Midrash for Shabbat 40 – 12/18/2010
©2013 – Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Genesis 42:18 – 43:23 – Isaiah 50:10-52:11 – Psalm 36 – Luke 1:68-79
Gen.42.18-38 – Yoseph delivers the brothers from the jail after 3 days. Does that ring a bell for anyone? I think it wore on the brother’s relationships all these years that they had done what they did to Yoseph, as is revealed in v.21. They spoke in Hebrew and thought the ‘Egyptian’ couldn’t understand them (I guess the missed the Brooklyn accent to his Egyptian), but Yoseph heard the remorse they had and the admonition from Reuven, who had wanted to deliver Yoseph, even if it was for selfish reasons, to get in good with Yacov and maybe get back his birthright. When he heard the anguish they’d had to go through by the voice of Ruach testifying in their hearts, he turned away as he wept for them, so that he could keep up the tough guy act.
Why did he keep Shimon instead of Reuven, Levi or Jehudah? All we know about Shimon to this point is that he was the conspirator with Levi in the “Shechem-rapes-Dinah-and-Shimon/Levi-wipe-out-the-town incident” in ch.34. Except in the genealogy of ch.35 he is not so much as mentioned since then. So why Shimon? I can’t find a clue in scripture history, so I looked in scripture future. In Yehoshua 19.1 I found this that might be a clue:
And the second lot came forth to Shimon, even for the tribe of the children of Shimon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Yehudah. (Joshua 19:1)
The inheritance of Shimon was surrounded by Yehudah is the clue. Yehudah had been the one that actually sold Yoseph into Egypt, and Yehudah would eventually assimilate Shimon so that he would not have an inheritance of his own, and he would be counted among the 10 tribes of the nation Israel in the divided kingdom. Ezekiel 48 shows that his inheritance will be south of the ‘oblation’ for Levi, Jerusalem and the Temple, between BenYamin and Issachar. The rabbis say that he was chosen because he instigated the conspiracy against Yoseph, being the first to say “Here comes the dreamer.” Perhaps it was that Reuben, being the firstborn, would have been the logical choice for hostage, but since he had tried to save Yoseph’s life from the pit, Yoseph let him go home and kept the 2ndborn instead. All of it is speculation, because there is so little information to work with. Shimon just didn’t do much of note, except act as hostage – and actually live pretty well in the jail Yoseph had lived in for 2+ years. He was bound right in front of his brothers and probably treated roughly for them to see. But, I’m also sure that he, like the butcher and baker, got preferential treatment in the Egyptian version of ‘Club Fed’.
Next, Yoseph had all the brothers’ containers, including Shimon’s so that his family would not starve or be a burden on the others’ families, and put the money bag in the mouth of Levi’s bag [according to Stone’s Tanakh] so that he would have that extra worry all the way home; the way Tanach reads, the brothers may not have seen their money bags in their stuff until they got home. So, they loaded up to go home and left. When they got to the inn that night, Levi opened a sack to get grain for his pack animals and saw his money in the mouth of his sack. When he told his brothers about the money being in the mouth of his sack, their first thought was that Y’hovah was still judging them over Yoseph and the grief they’d caused their father. I think they were thinking that everything that wasn’t favorable that happened to them was a further judgment from Y’hovah. And it may have been. I don’t think it’s likely though. But what they had done to Yoseph and by extension their father was pretty heinous, and the Ruach was probably bothering them about it all the time in an effort to get them to repent. That’s how guilt works. If we’ve done something we know is wrong to someone, and the Spirit of Y’hovah brings it to mind it’s only wise to go to the person we’ve wronged and at least try make it right. The Yacovsons were probably unable to find Yosef to make it right, but they could have ‘fessed up’ to papa and possibly made that right. It isn’t likely as we’ll see in a minute, but it may have gone a long way in assuaging their guilt, and made life easier to bear, had it been successful.
When they got back home, knowing that Yacov would miss Shimon, they immediately told Yacov everything that happened in Egypt and about finding the money in the sack. While Yacov was letting all that sink in, they took down the grain sacks and found that ALL their money was returned to them. First thing that may have come to their minds was that it was a plot by Yoseph to get them all if they went down to Egypt for more grain. Yacov does the Yacov thing, getting all self-centered in his grief. “Look what you’ve done to me now! Yoseph is gone, Shimon is gone and now you want to take Benjamin from me, too! Oy Vey! Woe is me!” Grief sometimes does this to us, so I’ll cut Yacov a little slack for this reaction, but I suspect that HE was always laying a guilt-trip on them. Reuven finally has enough, and speaks up, but to no avail. Jake is in full blown ‘woe is me’. “No way you’re taking Benjamin from me, too. If you lose him, I’ll just die in my sorrow.” I think life was pretty miserable for the boys, the guilt at or just below the surface until they meet up with Yoseph again. Q&C
Gen.43.1- – “The land” refers to HaAretz, Yisrael. The famine was worse there in Canaan than anywhere else, which is actually a push from Y’hovah to move them into Egypt. They waited to go back until they had eaten through all they brought from Egypt. There was barely enough left for the return trip and to keep Yacov fed while they were gone. This may have been a part of the boy’s plan. They had little choice than to go where the food was plentiful to buy some more. It was that or die of starvation. When Yacov says, “Go and buy us a ‘little food’”, Yehudah takes charge of the situation. He’d been on the outs with his family before, so why not again in an attempt to keep the family from death. He said, “The guy said he would not see us again unless BenYamin is with us, so we aren’t going without him.” I infer from this that the boys had spoken together about this and that Yehudah had offered himself as the point man. To refresh our memories about what Yehudah HAD been like, let me share some of what I did 5 weeks ago from ch.38:
Vv.13-23 – Have you noticed that Yehudah has not done 1 righteous thing in this whole chapter? In fact, I don’t see any righteousness in the man at all to this point. Yehudah is a man and nothing more. The rabbis seem to think that all the patriarchs were inherently righteous men, regardless the obvious wickedness in them all. Even Yoseph is not perfect, as we saw last week when he seemed to rub his brothers’ noses in his favored status. What I see in scripture is that these were just guys, like anyone else, and that Y’hovah is using these circumstances in their lives to form them into men after his heart. The incidents involving Tamar awakened Yehudah to the evil that was resident in his heart. In fact, the first mention of Yehudah, other than listing his name with the others, is in last weeks portion where he suggested selling Yoseph into bondage – monetary gain and a complete disregard for natural fealty to a sibling. Yehudah, like all natural men, was sold out to noone but himself – until he is shown his yetzer hara by his Canaanite daughter-in-law….
Vv.24-30 -About 3 months or so later folks began to notice that she was pregnant and the word came to Yehudah that Tamar had ‘played the whore’. Now, she had married Er and Onan, so she was officially subject to Yehudah as head of the clan. When he heard of her supposed harlotry, he pronounced sentence – tisarayf – ‘let her be burnt’ outside the camp. But before the sentence could be carried out, she sent the earnest he’d left with her back to him, and used nearly the same words he’d used when he sent Yoseph’s coat to Yacov – “Tell me, if you please, whose these are?”
I think Y’hovah used those words and the fact of his faithlessness to her to awaken Yehudah to his unrighteousness, because I see a difference in him after this incident. He becomes more like Y’hovah, thinking more in line with Torah. He thought of his father and his brother BenYamin ahead of his own comfort in ch.43&44, when he offered himself as earnest to Yacov (as he had his stuff to Tamar) and to stay in Egypt in BenYamin’s stead, so Yacov wouldn’t be grieved at the loss of Rachel’s other son. And that change is not lost on Yoseph, either, as it is the act that spurred his revelation of himself to his brothers in ch.45. We’ll see all that when we get there, Yah willing.
The change in Yehudah is nearly immediate. When he recognized HIS stuff and that the child in Tamar was his as well, his worries about being found out and gave way to his yetzer tov, his righteous inclination. In other words, Ruach came on him and convicted him of his sin. He openly acknowledged that the stuff was his, opening himself up to ridicule and disrespect from his ‘friends’ in Adullam, and he also recognized that his Canaanite daughter-in-law was more righteous in her actions than he had been.
Yehudah actually started to become selfless. Sometime between this incident and going to Egypt for food, he’d reconciled with his family and become a leader among them, not because he wanted the respect, but because his heart had changed and his family recognized it. HE was the guy who, all these years later, took the place of Yoseph as the Torah keeper. For example, he did not go in unto Tamar again to not reveal his daughter-in-law’s nakedness (Lev.18.15). And Yisrael saw it too, for he blessed Yehudah as Melech – “the scepter shall not depart from Yehudah … until Shiloh come.”
Yehudah was now the leader of the brothers and, except for Yoseph, as Torah-keeping a son as Yacov had raised. So when he told Yacov, ‘We aren’t going to buy food in Egypt without BenYamin’, I think it carried weight with Yacov. When Yacov tried to lay the guilt on them for this predicament, they ALL chimed in, and made the case. They were not going to be bullied into compliance and quite probably imprisoned as spies in Egypt by NOT taking BenYamin with them. Then Yehudah ices the cake for Yacov, and we can see how differently he sees Yehuda is from Reuven. Yehudah offered HIMSELF for surety of BenYamin’s return to Yacov, not his sons’ lives as Reuven had. THAT was not lost on Yacov, either. This boy had grown into a man. So Yacov dropped the guilt-trip and relented. “Take my son and God-speed, and ‘if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.’”
So, off to Egypt they go to Yoseph and buy food. When Yoseph saw his brother BenYamin, he didn’t say a word to them, but ordered his lieutenant [Rabbis say it was Menashe, Yoseph’s son] to make ready a lunch at his own home for these men. Yoseph must have spoken Egyptian to his servant, because when he took the brothers to Yoseph’s home, they were frightened, thinking that they were going to jail because of the money they had found in their bags. You can tell how scared they were because they got another case of diarrhea mouth with the servant. He told them to calm down, their Elohim had gifted them with it and that he had their money. And then he brought Shimon out to have lunch with them. Q&C
Is.50.10-52.11 – V.10a&b speaks of people who ‘fear Y’hovah’ and ‘obey his voice’, but that are walking in darkness and have no light. How can this be? How can someone fear him and obey him but be without light and in darkness? 10c has the answer. Even though they fear and obey him, they don’t trust him in their everyday lives, which trust is defined by waiting for his timing. All the patriarchs and heroes of the faith fell into this trap at times, knowing what Y’hovah wanted them to do and the promise he gave, but got tired of waiting for his timing. For example, Avraham knew the promise of a son and feared Y’hovah and obeyed his voice, but he still went ahead of Y’hovah and went in unto Hagar. Israel in the wilderness wanted to go into the land, but were afraid of the giants in it. Y’hovah told them they’d have to wait for 40 years, so they decided they COULD defeat those giants after all. So they went in outside of Y’hovah’s timing and without his fighting for them and got soundly defeated. Y’hovah ALWAYS does things to test our trust. He promised Avraham a son from his and Sarah’s loins, but had him wait 25 years to see Yitzhak born. But HIS timing is perfect, his plans always work best when we stay out of his way and let him work things together for our good, assuming that we love him and are THE called according to his purpose [IOW, Yisrael Rom.8.28-30 and 9.7, 24-27]. When we get tired of waiting for him and trust ourselves we kindle fires to light our way. But our fires end up burning our backsides. Avraham went in unto Hagar and the result was Ishmael, who has been nothing but trouble to Avraham’s seed since Yitzhak’s birth. Israel went into the land and lost badly to the Amalekites. If they had obeyed in Y’hovah’s time, they’d have defeated Amalek without spilling one drop of Israelite blood. When we go ahead of Y’hovah, we trust ourselves, not him. And we are breaking the 1st commandment because we are saying that we are more trustworthy than he is – we are better Elohim than he is. For believers this ought not so to be.
51.1-3 – Vv.1&2 are parallels, The rock from which we are hewn is Avraham and the hole from whence we were digged is Sarah’s womb. We who follow after righteousness and seek Y’hovah are Avraham’s seed and are inheritors of his promises in Moshiach Yeshua, whether we be Jew or Gentile, Yehudah or Ephraim. Gal.3:
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Moshiach Yeshua. 29 And if ye be Moshiach’s, then are ye Avraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
And if we are Avraham’s seed and the called according to his purpose, we are Zion. Zion is his bride. He will make Zion to bloom where nothing would grow before, a garden in place of a desert. Joy is likened to thanksgiving, gladness to singing, when Y’hovah comforts Zion. Vv. 1&2 are the setup for v.3. We are to look to Avraham, the rock from which we are hewn, and unto Sarah, the hole of the pit from which we are digged in 1&2 BECAUSE (For) Y’hovah will do for Zion as he did for Avraham and Sarah. We who are after Y’hovah’s heart, following after righteousness and seek Y’hovah are as Avraham and Sarah, who were called alone to come out of Ur of the Chaldees and to go to a land that Y’hovah prepared for them. WE at least know the NAME of the place prepared for us. It is OUR Name – Zion! Biblical Zion; not political Zion [which is a perfect illustration of 52.10-11].
Vv.4-6 are a brief summary of the Day of Y’hovah (beginning, main body and ending). In v.4, there is an allusion to the 2 houses when David says, ‘my people’ and ‘my nation’ – my people would be Ephraim (Hos.1.10) and my nation would be Yehudah. He will rest his judgment for a light of the people (not MY people). The people of the earth will look to his judgments for spiritual light. I think we’re seeing the millennial Kingdom of Yeshua.
Moshiach Yeshua is the subject of v.5, Y’hovah’s righteousness, salvation and arm all speak of Yeshua, and the isles (that’s Ephraim, the ‘far off’ in 49.1) will trust him. His arms speak to his judgment on his enemies in justice and mercy, while his arm is that in which Y’hovah’s people (Ephraim, Hos.10.1) trust and wait for deliverance.
In v.6 we see the final end of this sin-sick creation and the creation of a new heaven and earth wherein dwells righteousness – Yeshua will affect salvation on the whole creation that fell in Adam’s sin. As he makes each of us a new creature, so he will make the worlds on which we will live.
Vv.7-8 – Who is to hearken (shema) to Y’hovah Yeshua, but we who know him and in whose heart he’s written his Torah. Only believers have a heart for Torah or have Torah written on their hearts [YirmeYahu 31.34 – the Renewed Covenant]. And to what are we to shema? Do not fear men’s reproach or reviling, because their end (v.8) is death and to be eaten by worms. IOW, when they die there is nothing left for them, their physical life is all they have. When we die, we have a new body and new heavens and a new earth, which, like our new body, will never see death or destruction. Q&C
Vv.9-16 – Here’s another allusion to the 2 houses individually– “Awake! Awake!” The third ‘awake’ is addressed to Zion, which will be the 2 houses reunited. Zion lives in Yeshua, who is the one who awakens us. It is Yeshua who 1) cut Rahav. Rahav here is NOT Rachav of Jos.5. Rachav is the harlot who preserved the spies lives and whose name = ‘open, broad and wide’. Rahav here = pride, haughty. Yeshua is he who cut the proud and haughty, wounding the dragon. Remember Gen.3.15:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
V.9 alludes to Ophiuchus, the Breaker, standing on the head of Draco, the serpent, which is a part of the gospel in the stars and an illustration of Yeshua’s destruction of haSatan. It is also Yeshua who 2) parted the waters of the Yom Suf and of Yarden so Yisrael could pass over dry, and who will 3) do the same for the very oceans if physical type follows the ante-typical physical shadow, in HIS time, to open a Way for Zion to return to haAretz. Because he’s done all this, we, the redeemed of Y’hovah SHALL return singing and shouting his praises who has made the Way to Zion. Did you notice the 3’s? 3 awakes, 3 things Yeshua did in the past to ensure the 3 things we SHALL do in the future – we 1) SHALL return and 2) SHALL obtain joy and gladness in exchange for 3) sorrow and mourning that SHALL flee away in the dissolution and destruction of all things at the future ‘Big Bang’.
In the months and perhaps years immediately preceding the redemption we SHALL be persecuted. Y’hovah SHALL be our comfort in our affliction. DO NOT FEAR mere men, who will die an ignominious death, having never experienced spiritual life from our Creator and Saviour, who lives eternally and rewards our faithfulness forever, l’olam va’ed. We Americans see all the horrible things that happen everyday in the news and mourn the death of our once great nation. Sometimes we allow the news of the day to take away the joy we have in Moshiach. We need to get our physical eyes plucked right out of our heads and our spiritual eyes opened, to awake to the REALITY of what Y’hovah has in store for us in our everlasting future. We have no right to be frightened when we KNOW the outcome is in Y’hovah’s hands and it shall NOT be shaken, neither by what puny humans can do nor by the Adversary and all his minions. Yes, we will see oppression and persecution. But what is the end of our oppressors and persecutors? While going through it, try to regard the future, not the present.
Vv.14-16 – If you are taken prisoner in the tribulation, do NOT work for your release. Don’t give them anything in exchange for your release. Uphold the truth and your righteousness in it. Let Y’hovah be your comfort. He will keep you, even through death if necessary. The Y’hovah who delivered Yisrael from Egypt is the Y’hovah Tzavaoth who SHALL deliver you to Zion. Please notice that Y’hovah Elohenu points to Y’hovah Tzavaoth and refers to him in the 3rd person. Y’hovah Elohecha will put the words he wants you to say to your oppressors in your mouth and at the same time will cover you with the hand of Y’hovah Tzavaoth for the purpose of preserving a people who can inhabit his future creation. Please notice that he says of Zion exactly what he ay of the redeemed in Hosea 1.10, he calls both Ammi, my people. Q&C
Vv.17-20 – Yehudah and Ephraim are being told to awaken from their millennia of sleep to be the harbinger of the New Millennium and Eternity. Y’hovah’s fury + the dregs = exile, as he promised in Dt.28-29. J’lem has drunk of the dregs of Y’hovah’s cup of fury during the entire diaspora, and will continue to drink of them as long as she trusts in nations of men for her security and protection. The Philistine problem J’lem has today is because she trusts the United States before she trusts Y’hovah. She will realize her folly when Obama’s United States turns on her (v.18). The US and the NWO will soon abandon Israel to the Philistines. The US may quite possibly fight against Israel in the mountains of Yesha. In v.19, 2 things are named and their means are foretold; 1) desolation by famine and 2) destruction by the sword. And there will be noone to comfort her, noone will be sorry for her. V.20 describes the despair of the young men in J’lem, who just lie in the streets like a bull who has fought the net thrown round him, but has realized he cannot escape by his vaunted strength. He finally gives up and, in his despair, cries out the Y’hovah Tzavaoth for his Salvation – “Hosheanu, Y’hovah! Hosheanu! Save us, NOW!” Who do YOU suppose will answer that call for Salvation and Deliverance? Notice, please, that Y’hovah’s judgment of Israel has been a rebuke, NOT condemnation. A rebuke is given with the hope of correcting one’s behavior. So all the suffering Yehudah has gone through for 2000+ years has been to get them to repent of their idolatry, of their arrogance in thinking their way is better than Y’hovah’s, that they are better Elohim than he is. Did that sound familiar? It should – I used it about the WHOLE house of Jacob before, and that includes us Ephraimites.
Vv.21-23 – Because the young men are exhausted and in despair over the great defeat they are experiencing and finally let go and call out to Y’hovah for his Yeshua, he is about to take it out on Israel’s oppressors. Who are the drunk, but without wine? Elohim says to Israel in Is.49.26:
And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I Y’hovah, thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Yacov.
When Yehudah calls out to Adonai Y’hovah Elohechem HE will plead their cause. There is no better advocate than Y’hovah, for he pleads from truth and wisdom, justice and mercy. He will remove the cup of his fury from Yehudah that caused them finally to call out to him and give it to Israel’s enemies, I assume ALONG with the cup of wrath they’ve been filling in their own right. And when Yehudah does a complete turn to Y’hovah, they will not return to their own way again. The nations that Y’hovah used to chasten Israel will be chastened by Y’hovah for touching the ‘apple of his eye’
Their heart cried unto Adonai, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease. (Lam. 2:18)
For thus saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. (Zechariah 2:8)
Israel has been lying down to the US foreign policy of making Israel accede to UN resolution after American demand for Philistine appeasement. One of those nations that has oppressed Israel has been the US. We smile and pat them on the back for being a ‘good little democracy’ and then stab them in the back whenever it suits us. That we force the only sane government in the Middle-East to knuckle under to the demands of the squatters on Y’hovah’s land is appalling to me. And I’m sure Y’hovah is no more pleased than I am. We are about to be handed our backsides by the Creator of the Universe. Will America be lucid enough to see it? Q&C
52.1-6 – For the 3rd time, Y’hovah calls on us to Awake! Awake! The strength of Zion and the beautiful garments of J’lem, the Holy city are one and the same – the righteousness of her Moshiach. Circumcision is definitely one of the heart and possibly of the flesh, as well. Shaking off the dust and arising are metaphors for resurrection. Sitting down puts me in mind of Yeshua sitting at the right hand of Majesty as our MelchiTzadik High Priest (Heb.1.3, 10.12) and denotes the Shabbat rest of the daughter of Zion, who is loosed from her bands – perhaps the entangling alliances to governments of men. If Israel were NOT in bonds to America and the UN, would she have given up Gush Katif? Would she NOT have advanced on Cairo in 1973? Would she NOT have wiped out or driven off the Philistines in her midst by now? HaAretz belongs to Y’hovah and he has given it as an inheritance to Yacov and his descendants. V.3 says she has sold herself for nothing and will be bought back without money. We went into the world (Egypt) to sojourn (live among them, but not assimilate) and the Assyrian (AM) oppressed us, just because he could. But Y’hovah has heard us howl in our oppression and is going to answer due to the world’s blasphemy. Because of this, we will know his Name and that it is Y’hovah who is speaking to us.
Vv.7-11 – Yeshua is the one who brings the good news to Y’hovah’s people that Elohecha Malach! The watchmen of both houses will finally see eye to eye and will lift up their voices together to sing the praises of our Yeshua. The peace spoken of can be seen at least 2 ways. It is 1) the peace that happens when Ephraim and Yehudah see eye to eye and are reunited in the right hand of Y’hovah Tzavaoth, or 2) the peace that passes all understanding when Y’hovah and men are at peace. Or both. Ephraim and Yehudah will only see eye to eye when each repents of his unbelief; when Yehudah acknowledges Moshiach and when Ephraim acknowledges Torah.
Y’hovah Yeshua is rolling up his sleeves right now, getting ready to do the work. I think he sits astride his steed and awaits his Abba’s command to go and get his bride. Then every eye shall see him (Rev.1.7 and Zech.12.10) with his sleeves rolled up – and they will tremble.
In v.11, we see another command to both houses of Yacov to be set apart unto him. We will have come out from among them and made ourselves separate (1Cor.6.17) from the harlot religious system. 3 times we have been told to Awake! Awake! After those 3 awakenings, we are told to Depart! Depart! Are there going to be 3 warnings to make ready before the command comes to move out? V.12 says we will not go out in haste, as Israel did from Egypt.
11 ¶ And thus shall ye eat it; your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it Y’hovah’s passover. … 33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We all dead. 34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. Ex.12.11, 33 – 34
That we will NOT go out in haste means we will have to separate ourselves and be clean from the world’s system; to stand out like sore thumbs. We’ll have to endure hostility from all sides and possibly suffer oppression until our physical deliverance. Q&C
Ps.36 – I used to think that vv.1-4 applied to Bill Clinton, and they did. But each succeeding President has been a more wicked man than the last. It sure seems as though our political ‘leaders’ in America sit up at night thinking of new ways to oppress us in the name of protecting us; the latest and most egregious being the “Affordable Care Act”. And American politicians are not alone in this, nor does it matter what political party or ideology they espouse. Because our people are wicked, we keep getting more wicked men in the halls of power as a rebuke to our so-called ‘Xian’ population to repent and humble themselves before Y’hovah. But the humble repentance never comes. So, Y’hovah has to bring exile and eventually just give our nation over to its sin. That’s where we are now – on the brink of destruction. Only Y’hovah can stop it, and he won’t until we repent, first as Xians and then as a nation. Fat chance, I say.
Vv.5-9 discuss what we’ve been discussing all day, so far – the mercy, righteousness and grace of El Shaddai. V.9 harkens us back to Is.50.10-11. We who fear Y’hovah, obey his voice and trust him see his light. Without his light illuminating our minds, we can never hope to understand his truth. He will see us through the darkness, lead us in right paths. He will not allow the proud and wicked men to remove us from his righteousness and grace. Instead he will deliver them to the pit, never to arise to life everlasting. Q&C
Lk.1.67ff – ZakharYah had been ministering in his priestly duties, I believe he was offering the incense on Shavuoth and praying for a son in his old age while he was at it (v.13), when Gavriel appeared unto him and told him that he and his barren wife Elishava would be having a son, they would call his name Yochanan (Y’hovah’s grace) and that he would be the forerunner of Moshiach. In Mal.4:
5 Behold, I will send you EliYahu the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Y’hovah: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
I think v.6 there speaks of the regathering of the 2 houses: the fathers being the rabbis who will not have dealings with the gentiles, and the Ephraimite gentiles who are turning back to Torah. Anyway, ZakharYah asks how he is to know that these things are true. He was testing this Spirit to see if it was from Y’hovah, so what transpires is NOT a punishment for disbelief, but a SIGN for all who see it. Gavriel tells him that he will be dumb until the boy is born and he calls him Yochanan. Sure enough, from that moment he can’t speak, but he is neither deaf nor stupid. So when his friends the priests start ignoring him because he can’t talk and instead speak to Elishava, it must have driven him mad. In the fullness of time Elishava bears ZakharYah a son and on the 8th day, when they take to boy to be CCd and to name him, there is a controversy over what to name him. Elishava names the boy Yochanan, according to the word of Y’hovah by Gavriel. But the other priests argue that there is no Yochanan in the family, we’ll name his ZakharYah. I can only imagine the gyrations ZakharYah is going through, jumping up and down, waving his arms, maybe even kicking up dust to try to get the idiot’s attention. I imagine that Elishava finally got the other priests to pay attention to her husband, and had them get ZakharYah a slate and chalk.
The second he finished writing, “His name is Yochanan”, he speaks the word of our Brit Chadashah passage for today – and what words they were! Let me read them from the Aramaic-English NT, because we find there a 3 stanza poem of 7 lines each. Get that? 3 sevens. I’ll read the notes as well. Read it!
Next thing ZakharYah did was to send his son and Elishava away from J’lem. I assume he had word from Y’hovah of what Herod would do in Bethlechem a few years hence. Why? Imagine what people would think of this boy! Elishava had been barren and now she was old, well beyond child-bearing years, like Sarah had been. His conception and birth and even his name was revealed in a vision whose veracity was confirmed by the sign of Zakharyah’s temporary dumbness and then the prophecy in the first words out of his mouth AFTER the dumbness was lifted. People knew that it was time for Moshiach to appear, the end of the 4th Millennium from Creation. It was TIME! All the miracles that surrounded this kid’s conception and birth would go a long way toward convincing people of who this boy was – MOSHIACH! And when the Magi double-crossed Herod, which child would be the one most likely to be suspected of being Moshiach the King? Yochanan. Yeshua tells us:
That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of ZakharYah son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. (Matthew 23:35)
That was our ZakharYah, I think, when he wouldn’t tell the soldiers where Yochanan was. Q&C
What follows is from my study in the Life of Yeshua haMoshiach.
37c.) The birth of Yochanan the Immerser, Lk.1.57-80 – The birth of Yochanan the Immerser was unusual in more than the fact that he was born to a woman beyond childbearing age. That had been done before in Isaac. Yochanan’s birth was set apart in that his father had been stricken dumb and noone could know why – after all he couldn’t talk to tell what Yhwh had said through the angel. If he’d been able to tell them, he would have told them to name his son Yochanan. They insisted on naming him ZacharYah for his father. But Zach had communicated to his wife that the angel had told him to name the boy Yochanan (v.13). It was the custom to name the first-born son after the father; hence Yeshua name, which means salvation. But Elisheva was on her toes and kept the ceremony from being finalized before the boy was named as Elohim wanted him named. Yochanan means favored of, gift of, or grace of Yhwh. His very name prophesies his ministry, to be the forerunner of the gracious provision of Elohim. Anyway, the other priests were amazed when Zach said on the tablet, ‘His name is Yochanan.’
Boy, were they in for surprises that day. No sooner had they read ‘His name is Yochanan’ than Zach’s vocal chords are put into overdrive in praise of the Elohim who worked such a miracle. The Word says that they were afraid when he started talking. This was a definite sign of the power of Elohim. The first thing Zach says in over 9 months is thanks and praise to Elohim for remembering his promises to Yisrael of a Saviour. Then he tells what his son’s ministry will be, making reference to well-known prophecies of the forerunner (Is.40.3, Mal.3.1).
Notice as well that they made signs to Zach (v.62). There is nothing that says he was stricken deaf, only that he was muted. The two are not the same, but the priests must have thought so because they made signs rather than simply asking. Imagine the frustration of Zacharias, hearing every word being said about him, every question to be signed, trying to make himself understood, but the idiots asking the questions not bothering to address him, going through all the motions and gyrations to make themselves understood by a man who understood everything they were saying, and he can’t stop them from their futility because he can’t tell them to stop. ‘Hey, Izzy, Zach is waving his hands around and jumping in place. What do you suppose it means?’ ‘How am I supposed to know, Zeke? Help me figure out how to ask him if he wants 1 lump or 2.’ Of course, that’s all made up to help make the point, but it may help to explain the profusion of blessings that Zach spoke upon his un-dumb-ing. The passage tells us that the Spirit of Elohim opened his mouth and loosed his tongue in praise to Elohim.
As a result, the priests recognized that this boy was going to be a special man. They knew who Zach was saying this boy was. Then why didn’t the Pharisees believe him when he grew up and started preaching? Perhaps none still lived who’d been at Yochanan’s birth and circumcision. Or, more probably, they just didn’t want to recognize his authority or his message. After all, vv.65-66 say that the sayings were noised about all Judea. Do you think that the whole country was watching to see what would become of ZacharYah’s and Elisheva’s boy? Do you think the common folk were watching for great things from him, perhaps even that he’d become Moshiach? Do you suppose that Herod Antipas, the man that finally beheaded Yochanan, knew of the tidings of that night when Yochanan was circumcised and named, and Zacharias’ mouth was opened in praise to Elohim, suspected Yochanan was Moshiach? I think so. So what about the Pharisees, scribes and Sadducees? Don’t you think they knew as well? I’m sure. So what explains their rejection except pride and arrogance and lust for power? I can think of nothing.
Some of the allusions to prophecies made by ZacharYah include: a.) the horn of salvation- Webster’s 1828 says
“10. In Scripture, horn is a symbol of strength or power. The horn of Moab is cut off. (Jer.48) Horn is also an emblem of glory, honor, and dignity. My horn is exalted in Yhwh. 1 Sam.2. In Daniel, horn represents a kingdom or state.”
All these are to be understood of Yhwh Yeshua haMoshiach as the horn of salvation (v.69); b.) Deliverance unto service (v.74); c.) Dayspring (v.78) – whence springeth the day (Gen.1.5)? Zach here proclaimed that the one Yochanan was to announce was the dayspring, the horn of salvation to deliver the world back to the service of Elohim. IOW, Moshiach Yeshua. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study