Word Study: Agrieved חרה

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WORD STUDY – AGRIEVED חרה

Numbers 16:3-6: “They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! For all the community is holy, all of them, and the Lord is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the Lord’s congregation?’ When Moses heard this, he fell on his face.” 16:15: “And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.”

I ran across something very interesting in the Talmud this morning. The Talmud is the second most sacred books in Judaism, the first, of course being the Torah. The Talmud seeks to be a sort of commentary on the Torah. We do not consider it inspired and I would never hold it up as an inspired work. However, it is an ancient record filled with the wisdom of the ages and possibly some historical accuracy. I once had an Archaeology professor say that facts in Archaeology changes every twenty five years. So even the science of Archaeology cannot be held up as totally accurate, even though many would like to think so. I would hold the Talmud up to some historical accuracy.

As far as the Talmud goes, if you have been following my blog, I believe it helps to fill in many gaps in our understanding of the Word of God as Christians. The gap that we have here is as to the nature of this rebellion in Numbers 16. After all, the people all knew the miracles performed at the hand of Moses. They all knew how Moses directly dealt with Pharaoh and how the plagues came as a result of his command. They watched the red sea part, water come from a rock and many other events which should have firmed up Moses leadership position. I mean if you have the enemy on one side and a sea on the other and someone holds out a stick and causes that sea to part. I would say that would be a pretty good indication that this is one guy I would like to follow.

So what gave Korach and his cohorts the idea they could top Moses? For one thing, we know from the text that Korach, like Moses was a great-grandson of Levi. The Talmud teaches that Korach was a wealthy man and was encouraged by his wife who said that Moses was ridiculing and humiliating him and the other Levites with the laws of God. That he was holding a double standard so to speak. His wife had the inside scoop from her latest gossip circles.

In Numbers 15:4, we learn that when Moses heard the words of Korah, he fell on his face. In the Hebrew the expression is most likely, his face or countenance fell. With the miraculous works that followed Moses, he had a whole lot of creditability and this little rebellion could have easily been put down by reminding them of the miraculous works that followed his leadership.

As there has been throughout the ages and even today, there is strong jealousy when someone is in leadership and another desires that leadership. Take a look at President Trump. There are many things being said about him and as facts come to light we find many of these things false, but yet people who do not like him persist. It is not only President Trump but look through history, practically every President faced people who opposed their leadership and made up lies about them. The first President Bush presided over the fall of communism and won a stunning victory in Iraq. Yet, he ended up getting beat by a Bubba who himself ended up getting impeached. No matter how great a leader you are, like Moses, you will have your critics. You won’t be able to sneeze without someone saying they or their favorite leader could do it better and with more style.

So what lie could Korach come up with that would cause a man like Moses whose leadership should have been secure with his credentials? Korach accused Moses of something that is as old as time itself and is still used by the enemy to destroy those in leadership. In the Talmud, Sanhedrin 110a we find that Moses was being accused of adultery. Not only that in Bechoros 5a we learn that according to the tally of the silver donated toward the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus 38), it seems that only half the amount collected was actually used. “So where’s the rest of it, Moses old boy?” It later became known that the weight-unit used in building the Tabernacle was double that used in the tally of the donations. But of course the media did not pick that up and when trying to bring down a man of God, -who looks at such details.

Can you image as a Pastor, after having lead your congregation through many waters, experienced the miraculous work of God, and then having some worthless gossipers start accusing you of adultery. Not only that but of also sticking your hand in the offering basket. I suspect your countenance would fall also.

Here is the curious thing. Moses did not respond declaring his innocence. The only one he declared his innocence to was God. In verse 6 we learn: “Moses was very wroth and he said to the Lord, ‘Pay no regard to their oblation. I have not taken the donkey of any one of them, nor have I wronged any one of them.’” To me that English word wroth is very misleading. It sounds like he was beside himself with anger and I mean I could not blame him, but the word in Hebrew is charah. Your lexicons will say it means to burn with anger. However, it has other meanings such a zeal, jealousy and grief. Its Semitic root is charar which means to experience an emotion that causes you to grow hot. There are many emotional outburst that raise your blood pressure or causes your heart to beat faster resulting in a rise of body temperature. I mean falling in love in one such emotion. Don’t we speak of the heat of passion? I fail to understand why translators have to just fall in lock step and say Moses burned with anger. It is only a translator’s opinion that Moses was angry. Charah could easily mean grief, which is what I would render it as.

Moses’s only response to Korach and his accusers was in verse 5: “Come morning, the Lord will make known who is His and who is holy…” Moses knew he was in the right, he knew God would vindicate him. He had no cause to be angry, but he had great cause to be hurt, grieved and heart broken. After pouring his life into these people and then to have them turn on him and accuse him of such horrible things, that must have been the most heart breaking experience.

But you see, no matter what they said about him, he knew he was innocent and he knew God would vindicate him. Sometimes we are so quick to assume anger, even within ourselves when what is really going on is grief and heartbreak. Next time you really get burned, be sure you use the right English word for charah (to burn with emotion). God can deal with grief and heartbreak. Anger? Well, you just may be on your own with that.

WORD STUDY – AGRIEVED – חרה

Numbers 16:3-6: “They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! For all the community is holy, all of them, and the Lord is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the Lord’s congregation?’ When Moses heard this, he fell on his face.” 16:15: “And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.”

I ran across something very interesting in the Talmud this morning. The Talmud is the second most sacred books in Judaism, the first, of course being the Torah. The Talmud seeks to be a sort of commentary on the Torah. We do not consider it inspired and I would never hold it up as an inspired work. However, it is an ancient record filled with the wisdom of the ages and possibly some historical accuracy. I once had an Archaeology professor say that facts in Archaeology changes every twenty five years. So even the science of Archaeology cannot be held up as totally accurate, even though many would like to think so. I would hold the Talmud up to some historical accuracy.

As far as the Talmud goes, if you have been following my blog, I believe it helps to fill in many gaps in our understanding of the Word of God as Christians. The gap that we have here is as to the nature of this rebellion in Numbers 16. After all, the people all knew the miracles performed at the hand of Moses. They all knew how Moses directly dealt with Pharaoh and how the plagues came as a result of his command. They watched the red sea part, water come from a rock and many other events which should have firmed up Moses leadership position. I mean if you have the enemy on one side and a sea on the other and someone holds out a stick and causes that sea to part. I would say that would be a pretty good indication that this is one guy I would like to follow.

So what gave Korach and his cohorts the idea they could top Moses? For one thing, we know from the text that Korach, like Moses was a great-grandson of Levi. The Talmud teaches that Korach was a wealthy man and was encouraged by his wife who said that Moses was ridiculing and humiliating him and the other Levites with the laws of God. That he was holding a double standard so to speak. His wife had the inside scoop from her latest gossip circles.

In Numbers 15:4, we learn that when Moses heard the words of Korah, he fell on his face. In the Hebrew the expression is most likely, his face or countenance fell. With the miraculous works that followed Moses, he had a whole lot of creditability and this little rebellion could have easily been put down by reminding them of the miraculous works that followed his leadership.

As there has been throughout the ages and even today, there is strong jealousy when someone is in leadership and another desires that leadership. Take a look at President Trump. There are many things being said about him and as facts come to light we find many of these things false, but yet people who do not like him persist. It is not only President Trump but look through history, practically every President faced people who opposed their leadership and made up lies about them. The first President Bush presided over the fall of communism and won a stunning victory in Iraq. Yet, he ended up getting beat by a Bubba who himself ended up getting impeached. No matter how great a leader you are, like Moses, you will have your critics. You won’t be able to sneeze without someone saying they or their favorite leader could do it better and with more style.

So what lie could Korach come up with that would cause a man like Moses whose leadership should have been secure with his credentials? Korach accused Moses of something that is as old as time itself and is still used by the enemy to destroy those in leadership. In the Talmud, Sanhedrin 110a we find that Moses was being accused of adultery. Not only that in Bechoros 5a we learn that according to the tally of the silver donated toward the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus 38), it seems that only half the amount collected was actually used. “So where’s the rest of it, Moses old boy?” It later became known that the weight-unit used in building the Tabernacle was double that used in the tally of the donations. But of course the media did not pick that up and when trying to bring down a man of God, -who looks at such details.

Can you image as a Pastor, after having lead your congregation through many waters, experienced the miraculous work of God, and then having some worthless gossipers start accusing you of adultery. Not only that but of also sticking your hand in the offering basket. I suspect your countenance would fall also.

Here is the curious thing. Moses did not respond declaring his innocence. The only one he declared his innocence to was God. In verse 6 we learn: “Moses was very wroth and he said to the Lord, ‘Pay no regard to their oblation. I have not taken the donkey of any one of them, nor have I wronged any one of them.’” To me that English word wroth is very misleading. It sounds like he was beside himself with anger and I mean I could not blame him, but the word in Hebrew is charah. Your lexicons will say it means to burn with anger. However, it has other meanings such a zeal, jealousy and grief. Its Semitic root is charar which means to experience an emotion that causes you to grow hot. There are many emotional outburst that raise your blood pressure or causes your heart to beat faster resulting in a rise of body temperature. I mean falling in love in one such emotion. Don’t we speak of the heat of passion? I fail to understand why translators have to just fall in lock step and say Moses burned with anger. It is only a translator’s opinion that Moses was angry. Charah could easily mean grief, which is what I would render it as.

Moses’s only response to Korach and his accusers was in verse 5: “Come morning, the Lord will make known who is His and who is holy…” Moses knew he was in the right, he knew God would vindicate him. He had no cause to be angry, but he had great cause to be hurt, grieved and heart broken. After pouring his life into these people and then to have them turn on him and accuse him of such horrible things, that must have been the most heart breaking experience.

But you see, no matter what they said about him, he knew he was innocent and he knew God would vindicate him. Sometimes we are so quick to assume anger, even within ourselves when what is really going on is grief and heartbreak. Next time you really get burned, be sure you use the right English word for charah (to burn with emotion). God can deal with grief and heartbreak. Anger? Well, you just may be on your own with that.