The reading of this week in every synagogue around the world is the Parashah of Jethro, Exodus 18:1-20:23. Of course the main story in this reading of the Torah is the giving of the Torah in Mt. Sinai, the Ten Commandments. However, there are some other very important issues raised in this portion of the Torah that are important for today and for the relationship between Jews and non-Jews.

First, I would like to discuss the Ten- Commandments. The Ten Commandments are not the first basic code of Law in this history of mankind.

We have The Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu (c. 2100-2050 BC), then the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1760 BC). These two are some of the earliest. I believe that it would be good for us to know what is in common and what is different between these two Mesopotamian cuneiform codes that are earlier than the Ten-Commandants give by the Creator God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and these earlier pagan codes of law.

The Ur-Nammu (c.2100-2050 B.C.E.) this code of law is dedicated and attributed to the following Sumerian and Akkadian gods, Nanna and Otu.

  1. If a man commits a murder, that man must be killed.
  2. If a man commits a robbery, he will be killed.
  3. If a man commits a kidnapping, he is to be imprisoned and pay 15 shekels of silver.
  4. If a slave marries a slave, and that slave is set free, he does not leave the household.
  5. If a slave marries a native (i.e. free) person, he/she is to hand the firstborn son over to his owner.
  6. If a man violates the right of another and deflowers the virgin wife of a young man, they shall kill that male.
  7. If the wife of a man followed after another man and he slept with her, they shall slay that woman, but that male shall be set free.
  8. If a man proceeded by force, and deflowered the virgin female slave of another man, that man must pay five shekels of silver.
  9. If a man divorces his first-time wife, he shall pay (her) one mina of silver.
  10. If it is a (former) widow whom he divorces, he shall pay (her) half a mina of silver.
  11. If the man had slept with the widow without there having been any marriage contract, he need not pay any silver.
  12. If a man is accused of sorcery he must undergo ordeal by water; if he is proven innocent, his accuser must pay 3 shekels.
  13. If a man accused the wife of a man of adultery, and the river ordeal proved her innocent, then the man who had accused her must pay one-third of a mina of silver.
  14. If a prospective son-in-law enters the house of his prospective father-in-law, but his father-in-law later gives his daughter to another man, the father-in-law shall return to the rejected son-in-law twofold the amount of bridal presents he had brought.
  15. If [text destroyed…], he shall weigh and deliver to him 2 shekels of silver.
  16. If a slave escapes from the city limits, and someone returns him, the owner shall pay two shekels to the one who returned him.
  17. If a man knocks out the eye of another man, he shall weigh out ½ a mina of silver.
  18. If a man has cut off another man’s foot, he is to pay ten shekels.
  19. If a man, in the course of a scuffle, smashed the limb of another man with a club, he shall pay one mina of silver.
  20. If someone severed the nose of another man with a copper knife, he must pay two-thirds of a mina of silver.
  21. If a man knocks out a tooth of another man, he shall pay two shekels of silver.
  22. [text destroyed…] If he does not have a slave, he is to pay 10 shekels of silver. If he does not have silver, he is to give another thing that belongs to him.
  23. If a man’s slave-woman, comparing herself to her mistress, speaks insolently to her, her mouth shall be scoured with 1 quart of salt.
  24. If a slave woman strikes someone acting with the authority of her mistress, [text destroyed…]
  25. If a man appeared as a witness, and was shown to be a perjurer, he must pay fifteen shekels of silver.
  26. If a man appears as a witness, but withdraws his oath, he must make payment, to the extent of the value in litigation of the case.
  27. If a man stealthily cultivates the field of another man and he raises a complaint, this is however to be rejected, and this man will lose his expenses.
  28. If a man flooded the field of a man with water, he shall measure out three kur of barley per iku of field.
  29. If a man had let an arable field to a(nother) man for cultivation, but he did not cultivate it, turning it into wasteland, he shall measure out three kur of barley per iku of field.

The Code of Hammurabi from the 1700’s B.C.E., is longer so I will bring here a shorter summary.

The laws covered such subjects as:

Slander

Ex. Law #127: “If any one “point the finger” at a sister of a god or the wife of any one, and can not prove it, this man shall be taken before the judges and his brow shall be marked (by cutting the skin, or perhaps hair).”

Trade

Ex. Law #265: “If a herdsman, to whose care cattle or sheep have been entrusted, be guilty of fraud and make false returns of the natural increase, or sell them for money, then shall he be convicted and pay the owner ten times the loss.”

Slavery and status of slaves as property

Ex. Law #15: “If any one take a male or female slave of the court, or a male or female slave of a freed man, outside the city gates, he shall be put to death.”

The duties of workers

Ex. Law #42: “If any one take over a field to till it, and obtain no harvest therefrom, it must be proved that he did no work on the field, and he must deliver grain, just as his neighbor raised, to the owner of the field.”

Theft

Ex. Law #22: “If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.”

Trade

Ex. Law #104: “If a merchant give an agent corn, wool, oil, or any other goods to transport, the agent shall give a receipt for the amount, and compensate the merchant therefore, he shall obtain a receipt from the merchant for the money that he gives the merchant.”

Divorce

Ex. Law #142: “If a woman quarrel with her husband, and say: “You are not congenial to me,” the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If she is guiltless, and there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and neglects her, then no guilt attaches to this woman, she shall take her dowry and go back to her father’s house.”

One of the best known laws from Hammurabi’s code was:

Ex. Law #196: “If a man destroy the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye. If one break a man’s bone, they shall break his bone. If one destroy the eye of a freeman or break the bone of a freeman he shall pay one gold mina. If one destroy the eye of a man’s slave or break a bone of a man’s slave he shall pay one-half his price.”

Adultery

Ex. Law #129: “If the wife of a man has been caught lying with another man, they shall bind them and throw them into the waters. If the owner of the wife would save his wife then in turn the king could save his servant.”

Perjury

Ex. Law #3: “If a man has borne false witness in a trial, or has not established the statement that he has made, if that case be a capital trial, that man shall be put to death.”

The Ten Commandments delivered by God himself to Moses on the top of Mt. Sinai and announced in public to all the children of Israel who were delivered from the slavery of Egypt. (There are here 11 commandments because of the differences between Exodus and Deuteronomy in the order and commentary on the commandments)

  1. I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
  5. Honor thy father and thy mother
  6. Thou shalt not kill
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
  8. Thou shalt not steal
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
  10. Thou shalt not covet (neighbor’s house) (neighbor’s wife) (neighbor’s slaves, animals, anything else)

All the three sets of commandments from Ur-Nammu, Hammurabi, and Sinai have a significant part dealing with morality, but the Mesopotamian earlier to Sinai laws have no divine sanction or command to accept and recognize the Lord God, or the Oneness of God. The gods of the Mesopotamian and of the Akkadians don’t play a major role in the commandments.

Second, there is a clear difference in these pagan laws in the social structure of the community. Slaves have a different intrinsic value and their bodies and lives have a different value from the established elites of the society.

Third, everything is measured with payment of money and monetary value.

Forth, the emphasis is on economics and tangible values. The Commandments that God gave Israel and the world from Mt. Sinai in the hands of Moses are much shorter and they have a different moral status. They are shorter but they cover a much broader ground and give no different human value to the slave or freeman.

Both the moral standard and the divine standard and the social standard are miles higher than these old but very important codes of human laws that Hammurabi and Ur-Nammu have provided for their populations about 1000 years before Moses received the Torah on Mt. Sinai.

We are living in a period that I can describe with the words of Isaiah the prophet:

״For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.” (Is. 60:2 NKJV)

Yes, there are in the world so called “Christian leaders who undermine the importance of the Torah and of the bulk of the Word of God that is so called by some Christians as the OLD TESTAMENT, and that includes the Ten-Commandments. These Christian leaders are Spread from screen to screen of Christian television and without shame speak against the Torah and even say that we don’t need the Ten-Commandments any more because we are under God’s Grace. Yes, we are under God’s grace, but there is no greater demonstration of God’s grace than in the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai – and throughout the history of the people of Israel. We still need the Ten-Commandments!

Just a side note the events that happened on the day of Pentecost and are recorded in Acts 2 – are happening on the day of Pentecost because the day of Pentecost is the day of the giving of the Torah in Mt. Sinai. It was not an arbitrary day chosen in a lottery of the divine comedy. The Holy Spirit filled the Apostles and the 120 men, and I assume there were in that upper room on Mt. Zion also women, on that day because it was the second giving of the Torah as it was promised and predicted in Isaiah chapter 2, and in other texts. The signs and pyrotechnics that happened in that upper room were the same exact signs as in Exodus chapter 20:18ff. To appreciate how much alike and the connection of these signs and wonders, including the tongues that were understood by so many Jews who came from far and spoke different languages – you need to dig a bit deeper in the Hebrew meaning of the text in both Acts and Exodus. I will probably do a video and put in my facebook and many be succeed to put it also in the Netivyah facebook.

I am repeating the information for the very important conference in Portugal on the topic of the Marrano/Anussim Jews who are still victims of the inquisition in Spain and Portugal. We must together with the state of Israel work to release these captives of oppression and delayed basic human rights to restore and recapture their true identity as Jews and return to the land of Israel as Jews.

Here is the information for you to follow:

  1. The dates of the conference; May 17-19, 2019
  2. The place of the conference; Castelo de Vide, Portugal
  3. The cost of the conference – just arrive there and participate. All you need is to get there and play a modest price for lodging and food.
  4. After the conference there is a prayer tour in four cities where Jews were tried by the church court and executed for being Jews and for practicing some Jewish practices like keeping the Passover or lighting a candle on Friday evening. This is a very important tour for intercession and prayer and repentance and preparation for the great revival and restoration of the Jewish people from the Spanish speaking world back to Israel and their roots.
  5. There will be very important speakers and teachers from Israel, from Portugal, from Asia, and the United States and England and Holland and from other places.
  6. The tour will be rich in both information and spiritual battles for this major historical breakthrough that is so important and needed for the restoration of these Jews and for Israel and Aliyah.

Now how to make the arrangements for this trip and find out the price:

The person in control of the plans and prices is Ana Mendes from the Osiris travel agency. Her contact information is here:

Ana Mendes
Incoming Department
Avenida Marquês de Tomar, 35 A 1050-153 LISBOA | PORTUGAL
Phone: (+351) 21 132 79 61| Fax: (+351) 21 318 26 69
E-mail / Skype: ana.mendes@osiris.pt

Also send copies of all your correspondence to Mr. Carolino Tapadejo: Carolinotapadejo@gmail.com
And also to the secretaries of the mayor: Angela Maximiano: Angela.maximiano@cm-castelo-vide.pt and to Patricia.martins@cm-castelo-vide.pt

These three ladies will make sure of the following:

  1. That a you have a lodging for the conference:
  2. That you have transportation from the airport in Lisbon to Castelo de Vide.
  3. That you have a hotel if you want to join the three day prayer tour
  4. Ms. Ana Mendes will give you the price for the tour and other necessary information including health insurance and documentation you will need.

I want to repeat that this tour is not an issue of a joy ride and visiting important places. This tour is a part of a major spiritual battle for the release of millions of Jews who have been captive by the Catholic Church for near 400 years, just like the Israelites in Egypt, and now it is time to release them. The battle in Egypt and in the entrance to the land of promise today is just as intense and as important as it was in the days of Moses and Aaron. You need to make a sacrifice to come and participate in this battles. The city of Castelo de Vide, the mayor and the secretariat and the administration are investing money and time to make this conference a success.

There are already important people who have already made a commitment to come and confirmed their coming for obviously security reasons.

We should know that every time that men contended with God the hand of God was always on the upper hand. In the end of history it will still be the same thing. People will think that all hope is lost and that there is no salvation left for the righteous, but at the right time in the right way the light of God will shine and the trumpet will sound and the enemy will retreat and the children of God will return home with shouts of joy and jubilations. Be among the redeemed and return home with joy!

Please pray for Israel – there is an election scheduled for the government of Israel on April 9th, just a few days before the Passover Holiday. The Israeli political scene is being split into splinters. There is a chance that our Prime Minister will be indicted with serious crimes of receiving bribes. The whole country is rocking and rolling of everyone against everyone in the political arena. Israel needs your prayers for peace, and unity, and charity between our leaders and among the people. We don’t need to splinter this nation at this time when the world is watching us. Our own dishonor brings dishonor to the LORD God who is the father of all of creation. Pray, pray, pray, for us and continue to stand with Israel – Israel is the end time panacea for the whole world. It is the devil’s work to confuse and create confusion and division and dishonor. We ask God for mercy and wisdom for this nation and for the leadership of our nation.

Please pray for Netivyah and for the Roeh Israel congregation. The challenges that stand before us and the opportunities that the Lord has put before us are really great and we need your prayers and your support is very important. The Lord is giving us challenges and also opportunities.

I just finished teaching the seminar on the book of Ezekiel in Amsterdam, Holland. The seminar was successful although the attendance was only around 50 people, but I was happy with the hospitality and welcome and attention that our brothers and sisters in Holland gave to the study and teaching of Ezekiel the prophet.

Please remember our dear brother Jacob Damkani in your prayers. He is still no back to himself, but he is well enough to go home from the hospital and that makes him much happier and of course it makes Elisheva his faithful wife much happier to have Jacov back home. Please keep Jacov and Elisheva in your prayers.

Keep a dear sister in the Lord named Courtney in your prayers. I am adding two very important prayer requests: Amir the son of Amira – is a young man a father and a husband and a nephew of some of our very close Arab/Palestinian friends. He has a very serious cancer and needs the LORD’s hands of mercy to touch him with healing. The other family that needs healing is in Sweden, Tertu and Tapio Luca. They are true prayer warriors for Israel and for Netivyah, and they too need healing from serious health issues.

Please continue praying for baby Lion from the Huch family in DFW. Little Lion is doing better in the last week and is back receiving Chemo-Therapy.

Please continue to pray for our Jewish brother Hillel from Helsinki. Pray for Patty, Andrea and Tineke are all in Netherlands and need healing from God. Continue to Pray for Julia and Victor our dear sister and brother in Jerusalem. Both need healing and God’s help. Please add a dear sister that is suffering from prejudice in Switzerland. Her name is Paula and she needs divine breakthrough.

Please keep praying for a dear sister named Zhou WenriIan living in China. There is a dear Pastor Isaac in Chenai, India, who has a deep love for the Lord and for Israel. He is sick with kidney problems and needs a dialysis treatment several times per week.

I am also asking you to pray for a dear sister in China that is doing so much for the Kingdom of God – her name is Ema! She has a big burden for a big school that needs the Lord to bless it and open up all the venues of blessing and enable success both in the physical and spiritual realm.

Margareta, keep her in your prayers she is a dear woman who is going through some real hardship and anguish for her faith.

Pray for Um Abu-Eid is a dear old Arab/Palestinian sister. Keep the following brothers who are improving with their health, but still need God’s merciful hand to touch them with healing, George, Gary, Melanie, and Aharon Nancy and Don son. Please pray for the Marianenko family as they morn their father and husband and grandfather. These brothers and sister you’re your prayer and your intercession for them and their health conditions: Sarit, Ahuva, Leah, Ilana, Miraim, Yehuda H., David Stern, Paulo, Noami, Tim Tucker, Anne-Mirjami, Satu-Maria and Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, Keijo and Salme, Evelina, Eva H., Horace and June Marcia’s father and mother, Marcelo’s parents. Curita Sensei, the Abe family, Toru, Takeo Sensei, Daisuke Sensei, Tomoko San, Sadako San, Yumi, her husband has just died last week, and keep praying for her father, Pastor Oharah in Okinawa.

In the last few weeks I have somehow missed mentioning our dear sister Ruby L., who is in Oklahoma City. Ruby is alone and she is dealing with a very bad cancer situation. Ruby’s situation is very difficult and she needs the mercy of the Lord for healing and the help of brothers and sisters for daily basic needs. I am praying daily for Ruby, and I ask you all to sincerely call upon the Lord and intercede for Ruby in front of God’s mercy seat for healing and for human help and wisdom for the doctors that are dealing with our dear sister Ruby. Ruby gave several of her prime years to the Lord in Israel and serve Netivyah and our community in Jerusalem with all her heart and talent.

Please pray Ritva Huhtala and for sister Oksanen they need prayer for illness. Please pray for Louisa and Tony in Hong Kong. I have special concern for our dear brother Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Knezevich. These are all people for whom you are praying, but I want you to know that these are also people who pray for Israel and for Netivyah and stand and support both Israel and Netivyah. I want to add a brother from Brazil who is living in Portugal now and is having some serious family problems. His name is: Ismael Alves.

If you would pray for those whom you know that need this prayer – the Lord will surely cover those for whom you pray and those for whom I pray. It is hard enough to live in this world and work and business-related issues make it harder and as much as we pray for the spiritual issues and health issues.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and believe in God’s promises!

Joseph Shulam