YBD031 The Meaning of Numbers in Torah, Part 19, No 6 con't (2)

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In articles 26 to 30 we looked at the number 6 and will conclude this number in this article by looking at its relationship to Baal worship in the books Joshua and Judges. In the next articles will continue with the related numbers of 60, threescore or sixty, 600, 66 and eventually with 666.

In the Book of Joshua the name Baal is used 9 times as follows in the order they appear; 3 times Baalgad (lord of fortune), 4 times Baalah (mistress), Baalathbeer (mistress of the well) and Baalath (mistress). These 9 times relate to places that the conquering Israeli army overcame the Baal worshipers in the Promised Land and defined its borders. There is no mention of Israel worshiping Baal, only the conquest of the places or cities of Baal.

An interpretation could include that 6 times the place of Baal relates to the word "mistress" and three times (in order to emphasis of who Baal is) the "lord of fortune". Mistress means someone other than your Bride with whom you are having a relationship with. By worshiping Baal (however we define this), we are committing adultery turning away from our Bride and going to a mistress. Our Bride does not turn her back on us, we turn away from our Bride. By turning our back to our Bride and having a relationship with Baal, the Bride sees all. However, with our back to our Bride, we think that our Bride sees nothing of what we are doing with Baal.

We have seen earlier that stating something 3 times relates to emphasising an important point. Baal "lord of fortune", seeks gain to the detriment of others. (In the Tanakh the names appear; Baalgad = 3, Baalah = 5, Baalathbeer = 1, Baalath = 3, or 12 times altogether or twice 6). Baal in its 21 various forms appears 129 times in the Tanakh, an interesting study for later.

When we come to number 10 in a few articles time, we shall explain number 9 in detail as these two numerals are inseparably connected. Often there are 9 facts that then result or lead to the 10th. An example are the 9 plagues which resulted in the 10th. Moses and Aaron spoke to the Pharaoh 9 times (3 times each in 3 different ways) stating that a plague would follow if certain demands were not kept. With the 10th plague, the death of the firstborn, no demands were stated and no warnings were given to the Pharaoh. The 10th plague was the consequence from what happened earlier. Another example is the growing evil in the world during the first 9 generations from Adam to Lamech which led to the flood in the 10th under Noah.

In the Book of Joshua we have 9 positive mentions (note, no negatives in this rare case) of Baal being overcome led to the conclusion, or 10th, which was that the land was free of Baal worship. Thus Joshua is a book of success and victory enabling the settlement of the Promised Land. The Book of Joshua is a book of victory from beginning to end. There are a few intermediate problems stated such as the victory at Jericho followed by the temporary defeat at Ai. This defeat resulted from Israel refusing to listen to Adonai and follow His plans. But overall it is a Book of success including the total destruction of Baal worship.

The Book of Joshua describes, in great detail, its first conquest, the city of Jericho. This was after the death of Moses more than a month earlier, followed by the miraculous crossing of the Jordan, circumcision of all males, first Passover in 38 years and circling the city 13 times over 7 days. The walls tumbling down were Adonai's victory. It was a victory over one of the main idol worship cities which was devoted to the god Ashtaroth. The failure at Ai with 36 soldiers being killed was because Achan had coveted clothing, gold and silver. The instruction was that no spoils should be taken and the gold and silver deposited at the Mishkan. The victory was totally due to G-d and hence no one had the right to anything. The Book of Joshua is the taking over of a land full of people believing in false gods.

However the Book of Judges shows the ups and downs of this fledgling nation under the Judges. The number 6 reappears in this Book relating to Israel serving Baal. In the book of Judges the word Baal and its variations are mentioned 15 times. In the Book of Judges it can be seen how Baal worship slipped back into Israel and had to be destroyed.

In the Book of Judges, Israel is stated to have gone after Baal 6 times (served Baal 5 times plus once whoring after him and making Baalberith their god – the 7th reference within the 6 Baal statements) in Judges 2:11,13, 3:7, 8:33, 10:6,10. Six represents the number of man and the double mention in one case (making 7) suggests completeness. Also in the same book Baal is mentioned 5 times when Israel cast down the altars to him in Judges 6:25,28,30,31,32, symbolising holiness or holy acts. The act of casting down the alters was a holy act following Adonai's command to do this. We can see the wrong is stated 6 times and the right 5 times. The use of words a number of times, put an emphasis in the meaning of the story. The word Baal and Baalim is therefore stated 11 times in Judges. We will come back to this when we study the number 11 in a future article.

The difference (between the 15 times the name Baal and its variations are stated in the Book of Judges and the 11 we mentioned above) of 4 are accounted for as follows. In one of the above incidences when Israel went whoring after Baalim, the name Baalberith (lord of the covenant) is also stated. Three places of worship (names of gods) are given, Baalhermon (lord of destruction), Baalberith (lord of the covenant, a 2nd time) and Baaltamar (lord of the palms).

We could extend the above by studying the word Baal or its derivatives in the other Books in the Tanakh. But I think this is sufficient to show that there is a divine logic interwoven into the stories in the Tanakh to emphasis the meanings or points within. Looking for these relationships enriches our understanding of the Tanakh and our Adonai.

In previous articles we have seen the Sh'ma has all the symbolisms of the numbers between 1 to 5. This is a 6 word, 25 letter statement of faith שמע ישראל יי אלהינו יי אחד "Sh'ma Israel, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad" that is, "Hear O Israel Adonai is our God, Adonai is One". The longest word of this 6 word statement is of 6 letters אלהינו, Eloheinu or "is our G-d". Adonai is the G-d of man This the only condition, that we choose Adonai as our G-d. When we have chosen only Him, we can then say that "He is our G-d". This statement of faith is the affirmation of that we, as man, have chosen Him as our G-d and hence turned our back on baal. Turning our back on baal means we face Adonai and follow Him.

Therefore 6 can be looked at in many forms. The number 6 as relating to days, months, years, then in a given defined section a factor mentioned 6 times. In the few examples given in 6 articles, it can be seen that the subject has not been exhausted. In the next article we will look at 60, 66, 600 and eventually 666.


יוסף בן דרגן     Yosef ben Dragan

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