christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

deuteronomy 31:1-30, parashah vayelech (then he went out)

I study the Torah every year using the teaching tools of Scripture. (Why?)

Today is the 49th Sabbath of the annual Torah cycle. The Torah reading (parashah) is Vayelech (then he went out), Deu 31:1-30.

The Hebrew paragraph divisions given by the Holy Spirit, are:

Deu 31:1-6 s Moses will not cross over the Jordan, but the Lord God will cross over with Israel
Deu 31:7-13 p Joshua to lead Israel + Israel to not forget or forsake the Law
Deu 31:14-30 p Joshua inaugurated + the coming apostasy of Israel

I believe this parashah makes a single chaistic structure, although I have only been able to uncover the ends of it so far:

1a) Deu 31:1, Moses spoke these words to all Israel;
1b) Deu 31:2-6 s, Moses’ impending death and Israel’s coming victory;
1c) Deu 31:7-13 p, Joshua inaugurated + the book of the Law:
— 1.1) Deu 31:7-8, Moses called Joshua: “Be strong and of good courage/ you shall bring Israel in/ He will be with you;”
— 1.2) Deu 31:9-13 p, Moses wrote the Law + sons of Levi who bore the ark + hear the Law that you may keep it;

2c) Deu 31:23-26, Joshua inaugurated + the book of the Law:
— 2.1) Deu 31:23, The Lord inaugurated Joshua: “Be strong and of good courage/ you shall bring Israel in/ I will be with you;”
— 2.2) Deu 31:24-26, Moses wrote the book of the Law + Levites who bore the ark + keep this book as a witness against you;
2b) Deu 31:27-29, Moses’ impending death and Israel’s coming apostasy;
2a) Deu 31:30 p, Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel.

Even before I saw that the C pair specifically combines a statement about Joshua with a statement about the book of the Law, I saw that the strong paragraph, Deu 31:7-13, has two seemingly distinct sections; a section concerning Joshua’s inauguration, and a section concerning the book of the Law. In fact, in English Bibles that have discarded God’s paragraph divisions, this section is divided into two paragraphs, not kept as one, because it seems to the casual reader that two distinct and separate points are being made.

I believe God put them together in a single paragraph however, because He is smarter than we are, and He has a point He is trying to make. Now, Joshua, we know, is the anglicized form of this man’s Hebrew name. His Hebrew name is Yeshua! In fact Joshua is a type of Messiah in Torah, who leads His people into the Promised Land and into rest, and is victorious over all His enemies!

What could be God’s point then, in combining these two seemingly distinct sections into a single paragraph, and then confirming that it is His intention that they remain together by combining them again in the C pair of the chiastic structure (in essence doubling them … repetition is a teaching tool of Scripture)?

As He so often is when Messiah is encountered in Torah, He is teaching the gospel of the Kingdom. And it is: trust, and obey. Salvation belongs to those who place their faith in Messiah Yeshua … and the changed life in obedience to the Lord God, serves as a witness to those who have whole heartedly put their trust in Him. To trust and to obey are two sides of the same coin of salvation.

There are many other smaller chiastic structures in this parashah. Two that are formed by the paragraph divisions, are:

Deu 31:1-6 s
1a) Deu 31:1-2, Moses will not go with Israel;
1b) Deu 31:3, The Lord will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them (chiasm);
1c) Deu 31:4, The Lord will do to them as He did to Sihon and Og, when He destroyed them;
central axis) Deu 31:5a, The Lord will give them over to you;
2c) Deu 31:5b, That you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you;
2b) Deu 31:6a, Be strong and of good courage; do not fear or be afraid of them;
2a) Deu 31:6b, The Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you.

Deu 31:7-30 p+p
1a) Deu 31:7-8, Moses charged Joshua in the sight of all Israel;
1b) Deu 31:9-13 p, Moses commanded the Levites concerning the Book of the Law;
1c) Deu 31:14-15, Call Joshua that I may inaugurate him;
central axis) Deu 31:16-22, YHVH’s speech: the coming apostasy of Israel;
2c) Deu 31:23, YHVH inaugurated Joshua;
2b) Deu 31:24-27, Moses commanded the Levites concerning the Book of the Law;
2a) Deu 31:28-30 p, Moses charged the elders in the hearing of all Israel.


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