Parashat Haazinu (Listen!) Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52
Haftarah: II Samuel 22:1-51
Similar to the Torah reading, the Haftarah contains a song. In this song which King David wrote, one is reminded of the faithfulness of HaShem to defend His people. In this section, David praises HaShem not just before his brethren but also before the nations.
“Therefore I will praise You HaShem among the gentiles and to Your Name I will sing.”
II Sam. 22:50
It is important to pay close attention to the word which almost all translations translate as “among”. This word may better be translated by the word “with”. The word “among” can carry a thought as “before” or “in front of”. The context of the verse better suits translating it with the word “with”, meaning that David is not just praising G-d as a testimony to the nations, but he is actually leading them in worship.
Some scholars point out that from the context, the enemies are the nations over whom HaShem has given victory. This seems most reasonable; however the phrase which appears in verses 45 and 46, which speaks to the enemies of David, is different from the word which appears in verse 50. Most translators render this phrase as “foreigners”. I do not like this rendering because it implies that G-d punishes these people not only because of their disobedience, but also because of their ethnicity—something we know the G-d of Israel would not do.
It is most interesting that the section concludes with the phrase,
“A tower of abundant salvation is His King, and makes kindness to His Anointed One, to David and to His seed forever.” II Samuel 22:51
This verse has Messianic overtones, first the verse speaks of the King (Messiah) as a Tower of abundant salvation. I translated this phrase as “abundant salvation” when in the Hebrew only the word salvation appears. Why add the word “abundant?” We do so because the word “salvation” is in the plural in Hebrew. Second, although most translations write “He is a tower of salvations to His King” the fact is that the word “to”, does not appear in the text, nor does the phrase “He is“. Hence it is correct to render the sentence “A tower of abundant salvation is His King,“, rather than “…to His King“.
Finally when David is mentioned, it is important to remember that frequently the name David actually refers to the “Son of David” as in the Messiah. This is the case here because David is the author of the song and it would be odd for him to address himself by name. The phrase “and to His seed forever” obviously is Messianic as the term “seed” is related to the Abrahamic Covenant. In this context it is speaking about the sons of Abraham who are the recipients of the eternal kindness of the Living G-d.
This song contains many promises that comfort the believer in times of trouble and reminds him that in the end, we will overcome and be praising HaShem and His Anointed One
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