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15All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the blare of the horn and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they fell back and stood at a distance. 16“You speak to us,” they said to Moses, “and we will obey; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.” 17Moses answered the people, “Be not afraid; for God has come only in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may be ever with you, so that you do not go astray.” 18So the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.     Exodus 20/15-18 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

20I am sending an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have made ready. 21Pay heed to him and obey him. Do not defy him, for he will not pardon your offenses, since My Name is in him; 22but if you obey him and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.

23When My angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I annihilate them, 24you shall not bow down to their gods in worship or follow their practices, but shall tear them down and smash their pillars to bits. 25You shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will remove sickness from your midst. 26No woman in your land shall miscarry or be barren. I will let you enjoy the full count of your days.   Genesis 23/20-26 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

Many biblical writers assume the existence of beings superior to man in knowledge and power but subordinate to the one God. These beings serve as His attendants, like courtiers of an earthly king, and also as His agents to convey His messages to men and to carry out His will.

These beings are clearly designated by the English word “angel.” The terminology of biblical Hebrew is not so exact. Malʾakh, the word most often used, means “messenger” (“to send”). It is applied frequently to human agents and is sometimes used figuratively.

Apparently for greater clarity, the Bible frequently calls the angel the malʾakh of God; yet the same title is occasionally applied to human agents of the Deity. Elsewhere angels are called ʾelohim (“god” or “gods”); more often bene ʾelohim or bene ʾelim (“sons of gods”) – in the general sense of “divine beings.”

They are also known as kedoshim (qedoshim; “holy beings). Often the angel is called simply “man.” The mysterious being who wrestled with Jacob is first called a man, then ʾelohim, but Hosea refers to him also as a malʾakh.

As a result of this there are some passages where it is uncertain whether a human or superhuman messenger is meant. The Bible also speaks of winged creatures of angelic character called cherubim and seraphim who serve a variety of functions. A further ambiguity is due to the fact that the Bible does not always distinguish clearly between God and His messenger.

Thus, Hagar encounters an angel but later addresses “the Lord that spoke unto her”. It is God who commands the sacrifice of Isaac; later Abraham is addressed by the angel of the Lord from heaven. The angel of the Lord appears to Moses in the burning bush, but through the rest of the story Moses converses with the Deity. So, too, in the Gideon story, Gideon speaks sometimes with God, sometimes with the angel of God.

Some scholars infer from this phenomenon that the angel was not regarded as an independent being, but simply as a manifestation of the Divine power and will. Others suppose that in the earliest version of these stories a human being was confronted directly by God, and that later scribes toned down the boldness of this concept by interposing an angel.

From: Angels & Angelology; Jewishvirtuallibrary.org (edited).

 

Commentary:

Moses tells the Israelite’s that G-d is here in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may be ever with you.

G-d had Moses set a rule before the Israelite’s regarding the angel He sent to guard them on the way and to bring them to the place that He had made ready:

“Pay heed to him and obey him. Do not defy him, for he will not pardon your offenses, since My Name is in him.”

There are no orders, instructions, rules or commandments between an angel and the Israelite’s. They all come from Moses who receives them from G-d.

This angel is Moses. And Moses is a man with divine beings who is a messenger of G-d’s laws. The divine beings are G-d and the person of the spirit of the Holy G-d.

A man with divine beings who is a messenger also describes the man who wrestles with Jacob and gives Jacob the name Israel. They are found throughout the Jewish Bible.

A man with divine beings is a host of the L-rd of Hosts is another way of describing a man the person of the spirit of G-d has alighted upon rather than an angel.

From: Angels & Angelology  “Some scholars infer from this phenomenon that the angel was not regarded as an independent being, but simply as a manifestation of the Divine power and will. Others suppose that in the earliest version of these stories a human being was confronted directly by God, and that later scribes toned down the boldness of this concept by interposing an angel.”

The earliest version that a human being was confronted directly by G-d were correct. The later scribes were wrong. The man who wrestled with Jacob was just that. A man. And G-d and the person of the Holy G-d had alighted upon him.

I am a host of the L-rd of Hosts. It is not so much a confrontation as it is a welcoming of divine beings to guide you through the tasks G-d would have you do for Him.

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