Today I want to show you a perfect example of why you can’t 100% rely on Scripture to understand certain verses in the Bible.
Especially as it concerns our current discussion of TZITZIT, you have to turn to the Oral Traditions to understand certain things.
Let me show you what I mean.
I mentioned in my last post that TZITZIT were to be made out of two different kinds of materials: wool and linen.
In Hebrew, this mixture is referred to as SHA’ATNEZ.
Now here’s the thing.
The requirement that TZITZIT has to be made out of two different materials is not specifically spelled out in the written Torah we are currently studying.
It is something you have to go to the Oral Law to find about.
We know from the Oral Law that SHA-ATNEZ (mixed fabrics) for TZITZIT was in practice from the time of Moses.
In fact, I recently read an article about some TZITZIT found in a cave in Israel dating back to around 135 A.D. (the period when the BAR KOCHBA Rebellion occurred).
When these ancient TZITZIT were closely examined, sure enough they were of a mixture of white linen threads with a strand of woolen TEKHELET (purple dyed thread) running through the center.
Now this requirement that TZITZIT be made from a mixture of wool and linen should ring a bell.
Remember back in Leviticus when we came across the command that the Israelites are forbidden from wearing garments made from a mixture of different kinds of thread.
We studied that linen (material from the flax plant) and wool were NEVER to be used in the same type of clothing.
There are two reasons.
First, it represents confusion or TEVEL in Hebrew.
Second, only the priests are allowed to wear SHA-ATNEZ or mixed garments.
Now it is the second reason that gives us a big hint as to why the rabbis commanded that TZITZIT be made out of a mixture of wool and linen.
Think about it.
The reason the priests wore SHA-ATNEZ is because the wearing of such mixed garments set them apart as HOLY from the common Israelite population.
In the same way, the TZITZIT also reflected the fact that God had declared all of Israel HOLY and separate from the common or gentile nations.
We’ll get into exactly how this spiritual hierarchy was organized in a separate post but for now just understand that SHA-ATNEZ represented the setting apart as something for HOLINESS.
Tied in directly with this topic, I’d like to show you one key Scripture verse that is probably one of the most poorly translated verses in all of the Bible.
Let’s take a look at it in the King James Version, the NIV, and the Complete Jewish Bible.
“Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.”-Deuteronomy 22:9 (King James Version)
“Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.”-Deuteronomy 22:9 (NIV)
“You are not to sow two kinds of seed between your rows of vines; if you do, both the two harvested crops and the yield from the vines must be forfeited.”-Deuteronomy 22:9 (Complete Jewish Bible)
Frankly, I have no idea why the creator of the Complete Jewish Bible (David Stern I think his name is), came up with the word “forfeited“.
It’s the word “defiled” in the King James and NIV version that I want to focus on.
Let me just start off by saying that to use the word “defile” here IS A HORRIBLE MISTRANSLATION.
The original Hebrew word here is QADASH and it does NOT mean “defiled“, especially in this context.
What makes things even more laughable is that QADASH actually has the opposite meaning of “defiled“.
It really means “to be consecrated” or “be set apart for holiness“.
The word QADASH appears tons of times in the TANACH.
However, for some unfathomable reason, gentile scholars have opted to render QADASH as “defiled” in Deuteronomy 22:9.
Probably because they just didn’t understand the principle that in this context the mixing of two different elements together makes something HOLY, not “defiled“.
In other words, the reason planting two kinds of seed in the vineyard was prohibited is because doing so made them HOLY, and if it was HOLY, it was something that could only be performed by the priests, not the common Hebrew working his land.
That’s why planting two kinds of seed was prohibited.
It had nothing to do with defilement.
You’ll notice that literal English translations of the Bible will render QADASH as “separated” instead of “defiled“.
This is another one of those points where you should NOT trust Gentile scholarship.
Instead go to Rashi or any of the other great Jewish rabbis who obviously would have a much superior understanding of Hebrew ritual than Christian scholars.