Opening of the Death of the Firstborn scene from the Prince of Egypt
Hebrew Vision News Exclusive
by Miykael Qorbanyahu aka The End Time Scribe
And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I shall pass over you, and let the plague not come on you to destroy you when I smite the land of Mitsrayim.
– Exodus 12.13 –
Blood (dam/דָּם). Biblically, it is the life of all flesh and the means to effectuate atonement. Throughout Scripture, the significance of this most precious essence is given utmost importance because of its value as a result of its intrinsic life giving properties. As the means of genetic and cultural exchange of family members for the ultimate purpose of bringing forth the full maturation and perfection of being, blood to the Hebrew is understood as the vital substance that allows for the perpetuity and continuity of life. So important is this liquid life that if it is maliciously shed by someone, then the Law requires that the slayer is to have their life taken from them.
But only your blood for your lives I require, from the hand of every beast I require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood is shed, for in the image of Elohim has He made man.
As a type of a kinsman redeemer, or go’el (), this role obligates one to fulfill the responsibility of redeeming the life of their next of kin in whatever matter where they were unable to perform. There is also the capacity of the Avenger of Blood, or go’el ha-dam/גאל הדם, which serves as the family’s executioner against the murderer who incurred their vengeance for maliciously and intentionally taking the life of their relative. As a means to uphold justice and prevent the intentional and malicious murder of the image of Elohim, the Avenger of Blood was instituted. The book of Numbers designates the Avenger of Blood as such,
And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying…But if he [the murderer] has smitten him with an instrument of iron, so that he dies, he is a murderer. The murderer shall certainly be put to death. And if he has smitten him with a stone in the hand, by which one could die, and he does die, he is a murderer. The murderer shall certainly be put to death. Or if he has smitten him with a wooden instrument that could kill, and he does die, he is a murderer. The murderer shall certainly be put to death. The avenger of blood himself puts the murderer to death. When he meets him, he puts him to death. And if he thrusts him through in hatred, or throws an object at him while lying in wait, so that he dies, or in enmity he smites him with his hand so that he dies, the one who smote him shall certainly be put to death, for he is a murderer. The avenger of blood puts the murderer to death when he meets him.
As relates to the avenger of blood, three instances come to mind as relates to this matter where we see divine judgment being meted out by the hand of יהוה. The first of such judgments is given in a vision to the prophet Isaiah as relates to the future destruction of the Edomites by the King Messiah in the capacity of the Avenger of Blood. As relate to this matter of vengeance, the prophet records these words,
Who is this coming from Eḏom, with garments of glowing colors from Botsrah, who is robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of His strength? ‘It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why is there red on Your raiment, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? ‘I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. And I trod them down in My displeasure, and I trampled them in My wrath. Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have defiled all My raiment. For a day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. And I looked, but there was none helping, and I was astonished that there was none upholding. So My own arm saved for Me, and My wrath upheld Me. And I trod down peoples in My displeasure, and made them drunk in My wrath, and brought down their strength to earth.’
With this episode, we are shown a vivid prophetic depiction of the Avenger of Blood assume his role in a most brutal and wrathful scene which details the future destruction of one of Yisrael’s chief enemies, Edom. Being that Esau, from the moment of his sharing the womb with our father Ya’aqob, has been the mortal enemy of our people throughout our existence and has also been complicit in the many exiles and other nefarious plots and pogroms carried out against us, the time will come for the Blood Avenger to completely cut off the seed of Esau in order to repay them for the evil and injustice that they have committed against Yisrael. Of this Avenger of Blood spoken of in Isaiah, Rashi has this to say about this matter,
The prophet prophesies concerning what the Holy One, blessed be He, said that He is destined to wreak vengeance upon Edom, and He, personally, will slay their heavenly prince, like the matter that is said (supra 34: 5), “For My sword has become sated in the heaven.” And afterward, (ibid.) “it shall descend upon Edom,” and it is recognizable by the wrath of His face that He has slain [them with] a great massacre, and the prophet is speaking in the expression of the wars of human beings, dressed in clothes, and when they slay a slaying, the blood spatters on their garments, for so is the custom of Scripture; it speaks of the Shechinah anthropomorphically, to convey to the ear what it can hear. Comp. (Ezek. 43:2) “His voice is like the voice of many waters.” The prophet compares His mighty voice to the voice of many waters to convey to the ear according to what it is possible to hear, for one cannot understand and hearken to the magnitude of the mighty of our God to let us hear it as it is.
As the anthropomorphic representation of the Shekinah, we at Hebrew Vision understand this reference of the avenger of blood to symbolize the King Messiah, who is the exact representation of the substance of יהוה, as the conquering Lion of Judah who will, at the appointed time, smite the enemies of Yisrael in vengeance for the blood of his kinsmen that has been shed by the Edomites and their confederates. Yet, we must bear in mind that it is not just against the aforementioned nations and peoples that the avenger of blood carries out his role, but he also carries it out against Yisrael. In this light, we see a most similar episode recorded in the words of the prophet Ezekiel. With the exception of the ones who are slain being those of the nation of Yisrael, the matter of injustice, evil and bloodshed is the principle at the heart of the matter. Coming from the the ninth chapter of Ezekiel, a horrific scene is described about the slaughter of old, men, women and children. So graphic is this scene that the Babylonian Talmud addresses the scene with these words,
For R. Aha b. R. Hanina said: Never did a favorable word go forth from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be He, of which He retracted for evil, save the following, where it is written, And [יהוה] said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark [taw] upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof, etc. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Gabriel, Go and set a taw of ink upon the foreheads of the righteous, that the destroying angels may have no power over them; and a taw of blood upon the foreheads of the wicked, that the destroying angels may have power over them. Said the Attribute of Justice before the Holy One, blessed be He, ‘Sovereign of the Universe! Wherein are these different from those?’ ‘Those are completely righteous men, while these are completely wicked,’ replied He. ‘Sovereign of the Universe!’ it continued, ‘they had the power to protest but did not.’ ‘It was fully known to them that had they protested they would not have heeded them.’ ‘Sovereign of the Universe!’ said he, ‘If it was revealed to You, was it revealed to them?’ Hence it is written, [Slay utterly] the old man, the young and the maiden, and little children and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my Sanctuary [mikdashi]. Then they began at the elders which were before the house. R. Joseph recited: Read not mikdashi but mekuddashay [my sanctified ones]: this refers to the people who fulfilled the Torah from alef to taw. And straightway, and behold, six men came from the way of the upper gate, which lies toward the north, every man with his slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man in the midst of them clothed in linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. And they went in, and stood beside the brazen altar. Was then the brazen altar [still] in existence? — The Holy One, blessed be He, spake thus to them; Commence [destruction] from the place where song is uttered before Me. And who were the six men? — Said R. Hisda: Indignation [Kezef], Anger [Af], Wrath [Hemah], Destroyer [Mashhith] Breaker [Meshabber] and Annihilator [Mekaleh]. And why taw? — Said Rab: Taw [stands for] tihyeh [you shalt live], taw [stands for] tamuth [you shalt die]. Samuel said: The taw denotes, the merit of the Patriarchs is exhausted [tamah]. R. Johanan said: The merit of the Patriarchs will confer grace [tahon]. While Resh Lakish said: Taw is the end of the seal of the Holy One, blessed be He. For R. Hanina said: The seal of the Holy One, blessed be He, is emeth [truth]. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: It denotes the people who fulfilled the Torah from alef to taw.
Babylonian Talmud. Tractate Shabbat 55a
What this episode demonstrates is the absolute justice of the Most High applying the law prohibiting the shedding of blood with impartiality. As judgments begins with the house of יהוה, we can expect a harsh sentence to be delivered in chastisement upon the covenant people of the Most High. This particular form of judgment from the Most High against Yisrael is disciplinary in nature and intent, and is not a complete measure of retribution or vengeance. Desirous of the wholehearted allegiance of His people, however, the punishment of this measure is meant to evoke repentance among those who are of the covenant. Albeit for those outside of the covenant, the wrath inflicted upon them is, undeniably, of a retributive nature.
As for the nations who have incurred the wrath of the Most High, we can foresee what is to be reserved for them from the book of Revelation where we find a most ominous instance of an avenger of blood pouring out vengeance and retribution on the heads of the wicked. In this case, he is called Abaddon and is known as the king of the messengers of the deep. Given authority to harm only those who do not have the seal of Elohim upon their foreheads, this destroyer is accompanied by a hosts of locusts who torture men for a set time for their crimes and rebellion against the Most High. This vision that John the Revelator records draws from previous visionary experiences and historical Israelite episodes; namely the previous passages cited in this writing along with the Exodus from Mitzrayim. Revisiting the plagues of locusts, darkness, as well as a few others, we are able to make a dynamic connection between what John receives in vision and what Moshe led his people through while departing from the captivity among the Mitzrites. After receiving the vision, John bears witness to the following,
And the fifth messenger sounded, and I saw a star from the heaven which had fallen to the earth. And the key to the pit of the deep was given to it. And he opened the pit of the deep, and smoke went up out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun was darkened, also the air, because of the smoke of the pit. And out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth, and authority was given to them as the scorpions of the earth possess authority. And it was said to them that they shall not harm the grass of the earth, or any green matter, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of Elohim upon their foreheads. And it was given to them that they should not kill them, but to torture them for five months. And their torture was like the torture of a scorpion when it stings a man. And in those days men shall seek death and shall not find it. And they shall long to die, but death shall flee from them. And the locusts looked like horses prepared for battle, and on their heads were crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. And they had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots of many horses running into battle. And they have tails like scorpions, and stings. And in their tails is their authority to harm men five months. And they have over them a sovereign, the messenger of the pit of the deep, whose name in Heḇrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apolluon.
As was just mentioned, this scene bears a great similarity to that of Ezekiel in that there were distinguishing marks that were made on the heads of the people which differentiated them between those who were to receive judgment. This is also connects to the events leading up to the Exodus as יהוה told Moshe that he had made a distinction between Yisrael and Mitzrayim. What is interesting is that in the instances of Exodus, Ezekiel and Revelation, we find that the avenger of blood only striking the wicked who have not kept the Word of יהוה. This is the defining characteristic that sets one apart from those who have reserved wrath for themselves for their wayward and malicious behavior. What is also demonstrated, particularly with this week’s parashat, Bo, is the power of the mighty being broken and the idols of the Gentiles too being destroyed with the power of the Spirit of יהוה. A powerful lesson indeed, and one that should also remind us of what is to take place on the great Day of Judgment, when the wrath of יהוה will be flared up against all who have set their heart and ways against the order of the Most High. For it is then that one will find themselves subject to the sword of the Avenger of Blood, who will, without mercy, wreak havoc and mayhem on those who have warred against the people of the covenant. In confirmation of this, we read the following prophetic words, again, from the book of Revelation,
And I saw the heaven opened, and there was a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Trustworthy and True, and in righteousness He judges and fights. And His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns, having a Name that had been written, which no one had perceived except Himself – and having been dressed in a robe dipped in blood – and His Name is called: The Word of יהוה. And the armies in the heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations. And He shall shepherd them with a rod of iron. And He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Ěl Shaddai. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: SOVEREIGN OF SOVEREIGNS AND MASTER OF MASTERS. And I saw one messenger standing in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great Elohim, to eat the flesh of sovereigns, and the flesh of commanders, and the flesh of strong ones, and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast, and the sovereigns of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to fight Him who sat on the horse and His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he led astray those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image. The two were thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with sulphur. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.