which Izhak had lived when he begat Jakob; the goats, sixty, answering to the sixty letters in the benediction of the priests; lambs of the year, sixty, to atone for the sixty myriads of Israel. This was the dedication of the altar by anointment on the day that they anointed it.

 

And when Mosheh entered into the tabernacle of ordinance to speak with Him, he heard the voice of the Spirit who spake with him descending from the heaven of heavens upon the Mercy Seat which was upon the Ark of the Testimony between the two Cherubim, and from thence was the Oracle speaking with him.

 

 

[1] Or, “place of speaking.”

[1] The Hebrew, which the Targumist gives textually, and then paraphrases in Chaldee. See the Glossary.

[1] Liliths

[1] Psalm xci. 6. Vulg. et Sept.

[1] The oblation of each of the twelve tribes was precisely the same. I have therefore omitteds the details after the first, and given only the name of the offerer. The Targumist abridges here, also.

[1] Signs of the Zodiac.

 

[1] Or, “place of speaking.”

[2] The Hebrew, which the Targumist gives textually, and then paraphrases in Chaldee. See Glossary.

[3] Lihths

[4] Psalm xci. 6. Vulg. et Sept.

[5] The oblation of each of the twelve tribes was precisely the same. I have therefore omitteds the details after the first, and given only the name of the offerer. The Targumist abridges here, also.

[6] Signs of the Zodiac.

Messiah the Avenger

Thought for the Week:

Messiah is our redeemer. He has redeemed us from slavery, from sin, from condemnation, and from death. He is our kinsmen redeemer, our brother in the house of God, who has ransomed us from the debt we could not pay. Therefore, we speak of Him as Redeemer. He is also the national redeemer of Israel. Just as Moses, the first redeemer, redeemed all Israel from slavery, so too the second redeemer, Messiah, redeems the whole nation. And this great second redemption is not only a spiritual redemption, but it is the literal, physical redemption of Israel. He will gather the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from the nations, and restore them to the land of Israel.

Commentary:

The blood avenger himself shall put the murderer to death; he shall put him to death when he meets him. (Numbers 35:19)

Messiah is the redeemer of Israel. In the Bible, the job of a kinsmen redeemer includes taking blood vengeance. Therefore, if Messiah is to redeem Israel, He must also avenge Israel. He will require recompense in blood for every drop of Jewish blood that has been spilled, and for every drop of His disciple’s blood, whether Jew or Gentile. Psalm 110 says, “He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. He will drink from the brook by the wayside; therefore He will lift up His head.” (Psalm 110:6–7)

Psalm 9:12 speaks of God as the Redeemer, the blood avenger, when it says, “He who requires blood remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.” Psalm 79:10 says, “Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ Let there be known among the nations in our sight, vengeance for the blood of Your servants which has been shed.”

The implications of Messiah coming to avenge the blood of Israel is frightening when we consider that the Church has been, historically, the chief spiller of Israel’s blood. In the name of Christ, literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands, even millions of Jews have been ruthlessly killed through the centuries.

The book of Revelation depicts the souls of martyrs crying out to God for vengeance:

“How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” … and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. (Revelation 6:9–11)

In Deuteronomy, the LORD says, “Vengeance is Mine, and retribution,” (Deuteronomy 32:35) The prophet Isaiah assures us, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you.” (Isaiah 35:4) All of these texts combine to paint a dire picture of Messiah’s second coming. When He comes again, He comes as the avenger of His people.

Portion Summary  

The second reading from the book of Numbers and the thirty-fifth reading from the Torah is called Nasso (נשא), a word that literally means “lift up.” It comes from the first word of the second verse in Hebrew, which could literally be translated to say, “Lift up the heads of the sons of Gershon,” an idiomatic way of saying, “Make an accounting of the sons of Gershon.” This Torah portion finishes up the census of the Levites that was underway at the end of the last Torah portion, before going on to discuss the purification of the camp, the ritual for a woman suspected of adultery, the laws of the Nazirite vow, the priestly benediction and the gifts the heads of the twelve tribes brought for the dedication of the altar.