Hey, Who Moved the Boundary?
By Avi ben Mordechai
Boundaries. They are necessary landmarks, barriers, and fences, markers that define “A” from “B” in everyday life. The ancient Hebrew concept is conveyed through the Hebrew word G’vul, pronounced “Geh-Vool.”
Boundaries are very important in life. Without boundaries, anarchy, disorder, and lawlessness, will take advantage of a given situation that is not demarcated and use that situation to control instead of serve. Without boundaries, things and situations in life can go from bad to worse in very little time.
You parents of children (particularly young children and teenagers) know this all too well. Business partners know this. Schoolteachers, college and university professors know this. No matter where we are in our walk of life, we all know this internally. It is programmed into us as part of our script in the drama of life, to recognize and respect barriers and markers that are constantly given to us for our good.
In the Torah of Life at D’varim (Deuteronomy) 19:14, the All Eternal One of Israel conveys this teaching, using these words:
You shall not move your neighbor’s boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance, which you shall inherit in the land that Yehovah your Elohim gives you to possess.
This all-important message is repeated again and again in scripture:
Cursed is he who moves his neighbor’s boundary mark. And all the people shall say, Amen (D’varim 27:17)
Some remove the landmarks; they seize and devour flocks (Job 24:2)
Do not move the ancient boundary, which your fathers have set (Proverbs 22:28)
The princes of Judah have become like those who move a boundary;
On them I will pour out my wrath like water (Hosea 5:10)
Although I do not put myself under rabbinic authority, nonetheless, this does not mean that I would consider all rabbinic writings as useless! On the contrary, there are some excellent lessons that come through the conduit of ancient Judaism. One such lesson comes from a work called Pirkei Avot (the Ethics of the Fathers) – 5:13. I think it is a valuable lesson that fits the theme of our study, perfectly. The quote goes like this:
There are four types of people:
1) The person who says, ‘What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours’--this is the average type; though some say that this is the attitude of Sodom.
2) The person who says, ‘What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine’--this is an ignorant person.
3) The person who says, ‘What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is your own’–this is a saintly person.
4) And the person who says, ‘What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine’--this is a wicked person.
I think that these stated principles go well beyond that of physical possessions. There is something highly spiritual here. Something that I believe we have a tendency to overlook in our collective pursuit for truth and holiness. “What do you mean?” you may ask. You see, boundaries define ownership, stewardship, and management.
Here is one clear example that comes from lessons learned in my own life.
My beloved wife has been given to me, not for the purpose of owning her and certainly not to treat her as chattel. My wife is my home and she has been given to me as part of the marriage covenant to direct and manage. I actually DO NOT OWN my wife. She is NOT my property! She belongs to YHVH (Yehovah, or Yahweh, for some). This is an established biblical boundary marker.
So, what if I abuse my wife physically, verbally, spiritually, emotionally, and/or sexually? What if I simply ignore my wife and I don’t want to consider or value her words? What if I oftentimes treat her as insignificant and unimportant? What if I treat my wife with disrespect and dishonour using nasty words or actions? With all this, what am I really doing? According to the Torah of Life, I am moving a divine boundary!
By my actions, I am declaring that what belongs to Yah, now belongs to me and in so doing, I am acting as if I believe that I can do as I wish, with “my property.” I may not express things in these exact words but by my actions, I am in fact, representing what I believe. This is wickedness because in truth, my wife is NOT my property. She has been placed into my care as a manager and a steward.
The office of a husband is a serious responsibility that must not be taken lightly. Similarly, the office of a wife is also a serious responsibility that must not be taken lightly.
The ancient boundaries of marriage were established way back in the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis. For the man, the boundary of Genesis 2:24 establishes this point:
For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
In Hebrew, the term “cleave” or “cling” is the word “D’VAK.” In Modern Hebrew, we get the concept of glue or tape. In the Torah, the idea is that of a man becoming glued to his wife.
Have you ever worked with superglue and in not using caution, you almost glued your fingers together? Then, in pulling them apart, it meant losing some skin with the process of separating your fingers! This is the idea of D’VAK in Hebrew and this is a boundary of the Torah; that the man is to superglue himself to his wife and the two will become one, certainly not an overnight process, however!
Okay, so this is the boundary for the man. What is the boundary for the woman?
The boundary or barrier for the woman is that of wrapping her husband according to Jeremiah 31:22. Here is the concept from scripture:
For Yehovah has created a new thing in the Land; a woman will encompass a man.
Unfortunately, this English text (in bold) is dry and wooden. However, in Hebrew, the idea is much more colorful!
A woman is to encircle or wrap a man, from the Hebrew phrase, Nekavah T’sovev Gaver. In other words, a biblical boundary has been prearranged by YHVH, that of establishing the woman as a container or wrapper and NOT the filling material for the container. Put another way, the man is the giver (the filling) and the woman is the receiver (the container). These boundaries must not be crossed for in doing so, it invites trouble into a marriage.
The woman is to honor her husband, who has a very important job of functioning as her director. This boundary should not be traversed, where a woman decides that her role should be that of a director in a marriage. This function of being a director does not belong to the woman. This is understood from the Hebrew text of Genesis 3:16, with the use of the Hebrew term, “Shok,” pronounced like Shoke:”
Yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you (Genesis 3:16)
The term “desire” or “longing” in this passage of Torah is from the Hebrew root Sheen Vav Kuf, which gives us the concept of a LEG in the Torah, as it is written:
Like the LEGS, which hang down from the lame, so is a proverb in the mouth of fools (Proverbs 26:7).
In the Torah, Shok also describes a thigh or shank bone (Leviticus 7:32).
The human leg is comprised of two very important bones (among several) – the femur for strength, direction, and movement and the fibula for stability. All this describes the Hebrew term Shok in the language of Genesis 3:16. The man is the SHOK or LEG of the marriage – the FORWARD MOVEMENT, the DIRECTION, the MANAGER of the male/female unit.
Without the LEG, there is no direction and no forward movement and without her man, the woman does not have a leg to stand on. Similarly, without the woman, the man remains alone and this is NOT GOOD, according to the Torah. The man needs his woman so that he can fulfill his need to leave his father and his mother and cling or cleave to his wife.
Thus, the Creator YHVH sets the established hierarchy of biblical boundaries for marriage:
1) Elohim is the HEAD
2) The Man is the LEG
3) The Woman is the BODY WRAP or CONTAINER for the marriage, functioning much like that of a cocoon or shelter.
The woman as a shelter, body wrap, or container is precisely what is described for us in the role of the Ruach haKodesh (the Spirit of the Holy One). The Ruach haKodesh is the feminine side of YHVH and not the masculine side. The function of the Ruach haKodesh is that of wrapping, containing, or overshadowing. This is why Yeshua speaks with the following metaphor in Matthew 23:37 and also Luke 13:34:
How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
In Judaism, this idea is expressed through the concept that all Israel is invited to dwell in the shadow of the Shekinah (the presence of YHVH), as taught in Isaiah 30:20-21. However, most English versions miss the mark on this and the nuance of the Hebrew text is lost in translation. The Hebrew imagery of this passage is much clearer, that we will sit under the wings (the kanfot) of YHVH. We will bathe in the shadow of the Shekinah that belongs to Him.
The Creator and Giver of life – YHVH (Yehovah) has established for us, biblical boundaries that must not be crossed. Elohim is the Head. The man is the direction or leg of movement and the woman is the wrap or the container for the body. Sha’ul in the Brit haChadasha expresses this same idea but of course, not in the same words that I am using. He says in 1 Corinthians 11:3 –
…But I want you to understand that Mashiach (the Word) is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and Elohim is the head of Mashiach (the Word).
In speaking about the establishing of biblical boundaries, it is important to understand that it is not just applicable within the context of a marriage. This rule of the Torah also applies in everyday relationships, one to another. “How so?” you may ask. The answer is quite evident when you understand that we are all brothers and sisters in the congregation of Torah faithful Israel to our Elohim. See Acts 7:38.
Within this teaching context, let us look at a story (a parable) that Yeshua taught in Matthew 24:45-51:
Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that evil slave says in his heart, “My master is not coming for a long time,” and shall begin to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect and at an hour which he does not know, and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth.
This story of Yeshua is a lesson that warns us to not move or cross boundaries that have been established by the Word of Elohim (God). Collectively, we are servants of ONE MASTER, ONE ELOHIM, and ONE KING. We are all bondservants of YHVH, through the headship of Mashiach or Messiah.
Individually and collectively, we do not own ourselves; we are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23). We are all members of one-household (Ephesians 2:19).
However, within the body, certain functions and roles have been set for each of us to carry out. But what happens if one member of the body becomes arrogant or proud or abusive towards other members in the body? What then? Clearly, this is a case of property damage and moving boundaries.
Elohim sets the “Givul” or boundary and says to each of us, “here is your function or role within the body. Be faithful to do what you have been asked to do, and never damage my property!” But some members have no shalom in their own soul and they become “Torah terrorists,” going on a rampage to destroy YHVH’s property. Others, while seeking a name for themselves, strive to advance themselves in a new role, a new calling, a new function in the body. As a result, some will strive to gain the calling of another motivated by envy and jealousy, which leads to the manipulation and control of others, to gain greater recognition or greater ministry.
Within the Body of Mashiach we have a number of rogue cells, members that simply have no shalom and they will seek to steal yours. They don’t have a name or a big influence and so they will look for a new position in the body; they will want something a little more colorful and exciting, perhaps! This is moving the boundary of your neighbor by saying, “what’s yours is mine!” This is a wicked servant.
Over and over again, through the conduits of email, websites, and social media such as Twitter and Facebook, one member of the body of Mashiach is blasting away at another member of the body of Mashiach. And then everyone is screaming, “LaShon Hara!”– The evil tongue.
O No! My friends! I tell you the truth that this kind of thing goes well beyond LaShon Hara. It is crossing and moving a boundary that YHVH has put in place; a boundary that tells us in no uncertain terms, “the bondservant that you are blasting away at belongs to Me! Who gave you the right to bloody beat up and damage my property? These are my servants? And thus, I will assign you a place with the hypocrites.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, take note of these three things:
1) YHVH owns us, collectively and individually.
2) We are servants, one to another. Control freaks are rogue servants and have no place in the body of Mashiach.
3) We have no rights to destroy property that does not belong to us.
You see, with property that belongs to you, you can do as you wish. You can honor it or destroy it, if you really want to. It is yours to do as you wish. But, you have no rights to damage the property that belongs to your neighbor or to your King. This will get you into a heap of trouble and I honestly do not think that you will have to wait for the world to come, to get your punishment. YHVH is a faithful and true judge, measure for measure. DO NOT move divine boundaries. They are there for a reason. Our roles and our responsibilities are to serve the ONE TRUE ELOHIM OF ALL ISRAEL and to never mistreat property that belongs to the King!
If and when you receive an email, treat your response to him or her as a servant to your King’s property. FIRST THINK: how should I answer this? I am speaking with property that belongs to the King.
If and when someone should come to you asking for some kind of help, even if you cannot give the help that the person is requesting, you must not treat the King’s property with disdain and disrespect. FIRST THINK: would the King be pleased with the way I treated His property?
To a wife I say, your husband is the property of YHVH and therefore do not move Yah’s boundary and seek to take over his responsibility of being the manager, the director and forward movement of the marriage.
To a husband I say, your wife is the property of YHVH and therefore do not move Yah’s boundary and treat your wife with an attitude that you are some kind of autocrat, despot, dictator, tyrant or anything of the sort.
If you will learn to serve and take excellent care of the property that belongs to your King in the Body of Mashiach then you will do well and shalom will follow you. If you beat up your fellow servants through words, actions, emails, websites, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter, or even in more bold and brash ways, privately or publicly, expect to receive a “payment due” notice from the Master, who will say to you…
“You have damaged my property! Restitution for damages is now due.”
Avinoam ben Mordechai
Poriya (Tiberius) Israel