Two Interesting Comments From Jewish Scholars

I was reading along in my Exodus commentaries on the last part of chapter 32 (the incident of the golden calf). The Levites are ordered to bring God’s judgment on the rest of the Israelites, and they kill 3,000 people that day, which is half of one percent of just the males. I have wondered why it is that so few died. Surely just about the entire nation had gone astray. Now, there was a plague that took more people, as the end of the chapter tells us. However, we are not told how many people died in that plague. The stress of the passage seems to be the smallness of the number of people who died. A lot of people have the wrong idea about the 3,000, thinking that it is such a huge number of people. However, we should be thinking of that number as incredibly small, given the offense to God that the idolatry represented, not to mention the derision of the nations to which Israel’s sin made them subject (verse 25). The entire people deserved to perish.

Enter in this startling comment by a Jew (Umberto Cassuto), on page 421 of his commentary: “It is better that a few Israelites lose their lives rather than that the entire people should perish.” Anyone who knows the New Testament at all will recognize the startling similarity this comment has with Caiaphas’ remarks about Jesus’ death. There is no way to tell in the context whether this similarity was intentional on Cassuto’s part or not. This brings us to Moses’ request, which is basically that he be a substitute for the people, a request that the Lord denies. Another Jewish commentator (Nahmanides) notes the similarity of this passage with the ideas present in Isaiah 53, particularly verse 5: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” They seem very close to the truth, don’t they? The difference between Moses and Jesus (and the reason why God refuses Moses’ request, according to Ryken’s commentary) is that Moses was sinful, whereas Jesus was not.

About these ads

1 Comment

  1. February 6, 2014 at 9:11 am

    This article seems to be about this topic,with a quote below the link:

    http://feedingonchrist.com/old-testament-personal-types-and-shadows-of-christ/

    Moses was a type of Christ in that he was the typical Redeemer of the Old Covenant. He was the only other Mediator between God and His people in redemptive history; and though his mediation was also typical, He stood in the most unique position as the redeemer and lawgiver of the Covenant people. Jesus is THE Mediator between God and man–since He is both God and man. Just as Moses had a supernatural deliverance at his birth, so did Jesus. Just as Moses led Israel out of Egypt, into the wilderness, up on the mountain to give them the law, so Jesus went down into Egypt, up from Egypt, through the water, into the wilderness and up on the mountain to give God’s people the law. Jesus leads His people out of bondage to Satan, sin and death through His own “exodus” (Luke 9:31) in his death and resurrection.

    Peace.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 334 other followers

%d bloggers like this: