There Is Strength in Unity

Yael Eckstein  |  November 15, 2022

group of people standing in unity

Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you. — Leviticus 26:8

Peace, shalom, is a paramount value for both Christians and Jews. Explore this elusive attribute through my devotions and what we can learn about adding it to our lives, our relationships, and our world.

The story is told about an old farmer who had five sons who could hardly get along. When the aged farmer felt that his time was near, he called his sons to his deathbed where he advised them to live in unity, but clearly his words fell on deaf ears.

So the farmer asked a servant to bring in a bundle of sticks. He asked each one of his sons to try and break the bundle but not one of them succeeded. Then he ordered the servant to untie the bundle and set the sticks free. Now the sons could easily break all of the sticks that had been in the bundle.

The father urged his sons to live like the bundle of sticks — together they would be strong and unbreakable; but if they separated from each other, they would all be vulnerable to harm.

There Is Strength in Unity

Leviticus 26 begins with a series of blessings that would come upon Israel if they followed God’s commands. There would be plenty of rain, an abundance of crops, and peace, shalom. When it came to the promises about safety and security, Scripture described it this way: “Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand…” 

This is the promise that few would defeat many, and this promise has come true for Israel in biblical times and modern times, as well.

However, as the Jewish sages point out, the math in this verse doesn’t add up. If five can chase one hundred, then that is a ratio of one-to-twenty. If that is the kind of strength that God is promising, then one hundred Israelites should be able to defeat two thousand enemies. Yet the verse promises that one hundred men will chase ten thousand enemies. That’s a ratio of one-to-one hundred!

The sages clarified this apparent inconsistency by explaining that we cannot compare the unity of five people with the unity of one hundred. As the old farmer tried to teach his sons, there is strength in unity. And the greater the unity, the greater the strength. 

Shalom means that we are shalem — whole, united, complete. When we have shalom with each other — when we work together and stick together — we are strong and blessed.

Your Turn:

Christians and Jews working together is the very foundation of The Fellowship. Together we are able to have a major impact on God’s land and His people. Join us today so we can bring great blessings to Israel, and in return, God will bless us!