How does Yehovah expect Israel to care for widows and orphans? As hard as I may look I just do not find any place in Torah commanding Israel’s seed (perversely know as “the children of Israel”) to build and staff, what we have come to call, orphanages. And for that matter there is no place where widows or elderly are to go either.
Kin Care for Their Widows And Orphans
Since the beginning of time the extended family (multi-generational family including uncles and aunts and cousins) has been the foundation of society, righteous or otherwise. It was always family who took care of family! Children, sons especially, were valued in the family as a ready work force, a defense against those who would do the family harm and those to whom the land would be passed on to.
Most of us however, have been raised in a modern nuclear family consisting of a man, a woman and two children; “us four and no more.” The idea of an orphanage comes from this mindset. But is this what the Creator of all things intended for widows & orphans? Is this the light that Yehovah wishes to have sent out into this very dark world in which we now find ourselves as our eyes begin to open?
Yehovah’s word gives clear admonition to Israel’s seed (perversely known as “the children of Israel”) to support the Levite, along with the stranger (the Ger), the widows and orphans who are within their gates.
He administers justice for the widow and orphans, and loves the Ger, giving him food and clothing. (Deu 10:18)
But how does He administer His justice? I would have to say that it comes in part from all Israel’s seed, but the vast majority of Israel’s seed are farmers. Yehovah’s tithe comes from what He has given to us; the increase of the flock and the herd and the increase of the ground; and that tithe goes to Yehovah.
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is Yehovah’s. It is holy to Yehovah. If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to Yehovah. (Lev 27:30-32)
So are we to give widows and orphans a sack of grain or a goat? I think this is the picture most folks have in their mind. But the bigger question concerning widows and orphans should be “whose widows and orphans are they?” Is a widow or orphan in the family of Israel supposed to be homeless and lack the nurturing and training in righteousness that comes so much easier for those who have a father or a husband? Did David (king of Israel) sent support to the widows and orphans in Babylon? Who actually cares for these precious souls in Israel?
This, giving of money, is part of caring for widows and orphans. But there is so much more for us to understand. Yeshua rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees for this very thing.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, [even wheat, barley and the flock] and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. (Mat 23:23-25)
Sir Walter Scott in 1815 was the first to pen the words “blood is thicker than water;” by this he was not talking about the viscosity of blood versus water. This phrase is a Torah principle. In Torah family takes care of family, not strangers! Not the State Department of Welfare, not some orphanage. These travesties, these creations of men were NEVER a part of Yehovah’s perfect plan.
We are going to see on part 2 of this series who precisely nurtures and trains orphans; and in part 3 we will see who cares for widows and I will give you some examples from the scriptures. Finally, in part 4 – Divorcées and Fatherless, we will see the result of not turning wholly to Yehovah’s eternal and unchanging ways.
There is a reason the world has such great respect for Israel, and that respect has nothing to do with the doctrines and traditions of men.
“Surely I [Moses] have taught you statutes and judgments, just as Yehovah my Elohim commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ “For what great nation is there that has Elohim so near to it, as Yehovah our Elohim is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? (Deu 4:5-8)
Go to Widows & Orphans Part 2