In last week’s Portion, we saw the God proposing marriage to Israel in the form of a Covenant. This week’s Portion, Mishpatim, shows the conclusion of the terms of the covenant and its ratification. These covenant terms started in last week’s Portion with the Ten Commandments; they conclude this week with specific applications of each of the Ten Commandments with instructions concerning:
- The treatment of servants – Remember, Israel had been slaves in Egypt for the last 215 years and needed this reminder
- Murder, strife and the importance of personal property
- Sexual immorality, including pre-marital sex; witchcraft & bestiality
- Idol worship
- Provisions for foreigners, widow and orphans
- No-interest loans for fellow Hebrews
- Respect for judges and leaders
- Reminder of each Hebrews’ obligation of the Firstborn
- Prohibition of eating meat sacrificed to idols
- Bearing false witness; not engaging in mob actions; and warning against bribery.
- Instruction concerning the Shabbat of the Land; the Shalosh Regalim and the three Mo’edim (Feasts)
- The Promise of God’s Protection as Israel occupies the Promised Land
The Portion ends by confirming this Conditional Covenant that God made with the Children of Israel; it is a Blood Covenant.