This week’s Torah portion (Ha’azinu, Deu. 32) has been particularly interesting to study with it yielding a number of heretofore unseen gems. I don’t really have the motivation to share all I learned, though I filled several margins of my Bible with notes. I do want to share an item or two regarding the Memra and Moshe.
As many here recall, I have really enjoyed reading/studying the ‘angel of the Lord’ passages which led to me reading and searching the Targumim for the translator’s understanding of the presence of the Memra. Now, if you are not familiar, the crash course is simple: During the intertestamental period between the Babylonian exile and the destruction of the Temple, several authoritative Aramaic translations of the Torah were composed. What makes them of particular interest is that they are dynamic equivalent translations allowing the translators to interject some of their theological understanding, thus giving us an avenue into the minds of some some Second Temple thought.
The part that has been most fascinating to me is the use of ‘the Word of the Lord,’ or ‘the Memra d’Yah,’ as a personification of YHVH working in the affairs of men. Here is a basic article with additional pingback links in the comments.
With this fascination, I often search the Targumim in certain Torah portions to see what they yield, and this one was special.
Yeshua’s Presence is clearly visible, even without the Memra additions, as we see four significant uses of ‘the Rock,’ which Rav Sha’ul definitively connects to Yeshua in I Cor. 10:4. Besides the ‘Rock’ references, I want to share a few ‘Memra’ occurrences as well as a few thoughts…
32:6-7 Can you indeed so requite the Name of the Word of the Lord, O foolish people, and receive the law, yet not be made wise? Is He not your Father who bought you, who created you and established you?
Moshe is relating future prophecy to Israel. Through the chapter we see many events that happened later, however there are a couple yet future events. In the above quoted paraphrase from Targum Pseudo-Jonathan/Yonatan, we see the prophecy that Israel ‘repays’ the Word of the Lord wrongly by acting corruptly. Continue reading “His Tender Mercies… Ha’azinu”