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To gain a more thorough understanding of a word in Scripture it is important to consider context, additional usage, and Hebrew root among other things. In this week’s parasha there was a unique word that caught my attention.

“And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster.” Deuteronomy 27:4

The Hebrew word for “plaster” is sid which literally means lime or whitewash. The definition seemed straightforward until compared to another verse that used sid.

“Thus says the LORD: ‘For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because he burned to lime (sid) the bones of the king of Edom.’” Amos 2:1

Isaiah 33:12 echoed a similar concept of creating the “lime” from burning bones. Perhaps burning bones into lime is common knowledge and I have exposed an area of my own ignorance, but, nevertheless, the affect such a definition has on the verse from Deuteronomy is fascinating. Recall that Mount Ebal, where the plastered stones were set up, was also the location of the curses resulting from disobedience. (Deut. 11:28-29) I believe it is highly unlikely that the plaster described in this week’s parasha was literally the lime made from burning bones because burial was so important. However, the word correlation makes a strong statement for us today. As James said in chapter 1, “..and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (1:15) The plaster serves as a reminder of the consequence of sin. It reminds us that “Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matt. 3:10) Remember:

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

In conclusion, the following verse concisely demonstrated the necessity for faith in Messiah Yeshua.

“But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.” Deuteronomy 29:4

It is almost unfathomable that one could witness the wonders G-d performed and yet not understand, hear, or see. Though Moses clearly stated an understanding heart, seeing eyes, and hearing ears come from G-d. Now look at the following passage:

“This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Matthew 13:13-17

Yeshua was speaking to His disciples in this case and He calls their eyes and ears “blessed” because of their belief in Him. The gift of knowledge, sight, and hearing is synonymous with the gift of salvation. Indeed the disciples of Yeshua are blessed for what could be better than seeing and hearing G-d? Praise the L-RD for His grace and faithfulness!

“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

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