Thursday, December 23, 2010

An Unsung Hero

Which was [the son] of Jesse, which was [the son] of Obed, which was [the son] of Booz , which was [the son] of Salmon, which was [the son] of Naasson , Luke 3:32

And he that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah: Numbers 7:12

I did a study once on the names listed in Christ’s genealogy and was frustrated that I only find a few of the names in the Old Testament. I finally bought a clue and remembered that I needed to translate the Greek names of the New Testament into the Hebrew version. That’s when I discovered Nahshon. He’s a gem and I think we all need to know his story.

“We know from the Bible that Nahshon was a significant figure. He was the hereditary chief of the tribe of Judah and, as such, an ancestor of King David. He was also the brother-in-law of Aaron, the High Priest. He was, above all, a highly placed, highly privileged individual. Yet, he plays a cameo role in the Torah's account of the Exodus from Egypt and the wandering in the desert.

In the Midrashim, the collections of the interpretive legends based on the biblical accounts, our sages of old show us a very special human being. It was Nahshon, they teach us, who led the Israelites into the Red Sea just as Pharaoh's horsemen and chariots were about to catch them as they were fleeing Egyptian slavery. According to the legend, the sea did not split until the Israelites, inspired by Nahshon's bravery and faith, followed him into the breakers.”

[Donna: An addition here for the rest of the story-as Paul Harvey would have said.

According to other accounts, when Moses went to the Red Sea to divide it, nothing happened. Nahshon, who was standing close by, noticed and asked Moses what was wrong. Moses replied, “The Lord told me (see D&C 8:3) that if I would put my staff into the water, that a way of escape would open up. But it isn’t working.”

Nahshon answered, “If that’s what the Lord told you, then that’s good enough for me.” And he walked into the water and kept walking until the water was up to his nostrils. Only then did the waters part. ]

“Because he sanctified the name of God by springing first into the Red Sea;, he was given the honor of being the first to enter the Mishkan [Tabernacle in the wilderness].

One would expect such a person to be proud of his accomplishments and his honors, but, based on a careful reading of the Torah portion, the rabbis of old note that Nahshon claimed no special privilege or honor. They emphasize his modesty.

Unlike the other eleven tribal chiefs, Nahshon is identified only as a member of his tribe, not as its leader (Numbers 7:12 ). He did not, they claim, consider himself any better or any more important than any other member of his tribe. Being able to contribute was honor enough for him.

Our sages also note that the Torah emphasizes that Nahshon brought "his own offering." ( 7:12 ) He did not take the gift, as he could have, from the tribal treasury, but used his own resources. He understood that although the honor of going first was being given to him because he was the leader of his tribe, it was now his turn to make his personal contribution to the Mishkan just as all ordinary Israelites had already done.”

I’ll let you have the fun of finding types of the Savior in his wonderful ancestor.

The True Honor By Rabbi Lewis Eron


  1. Thank you Donna. Very few outside of Judaism know about this faithful man. Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem often spoke of the great faith of Nahshon.