The Man over the Congregation

The story of the appointment of Joshue has obvious Messianic implications which point toward another Joshua: Yeshua of Nazareth.

Moses Blesses Joshua Before the High Priest, as in Numbers 27:22, by James Tissot (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Pinchas

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Pinchas (פנחס | Phinehas)
  • Torah: Numbers 25:10-30:1
  • Haftarah: 1 Kings 18:46-19:21
  • Gospel: John 2:13-22

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Numbers 25:10 | The Zeal of Phinehas
    • Numbers 26:1 | A Census of the New Generation
    • Numbers 27:1 | The Daughters of Zelophehad
    • Numbers 27:12 | Joshua Appointed Moses' Successor
    • Numbers 28:1 | Daily Offerings
    • Numbers 28:9 | Sabbath Offerings
    • Numbers 28:11 | Monthly Offerings
    • Numbers 28:16 | Offerings at Passover
    • Numbers 28:26 | Offerings at the Festival of Weeks
    • Numbers 29:1 | Offerings at the Festival of Trumpets
    • Numbers 29:7 | Offerings on the Day of Atonement
    • Numbers 29:12 | Offerings at the Festival of Booths
  • Prophets
    • 1Ki 18:41 | The Drought Ends
    • 1Ki 19:1 | Elijah Flees from Jezebel
    • 1Ki 19:11 | Elijah Meets God at Horeb
    • 1Ki 19:19 | Elisha Becomes Elijah's Disciple

Portion Summary

Pinchas (פנחס) is the Hebrew name translated in English Bibles as Phinehas. It is also the name of the forty-first reading from the Torah because of the second verse of the reading, which says, "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath" (Numbers 25:11). In this Torah portion, the LORD makes a covenant of peace with Phinehas and his descendants, orders a second census, settles questions about inheritance, appoints Joshua to succeed Moses and lists the sacrifices for the appointed times.


The LORD told Moses that his time to die had drawn near. Moses did not object, but he expressed his concern for those he would leave behind. He implored, “Appoint a man over the congregation, who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd” (Numbers 27:16-17). The LORD told him to lay hands on Joshua the son of Nun to designate him as his successor.

The mystics interpret Moses’ request as a prayer for the coming of the Messiah: “Moses our teacher asked for the kingdom of David and the Messiah—that he would come to be the redeemer and redeem Israel from the exile.”

From a Messianic Jewish perspective, the story has obvious Messianic implications that point toward Yeshua of Nazareth. The appointment of Yehoshua as “the man over the congregation” alludes to the appointment of his namesake, Yehoshua of Nazareth, the Messiah and King of Israel, the head over the assembly.

The LORD took some of the Spirit that rested on Moses and He bestowed it upon Joshua. This solved the problem temporarily. Joshua, however, was destined to die a generation later, leaving Israel like sheep without a shepherd once again. The petition of Moses, “Appoint a man over the congregation,” could not be fulfilled in perpetuity until God appointed a shepherd who would not succumb to death. Yeshua (who is named after Joshua) is the man that God has appointed over the congregation of Israel.

The term “man over the congregation” invokes several apostolic passages about the Messiah and His assembly. For example, Paul says, “The man is the head of the woman even as Messiah is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23). The English word “church” mistranslates the Greek word for “assembly” or “congregation.” “He is also head of the body, the congregation” (Colossians 1:18). Peter told the congregation of Israel assembled in the Temple that “Yeshua [is] the Messiah appointed for you” (Acts 3:20). He is “a Man whom [God] has appointed” (Acts 17:3) and “the One who has been appointed by God.” (Acts 10:42).

Moses appoints Joshua over Israel, foreshadowing the ultimate man appointed by God over the nation. Both Joshua and Yeshua serve as the successors of Moses who bring fulfillment to the promises of God.

Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

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This coming year Torah Clubs are studying the Gospels from a Messianic Jewish perspective. Club members will encounter Yeshua of Nazareth in his Jewish context. Discover the historical and cultural backdrops of the gospels and be amazed as the teachings of Yeshua snap into focus and clarity. Unravel his difficult words and parables; study Jewish parallels to his teachings; and ultimately know Jesus better.

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