Matot-Masei

Numbers 30:2 – 36:13; Haftarah: Jeremiah 2:4 – 28; 3:4, 4:1 – 4:2

External Sources

(Num 30:2) Procopius of Gaza – Catena on the Octateuch, on Numbers 30:2.11
If it is a serious matter to lie to another person, how much more to lie to God. When Scripture describes his majesty, it says that God is in heaven above, and you are on the earth below. This passage was written for us to imitate God, who said, “I will not break my covenant.” (Judg 2:1) He says this (Num 30:2) about the life of each man: that is, if one has vowed abstinence from food, or shaving his head, or the offering of a sheep or a calf. Malachi commands that the best offerings should be brought forth when he says, “Cursed is he who has a male animal in his flock and makes a vow and then offers a blemished animal to the Lord.” (Mal 1:14)
The daughter of Jephthah (Judg 11:30–39) preferred to undergo death rather than to render her father’s vow unfulfilled and mendacious. She did not know that she was the type of the saving Victim, whom she prefigured in herself. For this reason Jephthah’s deed was immune to guilt. It is not a model, because it does not follow the law. The deed was permitted only once, as a sign, for God rejects human sacrifice.
Moreover, what is undertaken by children to the disgrace of their parents does not merit the name of vow, despite those wicked doctors and teachers who tell their parents that “whatever you would have received from me is Corban.” (Mk 7:11) For God commands us to honor father and mother in all cases.
A man who infringes on the vow of his new bride, which she made without her father’s approval, [does not sin]. The same applies to a married man who does not consent to a vow his wife made. (Num 30:5, 8) For what is vowed when the woman is subject to a greater power, if it is not carried out, does not make her guilty. But if the woman becomes a widow or is separated from her husband, her vow is binding. (Num 30:9) This ancient institution of God is confirmed because the woman was made for the sake of the man, and it is just for her to obey him. There is also that verse from Paul, that the woman should revere the man. (Eph 5:33)


(Num 33:2) Origen – Homilies on Numbers 27:7.4
You have heard that Moses wrote this down by the word of the Lord. Why did the Lord want him to write it down? Was it so that this passage in Scripture about the stages the children of Israel made might benefit us in some way or that it should bring us no benefit? Who would dare to say that what is written “by the Word of God” is of no use and makes no contribution to salvation but is merely a narrative of what happened and was over and done a long time ago, but pertains in no way to us when it is told? […] He wrote them down, then, “by the word of the Lord” so that when we read them and see how many starting places lie ahead of us on the journey that leads to the kingdom, we may prepare ourselves for this way of life. [Thus,] considering the journey that lies ahead of us, [we] may not allow the time of our life to be ruined by sloth and neglect. 

(Num 35:25) Ambrose –  Flight from the World 9.55.
The man who renounces the vices and rejects the way of life of his countrymen is in flight like Lot. Such a one does not look behind himself but enters that city which is above by the passageway of his thoughts, and he does not withdraw from it until the death of the chief priest who bore the sin of the world.1 He indeed died once, but he dies for each person who is baptized in Christ’s death, that we may be buried together with him and rise with him and walk in the newness of his life.

(Num 35:28) Paterius – – Exposition of the Old and New Testament, Numbers 24.4
What does it mean that a homicide returns for absolution after the death of the high priest, except that the human race, which brought death upon itself by sinning, receives absolution for its guilt after the death of the true priest, namely, our Redeemer?

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