Yosef fell on his father’s face, wept over him and kissed him. 2 Then Yosef ordered the physicians in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Isra’el. 3 Forty days were spent at this, the normal amount of time for embalming. Then the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.
4 When the period of mourning was over, Yosef addressed to the household of Pharaoh: “I would like to ask a favor. Tell Pharaoh, 5 ‘My father had me swear an oath. He said, “I am going to die. You are to bury me in my grave, which I dug for myself in the land of Kena‘an.” Therefore, I beg you, let me go up and bury my father; I will return.’” 6 Pharaoh responded, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.”
7 So Yosef went up to bury his father. With him went all Pharaoh’s servants, the leaders of his household and the leaders of the land of Egypt, 8 along with the entire household of Yosef, his brothers and his father’s household; only their little ones, their flocks and their cattle did they leave in the land of Goshen. 9 Moreover, there went up with him both chariots and horsemen — it was a very large caravan.
10 When they arrived at the threshing-floor in Atad, beyond the Yarden, they raised a loud and bitter lamentation, mourning for his father seven days. 11 When the local inhabitants, the Kena‘ani, saw the mourning on the floor of Atad they said, “How bitterly the Egyptians are mourning!” This is why the place was given the name Avel-Mitzrayim [mourning of Egypt], there beyond the Yarden.
12 His sons did to him as he had ordered them to do — 13 they carried him into the land of Kena‘an and buried him in the cave in the field of Makhpelah, which Avraham had bought, along with the field, as a burial-place belonging to him, from ‘Efron the Hitti, by Mamre.
14 Then, after burying his father, Yosef returned to Egypt, he, his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
15 Realizing that their father was dead, Yosef’s brothers said, “Yosef may hate us now and pay us back in full for all the suffering we caused him.” 16 So they sent a message to Yosef which said, “Your father gave this order before he died: 17 ‘Say to Yosef, “I beg you now, please forgive your brothers’ crime and wickedness in doing you harm.”’ So now, we beg of you, forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Yosef wept when they spoke to him; 18 and his brothers too came, prostrated themselves before him and said, “Here, we are your slaves.” 19 But Yosef said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 You meant to do me harm, but God meant it for good — so that it would come about as it is today, with many people’s lives being saved.(vii)21 So don’t be afraid — I will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he comforted them, speaking kindly to them.
22 Yosef continued living in Egypt, he and his father’s household. Yosef lived 110 years. (Maftir)23 Yosef lived to see Efrayim’s great-grandchildren, and the children of M’nasheh’s son Makhir were born on Yosef’s knees.
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He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow. Psalm 147
Kindness and Compassion in the Tempest
The Plague of Hail is what precipitated this whole series on the Ten Plagues. I am so thankful to have spent the time learning the faith lessons embedded within the pages addressing the plagues of Egypt. On the last two plague animal disease and boils there was not allot of commentary. Why does the Bible deem it necessary to narrate the devastation? If the Plagues were merely to save the Hebrews one plague could have achieved that outcome. Some believe that the plagues were punitive. In the Plague of Hail we actually see the kindness of God shining forth through the raging tempest. Their purpose was to be an unequivocal demonstration of God’s power. For this reason, the plagues became progressively stronger. These faith lessons were teaching Egypt the fallacy of idolatry and the reality of the Creator was the purpose in each successive wave of plague.
Moses never used the pressure of the plagues to obtain concessions from Pharaoh. The plagues’ purpose was to teach Egypt knowledge of God. Moses always removed the plague upon Pharaoh’s request, and Moses did not hold out on removing the plague until Pharaoh conceded to Moses’ requests. Moses wished that Egypt recognized God through wisdom, not coercion. What a faith lessons for us! How often do we attempt to extract an end goal through pressuring someone through the storms in their life? God, Moses and Aaron do not use the tactics that will become manifest in the beast system, Anti-Christ, and False Prophet instead kindness and compassion are exemplified especially in this Plague of Hail.
Pharaoh vacillated in an emotional state as the plagues unfolded-stressful pressure from each plague, to repent of his sin, to be a man of his word, but each time Pharaoh conceded to obstinacy.
Moses directs Pharaoh to an analog: God is the source of both nature, and man: God has been compassionate to you, (flexible crops) but at a certain point, this kindness will no longer be extended. When sin is matured, (stiff crops) there is no turning back, and you will snap as do stiff crops.”
This was Moses’ message to Pharaoh. Man sins by nature, and therefore, God affords man opportunities to correct his ways. But once sin captivates the whole personality and values of any given man or people, God will destroy that person or people. This plague was a warning to Pharaoh – in the form of an analogy.
Man feels he may sin and repent later, but there may not be a later. The opportunity to repent is a Divine gift, and must be seized when presented, lest we lose the chance. There is a point of no return. This is an extremely timely message as we wade deeper into the events of the Revelation and prophecy.
We learn of the compassion of God on His creations: on mankind. God allows man time to exert his free will to bring himself in line with truth. “Those who He loves, God rebukes”. The plagues were an attempt to remove Egypt’s false ideas, enabling them to embrace God’s absolute truths.
As the lashes of judgment are felt upon our backs let us remember that this is God’s kindness and compassion towards us. We are firmly in the hand of God’s iron crucible that will burn away the dross of our lives as He prepares us for eternity with Him.
Verse 16 clearly states that, I have let you Pharaoh endure so that you might see My strength and glory. As we are beset with the troubles of prophecy coming to pass let us see His strength and glory in those dark hours.
Stretch our your Hand Heavenward
Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. Exodus 9:23
Our Plague of Hail takes place ‘Eth’ was Memphis in the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. ‘Eth’ has Messianic implications that one can find in the original Hebrew including the first sentence of the Bible. It means the Beginning and the End, Aleph and Tav, Alpha and Omega.
Stretch your hand towards heaven (firmament not heaven literally)…
He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones And their herds to bolts of lightning. Psalm 78:48
The Egyptians ignored the warning for the cattle be brought in from the field to a place of shelter. Once warned the decree was extended; hail would come down also upon man and beast in the field. The Hebrew text indicates that more than one kind of hail would be active against them.
In many of the plagues God had Aaron stretch forth his hand, but in this Plague of Hail God instructed Moses to stretch forth his hand.
Extend your hand to heaven, unleash My power… Here is yet another faith lesson for us! At the bidding of the Lord we must extend our hand, as He directs and extends His hand. Through that connection the very powers of creation can be released. We need to remember this in the days to come.
God commanded Moshe to arise early to confront Pharaoh at his place of worship, the Nile. The plague of hail was the first plague, of the third group of plagues in Egypt. This third group included plagues taking effect in the heavens or air: hail, locusts (via the wind), and darkness. Previously God addressed the god’s of the waters and the gods of the lands. God wished to demonstrate His omnipotence in all areas of the universe.
The Egyptian gods of the heavens were mocked by the inability to stop the raging hail sent by the true God of the heavens. Thus, Nut-the sky goddess, Isis-the goddess of life, and Seth-the protector of the crops were affected.” It appears as though the Eternal One was going toe-to-toe with demonic powers and principalities in His plan of redemption for the Hebrew people.
By subjugating all the forces in nature God demonstrated how totally useless the forces of nature were in defense of those who believed in them.
Pharaoh’s heels were dug in and he still believe other gods controlled the earth and him at times so this time I will send all My plagues so that you will know that there is none like Me in all the earth.
Because you still exalt yourself above My people….You (Pharaoh) are growing haughty in your heart against letting the Hebrews go. Therefore, at this time- precise hour- I will cause a heavy hail such as had not been seen in Egypt.
As we meander through the verses on the Plague of Hail we should be reminded that in the Old Testament the punishment for idolatry was stoning. How can an entire idolatrous nation be stoned simultaneously? Through a Plague of Hail.
Plagues against the Heart
The bible describes this Plague of Hail sent by God as a direct result of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, which had prevented him from obeying God.
For this time I will send all my wonders to your heart, and in your servants and in your people, in order that you shall know that there is none like Me in all the land.Exodus 9:14
This plague was an educational tool. Some Egyptians did fear God through His education via the plagues. But those who did not give heart to the matter is to teach us that there are none that didn’t fear, but only those who deny reality. Didn’t give heart, means that in order to oppose God’s absolute truths, they had to shut their hearts and mindsfrom any investigation. It is not the absence of fear, but a more primary block: they denied any investigation into the plagues.
God warned Pharaoh that He was about to send all My plagues against your heart.
This Plague of Hail is a wonder, is a supernatural event, all subsequent plagues – commencing with this hail – will have new effect. That those who fear God and His Word will be protected while those who do not fear God and His Word will be harmed.
The Lord sent thunder and hail …Moshe having informed Pharaoh that tomorrow at this time I will cause…to rain down, was specified by a line on the wall. Naturally, the Egyptians would carefully attend to the exact instant of the arrival of the plague so that they could discredit him.
The Laws of Nature dictate that it takes a few moments for hail to leave the clouds and to reach the ground, even as, it also takes time for thunder to be heard below and for lightning to be seen the instant it leaves its origin.
Thunder is produced first at intersection before electrical discharge. Lightning is always registered by the visual sense before the aural sense is triggered. Lag times would be exploited by the Egyptians because neither thunder, nor hail, will reach the ground at a set time.
Here a great miracle took place! Within the same instant of thunder and hail leaving the clouds, Legend says, that they arrived below with lightning-like speed, so that instead of the natural pattern, whereby the lightning is detected before the thunder-here the thunder, since it was produced first and observed prior to the lightning.
The usual lag time between the speed of light and the speed of sound was suspended. Consequently, the verse says, the Lord sent the hail. It does not say that the Lordcaused the hail to rain down i.e. to rain down naturally, since it did not travel as natural rain. By affecting this miracle God provided for the arrival, first of all, of the thunder and hail; and only then did then a fire passed down upon the earth i.e. the fire of lightning.
It was however, necessary to invoke this great wonder only during the initial moments, in order to assure Moshe’s prediction. It would not have been possible for the thunder and the hail to move at their natural velocities and yet arrive in time. Subsequent to these initial moments, then, the verse accents the thundering and the hail reaching the ground naturally. Once the miraculous intervention had come to an end the Lord caused hail to rain down upon the land of Egypt. It came down naturally, with a time delay that accorded with the laws of gravity and the laws of motion.
Components of Hail
Within this plague are embedded many components: huge hailstones, fire burning within each stone v 24, deafening thunder, flaming lightning v 23, Psalm105:23, and heavy rainstorms. Any one of these would be considered a plague.
In the Bible all is sometimes used to mean most or a great amount. It can also refer too many of the components of this plague that are mentioned above. In a normal year, each, in-and-of-itself would be considered a plague.
God begins to drill down that He alone is Master of the four foundational elements:
Thunder represents air,
Hail represents water,
Flames are the fire,
Ground is the earth.
God reverses the order to show His mastery over the world. This plague unites all the elements to demonstrate that there is no one like Me in the land. The Egyptians were forced to witness that the forces of nature that they believed were their defense, were useless to all those who believed in them.
This is a compound miracle. It is not the typical nature of fire to shoot downward but to rise. Fire and water are opposites but here they join to serve God, functioning in unison.
Hastily Assemble the Remnant
Send therefore hastily (haez) means to flee or gather V 19
The Plague of Livestock disease only killed the cattle in the field.Exodus 9:3 Those in shelters did not perish, but in accordance with God’s Will, He allowed a remnant to escape here and also referenced in Ezekiel 9:8. God warns them to gather the livestock into a fortified location (haez-strong) against the elements. Pharaoh was warned that while this plague was meant to strike outdoor plants and vegetation (grass of the field), any man or cattle in the field at the time would be stricken by hail. God’s mercy is great, Therefore, He instruct sinners in the way Psalm 25:8 We often attribute to the strong men advising humanity of their coming actions when they are but mere clay in the hand of the Master to Whom we really should be ascribe these warning to God’s great mercy of instructional warning.
We see that from the beginning God promises with subtle hints of a remnant. At least in this account, that remnant is hastily assembled.
Perfect Supernatural Storm
“Behold, about this time tomorrow, I will send a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. “Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die.”‘” The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses… Exodus 9:18-33
The Legends of the Jews describe the supernatural super-storm:
Your fathers and grandfathers have never seen the likes of it. Because the hail was not in a natural order, nothing like this has ever occurred before. From before the inception of Egypt as a nation, because of the sins of the fathers, surely there was no reason for such hail to come.
The hail was very strange because of the absence of precipitation in Egypt. There are other places in the world that naturally hails. The world had never seen the likes of such a plague and certainly not in Egypt where this kind of meteorological phenomenon was totally unknown. At the time of the Plague of Hail dew was about the only precipitation that rains upon Egypt. V18
and the fire went earthward…In Egypt, where there is hardly any precipitation, this hail signified a major change in the environment. It proved to the Egyptians just this mere signal from above, could jeopardize Egypt’s existence. Initially, the announcement predicted only hail. However, the plague also featured a flaming fire amid the hail. This unusual and dramatic lightning in the midst of the hail further emphasized the cosmic significance of the event. V23
Typically, fire and water do not mix. Commentaries vary on this flaming fiery hail. One says, the hail was transparent and filled with fire, like a pomegranate whose seeds are visible within. Thus, the fire appeared as a source and generator of the rain and hail. While another, compares the hail to a lamp with a flame burning above the layers of the water and oil. Here, the water is but a support for the oil which feeds the fire. V24
Alternatively, it can mean My plagues, as in, this last set of three plagues: hail, locusts, darkness. The word all encompassing catastrophic and long-term effects on the climate, food supply, and atmosphere of Egypt that brought about these last three plagues. These changes caused the Egyptians to become sick, some with heart disease, and weakened them for a long time after this plague indicating that it did have a cosmic element such as what we will see revisited upon the earth during the Grand Solar Minimum.
Meanwhile, a simultaneous major natural disaster more than 400 miles away, is now also thought to be an aggravating complexity, amplifying the plagues of hail, locusts and darkness to Egypt.
One of the biggest volcanic eruptions in human history occurred when Thera, a volcano that was part of the Mediterranean islands of Santorini, just north of Crete, exploded around 3,500 year ago, spewing billions of tons of volcanic ash into the atmosphere at this same time.
Not to denigrate the wonders of God but to illuminate how the Laws of Nature may have worked in tandem with God’s wonders, Nadine von Blohm, from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics in Germany, has been conducting experiments on how hailstorms form and believes that the volcanic ash could have clashed with thunderstorms above Egypt to produce dramatic hail storms.
God Smites with New Species
When one is in the middle of instructional judgment it is difficult to contemplate upon the goodness of God. God loves His creation. God pitied the Egyptians and their cattle and yet they did not take His mercy to heart. V 25
And hail struck…the hail smote. From the ancient pages of the text and legends we discover that during the first few moments there had ensured a new species of hail that was propagated at the speed of lightning, followed by normally moving hail that took a definite time interval to reach the ground.
Had there been only this normal type of hail, many human lives would have been saved, since the people would have taken cover in caves or behind boulders or in tents as soon as they saw the tell-tale lightning bolts that usually precede the onset of thunder and rain and hail. But the initial onslaught was anything but normal hail.
Only in our day and time can we appreciate the words a new species of hail. We live in a day and age where engineers are tearing apart God’s creation and engineering it into a new species. The following is an excerpt from a government document that has since been purged from the internet. First let us peek at a few of the Bibliography notations which are very informative:
Fred Hoyle, N.C. Wickramasinghe: Diseases from Space. J.M. Dent, 1979.
Chandra Wickramasinghe: Cosmic dragons: life and death on our planet. 2001
Ruprecht Jaenicke: “Abundance of cellular material and proteins in the atmosphere“.
WD Hamilton and TM Lenton: “Spora and Gaia: how microbes fly with their clouds“. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 1998
Ruprecht Jaenicke, Sabine Matthias-Maser and Sabrine Bruber: “Omnipresence of biological material in the atmosphere”. Environ. Chem, 2007
Most Active Ice Nucleators are Biological!
The most active ice nucleators are biological in origin, declare Christner, et al. in their paper recently published in Science(February 29, 2008). “This is important because the formation of ice in clouds is required for snow and most rainfall. Dust and soot particles can serve as ice nuclei, but biological ice nuclei are capable of catalyzing freezing at much warmer temperatures”, the researchers explain. In other words, a mechanism exists whereby snowflakes and other precipitation can form when cloud temperatures in the troposphere are relatively warm. What do Christner, et al., mean by “biological”?
By “biological” Christner, et al., mean “proteins or protenaceous compounds“. (11-13)
Three schools of thought exist on the origin of biological ice-nucleators in the troposphere. The first school, exemplified by researcher David Sands, theorizes that biological ice nucleators originate on Earth as part of what he calls the “bio-precipitation cycle”, i.e., biological ice nucleators are carried up from the Earth. “Bacteria form little groups on the surface of plants. Wind then sweeps the bacteria into the atmosphere, and ice crystals form around them. Water clumps on to the crystals, making them bigger and bigger. The ice crystals turn into rain and fall to the ground. When precipitation occurs, then, the bacteria have the opportunity to make it back down to the ground. If even one bacterium lands on a plant, it can multiply and form groups, thus causing the cycle to repeat to itself.” Sands adds, “We think if (the bacteria) couldn’t cause ice to form, they couldn’t get back down to the ground. As long as it rains, the bacteria grow”.
Schnell and Vali also belong to the first school of thought. In the early and mid-1970s, they noted, “Much of the natural ice nuclei found at the earth’s surface may be of biogenic origin, and the abundance of these nuclei was found to have a clear correlation with climate. Some tentative values were also given for the efflux of nuclei from the surface to the air. Data were presented which point to regional variations in the concentrations of atmospheric ice nuclei with the pattern of variation paralleling the availability of nuclei at the surface. The correlation between these two patterns suggests that perhaps a dominant fraction of natural atmospheric ice nuclei originates from biological materials”.
The second school of thought exemplified by Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe is that biological ice-nucleator bacteria and other biologic entities in the troposphere and stratosphere come from space. Wickramasinghe notes, “Interstellar dust grains populate the vast open spaces between stars of the Milky Way, showing up as a cosmic fog, dense enough in many directions to blot out the light of distant stars. Remarkably these dust grains can be shown to be of a size that would be typical for a bacterium, a micrometer, or less”. In addition, he notes, cometary organic molecules arrive [to Earth] plentifully, at an average rate of several tones per day and that investigators have confirmed the existence of microorganisms in the stratosphere. The bacteria, viruses and other organisms reach the troposphere from the stratosphere through a process of sedimentation, he conjectures.
The third school of thought relating to the microbiology of the atmosphere suggests the existence of at least two contemporaneous populations of organisms. One population consists of common Earth bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are carried on a relatively regular basis by phenomena such as blue lightning and fire-associated storms into the atmosphere. The second population consists of bacteria that are of non-terrestrial origin (from space).
Some Implications of Biometeorology
The role of microorganisms in meteorological phenomena and in atmospheric processes has implications for human and veterinary medicine, agriculture, and the effect of the biosphere on climate change. For example, in human, animal, and plant medicine, bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the bioprecipitation cycle may be pathogens that use the cycle to disperse from one place to another. Interestingly, Sir James Murray, MD, published on November 24, 1847, his observations on the potato murrain (fungus) that caused the potato crop failure in Ireland in 1847. He attributed the potato crop failure to electrical agency and excess moisture in the air and clouds. “During the last season,” he wrote, “the clouds were charged with excessive electricity, and yet there was little or no thunder to draw off that excess form the atmosphere. In the damp and variable autumn this surcharge of electrical matter was attracted by the moist, succulent, and pointed leaves of the potato”.
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe are ardent proponents of the theory that diseases that infect humans, animals, and plants originate in space, including the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003. Some of their ideas follow below:
“The injection from space of evolved microorganisms that have well-attested terrestrial affinities raises the possibility that pathogenic bacteria and viruses might also be introduced. The annals of medical history detail many examples of plagues and pestilences that can be attributed to space incident microbes in this way. New epidemic diseases have a record of abrupt entrances from time to time, and equally abrupt retreats. The patterns of spread of these disease, as charted by historians, are often difficult to explain simply on the basis of endemic infective agents. Historical epidemics such as the plague of Athens and the plague of Justinian come to mind.”
“In more recent times the influenza pandemic of 1917-1918 bears all the hallmarks of a space incident component: ‘The influenza pandemic of 1918 occurred in three waves. The first appeared in the winter and spring of 1917-1918. The lethal second wave involved almost the entire world over a very short time. Its epidemiologic behavior was most unusual. Although person-to-person spread occurred in local areas, the disease appeared on the same day in widely separated parts of the world on the one hand, but, on the other, took days to weeks to spread relatively short distances.”
“Also well documented is that, in the winter of 1918, the disease appeared suddenly in the frozen wastes of Alaska, in villages that had been isolated for several months. Mathematical modeling of epidemics such as the one described invariably involves the ad hoc introduction of many unproven hypotheses—for example, that of the superspreader. In situations where proven infectivity is limited only to close contact, a superspreader is someone who can, on occasion, simultaneously infect a large number of susceptible individuals, thus causing the sporadic emergence of new clusters of disease. The recognition of a possible vertical input of external origin in conspicuously missing in such explanations.” (18-22)
“With respect to the SARS outbreak, a prima facie case for a possible space incidence can already be made. First, the virus is unexpectedly novel, and appeared without warning in mainland China. A small amount of the culprit virus introduced into the stratosphere could make a first tentative fall out East of the great mountain range of the Himalayas, where the stratosphere is thinnest, followed by sporadic deposits in neighboring areas. If the virus is only minimally infective, as it seems to be, the subsequent course of its global progress will depend on stratospheric transport and mixing, leading to a fall out continuing seasonally over a few years. Although all reasonable attempts to contain the infective spread of SARS should be continued, we should remain vigilant for the appearance of new foci (unconnected with infective contacts or with China) almost anywhere on the planet. New cases might continue to appear until the stratospheric supply of the causative agent becomes exhausted.”
There was hail…Although the rain and hail now continued to come down at a normal velocity, requiring a definite span of time to reach the ground, while the associated fire-possibly ionized particles or ball lightning, moved at greater speed, and should therefore have reached the ground ahead of the hail, the narrative stresses to the contrary. That there was fire flashing amidst the hail and this phenomenal blend of hail and fire came down at the speed of hail, both arriving simultaneously.
Lightning…Just imagine the worse lightning storm that you have witnessed-fire flashing, striking the ground, streaming to the ground, See Psalms 78:48, 105:52, 148:8.
Flashing…This fiery hail includes: fire darting, fire jumping, deadly fire, self-contained fire (fire that grasped itself. The fire was self-contained within the hailstorm otherwise it would have caused the hail to melt), fire holding itself or in essence cleaving to hail, lightning flashes in quick succession, incessant fire, mass of fire, forked lightning, some say this hail included a meteor shower. The imagery is very similar to the vision of the Divine Chariot that is flashing fire and brilliance surrounding it in Ezekiel 1:4. In the Plague of Hail the fire within the hailstones and sparks radiated from it and shone.
Supernatural, God’s thunder. At the command the supernatural thunder of God ceased but reappeared at Mount Sinai at the giving of the Torah. V9:28
The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. Revelation 8:7
Mingled, very grievous hail such as the likes had never been seen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. Mingled, in this context means catching hold of itself like a chain, which I find extremely provocative as the hybrid Blockchain comes online in an arid environment similar to Egypt. Coincidence? V24
When a subject noun is repeated in Scripture such as: ‘hail, hail’ it does not mean the same thing. Oftentimes, it refers to two distinct and different things, in this case hail.
In my research on Geo-Engineering a Biblical Approach I discovered that Legend has it that the hailstones were 100 pounds in size traveling at lightning-speed carries enormous power, impacting like bullets propelled out of the barrel of a gun, which are lethal no matter how small they happen to be. These pellets of hail therefore killed instantaneously, any man or beast they happened to strike. Hail falling at a normal speed is not dangerous enough to cause a great loss of human life.
What does it mean that the fire was flaming within the hail? Specifically, was it flaming within each hailstone, or was it flaming within the hailstorm as a whole (so between the pieces of hail)?
One commentator notes it was “a miracle within a miracle: the fire and the hail mixed
Malbim understands that it was flaming (fireballs) within the storm as a whole.
Saadya Gaon who renders meant “inside of” b’soch does mean “inside of” and the only question is whether the fire was inside the individual hailstones or inside of the hailstorm. Looking at Psalm 105:the word can either mean ‘inside of’ or ‘among’.
Midrashic interpretation was that each hailstone had fire within it.
R’ Aryeh Kaplan translates instead as “hailstorm”, and one other tweak: “fire” means lightning. We thus have a phenomenon that ever-so-slightly bends the laws of nature, rather than breaks them.
Others say: sounds like it’s clinging to the hail which sounds like it’s within (or at least touching) hailstones rather than just within the hailstorm.
Accordingly, the verse records that the hail struck throughout the land of Egypt…both man and beast, referring to the hail that struck immediately. It was followed by the natural hail which smote every grass and broke every tree in the field, the verse conveying that while that hail was sufficiently forceful to affect the vegetation, it could not kill living creatures.
Ipuwer Papyrus Account
The Ipuwer Papyrus is an ancient document that provides a possible independent record of the ten plagues in Egypt. It describes a great disaster that took place in ancient Egypt. The oldest copy dates to around 1400 BC, placing it close to the time of the Exodus (circa 1446 BC). The Ipuwer Papyrus is the sole surviving manuscript of an ancient Egyptian poem officially designated as Papyrus Leiden I-344. The poem is known as “The Admonitions of Ipuwer.” A new edition is available now entitled “The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All.” Dutchman Giovanni Anastasi purchased the Ipuwer Papyrus in 1828, and it is now housed in Leiden, the Netherlands, at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities, the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden.
The seventh plague (hail and fire). This hail was unlike any that had been seen before. It was accompanied by a fire which ran along the ground, and everything left out in the open was devastated by the hail and fire. Again, the children of Israel were miraculously protected, and no hail damaged anything in their lands.
The Ipuwer Papyrus says, “Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire” (2:10). “Lower Egypt weeps. . . . The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish” (10:3–6).
“Forsooth, grain has perished on every side” (6:3). “Forsooth, that has perished which was yesterday seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax” (5:12).
Plague of Hail Continues
Tomorrow we will finish the account of the Plague of Hail and compare it to prophetic climatic events on earth and the heavenlies. Until then, be blessed. (Click to Source)
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The Hebrews are free from life in Egypt. Pharaoh is among the dead on the sea shore. It is time for their journey to continue. In their minds, it is time to move on and make a bee line for the Promise Land. Not so fast though. There is a very important stop they have to make, and that is Mount Sinai. What is the purpose of this stop?
In Egypt, the Hebrews had for the most part forgotten who they were and lost their identity as Israel. Though they could have recited their lineage back to Abraham, they had forgotten what that lineage was all about. They had forgotten the responsibilities associated with their lineage. For this reason, they needed a stop to get their foundation set.
At Mount Sinai it is not that the Hebrews will be given the words of Torah, but rather these words will be reinstated into their lives. The words of Torah go all the way back to the beginning, it is not just a new thing that Father makes up on the spot and gives to them. No, these words were alive and ingrained into the world already, but the people certainly needed to be reminded of them in a powerful way. It is these words which set them apart from all peoples of the earth. And guess what? They do the same to this day!
What are these Ten Words, the Ten Commandments, all about? Are they the “end all,” as some would think? Should they be looked at more as suggestions for life? Is Father really serious about these words? A look at these words from the angle of marriage may give us more insight.
The Ten Words are like the day a bride and groom stand before one another, share their vows and sign a document of marriage. The vows and document contain a foundation for their marriage, but does it spell out every response to every situation which will arise in their years of marriage? Of course not! When situations arise, the couple has to figure out how to walk out the marriage based upon the foundation that was agreed upon on the wedding day. Let’s try an example:
In most traditional marriages, a bride takes on the name of her husband. She states in her vows she will honor him. If, after her honeymoon, she goes to her friends and tells them how stupid he is because he does not know how to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom or put a roll of toilet paper on the holder the right way, what has she done? She has brought dishonor to his name in the eyes of her friends. What about if he decides to contact some of his old girlfriends? Could he say he thought “faithfulness” was just a suggestion?
The Ten Words provide a foundation for the covenant we enter into. The balance of Torah, the words of the prophets, apostles and even Yeshua Himself build upon this foundation.
Here is an interesting exercise you may want to try one day. There are 613 commandments in the Torah and over 1050 in the Renewed Covenant. Lists of these can be found on a web search. Print those lists and begin to read through them. You will find that every commandment can be linked to one of the 10. One example is the kosher diet.
Many will say they do not see a commandment in the Ten Words concerning what we eat. If you were asked the question of where kosher eating is in the Ten Words, what would you say? Give up? The answer is number 2, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” When a person says, “I don’t care what HaShem says, I will eat whatever I want,” food has become a god before Him. How about, “I can worship on whatever day I please?” Go back and read Ex 20:8-11. The word is Shabbat which can only be translated into one day of the week, the seventh. Is that just a suggestion or did He mean it?
I could go on and on with this, but to put it in the way of an old board game, “Now it is your turn to move your Monopoly piece.” Remember, you don’t pass “go” to get to the Promise Land and you don’t get to “collect” milk and honey until you once and for all settle the fact in your own heart that the word “commandment” does not mean “suggestion.” (Click to Source)
It is too easy for us to scan through Torah portions that have become familiar to us. I challenge you to slow down and consider the people who are living these recorded days then bring the words forward to our day and our lives. Take for instance the four “I Wills” of Exodus 6:6-8. These are words we speak of every Passover, but have we really considered them?
Here are the four promises. “I will free you, I will take you as my people, I will bring you into the Land and I will give you your inheritance”. For the Hebrews, they did not listen to those words because they were discouraged due to slavery. Are we not listening to them because we are prosperous? Ouch!
Let’s look at the promises one by one for ourselves. I am going to ask some questions regarding the promises. Pray about what they mean to you and how you might answer them.
“I will free you.” – Free us from what? We are free, aren’t we? Are we?
“I will take you as my people.” – We are already His people, right? Can we truly be His people while living in exile?
“I will bring you into the Land”- How do we define “the Land”? Interesting that for some this is actually a question.
“I will give you your inheritance.” – Do we know what our inheritance is? Hint. Look at Deuteronomy 33:4 for one. Look at “I will” number three for the other.
How is our longing to walk in the “I Wills” or are these words only spoken at Passover with no meaning. Is it similar to saying “Next Year in Jerusalem”?
The balance of this Torah portion will be devoted to the dialogue of Moshe and Aaron with Pharaoh as well as the plagues. What are these plagues about? Are they really judgments on the Egyptians for making the Hebrews into slaves? At one level the answer is yes, but let’s look at it from a different angle. Are the plagues more about the Hebrews seeing what life in Egypt really was? Is the fall of Egypt as the world power more about ripping their love of Egypt away so they could realize Egypt as exile and not home? How does that speak to us? Just how many plagues would it take for you to pack your bags and not “Move to Beverly” or “Head west young man”, but to leave everything behind and head east to home?
One more thing, in Exodus 9:16 Moshe is told to tell Pharaoh that the only reason he has been kept alive is to show forth the power of the Almighty and make His name resound through the earth. As Moshe was heading to the palace to deliver the message, did he stop and think that these words were not only for the Pharaoh, but were for him? Moshe’s parents could have followed the orders of the Pharaoh and put him to death. He could have been eaten by a croc in the Nile River. He could have been put into slavery instead of raised in the palace. He could have been put to death after he killed an Egyptian. He could have died of thirst, starvation or a rattlesnake bite in the desert. Moshe was alive. His life had been spared and protected. Why? For the same reason as Pharaoh, to show forth the power of Yah and make His name resound on the earth.
Any idea where I am going next? Think about it. What about you and me? Through the years I have had the honor of sitting down and getting to know many of you. You have told me about some of your past and I have shared with you some of mine. A theme has arisen many times in conversations when we look back and see how many times our lives were protected and spared by the Almighty. I wonder how many times He spared us and we did not know it? Why were we kept alive? Why were we called to the walk we are on? Is it not for the same reason Pharaoh was kept alive, the same reason Moshe was kept alive? Humbling isn’t it. Guess it just proves one more time that life really is not about us, but it is truly about Him. (Click to Source)
This week, the final parashah for the Book of Genesis is studied, as the period of the Patriarchs and details about the unique family chosen by God to receive His faithful blessings, finally comes to a dramatic close. Here in Genesis’ last three chapters, the similar dying requests of both Jacob/Israel and Joseph, to be buried in the Promised Land, may be said to simply “bookend” the specific blessings that Jacob bestowed upon his immediate progeny. Apparently, belief in the promises of God for the descendants of Abraham and Isaac, for them to multiply and reside in Canaan, was genuine for Jacob and Joseph—or the preferences to be buried among their relatives would not have been a priority. Additionally, the desire to pass on to future generations, some of the blessings received, was of paramount importance to Jacob/Israel. So as we study V’yechi, it is important to consider how we can individually follow the practices and examples of our forebearers in faith—by not only believing in God’s promises, but also in passing God’s blessings down to our own future generations.
V’yechi begins after Jacob and his entourage had relocated to Egypt, to avoid the ravages of the regional famine. His family was well received by the ruling Pharaoh, and they were living in the choice land of Goshen, tending to their herds. The name of our Torah reading comes from its opening verse, where it is recorded that Jacob lived in the land of Egypt. In V’yechi, Jacob/Israel’s time to die was drawing near. He called upon his favored son Joseph, to faithfully return him to the land of his fathers, knowing that Joseph had the authority to make this happen:
“Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years. When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, ‘Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt, but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.’ And he said, ‘I will do as you have said.’ He said, ‘Swear to me.’ So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed” (Genesis 47:28-31).
Blessing Manasseh and Ephraim
While being returned to the burial grounds of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah was important to Jacob, the desire of Joseph to have his own sons receive the blessing of their grandfather was most crucial to him. Joseph knew the power of blessings from his ancestors. After all, there is an indication that he attempted to retain some connectivity to his forebearers when he significantly named his sons Manasseh and Ephraim, despite their mother being an Egyptian:
“Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’ He named the second Ephraim, ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction’” (Genesis 41:51-52).
Consequently, upon learning that his father Jacob/Israel was sick and about to die, Joseph took his two sons to his father, to seek his blessing upon his sons. But more than receive just a blessing, Jacob/Israel literally adopted them into his family, giving them equal status with their uncles and Joseph. However, another interesting thing occurred when the nearly blind Jacob/Israel went to place his hands upon the heads of Manasseh and Ephraim. He actually crossed his arms, and placed his right hand of blessing upon the head of the younger Ephraim, and his left hand upon the elder Manasseh. This did not go unnoticed by Joseph, who pointed it out to his father. Yet, the Lord ordained these blessings, as Jacob/Israel was simply following the leading of His Holy Spirit:
“Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, ‘Behold, your father is sick.’ So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him. When it was told to Jacob, ‘Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,’ Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed. Then Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and He said to me, “Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.” Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. But your offspring that have been born after them shall be yours; they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance. Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).’ When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, ‘Who are these?’ Joseph said to his father, ‘They are my sons, whom God has given me here.’ So he said, ‘Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.’ Now the eyes of Israel were so dim from age that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them. Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.’ Then Joseph took them from his knees, and bowed with his face to the ground. Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him. But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn. He blessed Joseph, and said, ‘The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and may my name live on in them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.’ When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to his father, ‘Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head.’ But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.’ He blessed them that day, saying, ‘By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying, “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!”’ Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your fathers. I give you one portion more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow’” (Genesis 48:1-22).
There is something extremely powerful about acknowledging the blessings of any of our predecessors, which was something certainly true for Jacob/Israel and Joseph in ancient times. However, the irony that the younger would be greater than the older must have taken Jacob back to the time when he was in a similar predicament with his older twin brother Esau. He probably recalled the blessings of Isaac, and the fact that once the blessing was uttered and bestowed upon him, it could not be rescinded (Genesis 27:33). Ephraim received the more powerful blessing of his grandfather. Despite a momentary startlement with the disposition of the blessings, Joseph did not protest but simply accepted and embraced the blessings as they were uttered.
Israel Blesses His Sons
In Genesis 49, we see a selection of text that is devoted to relating all of Jacob/Israel’s blessings, to his natural born sons. The prophetic picture of this aged patriarch, proclaiming the blessings and/or prophecies over his sons, is a majestic scene for each of us to contemplate. Imagine your own father or mother, speaking insightful words such as these. Or, perhaps imagine yourself—at sometime in the distant future—declaring words like these to your own children. After decades of watching his sons mature, Israel’s ability to speak prophetically into their lives was set. Without going into the specific statements about each of the sons, note the greater amount of explicit details regarding the future of Judah and Joseph, the two sons who rose to prominence in their generation:
“Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, ‘Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come. Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob; And listen to Israel your father. Reuben, you are my firstborn; my might and the beginning of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch. Simeon and Levi are brothers; their swords are implements of violence. Let my soul not enter into their council; let not my glory be united with their assembly; because in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they lamed oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down to you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; he washes his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are dull from wine, and his teeth white from milk. Zebulun will dwell at the seashore; and he shall be a haven for ships, and his flank shall be toward Sidon. Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between the sheepfolds. When he saw that a resting place was good and that the land was pleasant, he bowed his shoulder to bear burdens, and became a slave at forced labor. Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path, that bites the horse’s heels, so that his rider falls backward. For Your salvation I wait, O LORD. As for Gad, raiders shall raid him, but he will raid at their heels. As for Asher, his food shall be rich, and he will yield royal dainties. Naphtali is a doe let loose, he gives beautiful words. Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall. The archers bitterly attacked him, and shot at him and harassed him; but his bow remained firm, and his arms were agile, from the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), from the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers. Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, and in the evening he divides the spoil.’ All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him” (Genesis 49:1-28).
Much speculation has been compiled, which has been devoted to analyzing these final words of Jacob/Israel directed toward his sons. In fact, when one couples the blessings of Israel found in Genesis 49, with the blessings of Moses to the tribes of Israel found in Deuteronomy 33, one can discern that these great servants of God were given a glimpse of the future—regarding some destiny of the descendants of Israel. Particular attention to the blessings or prophecies uttered toward Judah and Joseph, indicate that these tribes which bear their names would surely have prominence, as can certainly be seen in the Historical Books of the Tanakh.
In the case of Judah, a definite ancestor of Yeshua the Messiah, there appears a statement that the tribe Judah and/or his descendants was going to be in a position of leadership or prominence, at least somehow until His arrival (Genesis 49:10). Yeshua, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, after all, is the quintessential Jew (Revelation 5:5). For Believers in Him, that there is Messianic expectation interwoven into Jacob/Israel’s blessings in Genesis 49, means that we have to exhibit much confidence that all of his pronouncements have been coming to pass over the centuries.
After the death of Jacob/Israel, the sons of Israel had a genuine fear that Joseph might then take revenge on them, for their heinous acts toward Joseph years earlier. It is here, where we witness a definite contrast between the faith of Joseph and his brothers. Despite seventeen years of living in Goshen, the brothers were still concerned that Joseph might be harboring a grudge toward them. But, Joseph was not only sincere in his actions toward his family, but most critically, he truly understood the circumstances of his extraordinary life from God’s perspective:
“Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees. Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, ‘God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.’ So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt” (Genesis 50:18-26).
Joseph was not only used by the Almighty to save his family during the regional famine, but he was also able to see the hand of God upon the incidents that led him to be in the position to save his family. This is a great lesson for each of us to consider when we are disappointed with some of life’s inevitable challenges. When things do not necessarily go as we hoped or expected—but they inadvertently take a turn for what might have seemed the worse at the time—are we able to recognize that God is still sovereign? Can we have enough trust in the Lord to understand that what happens in our lives is a part of His will for each of us? Joseph certainly did, and perhaps, his own brothers might have learned the same life lesson.
Faith and Blessing
So what can we glean from the concluding Torah portion from the Book of Genesis, regarding faith and the power of blessings? We need to each recognize that the Holy One is truly faithful to His chosen vessels. Despite the circumstances of life that might seem difficult, God is faithfully accomplishing His will. If we, as limited mortal humans, could better understand things from His perspective—then we would have the wisdom and discernment to see His fingerprints on all that occurs in life, whether good or bad.
For a reflection back on much of Genesis, we can look and compare the lives of Jacob/Israel and Joseph, and note how each one learned to be faithful to God in very different ways. We can recall how at relatively young ages, they each had encounters with the Almighty through dreams or visions. Yet, we can also see from their personalities that the level of faith was not the same throughout their lives. Still, when the end of their lives came, their faith was quite strong, and they each wanted the blessing of burial in the Promise Land along with their relatives. They each wanted God’s blessings to be passed on to their progeny.
Jacob/Israel and Joseph knew the power of blessings. They not only desired the blessings of their elders, but they also gladly participated in extending blessings to their descendants. For modern-day followers of the Messiah, these examples are something to emulate. However, in order to even want to extend blessings, we each must have faith in the ultimate Provider of blessings. The two go together hand in hand. After all, the Almighty chooses human vessels to extend His blessings to others, but He requires faith as one of the critical ingredients to not only give blessings but also receive them. So, let each of us seek more faith—so that in being blessed with it, we will in turn be able to pass on the blessings we have received from the Lord! (Click to Source)
47:28. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years, so the whole age of Jacob was a hundred forty-seven years.29. And the time drew near for Israel to die, and he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have now found favor in your sight, put, I pray you, your hand under my thigh and deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me, I pray you, in Egypt. 30. But I shall lie with my fathers and you will carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying-place.” And he said, “I shall do as you have said.”31. And he said, “Swear to me.” And he swore to him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.
Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh
48.1. And it was after these things, that someone told Joseph, “Behold, your father is sick.” And he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.2. And someone told Jacob and said, “Behold, your son Joseph is coming to you.” And Israel strengthened himself and sat up on the bed. 3. And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me 4. and said to me, ‘Behold, I shall make you fruitful and multiply you, and I shall make of you a congregation of people, and I shall give the land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession.’ 5. And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before My coming to you in Egypt, are mine, like Reuben and Simeon. They will be mine. 6. And your children, which you father after them, will be yours and will be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance. 7. And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died beside me in the land of Canaan on the way, when yet there was but a little way to come to Efrat and I buried her there on the road of Efrat, the same is Bethlehem.”
48:8. And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons and said, “Who are these?” 9. And Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons whom God has given me in this place.” And he said, “Bring them to me now and I shall bless them.” 10. Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so he could not see. And he brought them near to him and he kissed them and embraced them. 11.And Israel said to Joseph, “I had not thought to see your face and, lo, God has also shown me your seed.”
48:12. And Joseph brought them out from between his knees and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 13. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand and brought them near to him. 14. And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head. He guided his hands wittingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn.15. And he blessed Joseph and said, “The God before Whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God Who fed me all my life long to this day, 16. the angel who redeemed me from everything bad, bless the lads and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (Heb. 11:21)
48:17. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18. And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.” 19. And his father refused and said, “I know it, my son, I know it. He also will become a people and he also will be great, but truly his younger brother will be greater than he and his seed will become the fullness of the nations.”
48:20. And he blessed them that day saying, “In you will Israel bless saying, ‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’” And he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
21. And Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you again to the land of your fathers.22. Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.”
Jacob Blesses the Remaining Sons
49.1. And Jacob called to his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, so I can tell you what will befall you in the last days. 2. Gather yourselves together and listen, you sons of Jacob, and hearken to Israel your father.
49:3. “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellence of dignity, and the excellency of power: 4. unstable as water, you will not excel because you went up to your father’s bed, then you defiled the one who ascended my couch.
49:5. “Simeon and Levi are brothers, weapons of violence are their downfall. 6. O my soul, do not come into their secret, to their assembly, my honor. Do not be united, for in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they lamed an ox. 7.Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel. I shall divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.
49:8. “Judah, you are he whom your brothers will praise: your hand will be on the neck of your enemies, your father’s children will bow down before you. 9. Judah is a lion’s whelp, from the prey, my son, you are gone up: he stooped down, he couched like a lion and as an old lion. Who will rouse him up? 10. The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor a Torah scholar from between his feet, until Shiloh comes: and the gathering of the peoples will be to Him. (Rev. 5:5) 11. Binding His foal to the vine and His donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed His garments in wine and His clothes in the blood of grapes. (Rev.7:14; 19:13) 12. His eyes will be red with wine, (Rev. 1:14) and His teeth white with milk.
49:13. “Zebulun will live at the haven of the sea, and he will be for a haven of ships, and his border will be to Zidon.
49:14. “Issachar is a strong donkey lying down between the sheepfolds: 15. and he saw that rest was good, and the land that was pleasant and bowed his shoulder to bear and became a servant to tribute.
49:16. “Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. 17. Dan will be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path that bites the horse’s heels, so that his rider will fall backward. 18. I have waited for Your salvation, LORD*.
49:19. “Gad, a troop will press upon him, but he will press upon their heel.
49:20. “Out of Asher his bread will be fat, and he will yield royal dainties.
49:21. “Naphtali is a deer let loose. He gives beautiful sayings.
49:22. “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall. 23. The archers have sorely grieved him and shot at him, and hated him. 24. But his bow abode in strength and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob; from there he became the shepherd, the stone of Israel: 25. even by the God of your father, Who will help you, the Almighty Who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep lying below, blessings of the bosom, and of the womb. 26. The blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors to the endless boundaries of the everlasting hills. They will be on the head of Joseph and on the crown of his head that was from the exile of his brothers.
49:27. “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf: in the morning he will devour the prey and at night he will divide the spoil.”
49:28. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them and blessed them. He blessed each one according to his blessing. 29. And he charged them and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Efron the Hittite. 30. In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Efron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place. 31. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebeccah his wife, and there I buried Leah. 32. The purchase of the field and of the cave that is there was from the children of Heth.” 33. And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed and expired and was gathered to his people.
Jacob Buried in Israel
50.1. And Joseph fell upon his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father and the physicians embalmed Israel. 3. And forty days were fulfilled for him, for so are fulfilled the days of those that are embalmed, and the Egyptians mourned seventy days for him.
50:4. And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spoke to the house of Pharaoh saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh saying, 5. My father made me swear saying, ‘Lo, I am dying. You will bury me in my grave which I have dug for myself in the land of Canaan.’ Now therefore let me go up, I pray you, and bury my father and I shall come back.” 6. And Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.”
50:7. Then Joseph went up to bury his father, and all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt went up with him, 8. and the whole house of Joseph and his brothers and his father’s house. They left only their little ones, their flocks, and their herds in the land of Goshen. 9. And both chariots and horsemen went up with him and it was a very great company. 10. And they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very deep lamentation and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: therefore the name of it was called Abel-Egypt, which is beyond the Jordan.”
50:12. And his sons did for him as he had commanded them. 13. For his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a burying place from Efron the Hittite, before Mamre.
50:14. And after he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he, his brothers, and all who went up with him to bury his father.
50:15. And when Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Maybe Joseph will hate us, and will certainly pay us back for all the bad that we did to him.” 16. So they sent a messenger to Joseph saying, “Your father commanded before he died saying, 17. ‘So will you say to Joseph, Forgive, I beseech you now, the transgression of your brothers and their sins, for they did evil to you.’ And now, we pray you, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18. And his brothers also went and fell down before his face and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19. And Joseph said to them, “Do not be in awe! For am I in the place of God? 20. But as for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to make happen, as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21.Now therefore do not be in awe! I shall take care of you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
50:22. And Joseph dwelled in Egypt, he and his father’s house, and Joseph lived a hundred ten years. 23. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation, also the children of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees. 24. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am dying and God will surely visit you and bring you out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” 25. And Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel saying, “God will surely visit you and you will carry up my bones from here.” 26. So Joseph died, a hundred ten years old, and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. (Click to Source)
I often consider the life of Yosef as I feel it has much to say to my own life. His life was one of twists and turns that no one could have foreseen. His was also a life of promises which seemed to be out of his grasp. Can you relate?
Our Torah portion begins with the words, “At the end of two years.” It does not say anything about these two years, just states they happened. Think back over your last two years since the first part of December 2015! Have you had anything happen since then? How much has happened? Have you experienced successes, failures or should we say “learning experiences”? What about betrayals or the twists and turns of life?
Consider Yosef’s two years. He was in a prison cell. Probably not much was happening outside of staring at walls. How might his life relate to ours? Glad you asked. Yosef was waiting; waiting for the promise of a dream to be fulfilled. I believe it was the dream that kept him going on a daily basis. He had to ask himself many times if the dream was real or not. When he did, something deep within answered with a resounding “yes”. The dream remained alive and in fact may have kept him alive to the end of those long two years.
The prophet Habakkuk may have thought of Yosef when he received a prophecy now recorded as a book of Scripture for us. Habakkuk was given a promise and wondered when it would happen. In chapter two of his book he is told that though the promise may seem to linger from his standpoint, from the view of the Heavenly realm, it will come to pass right on time. Too bad Yosef did not have the book of Habakkak to read.
Where am I going with this?
Do you have promises you believe Father has given you? Are there dreams in your life becoming pretty distant in your memories? Do you wonder if those things were truly promises or the result of too much pizza the night before? Here in the midst of the Feast of Hanukah would be a good time to bring those things to mind again. Submit them to the Father and listen for a renewal of those promises. Allow Him to sort out what was from Him and what was not.
I wonder if it was a day like I am asking of you which Yosef was going through in his prison cell. Could it have been a day which he was at the end of his rope so to say? He had thought about the dreams over and over and was just about to give up, for the “Linger Time” was just more than he could stand. Could he have been thinking “If nothing happens tomorrow, I am done with those dreams?” Little did he know while he was staring toward the heavens, Pharaoh was having dreams which would bring his promise to pass.
Here is a question for you. What if Yosef had given up just one day earlier? Was the fulfillment of the promise tied to him remaining faithful to it? We cannot say, but what if?
What if the fulfillment of the promises given to us is tied to our remaining faithful to them? Are you willing to chance the answer on this?
Let’s look at it from a different angle. After Yosef is summoned to Pharaoh he interprets his dreams. He then makes a great statement of faith in Genesis 41:32 which states, “The matter has been established by Elohim.” Did those words resound in Yosef as he realized all he had been through in his own life had also been established by Elohim? Did he now see his own faithfulness had been a gift to keep him from giving up?
I am asking many questions this week. The purpose is to cause each of us to think back over promises to possibly cause us to renew our grasp on them. It would be a shame to think if our faithfulness does play a part in His work that we gave up just before a knock on the door. That knock by the way may have sounded like the knock of a prison guard to Yosef, but what was it really? It was the knock of Elohim summoning Yosef into a promise given years earlier.
A last thought concerning Yosef. As the events of his life are happening, Yah is causing a famine in the land of his family, a famine which would cause his brothers to seek food, but find Yosef. What an interesting turn of events as what put him in prison to begin with was him seeking for his brothers. What a great twist!
My ending words are adapted from Churchill, Never, Never, Never give up on the promises He has spoken to you! (Click to Source)
The life of Joseph is filled with ups and downs; up with favor, down to the pit. This week we read of his final release from prison, the stage being set for Joseph’s dreams to come to pass and the real purpose for his life to unfold.
I’m certain Joseph was quite surprised to hear his prison cell door open, not to embark on his daily routine, but because he is summoned by Pharaoh himself. Questioning why Pharaoh would summon him, Joseph wondered if his fate would be that of the baker or the cupbearer. He does not know that the page is being turned in the book of his life and the real reason he was born is about to be revealed. What Joseph does know is prison life has transformed his character. He is not the man who was sold into Mitzraim. He has learned humility preparing him for this very day.
We all know the account well. Joseph will interpret the dreams of Pharaoh. Pharaoh will make him second in command over all of Egypt and Joseph will begin to store grain for a famine which is to come. Many would say the story is simply a prophecy for us today that we should focus on earthquakes, storms, FEMA camps and End Times, then with that fear engraved on our hearts we should now exhaust our finances storing resources like beans, bullets and band-aids. Once our checklist is accomplished we should hide out in our isolated fortresses in the Montana forests waiting for Messiah to return. Is that where I am going with this? You know me better than that! (Click to Article)
Moshe traveling back to Egypt was not just a trip to the corner convenience store. It was quite a journey, and during this time the words spoken to him at the Burning Bush and his conversation with YH VH was probably played over and over in his mind. He probably came up with a hundred ways this could go. As the imaginations became reality, at some point he probably thought to himself, “I didn’t see that coming!”
With every plague the Pharaoh is becoming a bit more ticked off, and to make matters worse, Moshe is again living with the fact that his own family, the Hebrews, are not too happy with him either. The difference between his current situation and the one forty years earlier is he is able to “see” the hand of Elohim working in his midst. This is what gives him strength.
To fully understand where Moshe is at, we must take a look at the word I used: see. In English the word “see” is to look upon something with our eyes. This limits us to our natural vision. In Hebrew the word for see is “ra’ah,” which means to not only see with our eyes, but to perceive and consider with our spirit. Let’s look at it this way; When a situation arises in life, whether good or bad from our perspective, we have a choice. We can either “see” it through our eyes, or we can ask to “see” it through His.
For Moshe and the Hebrews, a greater work had to be done than simply leaving Egypt. Egypt was going to have to leave them.
Many years had passed since Yaakov and his family had entered Egypt. When they arrived, the Hebrews were abhorrent to the Egyptians and the Egyptians were abhorrent to the Hebrews. As time had passed, the Hebrews had settled into the life of Egypt. To many of them the land and ways of Egypt had become who they were. It was home. The act of delivering the Hebrews from Egypt meant Egypt had to once again become abhorrent to them. The purpose of the plagues was not only to judge the pride and arrogance of Egypt, but to destroy Egypt in the hearts of the Hebrews. We will see in later readings that this would be more difficult than even Moshe could have ever thought.
With all this said, let’s bring it to our day. It appears the whole world has entered into a time of plagues. From ebola in Africa to killings in Paris, the world is being set on fire. I, for one, believe it is just the beginning. There are going to be events in the near future which will make us stand with Moshe and say, “I didn’t see that coming.” The choice each of us face is the decision to not “see” these events with our eyes, but to pray for discernment to “ra’ah” through His eyes, for there is a greater purpose going on in our midst than just those “lousy old politicians” being judged for the way they are treating us.
The plagues in Egypt were not only to take the Hebrews out of Egypt, but to take Egypt out of the Hebrews. With each plague Egypt was being chipped from their hearts and a greater work was being done. In the end, many would not let Egypt go and would die in the wilderness. Let us not make the same mistake. When we “see” things coming and they are not the way we expected, let us pray that we may “ra’ah” the greater work, which by the way, may be a work within us.
*My apologies as I got ahead last week. Maybe a message we needed twice?*
Have you ever thought that serving God was hard work sometimes? I am sure the Hebrews had this thought going through their minds once in a while. I mean Hashem has brought them out of Egypt where they were doing quite a but of building and here they are again, building. This time it is not for a Pharaoh, it is for God! This makes a big difference in attitude, but you still go to bed at night tired and wake with a couple of aching muscles!
Truth is, life is hard work sometimes, no matter what you do. Being part of God’s family does not give us a free ride through life. In fact, at times it adds more to our lives. Just think, before you knew Him you did not take time to pray, well maybe in times of trouble. You did not take time to study His Word or find ways to live out that Word. You sure did not give of your resources and time for Him. Life in ways may have been easier, but it sure was not as rewarding.
This may have been the attitude of the Hebrews the day they brought all the finished materials for the Tabernacle to Moses. I love how David Stern translates chapter 39, verse 43. With the materials at his feet, it says, “Moses saw all the work, and – there is was! – they had done it! Exactly as Adonai had ordered, they had done it. And Moshe blessed them.” I would imagine that Moses did bless them! Here is this group that is best known for grumbling and complaining, and they had set their minds to a task for Hashem, and done it! It was sure a proud moment for Pastor Moses, but the best was to come.
The Hebrews get to work setting up the Tabernacle, everything in it’s place as Moses was instructing them. After all this was a pattern of what Moses had seen in the Heavens, so he knew just where it all went. Board upon board, basin, menorah, curtains and the Ark. Everything in it’s place. Finally the screen for the outer courtyard and it’s curtain, then it happens.
The cloud that had been guiding them through the dessert started to move. It covered the tent of meeting and the glory of The Holy One filled the Tabernacle. The glory was so strong that Moses was unable to enter! I wonder how many people cared about the long hours of the previous days or the slight pain in their muscles! Not a one, I am sure!
Today we build a spiritual tabernacle, not with our hands, but with people’s lives. We await a time in which the third temple will be built in Jerusalem, Messiah will return and His Kingdom will be upon this earth. At that time we will see the spiritual and the natural come together on this earth before our eyes. What a day!
Until that day, we work. We work to build His kingdom through our lives. We build through holding firm in our faith. We build when we walk in obedience to His Torah. We become the revelation of Hashem on this earth for all to see!
Question, how is the glory in your life and mine? Is it enough to turn heads without a word being spoken? It should, but for most of us, including myself, we have to admit, we are not there. What is the answer? Keep looking at His pattern; keep asking that our lives would be conformed into His image, not our neighbors. Keep studying, praying and changing. Keep waiting for the cloud to come, hover over us, and fill our Tabernacles with His glory for all the world to see.