Torah Portion: Pinchas B’midbar (Numbers) 25:10-30:1

Haftorah Reading I Kings 18:46-19:21

Our reading tonight is filled with many things that deserve our attention. I will try to pick a few to look at and then, before we finish, I want to share some study material with you. One hand out will show a list of Biblical holidays, where they are commanded in the Torah, and where they were celebrated in the Messianic Scripture by Yeshua and the believing community at that time.

First, I want us to look at B’Midbar/Numbers 27:16-17. Here we read part of the conversation between Moshe and the L-rd. In verses 12-13 we read where the Father told Moshe his death was close at hand. Now, as we get to verses 16-17 we read Moshe’s response to G-d. He was not concerned with his impending death but rather who would be the person to step into his place and lead the people. He wanted to make sure they were not left as sheep without a shepherd. In Matthew 9:36 we read where Yeshua used these exact words. Yeshua still fills that role as shepherd over His people.

Often we get wrapped up in our own needs and desires and lose sight of the really important things in life. G-d has more for us. Each of us has the role of an earthly shepherd to someone. Each of us has the opportunity to help someone who has lost their way or does not even know there is a different way than that of the world. Take the time and pray that G-d will put someone on your heart that needs a shepherd to lead them to the right path.

Now I want us to talk about the daughters of Zelophehad. I think of the social climate of their time. What rights did women have? They had very few rights. They never inherited land from their father.  It went to the sons of the family. They were mainly caretakers of the house or tent.

When we read B’Midbar/Numbers 27:1-11 is that the story we see? We see five sisters whose father had died, leaving no male heir to his property. The Israelites stood ready to enter the Promise Land and the land would be divided between the tribes and then between the families in each tribe. The men would represent their family at the time of this division. If there was no man then the family would not share in the division of land.

What could have possessed these women to believe they could ask for a portion. As far as we know it had never been done before. They went to Moshe and asked to be given a portion of the land promised by G-d. Not having an answer, Moshe took their request to G-d. G-d’s response was to agree they were correct and should be given land. As a result, a whole new system was set up and recorded in Torah.

Now, back to what motivated these five women to take this step. I think they took this bold step because they wanted to be certain their father’s name would be remembered and not lost when the division of land happened. They loved the land and wanted to be sure their children had an inheritance and a heritage to be passed on. What is the difference between these two words, inheritance and heritage? What can happen to an inheritance? It can be squandered and lost with nothing to show for it. What about a heritage? In Hebrew, these two words come from the same root word but have very different meanings.

An inheritance can be lost but a heritage is something that can stand over time. It can be handed down from one generation to the next. Our faith should make up a large part of our heritage. If it is not talked about and lived out every day our descendants will lose that part of who we are. However, if we live it out each day and make it an active part of our life it will live on after we are gone.

These women wanted their father to be remembered. They wanted their children to remember him and them as people who loved the Land and wanted to make sure they were a part of it. Make your faith a part of your heritage.

Now, I want to know what you found out about the census. Did you compare the census in our reading this week with the one found in chapter one of B’Midbar/Numbers? Which tribe lost the most members during the 40 years in the desert and which gained the most? Any ideas on why it was this way?

Num. 1:1-46                          Num 26:4-51

Reuben — 46,500               43,730

Simeon — 59,300                22,200                        

Gad — 45,650                      40,500

Judah — 74,600                   76,500

Issachar — 54,400              64,300

Zebulun — 57,400               60,500

Ephraim — 40,500               32,500

Manasseh — 32,200           52,700

Benjamin — 35,400             45,600            

Dan — 62,700                      64,400

Asher — 41,500                   53.400

Naphtali — 53,400               45,400            

total: 603,550                       601,730

You might notice the tribe of Simeon had the most dramatic decrease in population. One reason for this could be the founder of the tribe and his part in the killing of all the males in the town of Shechem. You can find this story in Genesis/B’Resheet 34. Whatever the reason, it began the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:7. The tribe of Simeon was eventually absorbed by the other tribes of Israel.

Below is a summary of G-d’s calendar, that we read about in this week’s Torah portion. I have included a listing of verses in the Messianic Scripture where the same holy days were mentioned as the Messiah and His followers knew about and celebrated these important events.

G-d’s Festivals in the Messianic Scriptures

Messianic Scripture records Yeshua, His Talmidim/Students and the Messianic believers kept the Holy Days


Commanded in Torah Leviticus 23:5 

Found in Messianic Scripture

Matthew 26:2 Matthew 26:17-19 

Mark 14:12-16 

Luke 2:41-42; Luke 22:1; Luke 22:7-20 John 2:13; John 2:23; John 6:4 

John 13:1-30 

I Corinthians 11:23-29

Feast of Unleavened Bread 

Commanded in Torah Leviticus 23:6-8

Found in Messianic Scripture

Matthew 26:17 

Mark 14:12 

Luke 2:41-42; Luke 22:1; Luke 22:7 

Acts 20:6 I Corinthians 5:6-8

Feast of Shavuot/Pentecost

Commanded in Torah Leviticus 23:15-22

Found in Messianic Scripture

Acts 2:1-21; Acts 20:16 

I Corinthians 16:8

Rosh Hashana/Feast of Trumpets

Commanded in Torah Leviticus 23:23-25

Found in Messianic Scripture

Matthew 24:30-31 

I Thessalonians 4:16-17 

Revelations 11:15 

Although the Feast of Trumpets is not mentioned by name in the Messianic Scriptures, the sounding of trumpets (shofar) announcing Yeshua’s return- is mentioned in several places in the Messianic Scripture.

Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur

Commanded in Torah Leviticus 23:26-32

Found in Messianic Scripture

Acts 27:9

Feast of Tabernacles/Succoth

Commanded in Torah Leviticus 23:33-43

Found in Messianic Scripture

John 7:1-2; John 7:8; John7:10; John 7:14

Hoshana Rabbah/The Eighth Day of Succoth

Commanded in Leviticus 23:36

Found in Messianic Scripture

John 7:37

*Hanukkah/Festival of Lights

Found in Messianic Scripture

John 10:22-23 

*Although not found in Torah because it happened post-Torah, this feast celebrates the retaking of the Temple from Greek control in Second Century BCE.