The sixth and seventh Torah Portions of the book of B’Midbar/Numbers are Chukat and Balak, which mean “Regulation” and “Devestator” this is the name of the king of Moav featured in this account.
Torah Portion: Numbers 19:1 – 22:1;
22:2 – 25:9
Haftorah Portions: Judges 11:1-33;
Micah 5:6 – 6:8
Apostolic Writings: John 3:1-21;
2 Peter 2:1-22
You can read or listen to the portions below:
Now Yiftach, a brave soldier from Gil‘ad, was the son of a prostitute. His father, Gil‘ad, had other sons by his wife; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Yiftach away and told him, “You will not inherit from our father, because you are another woman’s son.” Then Yiftach fled from his brothers and lived in the territory of Tov, where he enlisted a gang of rowdies who would go out raiding with him. After a while the people of ‘Amon made war against Isra’el. When the army of ‘Amon attacked Isra’el, the leaders of Gil‘ad went to fetch Yiftach from the territory of Tov and said to him, “Come and be our chief, so that we can fight the army of ‘Amon.” Yiftach answered the leaders of Gil‘ad, “Didn’t you hate me so much that you forced me out of my father’s house? Why are you coming to me now, when you’re in trouble?” The leaders of Gil‘ad replied, “Here is why we’ve come back to you now: if you lead us in war with the people of ‘Amon, you will be head over everyone living in Gil‘ad.” Yiftach answered them, “If you bring me back home to fight the army of ‘Amon, and Adonai defeats them for me, I will be your head.” The leaders of Gil‘ad said to Yiftach, “ Adonai is witness that we promise to do what you have said.” Then Yiftach went with the leaders of Gil‘ad, and the people made him head and chief over them. Yiftach repeated all these conditions at Mitzpah in the presence of Adonai . Yiftach sent messengers to the king of the people of ‘Amon to say, “What’s your problem with us? Why are you invading our territory?” The king of ‘Amon answered the messengers of Yiftach, “Because Isra’el took away my territory when they came up from Egypt. They took everything from the Arnon to the Yabok and the Yarden. Now, restore it peacefully.” Yiftach sent messengers again to the king of the people of ‘Amon with this response, “Here is what Yiftach has to say: ‘Isra’el captured neither the territory of Mo’av nor the territory of the people of ‘Amon. But when Isra’el came up from Egypt, walked through the desert to the Red Sea and arrived at Kadesh, then Isra’el sent messengers to the king of Edom, to say, “Please let us pass through your land.” But the king of Edom wouldn’t let them. He sent a similar message to the king of Mo’av, but neither would he, so Isra’el stayed at Kadesh. Then they walked through the desert, around the territory of Edom and the territory of Mo’av, past the east border of the territory of Mo’av, and pitched camp on the other side of the Arnon; but they did not cross the border into Mo’av, for the Arnon was the border of Mo’av. Isra’el sent messengers to Sichon king of the Emori and king of Heshbon with this message, “Please let us pass through your land to our own place.” But Sichon did not trust that Isra’el would only pass through his land, so he gathered all his people together, pitched camp in Yahatz and fought against Isra’el. Adonai the God of Isra’el handed Sichon and all his people over to Isra’el, and they killed them. Thus Isra’el possessed all the territory of the Emori who lived there. They took possession of all the territory of the Emori from the Arnon to the Yabok and from the desert to the Yarden. So now that Adonai the God of Isra’el has expelled the Emori before his people Isra’el, do you think that you will expel us? You should just keep the territory your god K’mosh has given you; while we, for our part, will hold onto whatever Adonai our God has given us of the lands that belonged to others before us. Really, are you better than Balak the son of Tzippor, king of Mo’av? Did he ever pick a quarrel with Isra’el or fight with us? Isra’el lived in Heshbon and its villages, in ‘Aro‘er and its villages and in all the cities on the banks of the Arnon for three hundred years. Why didn’t you take them back during that time? No, I have done you no wrong. But you are doing me wrong to war against me. May Adonai the Judge be judge today between the people of Isra’el and the people of ‘Amon.’” But the king of the people of ‘Amon paid no attention to the message Yiftach sent him. Then the spirit of Adonai came upon Yiftach; and he passed through Gil‘ad and M’nasheh, on through Mitzpeh of Gil‘ad, and from there over to the people of ‘Amon. Yiftach made a vow to Adonai : “If you will hand the people of ‘Amon over to me, then whatever comes out the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the people of ‘Amon will belong to Adonai ; I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” So Yiftach crossed over to fight the people of ‘Amon, and Adonai handed them over to him. He killed them from ‘Aro‘er until you reach Minnit, twenty cities, all the way to Avel-K’ramim; it was a massacre. So the people of ‘Amon were defeated before the people of Isra’el.
Micah 5:6 – 6:8
Then the remnant of Ya‘akov, surrounded by many peoples, will be like dew from Adonai , like showers on the grass, which doesn’t wait for a man or expect anything from mortals. The remnant of Ya‘akov among the nations, surrounded by many peoples, will be like a lion among forest animals, like a young lion among flocks of sheep — if it passes through, tramples and tears to pieces, there is no one to rescue them. Your hand will be raised over your enemies; all your adversaries will be destroyed. “When that day comes,” says Adonai , “I will cut off your horses from among you and destroy your chariots. I will cut off the cities of your land and lay waste your strongholds. I will cut off sorceries from your land; you will no longer have soothsayers. I will cut off your carved images and standing-stones from among you; no longer will you worship what your own hands have made. I will pull up your sacred poles from among you and destroy your enemies. I will wreak vengeance in anger and fury on the nations, because they would not listen.”
So listen now to what Adonai says: “Stand up and state your case to the mountains, let the hills hear what you have to say.” Listen, mountains, to Adonai’s case; also you enduring rocks that support the earth! Adonai has a case against his people; he wants to argue it out with Isra’el: “My people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! I brought you up from the land of Egypt. I redeemed you from a life of slavery. I sent Moshe, Aharon and Miryam to lead you. My people, just remember what Balak the king of Mo’av had planned, what Bil‘am the son of B‘or answered him, [and what happened] between Sheetim and Gilgal — so that you will understand the saving deeds of Adonai .” “With what can I come before Adonai to bow down before God on high? Should I come before him with burnt offerings? with calves in their first year? Would Adonai take delight in thousands of rams with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Could I give my firstborn to pay for my crimes, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” Human being, you have already been told what is good, what Adonai demands of you — no more than to act justly, love grace and walk in purity with your God.
There was a man among the P’rushim , named Nakdimon, who was a ruler of the Judeans. This man came to Yeshua by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know it is from God that you have come as a teacher; for no one can do these miracles you perform unless God is with him.” “Yes, indeed,” Yeshua answered him, “I tell you that unless a person is born again from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Nakdimon said to him, “How can a grown man be ‘born’? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time?” Yeshua answered, “Yes, indeed, I tell you that unless a person is born from water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. What is born from the flesh is flesh, and what is born from the Spirit is spirit. Stop being amazed at my telling you that you must be born again from above! The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it’s going. That’s how it is with everyone who has been born from the Spirit.” Nakdimon replied, “How can this happen?” Yeshua answered him, “You hold the office of teacher in Isra’el, and you don’t know this? Yes, indeed! I tell you that what we speak about, we know; and what we give evidence of, we have seen; but you people don’t accept our evidence! If you people don’t believe me when I tell you about the things of the world, how will you believe me when I tell you about the things of heaven? No one has gone up into heaven; there is only the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. Just as Moshe lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but rather so that through him, the world might be saved. Those who trust in him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the one who is God’s only and unique Son. “Now this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness rather than the light. Why? Because their actions were wicked. For everyone who does evil things hates the light and avoids it, so that his actions won’t be exposed. But everyone who does what is true comes to the light, so that all may see that his actions are accomplished through God.”
2 Peter 2:1-22
But among the people there were also false prophets, just as there will be false teachers among you. Under false pretenses they will introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and thus bring on themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their debaucheries; and because of them, the true Way will be maligned. In their greed they will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their punishment, decreed long ago, is not idle; their destruction is not asleep! For God did not spare the angels who sinned; on the contrary, he put them in gloomy dungeons lower than Sh’ol to be held for judgment. And he did not spare the ancient world; on the contrary, he preserved Noach, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, and brought the Flood upon a world of ungodly people. And he condemned the cities of S’dom and ‘Amora, reducing them to ashes and ruin, as a warning to those in the future who would live ungodly lives; but he rescued Lot, a righteous man who was distressed by the debauchery of those unprincipled people; for the wicked deeds which that righteous man saw and heard, as he lived among them, tormented his righteous heart day after day. So the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and how to hold the wicked until the Day of Judgment while continuing to punish them, especially those who follow their old natures in lust for filth and who despise authority. Presumptuous and self-willed, these false teachers do not tremble at insulting angelic beings; whereas angels, though stronger and more powerful, do not bring before the Lord an insulting charge against them. But these people, acting without thinking, like animals without reason, born to be captured and destroyed, insult things about which they have no knowledge. When they are destroyed, their destruction will be total — they will be paid back harm as wages for the harm they are doing. Their idea of pleasure is carousing in broad daylight; they are spots and defects reveling in their deceptions as they share meals with you — for they have eyes always on the lookout for a woman who will commit adultery, eyes that never stop sinning; and they have a heart that has exercised itself in greed; so that they seduce unstable people. What a cursed brood! These people have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Bil‘am Ben-B‘or, who loved the wages of doing harm but was rebuked for his sin — a dumb beast of burden spoke out with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s insanity! Waterless springs they are, mists driven by a gust of wind; for them has been reserved the blackest darkness. Mouthing grandiosities of nothingness, they play on the desires of the old nature, in order to seduce with debaucheries people who have just begun to escape from those whose way of life is wrong. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for a person is slave to whatever has defeated him. Indeed, if they have once escaped the pollutions of the world through knowing our Lord and Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah, and then have again become entangled and defeated by them, their latter condition has become worse than their former. It would have been better for them not to have known the Way of righteousness than, fully knowing, to turn from the holy command delivered to them. What has happened to them accords with the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit.” Yes, “The pig washed itself, only to wallow in the mud!”