Parashat Eikev (Reward) Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
Haftarah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Many times in the Torah, HaShem gives a commandment and afterwards He says, “For I am the L-rd your G-d“. Many have understood this statement as a type of warning; but one should not hear it as a threat, but as an invitation to be like Him. In this week’s Torah portion one reads,
“For the L-rd your G-d is the G-d of gods and the L-rd of lords, the great G-d, the mighty One and awesome One, Who is not a respecter of people nor does He accept a bribe.” Deut. 10:17
It is obvious that a person could not bribe HaShem, so why mention such an act? The answer is because courts were corrupt and they often showed favoritism to the wealthy and denied justice to the poor. In other words, this text is saying if one does not show favoritism and seeks to execute justice for all, this one will not only be behaving like HaShem, but he will be empowered and be positioned in leadership.
The passage continues and says,
“He does justice for the orphan and widow and loves the “ger” to give him bread and dress (clothes).” Deuteronomy 10:18
Not only would HaShem never take a bribe, but He provides justice for those who were often the very ones that others took advantage of. Not only is the orphan and widow mentioned, but the third one often denied justice was the “ger“. This term is often times translated “proselyte” referring to a convert to Israel. Such a rendering is not correct. The Hebrew word simply means one that dwells in a foreign land; in this case a gentile who now resides in Israel. The next verse proves that “convert” is not the proper translation.
“And you shall love the ger (literally one who dwells or resides) for you were gers in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 7:19
It is clear that Israelites did not convert to become Egyptians; rather the text simple implies that they dwelt in Egypt. Now they were being offered the opportunity not to mistreat those gentiles who were living among them, rather to be different than the Egyptians and be like HaShem and bless them. This is what true faith demands.
It is not surprising when Peter was called to share the Gospel to the gentiles; he did not refuse, but said,
“Truly I see that G-d is not a respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34
Look for ways to demonstrate the character of Messiah, Who so often was moved by compassion to get involved in another person’s hurt. For Yeshua, He is our L-rd and G-d (See John 20:28).
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