Our Footsteps of Messiah series has focused on the prophecies contained in the Song of Songs. Once we reach the fourth chapter of the Song, some of the prophecies are repeated, yet we can glean more in-depth understanding with the first chapters already established. In Chapter Four, we read:
  • How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves behind your veil; your hair is like a flock of goats that have descended from Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn sheep which have come up from their washing, all of which bear twins, and not one among them has lost her young.
In a previous lesson, we looked at “Mount Gilead” as a wordplay with “mountain of rolling (continual) witness.” There is a literal mountain range in Gilead, but there was Mount Sinai, where the Israelites responded to the covenant invitation with “We will do, and we will hear.” From the heights of spiritual ecstasy at Mount Sinai, the Israelites descended “like a flock of goats” to become a light and witness to the nations. Goats are often symbolic of sacrifice for atonement. Indeed, Israel has suffered sacrifice to hold onto their covenant agreement at Sinai, reflecting the suffering of Messiah for the sake of the nations.
Next, the prophecy refers to Israel as “a flock of newly shorn sheep which have come up from their washing.” Sheep are often symbolic of the innocent, compliant, and easily led. The sages point to the “washing” as the journey through the Reed Sea in their escape from Pharaoh. A second washing was the three-day preparation of washing for the visitation at Mount Sinai. The first washing at the Reed Sea is of particular interest since it explains in more detail the apostles’ doctrines of mercy, grace, and torah. While there has been a long history of poor understanding and applications of the relationship among them, the foundations are in the Exodus from Egypt.
The twelve tribes of Israel grew in their Egyptian captivity. With courage, the midwives salvaged the “young” of the sheep, protecting them from Pharaoh’s death squads.
  • “Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn sheep which have come up from their washing, all of which bear twins, and not one among them has lost her young [???????? H7909].”
 ??????? shakkul; from H7921; bereaved:—barren, bereaved (robbed) of children.
There was not a long list of commandments for the flock of Israel to keep while they were being saved.
  1. Listen to Moses’ warning about the plagues.
  2. Circumcise.
  3. Slaughter a lamb, apply the blood to the doorposts, and eat it.
  4. Leave Egypt.
  5. Follow the pillar of cloud.
That’s pretty much it. There were no 613 commandments, or even the Big Ten. Not even the Shema or “love your neighbor.” These were simple, demonstrated acts of faith. The details of the 2, the 10, and the 613 would come later in the wilderness.
There is a play-on word with “all of which bear twins.”
?????? tâ?am; a primitive root; to be complete; but used only as denominative from H8380, to be (causatively, make) twinned, i.e. (figuratively) duplicate or (architectural) jointed:—coupled (together), bear twins.
Ta’am is sometimes translated as “perfect.” The flock may be seen as not only complete, but perfect as in upright, with moral integrity:
  • “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless. [???????]” (Ge 17:1)
The children of Abraham would also be counted like their father, upright. It didn’t mean without sin or mistakes; it meant walk and work on the revealed things each day. The Midrash Rabbah presents a homily concerning “all of them are perfect, ta’am which have come up from their washing.” They point out that in spite of being herded and guarded between the Presence of Adonai Himself and the Angel, the Israelites came up from the Reed Sea unharmed by the intense holiness that was experienced between them. Although not yet walking in the commandments, nor had they even agreed to, the Israelites were already walking by faith. They were on the path, leaving death behind, yet obedience lay before them, a journey to prepare them to go up into the Land of their inheritance.