TorahScope – Torah Reading – Mishpatim -Rulings – “Faithfully Do” – 4 February, 2018

Mishpatim – Rulings

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Exodus 21:1-24:18
Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26

“Faithfully Do”


by Mark Huey

Last week, our Torah reading Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23[26]) centered on the dramatic events surrounding the appearance of the Almighty Creator God at Mount Sinai, as He conveyed the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel through His servant Moses. The original recipients of these foundational building blocks of faith were primed for embracing them, after they witnessed and participated in their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. So magnificent were the miracles and display of God’s power, that even before Moses went up on the mountain, the Ancient Israelites unanimously proclaimed a desire to faithfully do whatever He would proclaim:

“And all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do!’ And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I shall come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe in you forever.’ Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD” (Exodus 19:8-9).

After given the opportunity to hear the voice of the Lord proclaim His Instruction to the multitude stationed at the base of Mount Sinai, we find that the Israelites were terrified about their physical survival. So, they implored Moses to maintain his role as an intermediary between the Lord and them:

“And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.’ And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin” (Exodus 20:18-20).

Moses calmed the fears of the Israelites, by telling them that God’s display of His power was designed to test them, and so that they would fear Him and avoid any sin that would displease Him. However, the Lord did not give His people just the Ten Commandments, without some specific details about how one could make these directions an integral part of their walk and relationship with Him. So without leaving the recipients in the dark, Moses added some more actions, which should be avoided and/or taken, in order to please the Lord:

“So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves. You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it. And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it”’” (Exodus 20:21-26).

Making idols of gold and silver was strictly forbidden, but the requirement to build an altar of uncut stones in order to present sacrifices is also witnessed here. From the giving of the Decalogue, God was very concerned about the Ancient Israelites falling into the pattern of many other people groups, who had a tendency to make physical tokens of gods out of gold and silver. Perhaps this was a forewarning about the infamous “golden calf incident” that was forthcoming (Exodus 32), so that there would be no excuses for deviant behavior. On the other hand, by describing the details of the construction of altars, the Lord was definitely reminding His chosen people from the very onset of their desert sojourn, that He desired to be worshipped at places and in ways that are not profaned.

With these reminders, Mishpatim or “Rulings,” largely deals with a selection of ordinances, which in many respects, adds details to how God wanted the Ancient Israelites to behave appropriately to His calling them into holiness (Exodus 19:6). Our Torah reading details about how people should interact with one another, given the challenges that ensue from the imperfections of our world. Surprisingly, perhaps, Mishpatim ends with a desire by the Ancient Israelites to be faithful to perform all the words that the Lord had spoken:

“Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!’” (Exodus 24:3).

With what appears to be another unanimous declaration that the people of Israel will do all of which the Lord had spoken, let us take a look at some of those very words.

A Covetous Overlay

The Ten Commandments undeniably have formed much of the basis for judicial and legal systems throughout the Judeo-Christian world. It can be argued that following the Sinai theophany of God delivering the Ten Words to Ancient Israel, that many of the instructions and regulations that are witnessed in the Torah thereafter, are somehow based upon the Ten Commandments. After delineating the Ten Words, adding a warning about making idols and describing proper altar worship, we should see how Mishpatim goes into great detail, further defining the rights and responsibilities of individuals when issues of life erupt. Much of this could be said to amplify what was communicated by the Tenth Commandment, the prohibition against coveting:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17).

The sin of covetousness in one’s heart is perhaps one of the most insidious offenses detailed in the Holy Scriptures—because it can be one of the most difficult to detect, and can be the seed of deceit that instigates other sins. Surely, sinful acts committed against fellow humans—such as murder, adultery, stealing, and bearing false witness, as forbidden in the Decalogue—are conceived when a person covets something that another has (James 1:13-15), be it life, a spouse, property, or position in the community. Additionally, it might be said that when one covets his or her own self or personhood, by becoming a god unto oneself or by idolizing oneself, one is exposed to be a violator of the immutable Law of the only One God. By acknowledging that there is a Supreme Being who desires worship, this should impose some limits and restraints on people who would be otherwise inclined by their own willful actions. Alas, though, when confronted with God’s Torah, many people know instinctively that they must obey—but they choose to instead reject it. When speaking of the person who struggles with the power of sin, Paul referenced the Tenth Commandment prohibition against covetousness:

“What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COVET’ [Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21]. But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead” (Romans 7:7-8).

As we turn to Mishpatim this week, its ordinances break down to a discussion of civil and criminal matters in Exodus 21:2-22:6, humanitarian considerations in Exodus 22:17-23:19, and warnings against assimilation into paganism in Exodus 23:20-33. I would ask you to try filtering these instructions through a fuller appreciation of what coveting entails. Even if someone were able to follow each of these ordinances to the presumed letter, there will likely be the nagging problem that people will still inevitably stumble over some covetous thoughts, which will convict us of our need for a Savior and His redeeming work. James the Just, half-brother of Yeshua the Messiah, starkly reminds us,

“For whoever keeps the whole Torah but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10, TLV).

Slavery Defined

Mishpatim, perhaps ironically to some Bible readers, actually begins with God giving instructions to Ancient Israel on how to handle slavery. What makes this a bit odd—other than slaves being some of the lowliest of human beings on the social ladder—is that these directions were given to a group of people who had just been delivered from slavery themselves. Is this at all a bit strange to you? If you have thought that a group of former slaves being told that this is how they were to regulate their own slaves, appears a bit out of place in a Holy Bible ultimately authored by the God of Freedom—then you are not alone. The best answer, that conservative Jewish and Christian scholars can often provide, is that Hebrew slavery in the Tanakh largely pertained to economic status, and was significantly subversive to other Ancient Near Eastern forms of slavery, where masters or slaveowners were literally able to do whatever they wanted with the people whom they owned. Here, in the opening of Mishpatim, we clearly read that this was not the case in Ancient Israel. Limitations were placed upon the status of an eved:

“Now these are the ordinances which you are to set before them: If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently” (Exodus 21:1-6).

As you read this small piece of instruction on slavery in Ancient Israel, note how the Lord was especially concerned about the relationship of the slaveowner and the slave. The slave was someone entirely reliant upon the owner—implying that he was someone destitute, who really had no other place to go for sustenance and basic needs. One of the expectations of the owner was to actually provide the slave with a wife with whom he could have children. While to many moderns, the concept of slavery is something that is rightfully repugnant—what we have to consider is the difference between slavery in Israel versus slavery among Israel’s neighbors. Israelite slavery may be regarded as being decisively “liberal.” The Torah’s instruction regarding slavery was greatly different when compared to many of the other law codes of the era, and it decisively laid the foundation back to the human equality that was lost in Eden, but which has been restored in Messiah Yeshua (cf. Galatians 3:28; Colossians 2:11).

A Civil Society

The balance of Mishpatim summarizes a variety of mundane circumstances that occur in practically every society. God foresaw a wide degree of challenges, which would plague a civilization, where people lived and interacted in relative proximity to one another. The Lord detailed a list of instructions that specified actions to be taken when various incidents arose. These included, but were not limited to, how to handle capital offenses ranging from murder to kidnapping, striking or cursing parents, physical abuse, controlling livestock, stealing, maintaining proper boundaries, borrowing implements and lending money practices, proper restitution claims, protecting innocent young women, prohibitions about bearing false witness, avoidance of bribes, and not oppressing strangers (Exodus 21:12-36). By assigning punishments that discourage harmful behavior or establishing guidelines that check greedy inclinations, these Torah commands were designed to mold Israel into God’s desired kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:5-6).

Parents Considered

While volumes of commentaries and legal briefs have been written to deal with the different ordinances encounters in Mishpatim, the instruction to apply capital punishment to a person who strikes or curses parents, is something particularly difficult to encounter. Although we later find a repetition of this in Deuteronomy 21:19-21, there is no recorded evidence that it was ever actually practiced in the Holy Scriptures. However, to reflect back on the Decalogue, note how the Fifth Commandment is one of the instructions that offers its adherents a blessing if properly followed:

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you” (Exodus 20:12).

The Fifth Commandment was reiterated by the Apostle Paul in his instruction to Believers in Asia Minor, urging children to honor their parents:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH [Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16]” (Ephesians 6:1-3).

Obviously, the family unit is a key unit of any ordered society. If families are found to be disintegrating, due to children not respecting their parents, further disrespect for civil and communal authority can devolve into blatant civil disobedience—resulting in societal deterioration.

Faithfully Do

When encountering Mishpatim, it can take a student of the Torah down many paths—as the variety of subjects to study or meditate upon range from Hebrew slavery to not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk (Exodus 23:19). As you can imagine, there are many things one can consider during this week of examination. However, it is beneficial to once again recognize that even after these ordinances were given to the Ancient Israelites in the Thirteenth Century B.C.E., there was a universal acceptance by the people to strive to perform all that the Lord had spoken. Accordingly, Moses wrote down those words, and then at the foot of Mount Sinai after the offering of many sacrifices, he took blood, and sprinkled it on the altar, and then on the people who agreed to obey the words of the Lord:

“Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!’ Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the sons of Israel, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!’ So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words’” (Exodus 24:3-8; cf. Hebrews 9:19-22).

How should we approach Mishpatim? Our Torah reading undeniably demands that God’s people live in a different manner than those of the world at large, offering care and concern for other people. That those who are privileged should offer relief and mercy for the destitute is absolutely imperative to consider. Our Torah reading also forces Messianic readers today to exhibit considerable trust and reliance in our Eternal Creator, as we strive to understand His mind in interacting with ancient people with widely different values than our own—and as Twenty-First Century Messianics seek to adequately evaluate the trajectory of Holy Scripture. The faith to be exhibited in understanding the instructions given in Mishpatim, as I must personally confess (and I am sure I speak for many other Messianics), is significant. (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Joined To HaShem – Mishpatim (Rulings) – Getting Into His Mind – February 10, 2017

Torah Commentary – Mishpatim (Rulings)

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Exodus 21:1-24:18
Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26
Matthew 5:38-42; 15:1-20
Acts 23:1-11
Hebrews 9:15-22; 10:28-39
Getting Into His Mind
If you ever want an interesting study, type in “Mind of Messiah” in a Bible search. Of course you may have to use the word “Christ”, but nonetheless it will take you on quite a journey. One of my favorite verses revealed in the search is Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Yeshua.” One reason I find this so fascinating is because I see this verse in the Tabernacle. If we overlay a shadow of Messiah’s earthly body on a slide of the Tabernacle we find that the place His head would be is the place where the Ark resided. What is in the Ark? We find the Torah and the Mitzvot (The Ten Words and the instructions of how to carry them out.).  We see pictured in the Tabernacle the Torah is His mind. This thought is quite a ways from my denominational instruction which the “Mind of Messiah” was something up for interpretation.
We can look at the above illustration like this. Torah teaches us how Yah thinks. Torah teaches us His mind, how to get in His head. Stop and think about that for a moment. Can we really learn to think like He thinks, act like He acts, do what He would do and does do? The answer is an all too simple yes. We just need to look at the words revealed and allow those words to direct our thinking and actions.
This week the Torah portion is Mishpatim, Rulings. Now I would imagine most of you do not have slaves, nor are we slaves so these words may seem irrelevant. We might want to skip over these instructions. Not so fast. Are you an employer or an employee? Are you self employed hiring your services out to others? Do you volunteer in public service? If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions then you can translate these words into your life and relationship with those you are interacting with. For example let’s say you work for a company and have a boss. Do you work with the attitude of doing the minimum to make it through the day and not get fired?  Or do you do your job with thanksgiving as unto the glory of our Heavenly Master?
Let’s look at another ruling.
In Exodus 22:17, we are not to allow a sorceress to live. Again, most of us probably do not have a sorceress living under our roof, but what about that horoscope you may read just because you are curious? How about the fortune cookie at your favorite Chinese restaurant? Maybe the Harry Potter book you have been meaning to throw out. Are these types of sorcerers we are allowing to live in our lives and homes?
As you can see through the examples, these rulings are all a part of learning how He thinks, putting on His mind.
What does this way of thinking do? It will set us apart and cause us to not only be peculiar unto Him, but peculiar to others. It will cause us to walk in a way different than the crowd. Oh, wait a minute that is part of His mind also. In Exodus 23:2 we are told to not follow the crowd. Why? Let me answer with a question. When has the crowd ever been right? Can you name one time? I can’t. All I see in history is the crowd heading toward destruction.
On this subject I see something happening in our day. It is based on of the words of Yeshua in Matthew 7:13-14 where He speaks of the narrow gate versus the broad gate. Allow me to ask another question in light of this verse. Do you see the road and the gate getting narrower in our day? I sure do. What I am wondering today is just how narrow the road and gate are going to be by the time this all wraps up.
To illustrate this I have added something to the teaching I do on the Tabernacle. I now have four posts which make an entrance to my representation of the Tabernacle. The teaching is in three sessions and at the beginning of each session we make the gate to enter a bit narrower. The illustration has made an impact on participants.
How do we deal with the narrowing gate of our day? First we must decide who we are going to follow, the Almighty or the crowd. If you are reading this commentary I think you have already answered that question. The next step is growing in our understanding of His mind more than we have in the past. Think of it this way. What you know about His mind has taken you to the place you are today. If you desire to move further you will need to know His mind better than you do today.
How do we do this? Is the answer just too easy for us? Is it as simple as slowing down while reading His Word instead of rushing through? Is it as easy as praying for further understanding?
One last thought on this. In Exodus 23:29 the Hebrews were told that when they went into the Land it would take time to drive out the enemies. Can we see this as part of our above thoughts? Does knowing His mind take time? Does it take time to replace our old way of thinking with His way of thinking? Is it an instant work? I think we all know the answer, but are we willing to pay the price and take the time? I can only answer that one for myself!  (Click to Source)
Shalom and Be Strong,
Mike Clayton
Joined To HaShem

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Torah Commentary – Sh’mot (Names) – His Ways – January 6, 2017

Torah Commentary
Sh’mot (Names)
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Exodus 1:1-6:1
Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23
Matthew 22:23-33; 41-46
Acts 3:12-15
Hebrew 11:23-26

His Ways

Just a few days ago we entered into the Gregorian year of 2018. The thought of that seems a bit strange. You may even be one who would say you never imagined how this world system could possibly have lasted this long. I can relate.
Truth is, we are here and with the new year a verse keeps being brought to my mind. Isaiah 55:8 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” That verse makes more sense to me with each passing day.
The Hebrews in Egypt must have had thoughts concerning this not yet recorded concept. For those who had been keeping up with history, they must have been shaking their heads with unbelief. How could they have gone from the great honor of their recent ancestors to slavery in exile? What happened through these short years?
Maybe a clue to this question is found in Exodus 1:23. In the verse it is recorded that the Hebrews cried out, but it does not say they cried out to HaShem. It just says they were crying. Is it possible they had given up on the promises they had been given through their ancestor Abraham so many years earlier? Is it in the forgetting of the promises they had forgotten who they were and Whom they belonged to? Had they been so long in exile they had given up? Are those words mirroring some of our thoughts today?
Truth is, whether His family is in Egypt or anywhere else called exile His thoughts and ways are not going to line up with ours. His thoughts and ways are to bring forth a greater work than ours would ever accomplish.
Now they may think they are forgotten, but we know they are not, because we have the benefit of being able to read the rest of the story and we know the outcome. With this we can sit back and be experts at telling them what they should have done while all the while dealing with the same faith failures they went through. Think of it this way. What if a book is being written about our exile which others will one day be able to read. They could be experts to!
Now they may have thought they were forgotten, but truth is there were great works being done which were way beyond their thoughts. The first work was being done in them. In Egypt Yah was growing His family to numbers Abraham would probably never imagined. In the growing of the family numerically, it does appear that they forgot to grow spiritually. Not pointing fingers, just a floating thought to ponder. The other work being done was about a shepherd being prepared to lead them. Without that shepherd they would not have even made it to the sea much less into the wilderness and for some the Promise Land.
In the past years there has been much talk and teaching about what is referred to as the Greater Exodus. Verses used for this teaching are in Jeremiah 23. Why have these verses not happened? Why are we still in exile? Why are we not in Israel? Is it possible that not only are we not ready, but the shepherds spoken of in the first of the chapter are still on their own backsides of deserts being prepared for the day.
What should we take away from this Torah portion? Let us not forget who we are. Not forgetting Whom we belong to. We need to remember the verse in Habakkuk 2:3 used to explain that every promise He has made will come to pass and though from our vantage point it may seem the promises are delayed, from His vantage point, they are right on time.
In the end, just as a remnant of Hebrews were able to grasp that His thoughts and ways would bring forth a greater work than their thoughts and ways could ever do, let us pray for and wait patiently in our day.  (Click to Source)

Weekly Torah Readings – One New Man Bible – Vayigash – Dec 23, 2017

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Vayigash

Judah Pleads

44:18. Then Judah came near to him and said, “Oh my lord, let your servant, I pray you, speak a word in my lord’s ears and let not your anger burn against your servant, for you are even as Pharaoh. 19. My lord asked his servants saying, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20. And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one, and his brother is dead and he alone is left of his mother and his father loves him.’ 21. And you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, so I can set my eyes on him.’ 22. And we said to my lord, ‘The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23. And you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face any more.’

44:24. “And it happened when we came up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25. And our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food.’ 26. And we said, ‘We cannot go down unless our youngest brother is with us, then will we go down. For we may not see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27. And your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28. And the one went away from me and I said, “Surely he is torn in pieces, and I have not seen him since. 29. And if you also take this one from me and disaster befalls him, you will bring my gray hairs down to the grave in evil.”

44:30. “Now therefore when I come to your servant my father and the lad is not with us, seeing that his life is bound up in the lad’s life, 31. it will happen, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die, and your servants will bring the gray hairs of your servant our father down to the grave with sorrow. 32. For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him to you, then I shall bear the blame to my father forever.’ 33. Now, therefore, please let your servant stay instead of the lad as a bondman to my lord and let the lad go up with his brothers. 34. For how will I go up to my father and the lad is not with me? And I shall see the evil that will come on my father.”

Joseph Reveals Himself

45.1. Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him and he cried, “Make every man go out from me.” And no man stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.

45:2. And he wept aloud and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. 3. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” And his brothers could not answer him, for they were startled at his presence. 4. And Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5. So now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves that you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6. The famine has been in the land for these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7. And God sent me before you to preserve you for a heritage in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God. And He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of his entire house and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. 9. Hurry! Go up to my father! And say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me. Do not stand around! 10. And you will dwell in the land of Goshen, and you will be near to me; you, your children, your children’s children, your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11. And there I shall take care of you, for there are still five years of famine, lest you and your household and all that you have come to poverty. 12. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaks to you, 13. and you will tell my father of all my honor in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. And you will hasten and bring my father down here.” 14. And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck.15. Moreover he kissed all his brothers and wept over them and after that his brothers talked with him.

45:16. And the report of it was heard in Pharaoh’s house saying, “Joseph’s brothers have come.” And it pleased Pharaoh and his servants well. 17. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this! Load your beasts and go, get to the land of Canaan. 18. And take your father and your households and come to me, and I shall give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land. 19. Now you are commanded, ‘Do this! Take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives and bring your father and come. 20. Also, Do not regret leaving your household stuff! For the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”

45:21. And the children of Israel did so and Joseph gave them wagons according to the commandment of Pharaoh and gave them provision for the way. 22. To all of them he gave each man changes of clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of clothing. 23. And he sent to his father after this manner; ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt and ten she-donkeys loaded with grain and bread and produce for his father for the trip. 24. So he sent his brothers away and they left and he said to them, “See that you do not fall by the way.” 25. And they went up out of Egypt and came into the land of Canaan to Jacob their father 26. and told him saying, “Joseph is still alive and he is governor over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart fainted, for he did not believe them. 27. And they told him all the instructions of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. 28. And Israel said, “It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I shall go and see him before I die.”

The LORD* Instructs Jacob

46.1. And Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beer-Sheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2. And God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night and said, “Jacob. Jacob!” And he said, “Here I am.” 3. And He said, “I AM God, the God of your father. Do not be in awe to go down to Egypt! For there I shall make a great nation of you. 4. I AM going down with you into Egypt and I AM shall also surely bring you up again, and Joseph will put his hand upon your eyes.”

46:5. And Jacob rose up from Beer-Sheba, and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6. And they took their cattle and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his seed with him: 7. his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters, and all his seed he brought with him into Egypt.

46:8. And these are the names of the children of Israel who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn. 9. And the sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Fallu, Hezron, and Carmi.

46:10. And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.

46:11. And the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Morari.

46:12. And the sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah; but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.

46:13. And the sons of Issachar: Tola, Fuvah, Job, and Shimron.

46:14. And the sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.

46:15. These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Padan-Aram, with his daughter Dinah; all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty-three.

46:16. And the sons of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.

46:17. And the sons of Asher: Jimnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and Serah their sister: and the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel.

46:18. These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob, sixteen souls.

46:19. The sons of Rachel Jacob’s wife: Joseph and Benjamin. 20. And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath the daughter of Poti Phera priest of On bore to him.

46:21. And the sons of Benjamin were Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. 22. These are the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob; all the souls were fourteen.

46:23. And the sons of Dan: Hushim.

46:24. And the sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.

46:25. These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, and she bore these to Jacob; all the souls were seven.

46:26. All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, that came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were sixty-six. 27. And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two souls; all the souls of the house of Jacob, that came into Egypt, were seventy.

46:28. And he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to make things ready in Goshen ahead of the rest, and they came into the land of Goshen. 29. And Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet Israel his father and presented himself to him, and he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. 30. And Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are yet alive.” 31. And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s house, “I shall go up and tell Pharaoh and say to him, ‘My brothers, and my father’s house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32. And the men are shepherds, for their trade has been to feed cattle. And they have brought their flocks and their herds, and all that they have.’ 33. And it will be that when Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34. That you will say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of cattle from our youth even until now, both we and also our fathers.’ That way you may live in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”

Meeting Pharaoh

47.1. Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh and said, “My father and my brothers, their flocks, their herds, and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.” 2. And he took some of his brothers, five men, and presented them to Pharaoh. 3. And Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and also our fathers.” 4. They said moreover to Pharaoh, “For we have come to live in the land, for your servants have no pasture for their flocks since the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now therefore, please let your servants stay in the land of Goshen.”

47:5. And Pharaoh spoke to Joseph saying, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6. The land of Egypt is before you. Make your father and brothers to dwell in the best of the land, they will dwell in the land of Goshen and if you know men of ability among them, then make them masters over my cattle.” 7. And Joseph brought in Jacob his father and set him before Pharaoh and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How old are you?” 9. And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred thirty years: few and bad have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” (Heb. 11:13) 10. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from before Pharaoh.

47:11. And Joseph placed his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses as Pharaoh had commanded. 12. And Joseph fed his father and his brothers and his father’s entire household with bread according to their families.

47:13. And there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. 14. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15. And when money failed in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For the money has been spent.” 16. And Joseph said, “Give your cattle and I shall give you grain for your cattle, if money fails.” 17. And they brought their cattle to Joseph and Joseph gave them food in exchange for horses and for the flocks and for the cattle of the herds and for the donkeys, and he fed them with bread for all their livestock for that year. 18. When that year was ended they came to him the second year and said to him, “We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent. My lord also has our herds of cattle, there is not anything left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies and our lands. 19. Why will we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread and we and our land will be servants to Pharaoh, and give us seed so we may live and not die, so that the land would not be desolate.” 20. And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for the Egyptians sold each man’s field because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s. 21. And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end of it. 22. Only he did not buy the land of the priests, for the priests had a portion assigned them by Pharaoh, and ate their portion which Pharaoh gave them, so they did not sell their lands.

47:23. Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have purchased you and your land for Pharaoh this day, so here is seed for you and you will sow the land. 24. And it will be with the increase that you will give the fifth part to Pharaoh, and four parts will be your own, for seed of the field, for your food, for those of your households, and for food for your little ones.” 25. And they said, “You have saved our lives. Let us find favor in the sight of my lord and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.” 26. And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part, except the land of the priests only, which did not become Pharaoh’s.

47:27. And Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen and they had obtained possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly. (Click to Source)

Torah Reading – V’yigash – He approached – “Positioning for Restoration” – 19 December, 2017

V’yigash – He approached

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Genesis 44:18-47:27
Ezekiel 37:15-28

“Positioning for Restoration”


by Mark Huey

This week in V’yigash, the sons of Jacob/Israel finally experience a restoration of their familial relationship, after years of being estranged from their brother Joseph. For the past two Torah readings (V’yeishev: Genesis 37:1-40:23; Mikkeitz: Genesis 41:1-44:17) the emphasis has been principally on the trials of Joseph and his brothers, as the melodrama of their interactions is recorded. However, perceptible behind the scenes of these trying circumstances is the sovereign hand of the Almighty—who executed His faithful plans for His people, despite some of the decisions of the principal actors at this stage in history. After all, the Holy One had issued eternal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their progeny, and He was simply using these events to accomplish His purposes in His perfect timing.

Up until our own time in the Twenty-First Century, as we have witnessed a tumultuous Twentieth Century with two world wars, the advent of the atomic bomb, the Holocaust, and the rebirth of the State of Israel—this Torah reading asks us questions about the restoration of Israel, which ultimately requires us to place ourselves in the complete control of an Eternal God. The associated Haftarah for V’yigash, Ezekiel 37:15-28, speaks of a greater restoration of Israel, which we have yet to see completed. Yet, the events covered in the readings assigned with V’yigash, and its prophetic foreshadowings or prophetic pronouncements, surely have to be realized before the Second Coming of the Messiah (cf. Acts 3:21).

In recent readings, we have witnessed the selling of Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders, and his cruel and unsure journey from a mere slave to a forgotten prisoner to the pinnacle of power as ruler over Egypt during a regional famine. We have seen the ten brothers sojourn to Egypt in search of food, and return to their father Israel with Simeon still held in captivity by the Egyptians. When the famine persisted, the need to return to Egypt to secure some grain presented itself with a major complication. The need to take Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob/Israel, was a requirement for gaining a return audience with the demanding Egyptian overseer. This was something that the doting Jacob initially refused to let happen, because of his fear of losing the second and only remaining son of his beloved Rachel. However over the course of time, the contrast between Joseph’s faith in the Holy One, and the brothers’ apparent lack of faith, was changing—as Judah, in particular, was highlighted with a softening conscience and tender heart toward his father Jacob/Israel. In the previous Mikkeitz portion from last week, Judah self-sacrificially secured the permission of Jacob/Israel to take the beloved Benjamin to Egypt to secure the release of Simeon, and get some grain, by offering himself as a surety for the safe return of Benjamin (Genesis 43:9).

From this willingness to essentially sacrifice himself and take blame, Judah had come a considerable way in his personal journey from a conniving brother, who originally suggested to his brothers that they sell Joseph to some traders rather than kill him (Genesis 37:27). Remember how Judah was the one brother who left the family fold to marry a Canaanite woman, with all of the attendant problems with his first three sons. Then, Judah unknowingly impregnated his daughter-in-law with twins, realizing that she was more righteous than he (Genesis 38). Of course, the Lord was using all of these circumstances to work on the heart of Judah, who was destined to not only be one of the leaders of his generation, but also be a significant ancestor of Yeshua the Messiah. God does work in mysterious ways, and reading about the interactions with the sons of Jacob/Israel confirms this concept. As would be described by Isaiah centuries later:

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it’” (Isaiah 55:8-11).

Note that in these profound words from Isaiah, where he proclaimed the ways and thoughts of God as being so much higher and greater than human thought—there is the affirmation that God’s word will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish all that He desires it to accomplish. We may safely conclude that the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and even to Joseph through his dreams, are going to eventually come to pass according to God’s will.

As we more closely into this week’s Torah reading, keep in mind that the Holy One was accomplishing His purposes for this generation of Israelites, who just happened to be the immediate descendants of Jacob/Israel. Keep in mind that there are many Messianic attributes being portrayed by both Joseph and Judah. These two sons, destined to be the leaders of their generation, were establishing a foundation for varied manifestations of conflict between their descendants down through the ages. Also be quite aware of how the restoration of Israel prophecies, seen in the Haftarah (Ezekiel 37:15-28), will be fulfilled in the Lord’s timing. God’s Word does not return void without accomplishing His desires. His people just have to patiently wait, and go about advancing His Kingdom’s objectives as participants in the restoration process!

Judah Offers His Life

If you will recall, in the closing verses of Mikkeitz from last week, Benjamin had been implicated as the purported thief of Joseph’s choice goblet. This generated serious problems for the brothers, as the return of Benjamin to their father was one of their main objectives, given Jacob’s warning about leaving him behind. So as V’yigash begins, the aforementioned Judah entered into a lengthy detailed verbal defense of Benjamin, with the still-concealed Joseph. At the end of his soliloquy, Judah offered his own life for the life of Benjamin, perhaps foreshadowing the Messiah’s giving of His life to save sinful humanity:

“Then Judah approached him, and said, ‘Oh my lord, may your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh. My lord asked his servants, saying, “Have you a father or a brother?” We said to my lord, “We have an old father and a little child of his old age. Now his brother is dead, so he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.” Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me that I may set my eyes on him.” But we said to my lord, “The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.” You said to your servants, however, “Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.” Thus it came about when we went up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. Our father said, “Go back, buy us a little food.” But we said, “We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.” Your servant my father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two sons; and the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn in pieces, and I have not seen him since. If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.” Now, therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow. For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, “If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.” Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me—for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?’” (Genesis 44:18-34).

In this eloquent and heartfelt recital of the various conversations Judah had with Jacob/Israel, regarding Benjamin and Judah’s pledge to lay down his life for Benjamin, Joseph was obviously moved to great emotion.

Joseph Reveals Himself

Now, in what has to be one of the most incredibly moving testimonies found in the Bible. Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. After listening to Judah’s words, and having discerned that Judah was seriously concerned about the welfare of not only Benjamin, but most especially their father Jacob—Joseph was so overwhelmed with emotion that he ordered all of the Egyptians out of the room, and he wept loudly before his brothers. Can you imagine what they must have been thinking, as they witnessed the person with absolute power over their lives, begin to break down emotionally? Without giving the brothers much time to process what they were watching, Joseph turned to them and proclaimed to them that he was Joseph, whom the brothers believed was probably dead by this time:

“Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, ‘Have everyone go out from me.’ So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come closer to me.’ And they came closer. And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph, ‘God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished.”’ Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you. Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.’ Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him” (Genesis 45:1-15).

God is not only the One who forms hearts, but He is also the most accomplished heart surgeon when it comes to turning hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. Apparently, all of the machinations from the multi-colored tunic, to the placement of Joseph’s wine goblet in Benjamin’s satchel, have all been used by the Almighty to get the attention of the brothers—who must have been awestruck with the realization that the Egyptian viceroy was their brother Joseph. However, the evidence of God’s providential hand upon all of these circumstances did not get overlooked by Joseph. Somehow, through the haze of confusion over how he had been treated by his brothers years earlier, any possible thoughts of revenge, and the time spent thinking about how he was going to approach his brothers, Joseph discerned that the Almighty had put all of these circumstances in motion to preserve the family of Jacob/Israel.

After revealing his true identity, Joseph responded to Judah and his brothers, by interjecting that God was ultimately responsible for all of the circumstances that had transpired since he was sold into slavery. This is an incredible testimony of forgiveness, and the ability to view the trials and tribulations of life from God’s perspective! Naturally, one can see how Joseph is often considered to possess various Messianic qualities, because he was used to physically save Israel. Being rejected by His people, He is the very agency by which they are to be delivered.

The Blessing of Pharaoh

As the narrative continues, the blessings upon the sons of Jacob/Israel do not end. Once the Egyptian Pharaoh heard that Joseph had long lost family living in Canaan, he offered to relocate them to the choicest land in Egypt. Obviously the favor of the Pharaoh toward Joseph was so great, that the common Egyptian aversion toward sheepherders did not keep Pharaoh from his generosity (Genesis 46:34). Take notice in this passage of the amount of wealth and goods sent to Jacob, to convince him that Joseph was alive and prospering in Egypt:

“Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh’s house that Joseph’s brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Say to your brothers, “Do this: load your beasts and go to the land of Canaan, and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land.” Now you are ordered, “Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come. Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.”’ Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. To each of them he gave changes of garments, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments. To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and sustenance for his father on the journey. So he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, ‘Do not quarrel on the journey.’ Then they went up from Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. They told him, saying, ‘Joseph is still alive, and indeed he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.’ But he was stunned, for he did not believe them. When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. Then Israel said, ‘It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die’” (Genesis 45:16-28).

There is no recorded description of how the brothers told Jacob about selling their brother Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders. But, one has to assume that the truth did come out in their conversations with Jacob/Israel. Yet, the good news that Joseph was still alive, allowed Jacob to absolve his other sons of their transgressions. For surely, the aged Jacob having heard that Joseph understood that he had been sent to Egypt to save the whole family, must have made sense. After all, Jacob had been through some tough times himself, and he had seen the Lord’s hand on many of the circumstances of his life. Plus, Jacob had experienced multiple encounters with the Holy One over the years.

Perhaps having the opportunity to be reunited with Joseph was the only way that the Lord could get Jacob to even consider leaving Canaan—because Jacob/Israel knew that it was the land of Canaan that was promised to Abraham and Isaac.

Jacob Hears from God

Leaving the Promised Land might jeopardize God’s plan to give it to the descendants of the Patriarchs. What was Jacob to do?

This was a tough predicament for Jacob/Israel to contend with, at this late stage in his life (Genesis 47:9). On his way to Egypt, Jacob arrived in Beersheba, at a place he was very familiar with (Genesis 28:10). It was here that his father Isaac had dug wells and made a covenant with Abimelech (Genesis 26:23-33). So Jacob, knowing that departing Canaan was a difficult move to consider, arrived in Beersheba and offered up sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac—perhaps even on the same altars built years earlier by his ancestors. In God’s mercy to Jacob that night, the Lord spoke to him in visions, giving him the reassurance that going to Egypt was the right thing to be doing with his family. God assured him that He would bring Jacob back to the Land of Promise, but only after Joseph had witnessed his death:

“So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob.’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes.’ Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob and their little ones and their wives in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They took their livestock and their property, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him: his sons and his grandsons with him, his daughters and his granddaughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt” (Genesis 46:1-7).

For the balance of V’yigash, some of the details about the individuals, who migrated and how they were treated by their Egyptian hosts, are recorded (Genesis 46:8-34). However, the introduction of Israel to the Pharaoh is interesting, because at the ripe old age of 130 years, this Hebrew actually blessed the Egyptian ruler twice during their encounter. The favor of the Lord was certainly upon Jacob/Israel and his family, as they were treated with mutual respect, despite the Egyptian disdain for sheepherders:

“Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, ‘My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.’ He took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, ‘What is your occupation?’ So they said to Pharaoh, ‘Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.’ They said to Pharaoh, ‘We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.’Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, ‘How many years have you lived?’ So Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.’ And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from his presence. So Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered. Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones” (Genesis 47:1-12).

God’s Faithfulness to Restore Israel

As we prepare to come to the end of the Book of Genesis, and the testimonies about the Patriarchs of Israel, one overwhelming thought comes to my mind. This is the undeniable fact that from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to the sons of Jacob/Israel—the Holy One will accomplish His intentions. Despite any limited human frailties, or any attempts of the enemy of our souls, to thwart God’s plans—His will for civilization will be achieved. Over and over, we can read about how the Almighty intervened at just the right time with a speaking appearance, or a word or a dream or a vision, so that the family chosen by Him would stay on course to achieve their mission. For surely, there is an understanding that despite whatever challenges, as Yeshua the Messiah would explain to His Disciples, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). The Psalmist and the Apostle Paul also affirm,

“The LORD is for me; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6).

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31).

In the case of the sons of Jacob/Israel, the God of Creation had a plan that He was executing, according to His perfect timing. On a much grander scale for the distant future, God is ultimately going to be restored to all people who take refuge in Him at the End of the Age. In the interim, whether it is individual reunions between one person and a loving Creator as salvation is understood and received, or whether it is restoration among families and friends through the power of forgiveness and love, or whether it is the ultimate restoration that Ezekiel foresaw between the House of Judah and the House of Israel/Ephraim—be rest assured that God is very much blessed when restoration occurs. We see emotional glimpses of it when Joseph hugged and wept with his brothers. We see it again when the aged Jacob greeted Joseph after years of separation. Hopefully, you have experienced some restoration in your own life, which will allow you to identify with what you have been studying.

Let us all be about the Father’s business of making restoration, in love, to all who call upon the name of Yeshua (Jesus). It is a part of the plan for the Creation. May we make it a part of our lifestyle as His representatives, sent to love others into the Kingdom! (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Vayigash (He approached) – The Day! – SCRIPTURES FOR December 23, 2017

Living Torah Commentary

Vayigash (He approached) 
Genesis 44:18-47:27
Ezekiel 37:15-28
Acts 7:9-16
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The Day!
This Torah portion may well be my favorite of all! To consider the prophetic shadows within these words is overwhelming to me. I have no idea how many times I have tried to imagine the scene we are reading. Yosef is standing in front of his brothers. They have no idea who this man is standing in front of them. Yosef has an Egyptian name; he looks like an Egyptian, dresses like an Egyptian. Not in their wildest of dreams would they have thought of Yosef.
Now consider the Egyptians in the room. Who do they think Yosef is? Some may remember being told he was a Hebrew, but does it really matter to them? They see him as now being one of their own culture.
Then there is Yosef, the only person in the room that knows who he really is. The desire to reveal himself not only to his brothers, but to all present is burning inside of him, but he can’t. Not yet. The testing of the sons of Israel is not quite finished.
Last week, Binyamin is brought to the forefront of the story. He is the one used by Yosef to look deep into the inward souls of his ten brothers. Yosef does not know how this will turn out. As far as he knows they are going to leave Binyamin the same way they left him. He rolled the dice and has not seen how they land.
In the end it will be Y’hudah who will step up to defend his half-brother. Just imagine how difficult it is for Yosef to stand and hear his half-brother come to the rescue of his full brother. It is more than Yosef can bear. Can you imagine what began to go through the boys minds when Yosef cleared the room of all the Egyptians? The brothers are not seeing this turn out very well!
Yosef turns back to his brothers with tears and a huge lump in his throat to utter some of the most beautiful words in Scripture, “Ani Yoseph” (I am Joseph).
Why do I refer to “Ani Yosef” as beautiful words? These words are the shadow of a future event in which Messiah stands before His family to reveal Himself. That day we all may be a bit undone when His true nature is revealed before us. I pray that my whole being will scream with desire for that day to be soon and in my lifetime.
Here is a twist though. Have you ever thought about how much He desires to be revealed?
Think again about Yosef. Every fiber of his being was screaming at him to speak the words of revelation, but he had to remain silent. Would the boys sell out Binyamin like they had done him so many years earlier or would they stand for each other no matter the personal consequences?
So what is holding Messiah back from being revealed in our day? Is it because His desire is not there? I think not. Is it possibly because world events are not quite in place? After all, Yah can make world events happen transpire quickly if needed. What if the answer is that we have not yet passed the test whether we will sell each other out or defend each other no matter the cost?
 At some point in time the shadows of this story will be the substance of reality. If there really is a part we can do to bring it to pass sooner rather than later, how about we get with it. Let’s start today to treat others like the family which will one day be changed from the most dysfunctional to ever live to the one which will be the model of righteousness and love for the entire world to see.  (Click to Source)

 

Weekly Torah Portion – Mikeits – Dec 15, 2017 – One New Man Bible

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Genesis 41:1 – 44:17

At the End of Two Years

41.1. And it was at the end of two full years that Pharaoh dreamed and, behold, he stood by the river. 2. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favored and fattened cows and they fed in a meadow. 3. And, behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the river, ill favored and lean. And they stood by the other cows on the bank of the river. 4. And the ill favored and lean cows ate the seven well favored and fat cows. So Pharaoh awoke.

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41:5. And he slept and dreamed a second time and, behold, seven heads of grain came up upon one stalk, fat and good. 6. And behold, seven thin heads of grain even blasted by the east wind sprang up after them. 7. And the seven thin heads of grain devoured the seven fat and full heads of grain. Then Pharaoh awoke and, behold, it was a dream.

41:8. And it happened in the morning that his spirit was troubled and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dream, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh. 9. Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh saying, “I do remember my error this day.” 10. Pharaoh was very angry with his servants and put me in custody in the captain of the guard’s house, me and the chief baker. 11. And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he. We dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. 12. And there was there with us a young man, a Hebrew servant to the captain of the guard and we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us, to each man according to his dream he did interpret. 13. And it happened, as he interpreted to us, so it was. He restored me to my office, and he hanged him.”

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dream

41:14. Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved and changed his clothes and came in to Pharaoh. 15. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have dreamed a dream and no one can interpret it, and I have heard say of you that you can understand a dream to interpret it.” 16. And Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, “It is not I! God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” 17. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river. 18. And, behold, seven cows, fat and well favored came up out of the river and they fed in a meadow. 19. Then, behold, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ill favored and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness. 20. And the lean and the ill favored cows ate the first seven fat cows. 21. And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them, but they were still ill favored, as at the beginning. So I awoke. 22. Then I saw in my next dream and, behold, seven heads of grain came up in one-stalk, full and good: 23. and, behold, seven heads of grain, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprang up after them: 24. and the thin heads of grain devoured the seven good heads of grain. I told this to the magicians, but there was no one who could declare it to me.”

41:25. And Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dream of Pharaoh is one: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 26. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years: the dream is one. 27. And the seven thin and ill favored cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty heads of grain blasted with the east wind will be seven years of famine. 28. This is the thing that I have spoken to Pharaoh. What God showed to Pharaoh is what He is about to do. 29. Behold there are seven years of great plenty coming throughout all the land of Egypt. 30. And after them will come seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine will consume the land. 31. And the plenty will not be known in the land by reason of that famine following, for it will be very severe. 32. And because of that the dream was doubled to Pharaoh twice. It is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. 33. Now therefore let Pharaoh seek a man discreet and wise and set him over the land of Egypt. 34. Let Pharaoh do this and let him appoint officers over the land and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. 35. And let them gather all the food that comes in those good years, and lay up grain under the hand of Pharaoh and let them keep food in the cities. 36. And that food will be stored for the land against the seven years of famine which will be in the land of Egypt, so the land would not perish during the famine.”

41:37. And that was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38. And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is no one so discreet and wise as you. 40. You will be over my house, and according to your word will all my people be ruled. Only in the throne will I be greater than you.”

Joseph Appointed Over Egypt

41:41. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in fine linen robes and put a gold chain around his neck. 43. And he made him ride in the second chariot which he had, and they cried before him, “Bow the knee!” And he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without you no man will lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45. And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zephanath-paneah, and gave him for his wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. 46. And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

41:47. And in the seven plentiful years the earth brought forth by handfuls. 48. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt and laid up the food in the cities, the food of the field which was all around every city, he laid up in the same city. 49. And Joseph gathered grain as the sand of the sea, very much, until he stopped numbering, for it was without number.

41:50. And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On bore to him. 51. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh (M’nasheh), for he said, “God has made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.” 52. And the name of the second he called Ephraim (Efrayim), “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

41:53. Then the seven years of plentifulness that were in the land of Egypt were ended. 54. And the seven years of famine began to come, according as Joseph had said, and the famine was in all lands, but there was bread in all the land of Egypt. 55. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do what he says to you.” 56. And the famine was over all the face of the earth and Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, and the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy grain because the famine was severe in all lands.

Jacob Sends Joseph’s Brothers

42.1. Now when Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” 2. And he said, “Look, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Get down there and buy for us from there, so we can live and not die.” 3. And Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers for he said. “Lest perhaps disaster would befall him.”

42:5. And the sons of Israel came to buy grain among those who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6. And Joseph was the governor over the land, and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves down before him with their faces to the ground.

42:7. And Joseph saw his brothers and he recognized them, but made himself a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. And he said to them, “Where did you come from?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.” 8. And Joseph knew his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness, vulnerability, of the land.” 10. And they said to him, “No, my lord, but your servants came to buy food. 11. We are all one man’s sons. We are honest men. Your servants are not spies.” 12. And he said to them, “No, but you came to see the nakedness of the land.” 13. And they said, “Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.” 14. And Joseph said to them, that is what I said to you saying, “You are spies. 15. Here is how you will be proved: By the life of Pharaoh you will not go forth from here until your youngest brother comes here. 16. Send one of you and let him get your brother and you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be proved, whether there is any truth in you. Or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies.” 17. And he put them all together in custody for three days. 18. And on the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and live, for I revere God. 19. If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be bound in the house of your prison. Go, carry grain for the famine of your houses, 20. but bring your youngest brother to me, so your words will be verified and you will not die.” And they did so. 21. And they said one to another, “We are truly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us and we would not listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us.” 22. And Reuben answered them saying, “Did I not tell you saying, Do not sin against the boy! But you would not listen. Therefore, behold, also his blood is required.”

42:23. And they did not know that Joseph understood them, for he spoke to them through an interpreter. 24. And he turned himself away from them and wept, then returned to them again and spoke with them, and took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes. 25. Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with grain, and to restore each man’s money into his sack and to give them provision for the way. And thus he did for them. 26. And they loaded their donkeys with the grain and left from there. 27. And as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey feed at their lodging, he saw his money, for, behold, it was in his sack’s mouth. 28. And he said to his brothers, “My money is restored and, see, it is even in my sack.” And their heart failed them and they were afraid, saying to one another, “What is this that God has done to us?”

42:29. And they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan, and told him all that happened to them saying, 30. “The man who is lord of the land spoke roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. 31. And we said to him, ‘We are honest men, we are not spies 32. We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One is not, and the youngest is today with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33. And the man, lord of the country, said to us, ‘Here is how I shall know that you are honest men. “Leave one of your brothers here with me and take food for the famine of your households, and leave. 34. Then bring your youngest brother to me and I shall know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men, then I shall deliver your brother to you, and you could travel in the land.’”

42:35. And it was as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. 36. And Jacob their father said to them, “You have grieved me. Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and you will take Benjamin away. All these things are against me.” 37. And Reuben spoke to his father saying, “Slay my two sons, if I do not bring him to you. Deliver him into my hand and I shall bring him to you again.” 38. And he said, “My son will not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left. If disaster befalls him by the way in which you go, then you will bring down my gray hairs to the grave in sorrow.”

Second Trip to Egypt

43.1. And the famine was severe in the land. 2. And it was, when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again. Buy us a little food.” 3. And Judah spoke to him saying, “The man did solemnly protest to us saying, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ 4. If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5. But if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’” 6. And Israel said, “Why did you deal so badly with me, as to tell the man whether you had yet another brother?” 7. And they said, “The man asked us directly about us and about our relatives saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ And we told him according to the tenor of these words. How could we know for sure that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down?’” 8. And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the lad with me and we will be up and go, so we may live and not die; we, you, and also our little ones. 9. I shall be surety for him. You will require him from my hand: if I do not bring him to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. 10. For unless we had lingered, surely now we would have returned this second time.” 11. And their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so now, do this: take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels and carry a present down to the man, a little balsam, a little honey, spices, myrrh, nuts, and almonds. 12. And take double money in your hand and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand. Maybe it was an oversight. 13. Also take your brother and get up, go again to the man. 14. And God Almighty give compassion for you before the man, so he may send away your other brother and Benjamin. If I am grieved of my children, I am grieved.”

43:15. And the men took that present and they took double money in their hand and Benjamin, and rose up and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph. 16. And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the head of his household, “Bring these men home and slay and make ready, for these men will dine with me at noon.” 17. And the man did as Joseph bade, and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house. 18. And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house and they said, “We are brought in because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time, so he may seek charges against us and fall upon us and take us for bond men and our donkeys.” 19. And they came near to the man who was over Joseph’s house, the steward, and they spoke with him at the door of the house 20. and said, “O sir, we came down indeed at the first time to buy food. 21. And it happened, when we came to the lodging place, that we opened our sacks and, behold, each man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight and we have brought it again in our hand. 22. And we have brought other money down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.” 23. And he said, “Peace be to you. Do not be in awe! Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks. I had your money.” And he brought Simeon out to them.

43:24. And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water and they washed their feet, and he gave their donkeys feed. 25. And they made ready the present before Joseph came at noon, for they heard that they would dine there. 26. And when Joseph came home, they brought into the house the present for him which was in their hand, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 27. And he asked them about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he yet alive?” 28. And they answered, “Your servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive.” And they bowed down their heads and paid homage. 29. And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?” And he said, “God will be gracious to you, my son.” 30. And Joseph hurried, for his affection toward his brother was kindled and he sought to weep, then he entered his chamber and wept there. 31. And he washed his face and went out and was restraining himself and said, “Serve the meal.” 32. And they served him by himself and for them by themselves and for the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat a meal with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, and the men marvelled at one another. 34. And he took and sent portions to them from before him, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him.

Joseph Returns the Money Again

44.1. And he commanded the steward of his house saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry and put each man’s money in his sack’s mouth. 2. And put my cup, the silver cup and his grain money in the sack’s mouth of the youngest.” And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. 3. As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys. 4. When they had left the city, not far off, Joseph said to his steward, “Get up! Follow after the men and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you rewarded bad for good? 5. Is this not the cup from which my lord drinks, and indeed by which he divines? You have done evil in so doing.’”

Brothers Accused

44:6. And he overtook them and spoke these same words to them. 7. And they said to him, “Why does my lord say these words? Far be it from us that your servants should do according to this thing. 8. Behold, the money that we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought to you again out of the land of Canaan. How then should we steal silver or gold out of your lord’s house? 9. With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, then we too will be my lord’s bond men.” 10. And he said, “Now also let it be according to your words: he with whom it is found will be my servant and you will be blameless.” 11. Then each man speedily took down his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack.

44:12. And he searched, beginning at the eldest and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13. Then they tore their clothes and each man loaded his donkey and returned to the city. 14. And Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, for he was still there, and they fell before him on the ground. 15. And Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can certainly divine?” 16. And Judah said, “What will we say to my lord? What will we speak? Or how will we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also with whom the cup is found.” 17. And he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so, but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he will be my servant. And as for you, go in peace to your father.” (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Tol’dot (History) – The Battle Still Rages – SCRIPTURES FOR November 18, 2017

Torah Commentary
Tol’dot (History)
Genesis 25:19-28:9
Malachi 1:1-2:7
Romans 9:6-16
Hebrews 11:20; 12:14-17

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The Battle Still Rages
There are two areas of this Torah portion I would like to expound on this week. In the end the two will tie together as a theme.
The first area to cover is the words of Rivkah (Rebecca). She is found to be barren. Yitzchak prayed for her and she became pregnant. It was not long into her pregnancy that the two boys in her womb began to fight. Let’s stop right here and consider, what these boys were fighting about? Was it because they were uncomfortable in their cramped living quarters and trying to find a bit of room? Absolutely not! It was not a physical fight, but rather a spiritual fight for the position of the Malki-Tzedek priesthood of the first born. This is, by the way a theme which runs from cover to cover in Scripture. Ya’akov and Esav’s fight was so fierce that Rivkah desired to die instead of continuing as the womb of this battle.
Here is a point for each of us to consider. We too are like Rivkah in that two seeds are battling within us. Paul called these two natures. This is the same principal and is one which we all deal with on a daily basis. It is evident to me by my own life and talking with many elders through the years that we are not going to, in this lifetime, reach some magical day in which the fight inside us ceases. The option many people take is hinted in the words of Rivkah, words of surrender to the battle instead of continuing to fight.
Herein lays a place of soul searching we must do. Is there a place, a time, an event in our future in which we will say the fight is too much for us and quit? Consider it this way. What would it take for you to throw in the towel and quit the fight? Be careful in the answer and within the answer consider 1Corinthians 10:12, “Therefore, let anyone who thinks he is standing up be careful not to fall!” Let us keep in mind that winning the battle is not about our strength, but rather His strength in us. As for Rivkah, she found HaShem’s strength and in the end has the testimony to prove it. May the same be true for each of us.
The second area to look at happens after the two boys are adults. The account is very familiar to all of us. It is about the red stew. That is not really true. It is not about stew, but rather the birthright. Esav had won the race from the womb and the birth right was his. He never cared about it. He never walked in it. To him it was just a trophy on the wall which no longer had meaning. To Ya’akov it meant everything and he was determined to do whatever necessary to have the birthright as well as the blessings and responsibilities that went along with it. In the end, Ya’akov would not steal the birthright as he has been accused of, but rather he would barter for it, fair and square.
Here is our second point to consider. Just what does it mean for us today to walk in the birthright? Is it about relationship with our Creator, walking in the redemption offered to us? Is it about our being a priest in service unto Him and an example of Him unto others? The answer is “yes” to all the above and so much more. So what is that birthright worth to you? Is it something worth fighting for and protecting at all costs? I can only answer for myself.
Here is the theme of this week’s Torah portion, fight for what is being offered to us. Fight and never be willing to compromise the inheritance which has been afforded us. I’ll state it this way. In this life we must always remember that we are not on a playground, but rather on a battleground. The battle being fought is for your very soul. Not something to play games with! (Click to Source)
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Torah Commentary – Vayera (He Appeared) – The Rewards and Challenges of Listening – SCRIPTURES FOR November 4, 2017

Torah Commentary
Vayera (He Appeared)

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Gen 18:1-22:24
2Kings 4:1-37
Luke 17:26-37
Romans 9:6-9
Hebrews 6:13-20
Ya’akov 2:14-24
 
The Rewards and Challenges of Listening
 
The journey to Canaan taught Abram and Sara much about listening. They have learned so much that their names have been changed. What has been added to each of their names? It is the Hebrew letter hey, which is a picture of breath and authority. HaShem’s voice has now become a part of them. Is it all just fun and games from here? Absolutely not, though the rewards will definitely overcome the challenges.
Imagine Abraham there in front of his tent by the oaks of Mamre. Maybe he was engaging in a bit of afternoon daydreaming about where he had come from. He is suddenly startled out of his daydream by three men standing in front of him. As they greeted one another Abraham caught something. The voice of one of these men was a voice he had heard before. It was the voice of the Creator, but now it was coming from a man standing in front of him. No wonder he was hurried in the dinner plans. Can you imagine his face when he ran into the tent and told Sarah, “You won’t believe who is coming to dinner tonight!”
Abraham has come a long way from listening to the inaudible voice become audible. That growth of listening will now put him in line to listen and act on greater instructions. You know, things like “I need someone to intercede for their nephew who has made all the wrong decisions.”
The listening will come with wonders and miracles like, “You just thought you were too old to have children!” The listening would also cause him to hear something he never dreamed of when he was told to sacrifice his son on an altar on Mt. Moriah. It was not the listening that day that would determine his future, but rather his trained response to the words he heard.
Stop for a moment and put yourself in the shoes of Abraham. When he hears HaShem call his name his response is, “Here I am.” In Hebrew it is the word “hineni.” Before we go further, consider how we respond to the sound of our name from a spouse, child, parent or friend. We normally say something like “What do you want” or another conditional response. Abraham’s response, the word “hineni,” is much different. It is more like, “I am here and whatever you need or ask the answer is already yes.”
Abraham did not think to question what he heard, because hineni is never linked to questioning, just yes and obedience. Let’s pull this week and last together. I would imagine we are all in agreement that our desire is for and to listen to HaShem’s voice better. We desire the inaudible to become audible at times. We may even go so far as to say we would like to hear that voice as clear as if it were manifested in front of us. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we willing to listen with the attitude of hineni?” Have we grown past putting conditions to the voice? Abraham gives us a great example and footsteps to follow. Since it is revealed to us that he was just a man with issues and failures it kind of takes our excuses away for not trying. (Click to Source)

Shabbat Shalom! – Weekly Torah Portion – Noah – Oct 20, 2017

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Noah

6:9. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man, perfect in his generationsNoah walked with God. 10. And Noah begot three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11. The whole earth was corrupt before God and the earth was filled with violence.12. And God looked upon the earth and, behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

6:13. And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them and, behold, I shall destroy them from the earth. 14. Make a box of gopher wood for yourself. You will make compartments in the box, and will cover it within and without with atonement. 15. And this is how you will make it. The length of the box will be three hundred cubits, its width is fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16. You will make a window for the box, and you will finish it a cubit upward. And you will set the door of the box in its side, with lower, second, and third stories will you make it. 17. And, behold, I AM, even I, am bringing a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh, in which is the breath of life, from under heaven, and everything that is on the earth will die.”

First Covenant with Noah

6:18. “But with you I shall establish, ratify, My covenant and you will come into the box, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19. And of every living thing of all flesh, you will bring two of every sort into the box, to keep alive with you; they will be male and female. 20. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every sort will come to you, to keep alive. 21. And take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you will gather it for yourself, and it will be for food for you and for them.” 22. And Noah did so. According to all that God commanded him, so he did. (Heb. 11:7)

The LORD* Invites Noah and Family

7.1. And the LORD* said to Noah, “Come into the box, you and your entire house! For I have seen you righteous before Me in this generation. 2. Of every clean beast you will take to yourself by sevens, the male and his mate: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his mate. 3. Also of fowls of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 4. For yet seven days, and  I AM shall cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living substance that I have made I shall erase from off the face of the earth.”

7:5. And Noah did according to all that the LORD* commanded him. 6. And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. 7. And Noah, his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, went into the box because of the waters of the flood. 8. Of clean beasts and of beasts that are not clean, of fowls, and of everything that creeps upon the earth, 9. they came in two by two to Noah in the box, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. 10. And it was after seven days that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. 11. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13.In the selfsame day Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the box; 14. they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth after its kind, and every fowl after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15. And they came in to Noah in the box, two by two of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16. And they that came in, male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him, and the LORD* shut him in. 17. And the flood was upon the earth for forty days and the waters increased and raised the box, and it was lifted up above the earth. 18. And the waters prevailed and were increased greatly upon the earth, and the box went upon the face of the waters. 19. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered.  20. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail and the mountains were covered. 21. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, of fowl, of cattle, of beast, of every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth, and every man. 22. All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was on the dry land, died. 23. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, man, cattle, the creeping things, and the fowl of the skies. And they were destroyed from the earth, and only Noah and those that were with him in the box remained alive. 24. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred fifty days.

After the Flood

8.1. And God remembered Noah, every living thing and all the animals that were with him in the box, and God made a wind to pass over the earth and the waters decreased. 2. The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped and the rain from heaven was restrained. 3. And the waters returned from off the earth continually and after the end of the hundred fifty days the waters were abated. 4. And the box rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. 5. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. 6. And it was at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the box which he had made. 7. And he sent out a raven, which went forth to and fro until the waters were dried up from off the earth. 8. He then sent out a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground, 9. but the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot and she returned to him in the box, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand and took her and brought her in to him in the box. 10. And he stayed yet another seven days and again he sent the dove out of the box. 11. And the dove came in to him in the evening and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off, so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. 12. And he stayed yet another seven days and sent forth the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.  13. And it was in the six hundred first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth, and Noah removed the covering of the box and looked and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. 14. And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried.

8:15. And God spoke to Noah saying, 16. “Go forth from the box! You, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you!17. Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you, of all flesh, of fowl, of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth, so they can breed abundantly on the earth and be fruitful and multiply upon the earth.”

8:18. And Noah, his sons, his wife, his sons’ wives went out with him. 19. Every beast, every creeping thing, every fowl, and whatever creeps upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the box.

8:20. And Noah built an altar to the LORD* and took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21. And the LORD* smelled a sweet savor and the LORD* said in His heart, “I shall not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake, for the imagination of man’s heart is bad from his youth. (Jer. 32:30) Neither will I again any longer strike everything living, as I have done. 22. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.”

Second Covenant with Noah

9.1. And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. 2. And the fear of you and the dread of you will be upon every beast of the earth and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moves upon the earth and upon all the fishes of the sea. They are delivered into your hand. 3. Every moving thing that lives will be food for you, even as the green herb. I have given you everything. 4. But you will not eat flesh with its life, which is in its blood. 5. And surely your blood of your lives will I require, at the hand of every beast I shall require it, and at the hand of man. At the hand of every man’s brother I shall require the life of man. 6. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man will his blood be shed, for He made man in the image of God. 7. And you, be fruitful and multiply. Bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.”

9:8. And God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him saying, 9. “And behold, I AM establishing My covenant with you and with your seed after you, 10. and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the box, to every beast of the earth.

11. And I will confirm My covenant with you. Neither will all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood, nor will there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12. And God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I am giving between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13. I have set My rainbow in the cloud, and it will be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14. And it will be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud, 15. and I shall remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh: and the waters will no longer become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16. And the bow will be in the cloud, and I shall look upon it, so I can remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” 17. And God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.”

9.18. And the sons of Noah who went out from the box were Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.19. These are the three sons of Noah, and the whole earth was overspread by them.

9:20. And Noah began to be a man of the soil, a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. 21. And he drank of the wine and was drunk, and he was uncovered within his tent. 22. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23. And Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father, and their faces were backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24. And Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his younger son had done to him. 25. And he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants will he be to his brothers.” 26. And he said, “Blessed be the LORD* God of Shem; and Canaan will be his servant. 

27. God will enlarge Japheth, and he will dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan will be his servant.”

9:28. And Noah lived after the flood three hundred fifty years. 29. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred fifty years.

Descendants of Noah

10.1. Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and sons were born to them after the flood. 2. The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshekh, and Tiras. 3. And the sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Rifat, and Togarmah. 4. And the sons of Javan were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. 5. By these were the isles of the nations divided in their lands, each one by his language, by their families, in their nations.

10:6. And the sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. 7. And the sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca: and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. 8. And Cush begot Nimrod who began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD*, therefore it is said, “Even as Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the LORD*.” 10. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11. Asshur went forth out of that land and built Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, 12. and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. 13. And Mizraim begot Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naftuhim, 14. Patrusim, Casluhim, from whom came the Philistines, and Caftorim. 15. And Canaan begot Zidon his firstborn, Heth, 16. the Jebusite, the Amorite, the Girgashite, 17. the Hivite, the Arkite, the Sinite, 18. the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and later the families of the Canaanites were spread abroad. 19.And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as you come to Gerar, to Gaza: as you go to Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and to Lasha. 20. These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their languages, in their countries, in their nations.

10:21. Born to Shem, to him also, the father of all the children of Ever, the elder brother of Japheth. 22. The children of Shem were Elam, Ashshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. 23. And the children of Aram were Uz, Hul, Geter, and Mash.

24. And Arpachshad begot Shelah, and Shelah begot Ever. 25. And to Ever were born two sons; the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother’s name was Joktan. 26. And Joktan begot Almodad, Shelef, Hazarmavet, Jerah, 27. Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28. Oval, Avimael, Sheva, 29. Ofir, Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. 30. And their dwelling was from Mesha, as you go to Sefar, a mountain of the east. 31. These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations.

10:32. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and the nations were divided by these in the earth after the flood.

Tower of Babel

11.1. And the whole earth was of one language and of few possessions. 2. And it was, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they stayed there. 3. And they said one to another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone and they had slime for mortar. 4. And they said, “Come, we will build a city and a tower for ourselves, whose top may reach to the heavens and we will make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5. And the LORD* came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. 6. And the LORD* said, “Behold, the people are one, and they all have one language. And they begin to do this and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so they will not understand one another’s speech.”

11:8. So the LORD* scattered them abroad from there over the face of the entire earth and they stopped building the city.9. That is why the name of it is called Babel, because there the LORD* confounded the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD* scattered them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

11:10. These are the generations of Shem. Shem was a hundred years old and begot Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11. And Shem lived five hundred years after he begot Arpachshad and he begot sons and daughters.

11:12 And Arpachshad lived thirty-five years and he begot Shelah. 13. And Arpachshad lived four hundred three years after he begot Shelah and he begot sons and daughters.

11:14. And Shelah lived thirty years and he begot Ever. 15. And Shelah lived four hundred three years after he begot Ever and he begot sons and daughters.

11:16. And Ever lived thirty-four years and he begot Peleg. 17. And. Ever lived four hundred thirty years after he begot Peleg and he begot sons and daughters.

11:18. And Peleg lived thirty years and begot Reu. 19. And Peleg lived two hundred nine years after he begot Reu and he begot sons and daughters.

11:20. And Reu lived thirty-two years and begot Serug. 21. And Reu lived after he begot Serug two hundred seven years and begot sons and daughters.

11:22. And Serug lived thirty years and begot Nahor. 23. And Serug lived two hundred years after he begot Nahor and he begot sons and daughters.

11:24. And Nahor lived twenty-nine years and begot Terah. 25. And Nahor lived one hundred nineteen years after he begot Terah and he begot sons and daughters.

11:26. And Terah lived seventy years and he begot Abram (Avram), Nahor, and Haran.

11:27. Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot. 28. And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 29. And Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milkah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milkah, and the father of Iscah. 30. But Sarai was barren; she had no child.

11:31. And Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they left with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan, and they came to Haran and lived there.

11:32. And the days of Terah were two hundred five years, and Terah died in Haran. (Click to Site)