The Logos is the Head of the Body (Parsha Pinchas)

This weeks Torah reading is Parsha Pinchas (Num. 25:10-30:1). This Parsha includes the account of Moses appointing Joshua as leader:

[12] And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel.
[13] And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered.
[14] For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes: that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.
[15] And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,
[16] Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
[17] Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.
[18] And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;
[19] And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.
[20] And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
[21] And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.
[22] And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:
[23] And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.
(Numbers 27:12-23 KJV)

Philo of Alexandria sees an allegory in this account, by which the head of the Assembly of Israel represents the Logos:

(44) And this man himself prays that the flock may not be left without a shepherd, meaning by the flock the whole multitude of the parts of the soul; but that they may meet with a good shepherd, who will lead them away from the nets of folly, and injustice, and all wickedness, and conduct them to the doctrines of learning and all other virtue; for, says Moses, “Let the Lord the God of spirits and of all flesh look down upon man and upon this Assembly.” (Num. 27:16.) And then, a little further on, he adds, “And the assembly of the Lord shall not be like sheep who have no shepherd.”
(On Husbandry 44)

(67) But every flock which has not a shepherd to govern it does of necessity meet with great disasters, inasmuch as it is not able, of its own power, to repel what is injurious to it, and to choose what will be advantageous; in respect of which Moses says in his prayer, “Let the Lord, the God of spirits and of all flesh, look out a man who shall be over this assembly, who shall go out before their faces, and who shall come in, and who shall bring them out, and who shall bring them in, and so the synagogue of the Lord shall not be like unto sheep which have no Shepherd.” (Num. 27:17.) (68) For when the president, or superintendent, or father, or whatever we like to call him, of our composite body, right reason (Logos), is departed, having left the flock that is in us, it being neglected and suffered to go its own way, perishes and the loss to its master is great. But the irrational and wandering flock, being deprived of its shepherd, who ought to admonish and instruct it, strays away to a great distance from rational and immortal life.
(On the Posterity of Cain and his Exile 67-68)

Philo sees the Assembly of Israel as an allegorical “body” and its leader as the “head” of that body, and likened to the Logos which should be head over the emotions.

If you would like to see more of these weekly Stoic Torah studies, please support this work of restoration of Hebraic Stoicism by donating by Paypal to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *