Brit-Am Biblical Commentaries
The Angel of Israel
of Israel and Joseph?
Did Moses Know?
Appendix to Daniel-10
[Daniel 10:21] BUT I WILL SHEW THEE THAT WHICH IS NOTED IN THE SCRIPTURE OF TRUTH: AND THERE IS NONE THAT HOLDETH WITH ME IN THESE THINGS, BUT MICHAEL YOUR PRINCE.
The Commentary "Daat Mikra" paraphrased:
<< BUT MICHAEL YOUR PRINCE. Here it mentions that Michael, "ONE OF THE CHIEF PRINCES" (Daniel 10:13), is Your Prince, the Prince [Ruler, Protector] of Israel. "MICHAEL THE GREAT PRINCE WHICH STANDETH FOR THE CHILDREN OF THY PEOPLE" (Daniel 12:1). Rabbi Isaac Abarbanel wrote: "This tells us that all the Supreme Princes aligned with the Heavenly Constellations were against Israel. Gabriel however was an advocate for them and Michael his motivator strengthened him". The existence of Gabriel is an extension of Michael. Michael is higher up than Gabriel who executes his will.>>
In other words as far as we are concerned Gabriel may be considered an extension of Michael
and they are one and the same from our point of view.
Israel is alone even in heaven. If you are an Israelite you are part of a lonely people.
LO, THE PEOPLE SHALL DWELL ALONE, AND SHALL NOT BE RECKONED AMONG THE NATIONS [Numbers 23:9].
It is the will of God Almighty that Israel prevail but Creation is so arranged that everything is against us including most of the angels who are good creatures.
What is the Guardian Angle?
Can it be Evil?
According to the Book of Daniel each nation has a kind of "Guardian Angel".
This angel represents the cultural and unitary uniqueness of the said nation
and represents it in the Heavenly Councils, so to speak.
The angel reflects an inner soul of the people it represents.
The angel wants the good of its people and their self-realization.
It has been appointed by the Almighty. It is basically a good force but has its own inbuilt limitations. The angels of the non-Israelite nations are against Israel
and Judah. Even good people in such nations will possess an inborn
anti-Israelite tendency. Their obligation may be to overcome it
and reach unto the Almighty who is in favor of Israel.
Left to themselves they are not liable to do so.
Rejection of Israel and Judah borders on idolatry.
Israel and Judah should not take anything for granted.
We should realize that our destiny and task requires of us a constant spiritual
and physical struggle.
There is a principle that everything below has a parallel above.
As an example of what we mean by the National Angels representing the inner will of their peoples rather than determining it themselves take the former kings of Europe.
In history we find that in the late 19th century and early 20th century all the monarchs of Europe (and most countries had monarchs) were all members of one big inter-related family. Nearly every king or queen in most countries in Europe
could be traced back to a German Princeling of some
Province or other of Germany.
These monarchs however were "servants" of the nations they ruled over
and reflected their national interests rather than their own "familial" ones.
Consequently wars and national animosities were frequent with each monarch representing and embodying the national aspirations
and antagonisms of their subjects.
Is Michael Especially attached to Joseph?
Moses was from the Tribe of Levi which with Judah and Benjamin was destined to form the core of the present-day Jewish people referred to in Scripture by the general term "Judah". Moses was the agent through which the Torah was given. Joshua the son of Nun was from the Tribe of Ephraim and represents Joseph. Joshua was to succeed Moses as head of Israel and lead them in the Conquest of the Land of Canaan.
God said to Moses that HIS angel would go before the Children of Israel and guid them into the Land. According to the Sages Moses refused and insisted that God HIMSELF attach HIS PRESENCE to them and so it was. Later in the time of Joshua the angel did attach himself to the People. This indeed is on e way of understanding the passages in question. It is not the only way. Other explanations are possible. Nevertheless it is authoritative and worth considering.
[Exodus 23:20] BEHOLD, I SEND AN ANGEL BEFORE THEE, TO KEEP THEE IN THE WAY, AND TO BRING THEE INTO THE PLACE WHICH I HAVE PREPARED.
[Exodus 23:21] BEWARE OF HIM, AND OBEY HIS VOICE, PROVOKE HIM NOT; FOR HE WILL NOT PARDON YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS: FOR MY NAME IS IN HIM.
[Exodus 23:22] BUT IF THOU SHALT INDEED OBEY HIS VOICE, AND DO ALL THAT I SPEAK; THEN I WILL BE AN ENEMY UNTO THINE ENEMIES, AND AN ADVERSARY UNTO THINE ADVERSARIES.
[Exodus 23:23] FOR MINE ANGEL SHALL GO BEFORE THEE, AND BRING THEE IN UNTO THE AMORITES, AND THE HITTITES, AND THE PERIZZITES, AND THE CANAANITES, THE HIVITES, AND THE JEBUSITES: AND I WILL CUT THEM OFF.
[Exodus 23:24] THOU SHALT NOT BOW DOWN TO THEIR GODS, NOR SERVE THEM, NOR DO AFTER THEIR WORKS: BUT THOU SHALT UTTERLY OVERTHROW THEM, AND QUITE BREAK DOWN THEIR IMAGES.
[Exodus 23:25] AND YE SHALL SERVE THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HE SHALL BLESS THY BREAD, AND THY WATER; AND I WILL TAKE SICKNESS AWAY FROM THE MIDST OF THEE.
[Exodus 23:26] THERE SHALL NOTHING CAST THEIR YOUNG, NOR BE BARREN, IN THY LAND: THE NUMBER OF THY DAYS I WILL FULFIL.
[Exodus 23:27] I WILL SEND MY FEAR BEFORE THEE, AND WILL DESTROY ALL THE PEOPLE TO WHOM THOU SHALT COME, AND I WILL MAKE ALL THINE ENEMIES TURN THEIR BACKS UNTO THEE.
[Exodus 23:28] AND I WILL SEND HORNETS BEFORE THEE, WHICH SHALL DRIVE OUT THE HIVITE, THE CANAANITE, AND THE HITTITE, FROM BEFORE THEE.
[Exodus 23:29] I WILL NOT DRIVE THEM OUT FROM BEFORE THEE IN ONE YEAR; LEST THE LAND BECOME DESOLATE, AND THE BEAST OF THE FIELD MULTIPLY AGAINST THEE.
[Exodus 23:30] BY LITTLE AND LITTLE I WILL DRIVE THEM OUT FROM BEFORE THEE, UNTIL THOU BE INCREASED, AND INHERIT THE LAND.
[Exodus 23:31] AND I WILL SET THY BOUNDS FROM THE RED SEA EVEN UNTO THE SEA OF THE PHILISTINES, AND FROM THE DESERT UNTO THE RIVER: FOR I WILL DELIVER THE INHABITANTS OF THE LAND INTO YOUR HAND; AND THOU SHALT DRIVE THEM OUT BEFORE THEE.
[Exodus 23:32] THOU SHALT MAKE NO COVENANT WITH THEM, NOR WITH THEIR GODS.
[Exodus 23:33] THEY SHALL NOT DWELL IN THY LAND, LEST THEY MAKE THEE SIN AGAINST ME: FOR IF THOU SERVE THEIR GODS, IT WILL SURELY BE A SNARE UNTO THEE.
We see from this passage that God said he would send his angel before the Israelites to bring them into the Land and to drive out the heathen with the Tzirah (Exodus 23:28) which is translated as hornets but actually probably means sickness as explained by the Iben Ezra. Moses then directed the building of the Tabernacle and went up to Mount Sinai to receive the commandments. While Moses was gone the people rebelled and made a golden bull-calf.
God spoke as if HE wanted to wipe out the Israelite People:
[Exodus 32:9] AND THE LORD SAID UNTO MOSES, I HAVE SEEN THIS PEOPLE, AND, BEHOLD, IT IS A STIFFNECKED PEOPLE:
Moses then persuaded God to spare the people (Exodus 32:11-14). At one stage Moses told the Almighty to blot him out of the Book of the Righteous if the people were not spared (Exodus 32:32).
[Exodus 32:10] NOW THEREFORE LET ME ALONE, THAT MY WRATH MAY WAX HOT AGAINST THEM, AND THAT I MAY CONSUME THEM: AND I WILL MAKE OF THEE A GREAT NATION.
[Exodus 32:33] AND THE LORD SAID UNTO MOSES, WHOSOEVER HATH SINNED AGAINST ME, HIM WILL I BLOT OUT OF MY BOOK.
[Exodus 32:34] THEREFORE NOW GO, LEAD THE PEOPLE UNTO THE PLACE OF WHICH I HAVE SPOKEN UNTO THEE: BEHOLD, MINE ANGEL SHALL GO BEFORE THEE: NEVERTHELESS IN THE DAY WHEN I VISIT I WILL VISIT THEIR SIN UPON THEM.
[Exodus 33:1] AND THE LORD SAID UNTO MOSES, DEPART, AND GO UP HENCE, THOU AND THE PEOPLE WHICH THOU HAST BROUGHT UP OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, UNTO THE LAND WHICH I SWARE UNTO ABRAHAM, TO ISAAC, AND TO JACOB, SAYING, UNTO THY SEED WILL I GIVE IT:
[Exodus 33:2] AND I WILL SEND AN ANGEL BEFORE THEE; AND I WILL DRIVE OUT THE CANAANITE, THE AMORITE, AND THE HITTITE, AND THE PERIZZITE, THE HIVITE, AND THE JEBUSITE:
[Exodus 33:3] UNTO A LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY: FOR I WILL NOT GO UP IN THE MIDST OF THEE; FOR THOU ART A STIFFNECKED PEOPLE: LEST I CONSUME THEE IN THE WAY.
We see from above that God said He would send HIS angel before the people. From the passage below we see also that Moses insisted that God HIMSELF come with them.
[Exodus 33:11] AND THE LORD SPAKE UNTO MOSES FACE TO FACE, AS A MAN SPEAKETH UNTO HIS FRIEND. AND HE TURNED AGAIN INTO THE CAMP: BUT HIS SERVANT JOSHUA, THE SON OF NUN, A YOUNG MAN, DEPARTED NOT OUT OF THE TABERNACLE.
[Exodus 33:12] AND MOSES SAID UNTO THE LORD, SEE, THOU SAYEST UNTO ME, BRING UP THIS PEOPLE: AND THOU HAST NOT LET ME KNOW WHOM THOU WILT SEND WITH ME. YET THOU HAST SAID, I KNOW THEE BY NAME, AND THOU HAST ALSO FOUND GRACE IN MY SIGHT.
[Exodus 33:13] NOW THEREFORE, I PRAY THEE, IF I HAVE FOUND GRACE IN THY SIGHT, SHEW ME NOW THY WAY, THAT I MAY KNOW THEE, THAT I MAY FIND GRACE IN THY SIGHT: AND CONSIDER THAT THIS NATION IS THY PEOPLE.
[Exodus 33:14] AND HE SAID, MY PRESENCE SHALL GO WITH THEE, AND I WILL GIVE THEE REST.
[Exodus 33:15] AND HE SAID UNTO HIM, IF THY PRESENCE GO NOT WITH ME, CARRY US NOT UP HENCE.
[Exodus 33:16] FOR WHEREIN SHALL IT BE KNOWN HERE THAT I AND THY PEOPLE HAVE FOUND GRACE IN THY SIGHT? IS IT NOT IN THAT THOU GOEST WITH US? SO SHALL WE BE SEPARATED, I AND THY PEOPLE, FROM ALL THE PEOPLE THAT ARE UPON THE FACE OF THE EARTH.
[Exodus 33:17] AND THE LORD SAID UNTO MOSES, I WILL DO THIS THING ALSO THAT THOU HAST SPOKEN: FOR THOU HAST FOUND GRACE IN MY SIGHT, AND I KNOW THEE BY NAME.
This whole passage could conceivably be understood as reconcilable with God going with them AS WELL as His angel. Nevertheless the Sages chose to understand it as saying that due to the change in circumstance and attitude (when understanding matters in simple human terms) Moses managed to persuade God to go with them directly instead of being with them primarily through HIS angel.
After reaching the Land and conquering the eastern section of it |Moses passed away and Joshua took his place. The first major task the Israelites had under Joshua in conquering the land involved the capture of Jericho. Just before Jericho was taken an angel appeared to Joshua.
[Joshua 5:13] AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN JOSHUA WAS BY JERICHO, THAT HE LIFTED UP HIS EYES AND LOOKED, AND, BEHOLD, THERE STOOD A MAN OVER AGAINST HIM WITH HIS SWORD DRAWN IN HIS HAND: AND JOSHUA WENT UNTO HIM, AND SAID UNTO HIM, ART THOU FOR US, OR FOR OUR ADVERSARIES?
<<A MAN>>: cf. THE MAN GABRIEL (Daniel (9:21). We have seen that at a certain level Gabriel and Michael are considered one and the same.
[Joshua 5:14] AND HE SAID, NAY; BUT AS CAPTAIN OF THE HOST OF THE LORD AM I NOW COME. AND JOSHUA FELL ON HIS FACE TO THE EARTH, AND DID WORSHIP, AND SAID UNTO HIM, WHAT SAITH MY LORD UNTO HIS SERVANT?
He was an angel.
<<AM I NOW COME>>: The Sages said: <<AM I NOW COME. I came previously to Moses your teacher but he would pray [to God] and say IF THY PRESENCE GO NOT WITH ME and I was caught in the middle and could not then come down>>.(Breashit Rabah 99;4 Shemot Rabah 32;3).
[Joshua 5:15] AND THE CAPTAIN OF THE LORD'S HOST SAID UNTO JOSHUA, LOOSE THY SHOE FROM OFF THY FOOT; FOR THE PLACE WHEREON THOU STANDEST IS HOLY. AND JOSHUA DID SO.
Michael was especially attached to Joseph.
The Angel that was to go with Israel was concerned with defeating the enemies of Israel and driving them out and bringing the promised blessings to fruition, as we saw above (Exodus 33:3). Moses however prevented the angel from accompanying them at that stage. Later when Judah and Joseph split apart so too did the appointed mission of both halves. Joseph was no longer bound by the Law in the full sense for that period. The task of Joseph for most of his pilgrimage was much less dependent on his own conscious virtues. Michael therefore goes with Joseph and enables Joseph to fulfil his mission.
Why the Other Tribes have a tendency to be against both Joseph and Judah in our days
Jacob had blessed Ephraim and Manasseh ythat his angel go with them on their journey through history.
[Genesis 48:14] AND ISRAEL STRETCHED OUT HIS RIGHT HAND, AND LAID IT UPON EPHRAIM'S HEAD, WHO WAS THE YOUNGER, AND HIS LEFT HAND UPON MANASSEH'S HEAD, GUIDING HIS HANDS WITTINGLY; FOR MANASSEH WAS THE FIRSTBORN.
[Genesis 48:15] AND HE BLESSED JOSEPH, AND SAID, GOD, BEFORE WHOM MY FATHERS ABRAHAM AND ISAAC DID WALK, THE GOD WHICH FED ME ALL MY LIFE LONG UNTO THIS DAY,
[Genesis 48:16] THE ANGEL WHICH REDEEMED ME FROM ALL EVIL, BLESS THE LADS; AND LET MY NAME BE NAMED ON THEM, AND THE NAME OF MY FATHERS ABRAHAM AND ISAAC; AND LET THEM GROW INTO A MULTITUDE IN THE MIDST OF THE EARTH.
This blessing was given to the Sons of Joseph for the time of their sojourning especially in the period approaching the End Times, cf.
[Genesis 49:1] AND JACOB CALLED UNTO HIS SONS, AND SAID, GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER, THAT I MAY TELL YOU THAT WHICH SHALL BEFALL YOU IN THE LAST DAYS.
“IN THE LAST DAYS”: This prophecy was pertinent to the Latter Time prior to the Messianic Era.
The "Guardian Angel" of a nation represents the culture and national character of that nation
in a sense embodying it.
"Judah" (the Jews) in Exile is either directly under the Protecting Influence of the Almighty or subject to the "Angel" of whatever place he finds himself in. There is usually a struggle between the two influences.
By Judah doing his unique duty of learning the Torah and keeping the commandments he can strengthen
the influence he receives directly from the Almighty. The accruing blessing however in some cases goes to the other peoples rather than to Judah himself. Judah needs to return to the Land of Israel to be himself and also to bring
a greater and more direct blessing down ont he whole world.
The retun of Judah to the Land ("Zionism") also prepares the way for all the other tribes.
This is the will of God and whoever assists in this process will be blessed by the Almighty.
"Joseph" especially has the task to assist Judah in this field as we explained in our lectures on the subject and in our books "Ephraim" and "Joseph".
The Other Israelite Tribes in Exile are also receiving the blessings and fulfilling some aspects of their national destiny.
They tend however to be under the influence of the "Angels" of the nations besides whom they dwell.
These "Angels" are not necessarily negative but they tend to be against Israel.
They are headed by the angel of Esau.
The Other Israelite Tribes thereofore are less "Israelite" in character and national drive.
Even so they too will return to their source and there will come about an arousal on their part as well.
Each one of them has a task of its own in the end-times scenario.
Issachar, for instance, is destined it would seem from the sources to play a part in the future arousal of all Israel to return.
The Struggle between Israel and Esau
Jacob (Israel) and Esau were twins. Before they were born Rebecca their mother was told:
[Genesis 25:23] AND THE LORD SAID UNTO HER, TWO NATIONS ARE IN THY WOMB, AND TWO MANNER OF PEOPLE SHALL BE SEPARATED FROM THY BOWELS; AND THE ONE PEOPLE SHALL BE STRONGER THAN THE OTHER PEOPLE; AND THE ELDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER.
One would be stronger than the other; one would serve the other.
The two were Jacob and Esau.
"THE ELDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER": In Hebrew "Rav [the elder] ya-avod [shall serve] Tsair [the younger]" BUT (as pointed out by numerous Commentators quoted by Yehudah Kiel) it could ALSO be understood to say "Rav [the elder] ya-avod [shall be served by] Tsair [the younger]". This is because the needed definitive element "et" is not found in the sentence before the word "Tsair" [the younger]. ["et" has no equivalent in English but with the Hebrew conjunction "ve" (we) it forms "ve-et" (pronounced in Ancient Times as "we-eth") which gave rise to the English word "with"].
We thus have in the Hebrew a sentence that ast one and the same time can have two opposing meanings.
Either, "THE ELDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER"
"THE ELDER SHALL BE SERVED BY THE YOUNGER"
The Commentators said that both interpretations are correct and refer to different periods and different situations. If Israel merits and fulfills its destined tasks Israel will rule over others. If Israel does not do as it should it is liable to be ruled over. This is not necessarily morality but rather reality.
Esau was blessed by his father Isaac:
[Genesis 27:40] AND BY THY SWORD SHALT THOU LIVE, AND SHALT SERVE THY BROTHER; AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS WHEN THOU SHALT HAVE THE DOMINION, THAT THOU SHALT BREAK HIS YOKE FROM OFF THY NECK.
"BY THY SWORD SHALT THOU LIVE, AND SHALT SERVE THY BROTHER": Esau was a military man. The Talmud says that every war requires the presence of Esau in order to achieve victory.
"THAT THOU SHALT BREAK HIS YOKE FROM OFF THY NECK":
Onkelos translates this to say that when Jacob sins then Esau will assert his independence or even acquire domination over Jacob.
The "Guardian Angel" of Esau was called "Samael" by the Sages possibly from word-root "SAME" meaning "blind" and indicating that Samael has a blinding influence concerning how the world is run.
Esau like Jacob is scattered throughout the nations of world but has a dominating influence in some of them.
The Midrash (Shemot Rabah 18;5) says:
<<At that time [the End Times] Michael the Great Prince who guards the Children of Your People will stand up to demand the needs of Israel. He will speak on their behalf as it says,
"THEN THE ANGEL OF THE LORD ANSWERED AND SAID, O LORD OF HOSTS, HOW LONG WILT THOU NOT HAVE MERCY ON JERUSALEM AND ON THE CITIES OF JUDAH" [Zechariah 1:12].
He [God] said there is no-one who struggles with me on behalf of My People except Michael,
"THERE IS NONE THAT HOLDETH WITH ME IN THESE THINGS, BUT MICHAEL YOUR PRINCE" [Daniel 10:21].
Rabbi Yose said what are Michael and Samael like?
[They may be compared to] the Prosecutor and the Defence in a Court of Law. First one speaks, then the other. One finishes what he has to say then the other does as well. The Defence knows he has won the case and he begins to praise the Judge who is issuing a Writ of Acquital.
The Prosecution then requests to add something. The Defence tells him to be silent and listen to the Judge. So Michael and Samael stand before the Divine Presence. The Satan [i.e. the Adversary, Samael] attempts to speak and Michael silences him, as it says,
"I WILL HEAR WHAT GOD THE LORD WILL SPEAK: FOR HE WILL SPEAK PEACE [Hebrew: Shalom, i.e. well-being] UNTO HIS PEOPLE" [Psalms 85:8].>>
JOSEF GIKALITA (1248- c. 1310 CE) in "Shaarei Orah" ("The Gates of Light", Gates Two, Three) says:
<<When Israel is outside of the Land of Israel they are under the domain of the Princes [Guardian Angels] of the [non-Israelite] Peoples...for the Gates of Heaven are no-where else but in the Land of Israel, as it says,
HOW DREADFUL IS THIS PLACE! THIS IS NONE OTHER BUT THE HOUSE OF GOD, AND THIS IS THE GATE OF HEAVEN [Genesis 28:17].
<<Outside of the Land of Israel the Heavens are closed.
<<...These Princes [Guardian Angels] of the [non-Israelite] Peoples do not help Israel at all, as it says,
"THERE IS NONE THAT HOLDETH WITH ME IN THESE THINGS, BUT MICHAEL YOUR PRINCE" [Daniel 10:21].
<<This is even more pertinent regarding Samael the Prince [Guardian Angel ] of Edom [Esau] who stands and says negative things about Israel all the time and seeks to appeal against them and destroy their merits. So too the Prosecuting Forces amongst the [non-Israelitte] Peoples of the World all stand between earth and heaven like a walled barrier to cut the connection between Israel and their Father in Heaven...
<<Even in the Land of Israel [this principle holds] as it says,
BUT YOUR INIQUITIES HAVE SEPARATED BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOD, AND YOUR SINS HAVE HID HIS FACE FROM YOU, THAT HE WILL NOT HEAR [Isaiah 59:2].>>
<<The matter of Warfare is thus, When God wants to uproot or cast down a nation, He does not do anything until HE has first cast down its Prince [Guardain Angel], as it says (Midrash, Shir HaShirim Rabah 8;19), "A nation does not fall unless its Prince falls first, as it says,
[Isaiah 24:21] AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THAT DAY, THAT THE LORD SHALL PUNISH THE HOST OF THE HIGH ONES THAT ARE ON HIGH, AND THE KINGS OF THE EARTH UPON THE EARTH.>>
We see that Judah is ruled over more directly by the Almighty when Judah does the will of the Almighty. If however Judah does not go in the right path they are in danger of being delivered over to the Angels of the non-Israelite Peoples.
Judah is thus more vulnerable.
Joseph is dominated more by the Angel-Prince Michael who is powerful in heaven and also allows more leeway.
The other Tribes of Israel (of the Ten Tribes) are in an intermediate position and can sway towards Judah or Joseph or towards the Angels of the non-Israelite nations which in practical terms means to be dominated by the national ethos and values of others.
The Angels of the non-Israelite nations are basically against both Joseph and Judah BUT in principle they are also responsible for the welfare of their charges. If the good of peoples they are appointed over can only be served by an accomodation with Joseph and Judah then the Angels of these peoples will seek to make such an accomodation.
Just as we are influenced by heavenly forces above us so too can we influence those forces.
Sin weakens, good deeds strengthen both above and below.
By our deeds, thoughts, and intentions we can give power to our own national "angel" and thus serve our own peoples as well as ourselves.
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