Parashah Studies

Toldot

Parashah 6: Tol'dot “Generations”

B'reisheet “in the beginning” (Genesis) 25:19-28:9 Mal'akhi (Malachi) 1:1-2:7 Romans 9:1-13

Genesis 25 20 Yitz'chak was forty years old when he took Rivkah, the daughter of B'tu'el the Arami from Paddan-Aram and sister of Lavan the Arami, to be his wife. 21 Yitz'chak prayed to Adonai on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. Adonai heeded his prayer, and Rivkah became pregnant.

  •  Yitz'chak (Isaac) was forty years old when he and Rivkah (Rebekah) married. According to verse 26 Yitz'chak was sixty when their children, twin boys, were born.

     Isaac knew that the promises God had given to his father Abraham had been passed on to him (cf. Gen. 21:12; 22:17), yet for almost 20 years his wife didn't conceive.

     Rebekah didn't conceive until Isaac prayed for her, but how long had he been praying? We are not told. How earnest had his prayers been? We are not told. We are simply told that she was childless, he prayed, and she became pregnant.

     Imagine waiting until age 40 to get married, knowing the promises of God, and that those promises include descendants through you. Then imagine remaining childless for another 20 years.

     That is a test of faith, patience, perseverance in belief in God, in His promises, and His ability to bring them to fulfillment.

     How patient are we in our faith, perseverance, and belief in the LORD?

     Scripture warns us against vain or meaningless repetitions and babbling when we pray (Mt. 6:7), but what about earnest reiteration?
22 The children fought with each other inside her so much that she said, “If it's going to be like this, why go on living?” So she went to inquire of Adonai, 23 who answered her, “There are two nations in your womb. From birth they will be two rival peoples. One of these peoples will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

 Even before they were born they were fighting.

 Rivkah went to inquire of the LORD, Who answered her!

 God is not a respecter of persons, but all who truly seek Him will find Him.

 Mt. 7:7 Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who keeps asking receives; he who keeps seeking finds; and to him who keeps knocking, the door will be opened.

 In verse 7 “ask,” “seek,” and “knock” have been translated “keep asking,” “keep seeking,” and “keep knocking” because each is a present imperative in the original Greek of the B'rit Hadashah (New Testament) here. A present imperative indicates a “commitment to a long term way of doing something. A command to keep on doing an action as one's general habit or life-style. Repeat each time this situation arises!” (Discovery Bible New Testament)

  •  There were two nations in her womb.  From birth they would be two rival peoples.  One people would be stronger than the other.  The older would serve the younger.

 Having received such a word from the LORD, it is hard to imagine Yitz'chak did not hear of it. Yet …

 Verse 28, Yitz'chak favored 'Esav, because he had a taste for game ….

 It appears that Yitz'chak had either forgotten what the LORD had said, or  he simply put his desires ahead of God's Word

 How often do we do the same “in the moment” without first considering the ramifications?

 Gen. 27:3 Yitz'chak to 'Esav … “Then I will bless you [as first-born], before I die.”

 Even though 'Esav had sold his rights as the firstborn to Y'akov for a single meal (Gen. 25:29-34). “Thus 'Esav showed how little he valued his birthright.”

24 When the time for her delivery came, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first to come out was reddish and covered all over with hair, like a coat; so they named him 'Esav [completely formed, that is, having hair already]. 26 Then his brother emerged, with his hand holding 'Esav's heel, so he was called Ya'akov [he catches by the heel, he supplants]. Yitz'chak was sixty years old when she bore them.

 Rivkah had just come to the end of a hard pregnancy where the twins “fought with each other inside her so much that she said, 'If it's going to be like this, why go on living?'” (verse 22).

 While it is normal for babies in the womb to move and stretch, this was something extreme.  The hamstring of the upper leg is the strongest muscle (and one of the biggest) in the entire body. While the twins were fighting in the womb, it is possible that Ya'akov took hold of 'Esav's heel defensively, and held on to it with such determination (and for so long) that it “froze” there and even the pressures of childbirth did not dislodge it.

27 The boys grew; and 'Esav became a skillful hunter, an outdoorsman; while Ya'akov was a quiet man who stayed in the tents. 28 Yitz'chak favored 'Esav, because he had a taste for game; Rivkah favored Ya'akov.

 Rivals tend to avoid each other.

 Stronger people tend to be more outgoing: possibly because they are less afraid of taking chances; maybe because they find more opportunities to test their limits

 “stronger” may be physical, but maybe 'Esav had a “stronger” character. Maybe he was an extrovert by nature; more outgoing, boisterous, more “easygoing” we might say.

 Quiet people tend to be more contemplative: possibly more studious; more at home with “routine”

 “quiet” does not mean weak …

 the Hebrew word translated “quiet” here is תָּם [tam] meaning:

 complete, perfect; one who lacks nothing in physical strength, beauty, etc.  sound, wholesome; an ordinary, quiet sort of person  complete, morally innocent, having integrity; one who is morally and ethically pure

 also “meek” does not mean weak

 Yeshua said, How blessed are the meek! For they will inherit the Land! (Matt 5:5)

 The word translated “meek” here is the Greek word πραΰς [praus] which means mild or gentle, i.e. (by implication) humble.

 One might say, “strong enough to be gentle.”

 The analogy is given of a huge stallion that is well trained. All of the strength, power, and might are intact, yet it is all under control … in this case all under the control of the Ruach HaKodesh.

 This idea can be seen in the world famous Lipizzaner Stallions of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. (See, e.g. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/legendary-white-stallions-video-the-world-famous-lipizzaner-stallions/8286/, accessed 08Nov15.)

 The story of the Lipizzaner's rescue from certain death during World War II by the U.S. Army is told in the Disney film Miracle of the White Stallions, released on DVD in 2004 (a mission my father-in-law took part in).

 We can also see this idea in the life of Moshe. Numbers 12:3 says he was very humble (or meek) “more so than anyone on earth.” We don't think of someone who is seen as weak as going face-to-face with the ruler of the greatest world empire of his day, as a leader of millions of people, or talking face-to-face with HaShem as a man speaks with his friend (Ex. 33:11, Num. 12:8, Deut. 34:10).

 Many talk long and strong about Ya'akov's name and how it points to his character, yet much of that seems to be based on conjecture than a careful study of God's Word refutes.

 Yes, biblical names often reflect a persons nature and / or character; but not always.

 Jacob was given his name because he was grasping his brother's heel when the babies were born (Gen. 25:26).

 Ya'akov (Jacob) יַעֲקֹב means “heel-catcher,” or “heel-grasper,” (and therefore figuratively “supplanter”), yet here in Genesis 25:27 we are told the character of the man: יַעֲקֹב אִישׁ תָּם = “Ya'akov was a 'tam' man,” or “Ya'akov was a man who was 'tam'.”

 With Jacob being described as a תָּם man, there is a natural inference that Esau was not.

 For another biblical example of how a man's name and character differed see Ya'betz (Jabez) in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10.

 The importance of biblical names, and their connection with character and / or destiny, explains why some adults got their names changed, e.g.: Abram => Abraham Gen. 17:5 Sarai => Sarah Gen. 17:15 Jacob => Israel Gen. 32:28 Simon => Peter (Kefa) Jn. 1:42 Joseph => Barnabas Acts 4:36

29 One day when Ya'akov had cooked some stew, 'Esav came in from the open country, exhausted, 30 and said to Ya'akov, “Please! Let me gulp down some of that red stuff – that red stuff! I'm exhausted!” (This is why he was called Edom [red].) 31 Ya'akov answered, “First sell me your rights as the firstborn.” 32 “Look, I'm about to die!” said 'Esav. “What use to me are my rights as the firstborn?” 33 Ya'akov said, “First, swear to me!” So he swore to him, thus selling his birthright to Ya'akov. 34 Then Ya'akov gave him bread and lentil stew; he ate and drank, got up and went on his way. Thus 'Esav showed how little he valued his birthright.

 In Hebrew the first three words in verse 29 are וַיָּזֶד יַעֲקֹב נָזִיד => and sod Jacob pottage (as the Interlinear Bible has it). The middle word יַעֲקֹב is Jacob. The first word וַיָּזֶד tells what and / or how Jacob did something. The third word נָזִיד tells what was being acted upon.

 נָזִיד [na-zid], Strong's tells us, is “something boiled, i.e. soup.” Brown-Driver-Briggs (BDB) says, “boiled food, soup, pottage, something sodden (boiled).”

 וַיָּזֶד is יָּזֶד with the “and” prefix attached. יָּזֶד is where this phrase gets interesting. יָּזֶד is the imperfect Hiphil verb form of זוּד [zud]. The imperfect is the uncompleted form of a verb; what we call the future tense. Hiphil verbs generally indicate causation.

 זוּד according to Strong's means “to seethe; figuratively, to be insolent.” According to BDB, זוּד in the Hiphil means “to boil, to seethe, to act proudly; to act presumptuously, to act insolently.”

 That presents us with two trains of thought here:

 simply that Jacob was causing the soup to boil: he was cooking; or,  that Jacob, himself, was seething, acting proudly, presumptuous, or insolently.

 Was it “a,” “b,” or “both”? We don't know for sure, but when “'Esav came in from the open country, exhausted” wanting some of what Jacob was cooking, the first thing Jacob says is, “First sell my your rights as the firstborn.”

 Was Jacob acting spontaneously, or was this something planned out ahead of time? Hmmm ….

 If this had been the family's main camp, any number of people could have helped the famished and exhausted 'Esav. Therefore, it has been speculated that this was a distant field camp where Ya'akov was by himself (or possibly with a few servants) watching over the flocks at pasture.

 If this is the case, it would explain why “'Esav came in from the open country” and was willing to sell his birthright for a single meal: he was blinded his fatigue, hunger, and shortsightedness.

 God help us not to be shortsighted in the decisions we make (which we are all too often).

 Part of the “rights of the firstborn” was taking on the role of being the head of the family, as well as receiving a double portion of the father's inheritance.

 In this case, with two sons, Isaac's inheritance would be split into thirds with two-thirds going to the firstborn. It would fall to the firstborn to take care of his mother (and any other surviving wives of the father) as well as the rest of the household. Receiving a double portion would help insure this was possible.

 Rashi also brings out that the right to perform the sacrificial service normally fell to the firstborn. Of verse 34 he writes, “Thus Scripture attests his wickedness, that the privilege of God's service was of no value to him” (The Soncino Chumash, p.143).

 Apparently these were rights and responsibilities Jacob was willing to take upon himself.

 This may help explain how and why the Omniscient LORD, before the twins were born, said, “The older will serve the younger,” and later, “Ya'akov I loved, but 'Esav I hated.”

Romans 9:10 And even more to the point is the case of Rivkah; for both her children were conceived in a single act with Yitz'chak, our father; 11 and before they were born, before they had done anything at all, either good or bad (so that God's plan might remain a matter of his sovereign choice, not dependent on what they did, but on God, who does the calling), 12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 This accords with where it is written, “Ya'akov I loved, but 'Esav I hated.”

 In an entirely different light, even 'Esav can give us some snapshots of Messiah, in that:

 he willingly lay down his birthright in order for his brother to have a birthright: Yeshua, not considering equality with God a thing to be grasped (Phil 2:6), lay down His life as a ransom for many (1 Tim 2:6);

 as Ya'akov held the heel of 'Esav (holding the step, or path), and  Yitz'chak “held the heel” of Avraham (following in his path),  so we need to hold to the step / path of Yeshua;

 It has been said, “may you be covered with the dust of your rabbi,” meaning may you be so closely following in his footsteps that you end up being covered by the dust raised as he walks.

 as Ya'akov approached his father in the clothes of 'Esav, we can only approach our Heavenly Father when clothed in the righteousness of Yeshua.

Genesis 26 1 A famine came over the land, not the same as the first famine, which had taken place when Avraham was alive. Yitz'chak went to G'rar, to Avimelekh king of the P'lishtim. 2 Adonai appeared to him and said, “Don't go down into Egypt, but live where I tell you. 3 Stay in this land, and I will be with you and bless you, because I will give all these lands to you and to your descendants. I will fulfill the oath which I swore to Avraham your father – 4 I will make you descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, I will give all these lands to your descendants, and by your descendants all the nations of the earth will bless themselves. 5 All this is because Avraham heeded what I said and did what I told him to do – he followed my mitzvot, my regulations and my teachings.

 Avimelekh [אֲבִימֶלֶךְ] = “my father [is] king” [from אֲבִי (“my father”) and מֶלֶךְ (“king)].

 Nachmanides suggests, “... possibly Abimelech was a general name for all kings of the Philistines, as we find one of the same name in the days of David (The Soncino Chumash, p. 144).

 The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Some have supposed that this story of Isaac in Gerar with Abimelech was confused in tradition with the occasions when Abraham was in Egypt (12:10-20) and in Gerar with Abimelech (chap. 26:20). But the repetition of motifs is deliberate; it shows that the blessing was passed on to Abraham's descendants. Isaac's parallels to Abraham here are numerous:

(a) a famine (cf. 12:10); (b) a plan to go to Egypt (cf. 12:11); (c) the stay in Gerar (cf. 20:1); (d) out of fear calling his wife his “sister” (cf. 12:12-13; 20:2, 11); (e) the wife's beauty (12:11, 14); (f) Abimelech's concern about committing adultery (20:4-7); and (g) Abimelech's rebuke (20:9-10).

The Abimelech in 26:1 was probably not the same Abimelech as in chapter Gen 20, for the events were about 90 years apart. It is not impossible that Abimelech was a title (like Pharaoh or Caesar), for Achish (1 Sam 21:10) was also known as Abimelech (cf. title to Ps 34). Similarly, Phicol (Gen 26:26) might be a title, though there is no evidence for this. Or Phicol may simply be a namesake of the earlier Phicol (21:22, 32). [Phicol (פִּיכֹל) = “mouth of all,” or “strong” (from פִּי “mouth,” and כֹל “all”).

] Abraham was now gone. He was dead! What would happen to God's promise to him? Very simply, the promise would continue right on after his death. Chapter Gen 26 stresses by rhetorical devices that the promise continued to Isaac. The basic idea in 26:1-11 was that the descendants of the obedient servant Abraham would be blessed because of him, but they too had to exercise faith in order to enjoy the promised blessings. Genuine faith in God's promises engenders a fearless walk with Him; but to cower in fear endangers the blessing and makes a mockery of faith.

The obedience of one man brought blessings to his descendants. The Lord gave the Abrahamic promises to Isaac (God's presence, His blessing, possession of the land, and posterity as numerous as the stars; cf. 12:2-3; 15:5-8; 17:3-8; 22:15-18; 28:13-14). All this, God said, was because Abraham obeyed me (lit., “obeyed My voice”) and kept My requirements, My commandments, My decrees, and My laws. These are standard terms in the legal literature of the Old Testament. Israel would immediately see Torah (Law) terminology in the record of Abraham, and would be prompted to keep the Law. Abraham learned that true faith obeys God's words.

6 So Yitz'chak settled in G'rar. 7 The men of the place asked him about his wife, and out of fear he said, “She is my sister.” He thought, “If I tell them she's my wife, they might kill me in order to take Rivkah. After all, she is a beautiful woman.”

• … out of fear he said … He thought ….

◦ How much of what we say, do, and think is out of fear (many times of our own imaginings) rather than prayerfully trusting in the LORD? (If you can't say, 'amen!' say, 'ouch!')

8 But one day, after he had lived there a long time, Avimelekh king of the P'lishtim happened to be looking out of a window when he spotted Yitz'chak caressing Rivkah his wife. 9 Avimelekh summoned Yitz'chak and said, “So she is your wife, after all! How come you said, 'She is my sister'?” Yitz'chak responded, “Because I thought, 'I could get killed because of her.'” 10 Avimelekh said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people could easily have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us!” 11 Then Avimelekh warned all the people: “Whoever touches this man or his wife will certainly be put to death.”

 The Hebrew word translated “caressing” here in verse 8 is מְצַחֵק [meh-tsa-khehk] (the Piel verb form of צָחַק [tsa-khak]) meaning to jest; to sport, to play, to make sport, to toy with, to make a toy of.

 Commentaries vary on their opinions of whether they were having sexual intercourse, caressing, fondling, etc., or just what exactly they were doing. Whatever it was, it was obvious to Avimelekh that it was an activity reserved for husband and wife; certainly not something siblings should be involved with.

 It is doubtful that they were having sex since Avimelek uses a different term for that when he confronts Yitz'chak in verse 10. There the term used is שָׁכַב [sha-kav] (here in the Qal verb form) meaning

 to lie, to lie down, to lie on  to lodge  to lie (used of sexual relations)  to lie down (in death)  to rest, to relax (figurative)

12 Yitz'chak planted crops in that land and reaped that year a hundred times as much as he had sowed. Adonai had blessed him.

 Planting and reaping involve hard work, so we know that Yitz'chak worked hard, and in that work Adonai blessed him.

 Pro. 6:6 Go to the ant, you lazybones! Consider its ways, and be wise. 7 It has no chief, overseer or ruler; 8 yet it provides its food in summer and gathers its supplies at harvest-time. 9 Lazybones! How long will you lie there in bed? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 “I'll just lie here a bit, rest a little longer, just fold my hands for a little more sleep” – 11 and poverty comes marching in on you, scarcity hits you like an invading soldier.

13 The man because rich and prospered more and more, until he had become very wealthy indeed.

 Not everyone who follows the LORD becomes rich in the things of this world

 Hebrews 11:36 Others underwent the trials of being mocked and whipped, then chained and imprisoned. 37 They were stoned, sawed in two, murdered by the sword; they went about clothed in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted, mistreated, 38 wandering about in deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the ground! The world was not worthy of them!

 Mt. 6:19 Do not store up for yourselves wealth here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and burglars break in and steal. 20 Instead, store up for yourselves wealth in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and burglars do not break in or steal. 21 For where your wealth is, there your heart will be also.

 Phil. 4:11 Not that I am saying this to call attention to any need of mine; since, as fas as I am concerned, I have learned to be content regardless of circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in want, and I know what it is to have more than enough – in everything and in every way I have learned the secret of being full and being hungry, of having abundance and being in need. 13 I can do all [these] things through him who gives me power.

14 He had flocks, cattle and a large household; and the P'lishtim envied him.

 The world will envy the riches we have in the LORD and our relationship with Him, even when unwilling to submit to His lordship and discipline in order to have those blessings.

 Mk. 15:10 For it was evident to him that it was out of jealousy [envy] that the head cohanim had handed him over.

 Acts 13:45 but when the Jews who had not believed saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and spoke up against what Sha'ul was saying and insulted him.

 We need to guard against envy / jealousy in any form: e.g. of sinners in their sin, or of other believers in whatever success they have.

 Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior

15 Now the P'lishtim had stopped up and filled with dirt all the wells his father's servant had dug during the lifetime of Avraham his father.

 There are those who will “stop up” and “fill with dirt” the blessings God has provided through others – even to their own detriment.

 Maybe it's a matter of who gets the credit for the discovery / work.

 Maybe it's a matter of who gets the “rights” to the water, etc.

 Maybe it's something spiritually influenced:

 Jn. 10:10 The thief [including ha-satan (the adversary) and his minions] comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I [Yeshua] come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.

18 Yitz'chak reopened the wells which had been dug during the lifetime of Avraham his father, the ones the P'lishtim had stopped up after Avraham died, and called them by the names his father had used for them.

 There are times we need to work and reopen the “wells” our fathers and forefathers in the faith dug, i.e. truths (that will always have opposition), e.g.:

 the historical reliability of the Scriptures  the unique inspiration of the Scriptures  biblical inerrancy of the original documents

19 Yitz'chak's servants dug in the vadi and uncovered a spring of running water. 20 But the herdsmen of G'rar quarreled with Yitz'chak's herdsmen, claiming, “That water is ours!” So he called the well 'Esek [quarrel], because they quarreled with him. 21 They dug another well and quarreled over that one too. So he called it Sitneh [enmity]. 22 He went away from there and dug another well, and over that one they didn't quarrel. So he called it Rechovot [wide open spaces] and said, “Because now Adonai has made room for us, and we will be productive in the land.”

 Yitz'chak had seen the LORD and received promises and assurances from Him (vs 2-5), so here, rather than losing or forfeiting God's promises through death in battle or needless conflict, Yitz'chak gives the places bad remembrance names and moves on until he finds peace.

23 From there Yitz'chak went up to Be'er-Sheva. 24 Adonai appeared to him that same night and said, “I am the God of Avraham your father. Don't be afraid, because I am with you; I will bless you and increase your descendants for the sake of my servant Avraham.” 25 There he built an altar and called on the name of Adonai. He pitched his tent there, and there Yitz'chak's servants dug a well.

 From the “wide open spaces” the LORD had provided, Yitz'chak moved his flocks and herds on to Be'er-Sheva [well or oath of seven (Gen 21:31)] where his father had called on the name of Adonai.

 “Don't be afraid, because I am with you ...”

 When we are walking with the LORD, when the LORD is with us, there is no reason to fear

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Ps 23:4)

 Do not fear those who kill the body but are powerless to kill the soul. Rather, fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in Gei-Hinnom. (Matt 10:28)

 Though in our human frailty, there are times when this is easier said than done. This happened to Kefa; he got his eyes off of Yeshua and on to the circumstances around him.

Then Kefa called to Him, “Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to You on the water.” 29 “Come!” He said. So Kefa got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Yeshua. 30 But when he saw the wind, he became afraid; and as he began to sink, he yelled, “Lord! Save me!” 31 Yeshua immediately stretched out His hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “Such little trust! Why did you doubt?” 32 As they went up into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 The men in the boat fell down before Him and exclaimed, “You really are God's son!”

 Kefa got his eyes off of Yeshua, onto his circumstances, and doubted himself and his own abilities.

 He never doubted Yeshua; even when Kefa was sinking, he knew he could call on Yeshua to help him.

 So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment – that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement – and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us, 2 looking away to the Initiator and Completer of that trusting, Yeshua – Who, in exchange for obtaining the joy set before Him, endured execution on a stake as a criminal, scorning the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2, emphasis added)

26 Then Avimelekh went to him from G'rar with his friend Achuzat and Pikhol the commander of his army. 27 Yitz'chak said to them, “Why have you come to me, even though you were unfriendly to me and sent me away?” 28 They answered, “We saw very clearly that Adonai has been with you; so we said, 'Let there be an oath between us: let's make a pact between ourselves and you 29 that you will not harm us, just as we have not caused you offense but have done you nothing but good and sent you on your way in peace. Now you are blessed by Adonai.'”

 The concern, the “fear,” is with those who do not know the LORD. Here their leaders come to make a pact with Isaac since it's obvious that “now you are blessed by Adonai.”

 Perspective, or spinning facts to appear in a better light?

 Yitz'chak: “You were unfriendly to me and sent me away.”

 The Philistines: “Look how good we have been to you, so let's make a pact that you will not harm us.”

30 Yitz'chak prepared a banquet for them, and they ate and drank. 31 The next morning, they got up early and swore to each other. Then Yitz'chak sent them on their way, and they left him peacefully. 32 That very day Yitz'chak's servants came and told him about the well they had dug, “We have found water.” 33 So he called it Shiv'ah [oath, seven], and for this reason the name of the city is Be'er-Sheva [well of seven, well of an oath] to this day.

 Water refreshes, nourishes, revives, and sustains the body, and the search for it is constant. There is nothing that can take the place of plain, unadulterated water.

 In the same way the soul and spirit need to have “water” as well.

 The quality and purity of the “water” we try to use to satisfy the thirsting of our spirit will affect the condition of our soul and body.

34 When 'Esav was forty years old, he took as wives Y'hudit the daughter of Be'eri the Hitti and Basmat the daughter of Elon the Hitti. 35 But they became a cause for embitterment of spirit to Yitz'chak and Rivkah.

 Y'hudit [יְהוּדִית] (sometimes transliterated as Judith) patronymically comes from Yehudah [יְהוּדָה] (Judah) and means “Jewess” or “praised”

 A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the given name of one's father, grandfather, or an even-earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patronymic, accessed 12 Nov15)

 Be'eri [בְּאֵרִי] means “my well”

 Basmat [בָּשְׂמַת] (sometimes transliterated Basemath) means “fragrance” or “spice”

 from בָּשָׂם [bah-sahm] meaning, “spice,” “balsam,” “to be fragrant”

 Elon [אֵילוֹן] means “oak-grove,” “terebinth,” “mighty”

 Though these women had “good names,” they were from a heathen people, and their characters such that “they became a cause for embitterment of spirit to Yitz'chak and Rivkah.”

 While names have meanings which can indicate character, we also need to be aware of counterfeits, which can be deadly.

 The fact is that such men are pseudo-emissaries: they tell lies about their work and masquerade as emissaries of the Messiah. 14 There is nothing surprising in that, for the Adversary himself masquerades as an angel of light; 15 so it's no great thing if his workers masquerade as servants of righteousness. They will meet the end their deeds deserve. (2 Cor 11:13-15)

 Dear friends, don't trust every spirit. On the contrary, test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 Here is how you recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges that Yeshua the Messiah came as a human being is from God, 3 and every spirit which does not acknowledge Yeshua is not from God – in fact, this is the spirit of the Anti-Messiah. You have heard the he is coming. Well, he's here now, in the world already! (1 John 4:1-3)

Genesis 27 1 In the course of time, after Yitz'chak had grown old and his eyes dim, so that he couldn't see, he called 'Esav his older son and said to him, “My son?” and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 “Look, I'm old now, I don't know when I will die. 3 Therefore, please take your hunting gear – your quiver of arrows and your bow; go out in the country, and get me some game. 4 Make it tasty, the way I like it; and bring it to me to eat. Then I will bless you [as firstborn], before I die.”

 Apparently Isaac's “spiritual eyesight” had also become dim because the word of the LORD was that there were two nations in Rivkah's womb, “From birth they will be two rival peoples. One of these peoples will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” (Gen 25:23)

 By this time it was probably common knowledge that 'Esav had sold his rights as the firstborn to Ya'akov. “Thus 'Esav showed how little he valued his birthright.” (Gen 25:29-34)

 Why wasn't 'Esav upfront, forthright, and honest with his father?  Why didn't he tell Yitz'chak, or remind him, that he had sold his birthright as firstborn to Ya'akov?

 Yet Yitz'chak seems determined to put 'Esav first and bless him.

5 Rivkah was listening when Yitz'chak spoke to his son 'Esav. So when 'Esav went out to the country to hunt for game and bring it back, 6 she said to her son Ya'akov, “Listen! I heard your father telling 'Esav your brother, 7 'Bring me game, and make it tasty, so I can eat it. Then I will give you my blessing in the presence of Adonai, before my death.' 8 Now pay attention to me, my son; and do what I tell you. 9 Go to the flock, and bring me back two choice kids. I will make it tasty for your father, the way he likes it; 10 and you will bring it to your father to eat; so that he will give his blessing to you before his death.”

 “in the presence of Adonai”

 Though this may have been implied it was not stated, but  stating it here emphasizes the importance of this blessing.

 Nachmanides writes, “Rebekah urged upon Jacob the necessity of doing what she bade him, since a blessing by Isaac before the LORD would be irrevocable; if given to Esau, Jacob could never stand before him. (The Socino Chumash, p. 150)

 Apparently Rebecca remembered the word the LORD had given concerning their sons.

 These verses, and those immediately following, bring up a dilemma:

 Is it okay to lie?  Is it okay to deceive?  If so, when? Under what circumstances?

 It has been said that when it comes to the preservation of life, life trumps (goes before, is more important than) all the commandments.

 These are questions for which there may never be an answer that is satisfactory to all.

38 'Esav said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, my father? Father, bless me too!” 39 and Yitz'chak his father answered him: “Here! Your home will be of the richness of the earth and of the dew of heaven from above. 40 You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you break loose, you will shake his yoke off your neck.”

 The question comes up when comparing this verse with some other versions, e.g. NIV, NASU, NLT, RSV. Each of these versions insert a negation, saying that 'Esav's home will be away from the richness of the earth …. The NASU has a footnote with “away” which says “or of”.

 The KJV, NKJV, ASV, CJV, Darby Bible, and Young's Literal Translation all retain the positiveness of the blessing.

 Why some of these versions insert a negation is unknown, unless in the thinking of the translators this blessing couldn't start off the same way as the blessing in verse 28, so they felt compelled to negate it.

 The obvious problem here is the insertion of human conjecture and ignoring what the original script of God's Word says. The Hebrew of the beginning part of these two blessing is essentially identical:

28 … מִטַּל הַשָּׁמַיִם וּמִשְׁמַנֵּי הָאָרֶץ … the earth (of) fatness the of/from and the heavens (of) the dew

29 … מִשְׁמַנֵּ- הָאָרֶץ the earth (of) fatness the of/from … וּמִטַּל הַשָּׁמַיִם … the heavens (of) and the dew

 You can see for yourself by how I have lined up the words that they are essentially the same. The few differences are syntactical and do not affect meaning.

 We had the opportunity to meet one of the scholars that was on the translation team for the NIV, (Dr. Gleason Archer, who has some wonderful work out there). Even he expressed some frustration with how some passages were eventually put in print, quipping that NIV could stand for the Nearly Inspired Version.

 This brings up just how important it is for us to be “biblically literate” and know how to use the tools to get at the original, and how personal bias can affect translation work.

by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley

Parashah Schedule

To view the current week's reading, view the schedule.

What's a Parashah?

Parashah is a Hebrew word that means portion. 

Synagogues around the world read the same parashah each Shabbat. The Torah is divided into 54 weekly portions so that the whole Torah is read annually. Selections from the Haftarah (Prophets) are also read each week, and in Messianic congregations, selections from the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) are included. Holiday selections are also listed for the Feast Days.

Join us on our Shabbat services to study the Parashah.

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