Hebrew Highlights 150 – Mishpat


          Shalom, this is Yuval Shomron coming to you from the Jerusalem studios of the High Adventure Global Radio Network.

          PSA 119:52, “I have remembered Thine ordinances from of old, O Lord, And comfort myself.”

          The word in Hebrew translated here as ordinances is “mishpat”.

          It is translated using 50 different words in English.  Among the more popular are “judgments”, as in PSA 119:137, “Righteous art Thou, O Lord, And upright are Thy judgments.”; and “justice”, as in PSA 119:121, “I have done justice and righteousness; Do not leave me to my oppressors.”

          The simplest translation is “sentence”, which is how you most often hear it in modern Hebrew.  A court in Israel is called a “Beit Mishpat”, or “house of sentence.”  A trial is also called a “mishpat”.

          This should not be too foreign an idea to those of us who are English speakers, as the result of a trial in English is also a “sentence”.

          So what is behind this interesting Word in the spiritual realm?  Well, let’s just say that if God said it, it is law.  If he spoke a sentence, he ordained the idea. 

          In short, whatever God says, goes!

          You may remember that God’s first recorded command was, “Let there be light!”  And what happened?  “There was light!”  And so it continued throughout the 6 days of creation.

          God’s first recorded commandment to man is recalled in GEN 3:3, “but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said,' You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'"  And of course, they did eat it, and we all do die.

          When will we ever learn?

          Maybe in our modern days we need a verse we can understand in computer language.  PRO 2:7-8, “He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones.”

          God has given us an enormous hard disc full of wisdom.  If we walk in integrity, he surrounds us with a fire-wall.  Of course, if we download files from the devil, we may get viruses.  Then he guards the paths of our sentences, and preserves our ways.  One of the more frustrating error messages which comes up on our computer screen is, “Path Not Found.”  Where did that file I worked on all morning go?

          Well, if we download our spiritual antivirus updates from God’s word everyday, our wisdom will be intact, and our database will continue to grow.

          By the way, if there are a few of you left who are troubled by any references to computers, please don’t be.  Even a pencil can be evil in the wrong hands.  Or a computer can be a wonderful tool in the right ones.

          I compose these Hebrew Highlights on my own PC, using all the available Biblical resources and programs.

          Now here is another interesting little proverb which uses our word of focus today, from chapter 13 and verse 23, “Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor, but it is swept away by injustice.”

          Now the poor seldom own their own land, so we can assume that this is an allegorical saying.

          We can readily rephrase it thusly, “The ability to prosper is built in to the poor, just like anyone else, but it is held back by discouraging sentences.”

          Now these sentences could be badly written laws, which discriminate against the poor, or they could be literal sentences, such as:  “You’ll never make anything of yourself.” Or “You don’t stand a chance of getting that job!”

          Do you realize that it is not only God’s prose which is powerful, but men’s as well?

          We can easily cause someone else’s face to read, “Path not found!”


          I’ll start winding down today’s lesson with a little verse from ECC 5:8, written about 2800 years ago, but still applicable today, “If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight, for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them.”

          The poor are at the bottom of a pyramid of bad sentences or laws.  It is no wonder they are oppressed.

          Of course, a few chapters later, in ECC 12:14, we see the historical end to this phenomena, “For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

          Yeshua says something parallel in MAT 12:35-37, "The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil.  "And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment.  "For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned."

          Why not let every word, and indeed, every sentence which comes from our mouths be encouraging and edifying.

          We have a wealth of wisdom in storage to draw from.  Let’s stop forwarding viruses!


Shalom Shalom from Jerusalem