Parable #25. The Good Samaritan:
- Today is Day #25
- The Twenty-fifth Mashal of Messiah
- The Inn Keeper and the Inn
- Twenty-five Observations
- Five Insights regarding the payment of two drachmas
Today is Day #25:
1. Today is “Day #25” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.
2. Today is Twenty-five days in the Omer.
Today is Twenty-five days which are three weeks and four days in the Omer.
היום חמישה ועשרים יום, שהם שלושה שבועות וארבעה ימים בעומר. פ
Haiyom chamishah v’esrim yom, shehaym shloshah shavuot ve-arba’ah yamim ba’omer.
“You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days.” (Leviticus). “You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu’ot for Adonai Eloheinu.” (Deuteronomy).
“Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.”
ברוך אתה, אדוני אלוהינו, מלך העולם, אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציוונו על ספירת העומר.פ
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sefirat ha’omer.”
The Twenty-fifth Mashal of Messiah:
וַיַּעַן יֵשׁוּעַ וַיֹּאמַר אִישׁ אֶחָד יָרַד מִירוּשָׁלַיִם לִירִיחוֹ וְנָפַל בִּידֵי שֹׁדֲדִים וְהֵם הִפְשִׁיטֻהוּ וְגַם־פְּצָעֻהוּ וַיַּעַזְבוּ אוֹתוֹ וְהוּא עוֹמֵד בֵּין־מָוֶת לַחַיִּים וַיֵּלְכוּ לָהֶם׃ וַיִּקֶר מִקְרֵהוּ כֹּהֵן אֶחָד יָרַד בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַהוּא וַיַּרְא אֹתוֹ וַיַּעֲבֹר מֵעָלָיו׃ וְכֵן גַּם־אִישׁ לֵוִי נִקְרַה בַּמָּקוֹם וַיִּגַּשׁ וַיַּרְא אֹתוֹ וַיַּעֲבֹר מֵעָלָיו׃ וְהִנֵּה שֹׁמְרוֹנִי הֹלֵךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ וַיָּבֹא עָלָיו וַיַּרְא אֹתוֹ וַיֶּהֱמוּ מֵעָיו׃ וַיִּגַּשׁ אֵלָיו וַיֶּחְבַּשׁ אֶת־פְּצָעָיו וַיְסוּכֵם בְּשֶׁמֶן וָיָיִן וַיַּרְכִּיבֵהוּ עַל־בְּהֶמְתּוֹ וַיּוֹלִיכֵהוּ אֶל־הַמָּלוֹן וַיְכַלְכְּלֵהוּ׃ וְלַמָּחֳרָת בְּנָסְעוֹ הוֹצִיא שְׁנֵי דִינָרִים וַיִּתְּנֵם לְבַעַל הַמָּלוֹן וַיֹּאמַר כַּלְכֵּל אוֹתוֹ וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר תּוֹסִיף עוֹד לְהוֹצִיא עָלָיו אֲנִי בְשׁוּבִי אֲשַׁלְּמֶנּוּ לָךְ׃ וְעַתָּה מִי מִן־הַשְּׁלשָׁה הָיָה בְעֵינֶיךָ רֵעַ לַנֹּפֵל בִּידֵי הַשֹּׁדֲדִים׃
השיב ישוע ואמר: איש אחד ירד מירושלים ליריחו ונפל בידי שודדים. הללו הפשיטו אותו והכוהו, והלכו להם בעזבם אותו מטל בין מות לחיים. והנה כהן אחד ירד באותה הדרך, אך כראותו את האיש, עבר לצד השני של הדרך. כן גם איש לוי, כאשר בא למקום וראה אותו, עבר לצד השני של הדרך. והנה שומרוני אחד, שעבר בדרך, הגיע אליו, וכשראה אותו נתמלא רחמים. נגש אליו, יצק שמן ויין על פצעיו וחבש אותם. אחרי כן הושיבו על בהמתו והוביל אותו אל פנדק ושם דאג לצרכיו. למחרת הוציא שני דינרים, נתנם לבעל הפנדק ואמר: דאג לו אתה; וכל מה שתוסיף אחזיר לך בשובי. ובכן מה דעתך, מי מן השלושה היה רע לנופל בידי השודדים? פ
[Lukas 10:30] Yeshua (the Messiah) answered (the sage) and said:
“A certain man went down from Yerushalayim to Yericho, and he fell victim to robbers. They stripped him, wounded him, and abandoned him. As he remained between death and life, they walked on. A certain priest happened upon him going down the road. He saw him and passed over him. Then a Shomroni (Samaritan) was walking on the road. He came upon him and saw him, and he was filled with mercy. He approached him, poured oil and wine on his wounds, and put bandages on them. He had him ride on his animal, led him to the Inn, and provided for him. The next day, when he traveled, he brought out two dinarim and gave them to the Owner of the Inn and said, ‘Take care of him. Whatever else you spend on him I will repay you when I return.’ So what do you think, which of these three was in your eyes (a good) neighbor to the one who fell victim to the robbers?”
וַיֹּאמֶר הָעֹשֶׂה עִמּוֹ אֶת־הֶחָסֶד וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יֵשׁוּעַ לֵךְ וַעֲשֵׂה־כֵן גַּם־אָתָּה׃
השיב בעל התורה: זה שעשה עמו חסד. אמר לו ישוע: לך ועשה כן גם אתה. פ
[Lukas 10:37] He (the sage) said, “The one who carried out the loving-kindness (הֶחָסֶד-chesed).” Yeshua (the Messiah) said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
The mashal of the Good Samaritan was Messiah’s follow-up response in an exchange between himself and an expert (חָכָם-lawyer, sage) in the Torah. The Messiah affirmed the belief of the Torah expert that in addition to loving Adonai our Father and our God we must practice love to our neighbor. We must “love our neighbor as our own self” to inherit eternal life. The Twenty-fifth Mashal of Messiah is provided to clarify that the Torah commandment for us to love our neighbor as our own self requires more than love of our own (Jewish) ethnicity and religion (i.e. Jews only loving Jews).
The Inn Keeper and the Inn:
The Inn (בַּמָּלֹון-at the lodging place, מָלוֹן – from לוּן to lodge, dwell, abide) in the Tanakh is a very subtle reference to any place where the attending Presence of Adonai Eloheinu is dwelling. In The Inn of Adonai—wherever the Presence of the loving-kindness (chesed) of the Holy One is located—there exists a place of refuge and hospitality, where Adonai (our Father’s) hospitality, mercy, kindness, and generosity is provided to all (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).
This truth applies to any place where His Presence dwells; whether the Presence of the Holy One is present in the open air, or beneath a roof, an inn, or in a formal lodging place. The Inn of Adonai our Father is also a place where soldiers can rest from battle and encamp for the night (also cf. the importance of hachnasat orchim, the Law of Hospitality to Guests, החוק של הכנסת אורחים).
There is a price to be paid for lodging in the Presence of the Holy One. There is a debt that is incurred and must be paid.
Here the debt of the man attacked by robbers is paid for by the Good Samaritan. Unlike the debt incurred in the last mashal this debt is incurred on behalf of another and not in the service of one’s own self. We must ask the question, What manner of person does such a thing? Who makes themselves a debtor to all?
Who is it that treats the burdens of even a stranger as if they were his own?
Observation #1. Who were the Samaritans? The Samaritans were descendants of colonists whom the Assyrian kings planted in Israel after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BCE. They were despised by their Jewish distant cousins for their mixed gentile blood and their differences in worship that centered around the Samaritans believing Mount Gerizim (the Mount of Blessings above Shechem) was the central place Adonai our God chose to be worshiped; instead of Mount Moriah, the (chosen) Temple Mount located just above the city of Jerusalem.
Observation #2. The history of the Yehudim (Jews) and the Samaritans (mixed race) is a very hostile and contentious one. One of the many interesting ironies of this mashal is that historically the general belief was that it was the Samaritans who, out of hostility to their pure Jewish race cousins, chose to make it their business to rob and kill the Jewish pilgrims who were traveling on the roads to Jerusalem; especially on those days when the three royal festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot were observed. Sometimes, the degree of violence that was perpetrated by the Samaritans on the Jewish pilgrims looked more like gangland massacres than robberies. So the Jewish historian Josephus writes (Antiquities of the Jews 20.6.1):
“A quarrel arose between the Shomronim (שומרונים-Samaritans) and the Yehudim on the occasion following (the season of Pesach). It was the custom of the Galilanim (גלילאנים-Galileans) when they came to the holy city at the festivals, to take their journeys through the country of the Shomronim; and at this time there lay, in the road they took, a village that was called Ginea, which was situated in the limits of Shomron (Samaria) and the great plain, where certain persons thereto belonging fought with the Galilanim (who were Yehudim) and killed a great many of them.”
Observation #3. This historical fact explains a couple of things that are implicit in the mashal: one, that the compassionate, good Samaritan was able to travel the Samaritan roads to Jerusalem in relative safety. This was the case no doubt because he was not a Jew and very likely because he was a well-known and highly respected person among his own people. We expect he was just as generous in nature to his own people (the Samaritans) as he was to the Yehudim.
We also believe that this mashal is more than a parable, allegory or proverb, we believe it is a very subtle reference to an actual historical person.
Observation #4. Therefore, we believe this incredible person was sufficiently well known enough to both the Samaritan and Jewish community of his day that some who were listening to the mashal actually knew who this businessman was; including the lawyer (Torah expert; possibly a first century CE Tannaim sage), whose historic interaction with the Messiah we are presently examining. So, we believe that this narrative of the Good Samaritan is both a mashal and a timeless messianic tribute to a real person.
Observation #5. This prophetic teaching of Rabbeinu Yeshua, our Tzaddik (Righteous One) and the Messiah of Adonai our God simultaneously looks back to the past and forward to the future. In the past we are inspired by the moral excellence of a single individual whose love of his neighbor knew no bounds and whose moral integrity before God could not be compromised.
The Good Samaritan dared to love. He loved his enemy as his neighbor.
The Good Samaritan dared to love his enemy as his neighbor (friend, family) even though the common cultures of his day demanded he practice hate toward those who were different than he (i.e. hate your enemy, love as your neighbor only those who share your religion, culture and race).
We believe in the (near) future we will rejoice to see in the messianic kingdom of Adonai Avinu (our Father) that the moral goodness displayed in the life of this heroic figure will be forever remembered, taught, and practiced by every man, woman and child (Jew, Samaritan and Gentile) in Israel and the international Commonwealth of Israel.
Observation #6. The initial question of the ‘sage’ (Torah expert) regarding how one might possess eternal life is not necessarily one born of evil intent; as is all too often assumed by so many commentators. We see no reason to doubt the sincerity of the inquirer.
Observation #7. The Jewish sage’s question assumes that he must earn such a reward (eternal life); though when the Master probes him we see that he knows that works are not the issue. Our Rabbi from heaven calls for reflection on the Torah, asking the first century (CE) sage two simple questions:
?מה כתוב בתורה
?מה אתה קורא
Messiah is asking the expert on Torah for his own interpretation of what the Scriptures have to say about the matters at hand (eternal life, love of Adonai our God, and love of neighbor. The sage (expert in the Torah) responded well by citing Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love Adonai Eloheikhem with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The Law of Love.
Observation #8. This text could well be called the Mitzvah Ahavah (מצוות האהבה), the “Law of Love.” The reply of Messiah to the expert in the Law shows that the central issue here is not intrinsically one of action but one of the heart:
Do I love Adonai Eloheinu sufficient to embrace His Spirit?
Am I desirous that His Spirit become the ‘Heart of my heart?’
Do I love Adonai (the LORD) our Father and our God sufficient to embrace His Spirit as being the Lord of “all” my spirit, soul, body, and mind (my total being)?
Observation #9. This Torah of Love requires that we first be given the regenerating New Heart (Lev Chadash-לֵב חָדָשׁ) of the Father’s own Spirit to indwell us. Everything else depends on this once-in-eternity relational event occurring in each of our lives. The Spirit Himself is responsible for changing us once He has taken up permanent residence in our hearts (i.e. our ‘spirits’).
Observation #10. This one incredible truth explains why Messiah gives his wholehearted approval of salvation by works. Yes, you heard us right:
The Messiah gives his wholehearted approval of salvation by works.
But you do not understand what we actually mean by our use of the phrase: “The Messiah gives his wholehearted approval of salvation by works.” Therefore, let us explain what we mean by ‘salvation by good works.’ We are not supporting a salvation by the flawed works of man; rather:
We are in full support of the salvation that only comes by the perfect works of the Messiah and the Holy Spirit.
Faith without the life-giving (perfect) works of the Messiah and the Holy Spirit is a “dead faith.” Our works are imperfect; as imperfect works our works are dead (unacceptable) to God. Our imperfect condition is also a powerless condition. We are powerless to save our selves or anyone else. Our flawed so-called-(imperfect) good works don’t forgive sins, raise people from the dead or administer eternal life. Yet, the powerful, redemptive, life-transforming works of the Messiah and the Holy Spirit does all of these wonderful things; and far more than we could ever possibly think or imagine!
Observation #11. When the Messiah says, “Do this and you will live,” he is saying that our relationship to God is what “gives” us life (נותן לנו את חייו). The chief end of humankind is to love Adonai Eloheinu and to enjoy Him forever.
At the first, man and woman were designed to be loved perfectly by Adonai their Father and their God and they in turn were then to love Him and each other perfectly. However, the introduction of sin in the world by Adam’s disobedience to God has caused a prolonged falling out between the Almighty One and humankind.
Intrinsically we were made to be dependent on the Holy One. It was the satanic false work of independence, in an otherwise Divinely appointed dependent relationship that turned our Garden of Eden (Gan Eden) existence with Adonai (Eloheinu) into a wilderness-desert experience. Therefore, the whole world is now shrewdly and craftily ruled over by ha-Abaddon (the Destroyer, the false god – deity of this age).
What the Jewish sage (Torah expert) should have asked is “how can I do this?” If he had done so he would have discovered the truth that Adonai Avinu loves us and we are to love Him by letting Him be our Divine Helper (נָחַם, מְנַחֵם, הַמְנַחֵם). So, let us ask the question, “How can we do this?” Answer: believe on the Messiah whom Adonai our Father and our God has sent to us (Israel) and receive His (God’s) cleansing from sin and His gift of eternal life through the Indwelling Presence of His Holy Spirit. Then and only then will we comply with the Divine mandate that we trust in the Messiah and receive the help of the Spirit of the Holy One and live!
Observation #12. Therefore, through our exercising genuine faith in the Messiah and our receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit we can one day return to a state of perfect love (a state of innocence, harmlessness, and happiness). However, this is true only if we first receive the gift of the One Heart that never fails, the gift of the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One. This is what it means in the Shema Unity Prayer to forgive and love through the virtuous power of the One Heart (לֵ֤ב אֶחָד֙), the New Heart (לֵב חָדָשׁ).
We must forgive and love in the power of the Holy Spirit or we will never be able to live up to the perfect standard of the Holy One.
In the background narrative of the Twenty-fifth Mashal of Messiah our Jewish sage is confused, even though his answer is correct, “You shall love Adonai Eloheikhem with all…” because he still thinks that the eternal life of Adonai (our Father) is earned by him; rather than by the good (perfect) works of Messiah and the Spirit of the Holy One.
“What about the love of one’s neighbor?”
“Where does this responsibility fall?”
“What are the limits of this commandment?”
It is clear that the Torah expert found it a far more difficult task to know just how to address the requirement of the second part of the Ten Commandments (love of neighbor) than it was to address the first part (love of Adonai Avinu).
Observation #14. In his later teaching the Messiah summarizes both the first table of the Law (love of Adonai) and the second table of the Law (the love of neighbor) in a New Commandment:
מצוה חדשה אני נותן לכם: אהבו זה את זה; כמו שאהבתי אתכם כך גם אתם אהבו זה את זה. פ
“I give you a new mitzvah: love each other; just as I loved you, so are you love each other.”
This is the 614th Mitzvah which is the fulfillment of all the other commandments (613 mitzvot) and it can only be completely fulfilled (in our mortal lifetime) on the day of our resurrection. Only on the day of our resurrection will we be perfected and glorified through the powerful workings of the Spirit of the Holy One. On that glorious day all of the Ten Commandments will be completely and wonderfully fulfilled by the eleventh commandment of the Messiah. This is the 614th Mitzvah and the Eleventh Commandment that fulfills all of the perfect will of Abba Avinu:
“Love one another (everyone) as I have loved you.“
Observation #15. You should know that the number eleven in the Jewish Scriptures is symbolic of glorification. The one who has come to “fulfill” the Torah (the Messiah), is greater than the one who has come to give us the Torah (Moses). The Torah that is without fulfillment is “death” to us. The Torah that is with fulfillment is eternal life (glorification) to us.
Observation #16. We know that seeking out the meaning of what is actually meant by the love of one’s neighbor was an unsettling matter for this Torah expert (and the Prushim rabbinate of the first century). From the narrative of Messiah’s exchange with the first century (CE):
The Messiah reveals that in the secret part of himself the Jewish sage was seeking to justify himself.
So our expert in the Torah did not want to be asked what the meaning of the second table was (in the 10 Commandments); for he knew he had already failed in that regard. Therefore, the first century Jewish sage wanted to steer clear of the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Why? Because he knew his own discriminatory behavior was not going to measure up and the Messiah was going to call him out on this very issue! So, appropriately, the Torah expert shut his mouth and waited for the Master to work out the solution to the textual problem for him and that was the right thing to do.
Observation #17. For the Torah expert and nearly all of the Jews of his day (including Messiah’s own disciples) it was believed that only one’s Jewish brothers and sisters were to be treated as one’s neighbors. For all others, Samaritans (mixed) and Gentiles (non-Jews), there was a category of “non-neighbor.”
This interpretation is understandable since the Torah word that is translated as “fellow” is “reicha” (רֵעֲךָ֖-brother, fellow, friend, companion; from רָעָה-raah: to shepherd, to graze a flock, to feed). Only in rare instances in the Tanakh is this term taken to mean someone ‘outside’ of one’s tribal and national Jewish identity.
Observation #18. Obviously the Torah expert was seeking the Messiah’s approval for his own ‘preferred’ interpretation of the Leviticus 19:18 text and that was undoubtedly the very popular (rabbinical) notion of excluding from the concept of “brother” and “fellow” anyone who was not a Jew by race and a Jew by religion.
Still the Torah expert’s implied reluctance to immediately disclose this belief to Messiah certainly indicates to us that he knew for sure what the Master’s response to his (socially sanctioned racist) belief would be.
Observation #19. Messiah’s response not only challenged this popular notion of who a Jew’s neighbor was but he drove home his point by challenging his fellow Jews to emulate the hero in his mashal, the mashal of the Good Samaritan.
Observation #20. Obviously the Good Samaritan wanted no part in the acts of hatred that his own (Samaritan, mixed race) people displayed toward their Jewish cousins. So as a means of racial righteousness the Samaritan was investing his personal energies into trying to right the wrongs of his own people that had been perpetrated on his own (chosen) neighbors the Yehudim.
Observation #21. We believe our mixed race hero was not just trying to be benevolent, he was actually sincerely demonstrating to Adonai his God and our God that he was aware of the sins of his own people and he was trying the best he could to do something about it (to be Rich in Adonai). Therefore, the primary mission of the Good Samaritan was essentially a work of corporate redemption; and only secondarily was it a matter of personal benevolence and compassion. This work of Divine redemption and reconciliation explains our hero’s continuous and never-ending provision of assistance. This is why he was so familiar to the Innkeeper (there is a special spiritual meaning implied in the Presence of the Innkeeper and the Inn; hint: Study the Law of Hospitality; ask yourselves:
“Whose non-discriminatory Inn of Redemption is this?”
Observation #22. The fact is the Good Samaritan very much did believe in the Torah and he did attempt to obey it as best he understood. However this Samaritan seemed to have noticed parts of the Law that both his fellow Samaritans and their Jewish cousins had failed to understand:
This is a work that cannot be done without the help of Adonai. The Good Samaritan’s actions reflect a deeper knowledge of Leviticus 19:34. He discerned that Adonai his God and our God had commanded that: all of the “Sojourners” living or traveling in the Holy Land of Israel were to be treated courteously, with hospitality, and they were to even be loved!
Observation #23. This real-life narrative of the Messiah, therefore, builds on a common situation, a seventeen-mile journey on the Jericho-to-Jerusalem road. This road was notoriously dangerous. Josephus notes how those journeying through Samaria to Jerusalem made sure they took weapons to protect themselves as they traveled this road (Josephus, Jewish Wars 2.8.4 (125).
Observation #24. In this redemptive narrative a man is overcome by a band of robbers and left on the road to die. As he lies there a Temple priest comes down the road. But the priest does not stop. Rather, he crosses to the other side and keeps going. He gets as far away as possible from the wounded man as he passes by. Then a Levite passes by and does the same.
Then the non-neighbor, non-Jewish brother (the mixed-race Samaritan) arrives on the scene. He comes up to the man. He binds his wounds. He anoints him with oil and comforts him. He loads the injured man on his donkey and takes him to the nearest Inn to care for him. He even commits himself to pay for the man’s entire stay at the Inn. There are seven redemptive acts that we should see here:
He comes up to the man;
Binds his wounds;
Anoints him with oil;
Loads him on his donkey;
Takes him to the Inn and secures healing care for him;
Even paying the Innkeeper for his entire stay at the Inn.
Observation #25. The Samaritan left the Innkeeper a credit equal to two full days of wages (two drachma, equal to *one-half shekel), with his personal promise to pay the entire cost of the injured man’s full recovery; with no concern voiced by him as to how long his brother (neighbor) might need caring for; nor was there any limit placed on the amount he was willing to pay. The Master asked the Torah expert: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The Troah expert knew exactly what was the one and only right answer: “The one (the Samaritan) who had mercy on his (Jewish) brother-neighbor! “
*The (mixed race) Samaritan left for the injured Yehudi (Jew) an amount equal to the Machatzit Ha-Shekel (מחצית השקל-a half-shekel). [Note: in silver coinage – two drachma equals one half-shekel.] This is is a highly symbolic amount. The half-shekel is a small silver coin that was used to pay the temple tax that represents the redemption (atonement) of our souls paid for by the Messiah on our behalf.
Five Insights regarding the payment of two drachmas:
Insight #1. The figure of the two drachmas, the exact amount that the Samaritan paid to the Innkeeper to help with the injured man’s ‘healing and recovery’ is also mentioned one other time in regard to the testimony of the Messiah in HaBrit HaChadashah (הברית החדשה). The amount of two-drachmas (a ‘double drachma’) is the exact amount required for a believer in Adonai Avinu to pay the half-shekel temple tax that was instituted by Him (God) through His servant Moses as a tax for the redemption of the soul. The narrative of the redemption of the soul tax is as follows:
“When they came to Capernaum (the City of Comfort and Consolation), those who collected the *two-drachma (τὰ δίδραχμα-equal to one half-shekel-מַחֲצִית הַשֶּׁקֶל) tax came to Shim’on Cefas (Peter) and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, (the Messiah) Yeshua spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” When Peter said, “From strangers,” (the Salvation of Adonai) Yeshua said to him, “Then the sons are exempt. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel (tax enough for two). Take that and give it to them for you and Me.”
Insight #2. There are two passages in the Tanakh that refer to the half shekel (**one drachma) redemption of the soul tax. First, Adonai also spoke to Mosheh, saying:
“When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to Adonai, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them. This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: a half shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to Adonai. Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to Adonai. The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to Adonai to make atonement for yourselves. You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before Adonai to make atonement for yourselves” (Exodus 30:11-16).
Second, we (Israel) also placed ourselves under obligation to contribute yearly one third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: for the showbread, for the continual grain offering, for the continual burnt offering, the sabbaths, the new moon, for the appointed times, for the holy things and for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of Eloheinu (Nehemiah 10:32-33).
*Quite interestingly in the Septuagint (Greek) Torah passage of Exodus 30:11-16 the members of the Great Synagogue who translated the Hebrew text into Greek set an equivalent value to the half-shekel of one drachma (lit. one half of a double drachma). However, by the time of the Messiah’s first century ministry on earth, the customary Greek exchange rate for a half shekel was two drachmas (one double drachma). The large variance is accounted for by the historical fact that the dominance of the Greek culture and currency had significantly declined from the time of the second century BCE, when the Septuagint was written, to the time of the Messiah’s first appearance in Israel in the first century CE.
**This providentially embedded witness of scriptural decline in the value of the Greek coinage, between the time of the completion of the writing of the Tanakh and that of the writing of the Brit Chadashah may be a very subtle prophetic messianic prediction of the eventual decline of the global rule of the Gentiles; and the inevitable rise of the (latter day) global rule of Israel.
In this subtle telescopic way we can see in the future an end to the times of the gentiles and on the other side, the beginning of the long awaited Messianic Kingdom of Adonai (our Father). In this way we can clearly see that the redemptive ministry of the Messiah (the half-shekel) is of a Jewish origin; not gentile origin (Greek drachma, Roman denarius).
Also, please note that for those of us who are Jews by birth (Yehudim with a physical ancestry going back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) there is no need for us to convert to the Jewish shekel from the Greek drachma or the Roman denarius. This is so because those of us who were physically conceived Jewish, who were destined to put our faith in our heavenly Father (Abba Avinu) were also born with the half-shekel coin already inside us (remember the silver coin was already in the mouth of the fish, which is a symbol of the human soul):
We were born with the half-shekel redemption of the soul silver coin already inside us.
Insight #3. What does all of this rise in Jewish symbolism mean? In the Jewish Scriptures the symbol of a fish (in and out of the water) is most often a symbol of the human “soul.” The ancient Hebrew pictograph of the letter “נ”-nun is a picture of a plant sprout (ܢ) and a fish darting through the water. Both pictures speak of procreativity and abundance of life. Accordingly, the first letter in the Hebrew word “soul” is the letter nun (נָ֫פֶשׁ-nephesh; i.e. soul).
Insight #4. Note where the redemption of the soul silver coin was located. It was located in the “mouth” of the soul (fish). This is where we find that confession must be made. For it is written:
“If you confess with your mouth Yeshua as lord (master), and believe in your heart that Adonai our God raised him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
Insight #5. The floor of the tabernacle of Moses was made out of blocks of silver that were derived from the original redemption of the soul money. This tabernacle foundation made out of silver is a symbol of “redemption” (silver-blood-redemption). This means that the foundation of the entire tabernacle (temple) structure was spiritually supported by the redemption of our souls. This means quite literally that all of our redemption and our entire Judaic system of worship is solely founded on the blood (life) sacrifice of the Messiah, who is our Korban Pesach!
This is a true saying for our Messiah did not limit himself to paying for the redemption (tax) of Shim’on Peter alone. For in reality Messiah our Korban Pesach also paid for all of the redemption of the soul money (the silver half-shekels) for you and me. Those paying the temple tax were required to do so as a prophetic sign that the spiritual significance of the real redemptive sacrifice would one day be ritually acknowledged, respected and fully understood in Israel and in the Commonwealth of Israel to come.
As to the interpretation of this mashal of the Messiah we leave it entirely up to you: our beloved neighbors. We ask you:
?מה כתוב בתורה
?מה אתה קורא
“What is written in the Torah?”
“How are you reading it?”
We leave you seven words to help you in your interpretive task:
[Point one] Keep in mind the ancient redemptive meaning of the symbol of the “silver full shekel” (“two-half shekels”) and of its accompanying symbol of the “Fish of the Messiah.” Remember that this is a witness to the redemption of our souls (i.e. that is symbolized in our ancestors’ payment of the redemption of the soul temple tax).
[Two] Understand the redemptive ministry that is being administered here by the Spirit of the Holy One.
[Three] Remember that the Innkeeper is the Holy Spirit who administers the redemption of Adonai (our Father).
[Four] Understand that this redemptive ministry was imparted by a mixed race person who was made-up out of a union of two-halves (Jew and Gentile).
[Five] Keep in mind that this ministry of reconciliation (of the one man who was made up out of both Jews and Gentiles) was delivered to a severely injured Jew who was beaten by Gentile thieves along the way while he was most likely going to or coming from his place of worship, the Temple in Jerusalem.
[Seven] Finally, keep in mind that The Fish that Shim’on (Cepahs) Peter caught and drew out of the water for the Messiah represents the precious soul of the Messiah himself that was offered up to Adonai (God) our Father as the just payment for the redemption of our souls!