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Ha'azinu

Listen — האזינו


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TORAH: Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52

Deuteronomy 32

32:1   “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak,
    and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
  May my teaching drop as the rain,
    my speech distill as the dew,
  like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
    and like showers upon the herb.
  For I will proclaim the name of the LORD;
    ascribe greatness to our God!
  “The Rock, his work is perfect,
    for all his ways are justice.
  A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
    just and upright is he.
  They have dealt corruptly with him;
    they are no longer his children because they are blemished;
    they are a crooked and twisted generation.
  Do you thus repay the LORD,
    you foolish and senseless people?
  Is not he your father, who created you,
    who made you and established you?
  Remember the days of old;
    consider the years of many generations;
  ask your father, and he will show you,
    your elders, and they will tell you.
  When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
    when he divided mankind,
  he fixed the borders of the peoples
    according to the number of the sons of God.
  But the LORD's portion is his people,
    Jacob his allotted heritage.
10   “He found him in a desert land,
    and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
  he encircled him, he cared for him,
    he kept him as the apple of his eye.
11   Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
    that flutters over its young,
  spreading out its wings, catching them,
    bearing them on its pinions,
12   the LORD alone guided him,
    no foreign god was with him.
13   He made him ride on the high places of the land,
    and he ate the produce of the field,
  and he suckled him with honey out of the rock,
    and oil out of the flinty rock.
14   Curds from the herd, and milk from the flock,
    with fat of lambs,
  rams of Bashan and goats,
    with the very finest of the wheat—
    and you drank foaming wine made from the blood of the grape.
15   “But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked;
    you grew fat, stout, and sleek;
  then he forsook God who made him
    and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
16   They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods;
    with abominations they provoked him to anger.
17   They sacrificed to demons that were no gods,
    to gods they had never known,
  to new gods that had come recently,
    whom your fathers had never dreaded.
18   You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you,
    and you forgot the God who gave you birth.
19   “The LORD saw it and spurned them,
    because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters.
20   And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them;
    I will see what their end will be,
  for they are a perverse generation,
    children in whom is no faithfulness.
21   They have made me jealous with what is no god;
    they have provoked me to anger with their idols.
  So I will make them jealous with those who are no people;
    I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
22   For a fire is kindled by my anger,
    and it burns to the depths of Sheol,
  devours the earth and its increase,
    and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23   “‘And I will heap disasters upon them;
    I will spend my arrows on them;
24   they shall be wasted with hunger,
    and devoured by plague
    and poisonous pestilence;
  I will send the teeth of beasts against them,
    with the venom of things that crawl in the dust.
25   Outdoors the sword shall bereave,
    and indoors terror,
  for young man and woman alike,
    the nursing child with the man of gray hairs.
26   I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces;
    I will wipe them from human memory,”
27   had I not feared provocation by the enemy,
    lest their adversaries should misunderstand,
  lest they should say, “Our hand is triumphant,
    it was not the LORD who did all this.”’
28   “For they are a nation void of counsel,
    and there is no understanding in them.
29   If they were wise, they would understand this;
    they would discern their latter end!
30   How could one have chased a thousand,
    and two have put ten thousand to flight,
  unless their Rock had sold them,
    and the LORD had given them up?
31   For their rock is not as our Rock;
    our enemies are by themselves.
32   For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
    and from the fields of Gomorrah;
  their grapes are grapes of poison;
    their clusters are bitter;
33   their wine is the poison of serpents
    and the cruel venom of asps.
34   “‘Is not this laid up in store with me,
    sealed up in my treasuries?
35   Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
    for the time when their foot shall slip;
  for the day of their calamity is at hand,
    and their doom comes swiftly.’
36   For the LORD will vindicate his people
    and have compassion on his servants,
  when he sees that their power is gone
    and there is none remaining, bond or free.
37   Then he will say, ‘Where are their gods,
    the rock in which they took refuge,
38   who ate the fat of their sacrifices
    and drank the wine of their drink offering?
  Let them rise up and help you;
    let them be your protection!
39   “‘See now that I, even I, am he,
    and there is no god beside me;
  I kill and I make alive;
    I wound and I heal;
    and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
40   For I lift up my hand to heaven
    and swear, As I live forever,
41   if I sharpen my flashing sword
    and my hand takes hold on judgment,
  I will take vengeance on my adversaries
    and will repay those who hate me.
42   I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
    and my sword shall devour flesh—
  with the blood of the slain and the captives,
    from the long-haired heads of the enemy.’
43   “Rejoice with him, O heavens;
    bow down to him, all gods,
  for he avenges the blood of his children
    and takes vengeance on his adversaries.
  He repays those who hate him
    and cleanses his people's land.”

44 Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua the son of Nun. 45 And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 47 For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

Moses' Death Foretold

48 That very day the LORD spoke to Moses, 49 “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. 50 And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, 51 because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. 52 For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.”

(ESV)

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HAFTARAH: 2 Samuel 22:1-51

2 Samuel 22

David's Song of Deliverance

22:1 And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said,

  “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
    my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
  my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
    my stronghold and my refuge,
    my savior; you save me from violence.
  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
    and I am saved from my enemies.
  “For the waves of death encompassed me,
    the torrents of destruction assailed me;
  the cords of Sheol entangled me;
    the snares of death confronted me.
  “In my distress I called upon the LORD;
    to my God I called.
  From his temple he heard my voice,
    and my cry came to his ears.
  “Then the earth reeled and rocked;
    the foundations of the heavens trembled
    and quaked, because he was angry.
  Smoke went up from his nostrils,
    and devouring fire from his mouth;
    glowing coals flamed forth from him.
10   He bowed the heavens and came down;
    thick darkness was under his feet.
11   He rode on a cherub and flew;
    he was seen on the wings of the wind.
12   He made darkness around him his canopy,
    thick clouds, a gathering of water.
13   Out of the brightness before him
    coals of fire flamed forth.
14   The LORD thundered from heaven,
    and the Most High uttered his voice.
15   And he sent out arrows and scattered them;
    lightning, and routed them.
16   Then the channels of the sea were seen;
    the foundations of the world were laid bare,
  at the rebuke of the LORD,
    at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
17   “He sent from on high, he took me;
    he drew me out of many waters.
18   He rescued me from my strong enemy,
    from those who hated me,
    for they were too mighty for me.
19   They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
    but the LORD was my support.
20   He brought me out into a broad place;
    he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
21   “The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
22   For I have kept the ways of the LORD
    and have not wickedly departed from my God.
23   For all his rules were before me,
    and from his statutes I did not turn aside.
24   I was blameless before him,
    and I kept myself from guilt.
25   And the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to my cleanness in his sight.
26   “With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
    with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
27   with the purified you deal purely,
    and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
28   You save a humble people,
    but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down.
29   For you are my lamp, O LORD,
    and my God lightens my darkness.
30   For by you I can run against a troop,
    and by my God I can leap over a wall.
31   This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the LORD proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
32   “For who is God, but the LORD?
    And who is a rock, except our God?
33   This God is my strong refuge
    and has made my way blameless.
34   He made my feet like the feet of a deer
    and set me secure on the heights.
35   He trains my hands for war,
    so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36   You have given me the shield of your salvation,
    and your gentleness made me great.
37   You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
    and my feet did not slip;
38   I pursued my enemies and destroyed them,
    and did not turn back until they were consumed.
39   I consumed them; I thrust them through, so that they did not rise;
    they fell under my feet.
40   For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
    you made those who rise against me sink under me.
41   You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
    those who hated me, and I destroyed them.
42   They looked, but there was none to save;
    they cried to the LORD, but he did not answer them.
43   I beat them fine as the dust of the earth;
    I crushed them and stamped them down like the mire of the streets.
44   “You delivered me from strife with my people;
    you kept me as the head of the nations;
    people whom I had not known served me.
45   Foreigners came cringing to me;
    as soon as they heard of me, they obeyed me.
46   Foreigners lost heart
    and came trembling out of their fortresses.
47   “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock,
    and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation,
48   the God who gave me vengeance
    and brought down peoples under me,
49   who brought me out from my enemies;
    you exalted me above those who rose against me;
    you delivered me from men of violence.
50   “For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations,
    and sing praises to your name.
51   Great salvation he brings to his king,
    and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
    to David and his offspring forever.”

(ESV)

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GOSPEL: John 6:26-35

John 6:26–35

26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

(ESV)

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Note: The regular readings above 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 Summary

The word Ha'azinu (האזינו) literally means "give ear," an expression meaning "Listen to this." It is also the name of the fifty-third and second-to-last reading from the Torah. It is the first word of the Song of Moses, which begins with the words "Give ear (Ha'azinu), O heavens, and let me speak" (Deuteronomy 32:1). This Torah portion is only a single chapter long, and the majority of it consists of the Song of Moses. The Song of Moses is a prophetic oracle warning Israel about apostasy to come and the resulting wrath of God. The song looks far into the future, even envisioning the Messianic advent amid rich and frightening apocalyptic imagery. After the conclusion of the song, Moses is told to ascend Mount Nebo and overlook the Promised Land before dying.


Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Deuteronomy 31:30 | The Song of Moses
    • Deuteronomy 32:48 | Moses' Death Foretold
  • Prophets
    • 2 Samuel 22:1 | David's Song of Thanksgiving

Commentary from Ha'azinu

The Song of the Lamb

Why does the writer of the book of Revelation refer to the song of Moses as the "Song of the Lamb"? Because Messiah is the agent of the final redemption of which the song speaks. He is the vindicator of God's people about whom Moses prophesied in the song.

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Commentary from Ha'azinu

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