May 11, 2013 Shabbat Bible Study
©2013 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
May 11, 2013 – Year 1 Sabbath 9
Genesis 11:1-32 – Zephaniah 3:8-13 – (No Psalm) – 1 Corinthians 14:20-33
Today would be my mother’s 92nd anniversary of her first breath of air. She passed in 2005 on May 8th and her viewing and ‘going home’ party was on her 84th ‘birthday’. She grew up in a Methodist church before they went totally apostate, and she knew whence came her salvation. I will be seeing her in glory at our Master’s feet.
Genesis 11:1-32 – I will start today’s study with the prefatory paragraphs from the Chumash on pp. 53-54. Chumash says the year of the judgment on the people was 1996, which is an assumption based in the genealogy at the end of the chapter but it can only be approximate, from the facts in evidence. Let’s look at that first. Shem was 98 years old when the flood began (v.10), and 100 when Arpakhshad was born (AM1658); Arpakhshad was 35 when Shelach was born (AM 1693); Shelach was 30 in the year Ayver (Eber) was born (AM 1723); Ayver was 34 when Peleg was born (AM 1757); Peleg was 30 when R’u was born (AM1787); R’u was 32 when Serug was born (AM 1819); Serug was 30 when Nachor was born (AM 1849); Nachor was 29 when Terach was born (AM 1878); and Terach was 70 when Avram was born (AM 1948). I infer, because of the general tendency of the sons of the patriarchs, that Avram was the 2nd born son (the 2nd born are the Tzadikim) of Terach and the genealogy follows Avram’s birth, not Haran’s. I also take the fact that Terach named the city or region to which he took his family following Haran’s early death after his deceased son and infer from all those facts that Haran was his 1st born. Haran had 1 son that we know of; Lot. The sages must think that Avram was 48 when Haran died, though there is no immediate scriptural evidence to base that on. We’ll deal with what details we can deduce from the genealogy a little later.
The sages also say that Avram had already come to understand the echad nature of Yhwh and knew that he was the Creator and Master of the Universe. With this I agree. I infer that Avram had witnessed to his family of Yhwh’s echadness (a new term?) and the evil of idolatry, in which Terach’s family was steeped and from which they made their living, if the sages are once again correct – and I think they are. The story goes (and I paraphrase it) that after Avram had told Terach and his brothers about the echad Elohim who was named Yhwh, that they thought he was off his nut, just a mite. So to prove his point, he went into Terach’s place of business; “Terach’s Idols”, as it were; and commenced to destroy every idol in the place except one. When Terach saw what Avram had done, he confronted Avram and told him he had to repair or replace all his wares. But Avram pointed to the one intact idol and said, “Maybe HE did it!” Terach said, “Don’t be stupid! You know that I made all those things with my own hands and they have no life of their own.” And Avram said, “Avi, do your ears hear what your mouth has spoken? Why do you worship that which you have yourself made?”
V.5 says that Yhwh descended to look at what Nimrod, et al, were doing with this tower. The sages take this as an anthropomorphism, or a figurative assignment of human characteristics to Yhwh. I disagree; as the way I see the dots connect, I understand this to be an instance of Yhwh Yeshua putting himself into history as the resurrected Moshiach. He came, as the Shophet Tzaddik, the Righteous Judge, to show us how WE ought to judge in righteousness, after gathering all the facts.
The 2nd paragraph of Chumash’s note to v.5 (pg.55) is very good. The underlying sin was humanity’s refusal to obey Yhwh’s command to “be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it”, not just the area around Bavel. If the sages are correct in their timing of the tower-building exercise, they stayed in the area for 340 years and did not disperse as Yhwh had intended, but decided to try to assault Yhwh in his abode bashamayim, in the heavens. I don’t know about that, but if they had no real idea about the nature of Yhwh Elohim, I can see the possibility. They were not dispersing because they wanted to dethrone Yhwh and be free of his rules (not eating blood, etc.). Kinda reminds me of
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against Yhwh, and against Moshiycho, 3 “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” (Ps.2.1-3)
And that kinda reminds me of … well … NOW! Remember,
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. (Ecclesiastes 3:15)
That which Bush 41 said, “It’s a big idea; a New WORLD ORDER!” is really as ancient as Nimrod and HIS OLD World Order. It’s all about Babylon, folks. It’s all about our inability to think up any new thing, but to keep trying to escape the tyranny of Yhwh’s 613 instructions in righteous living so we can each go our own ways. Men think, “Who is Yhwh to expect ME to comply with his instructions?” Did you know that Bush 41 signed the House Joint Resolution 104 to abide by the Noachide laws? Here’s the summation:
Whereas this will be reflected in an international scroll of honor signed by the President of the United States and other heads of state: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That March 26, 1991, the start of the ninetieth year of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, leader of the worldwide Lubavitch movement, is designated as `Education Day, U.S.A.’. The President is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
Speaker of the House of Representatives,
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.
There isn’t anything inherently evil about the so-called Noachide laws, except that they hold men to a VERY minimal standard that allows them to feel justified in their sin. And I will not be surprised when I see the nations of the earth shuck even that standard and just thumb their noses at Yhwh, as did the kings of the earth in Psalm 2. The New World Order is nothing but the re-incarnation of the Old World Order of Nimrod.
Since mankind decided to NOT follow Yhwh’s instructions to spread out and subdue the earth, Yhwh made it impossible for them to keep their unity by creating new languages so they would disperse themselves into the nations of the earth. The Chinese speakers would have a hard time dealing with English speakers, who would have a hard time with French speakers (and we still do) and etc., so the men probably went around looking for people whom they could understand and set out to found nations in the diverse places Yhwh meant them to. Q&C
Vv.10-32 – This is the genealogy of Shem up to Avram; 10 generations over a period of about 350 years. I find an interesting ‘anomaly’ in Arpachshad’s name. KJV renders it as Arphaxad, but I have been pronouncing it according the Masoretic vowel pointing, which I think is more correct. What’s interesting to me is the hard ‘pey’ in the middle of the word, something that is very unusual. Usually, the ‘pey’ only gets the ‘p’ pronunciation at the beginning of a Hebrew word, and is pronounced as an ‘f’ anywhere else. For example, there are 8 ‘pey’s on pg.55 of the Chumash. Of these, 5 are soft voiced and 3 are hard voiced, 2 of the hard voiced are in Arpachshad’s name and the other is where Yhwh dispersed mankind ‘over the face of the whole earth’, al-p’nei chal-haAretz. Why this is the case, I do not pretend to understand; I just noticed it and it struck me as funny; not funny “ha-ha”, but funny in the sense that it’s kinda peculiar, and I thought someone out there in PalTalk land might be able to enlighten us.
The important thing to know is that this is, once again, the seedline of the Moshiach. It makes no mention of any of the sons and daughters of the patriarchs except the one through whom Chavah’s seed came. I don’t see much that is remarkable about the genealogy until we get to Terach and his son Haran, except that from Peleg’s generation, the generation of the dispersal, the lifespans really began to diminish.
Haran is the first child that is recorded as predeceasing his father. Enoch was ‘taken’ by Yhwh before Yared’s death, but he did not die, so he doesn’t really apply here. Haran had a son, Lot, and 2 daughters, Milchah and Iscah. Milchah married Nachor, and Iscah married Avram and her name was changed to Sarai upon her betrothal or marriage to Avram, according to the sages, to carry on Haran’s line and to assuage Terach’s grief. Cf. note about Iscah on pg.58 of the Chumash. The rabbis claim that Haran’s death was the catalyst to Terach’s change from idolater to Yhwh fearer. Cf. note to v.28 on pg.57 (somewhat fanciful). Q&C
Zephaniah 3:8-13 – Yhwh shall return to his people the pure language that made mankind one before Bavel; only this time, the pure language will be turned to those who have chosen to obey his voice, to replenish the earth and subdue it. This will come after the great and terrible day of Yhwh’s wrath and after the final battle with the forces of the earth. In that day he will recall all his people Yisrael out of the 4 corners of the earth to his Kingdom, and the remnant of Yisrael will live in righteousness, doing no Torahlessness. The whole purpose of Yisrael’s restoration of the pure language is to unite them and purify them and to restore to them his True and eternal Name. After the pure language is turned to us, we will cease to be ashamed of our heathen customs and iniquity that caused our exile, for they will have been forgiven and forgotten by Yhwh;
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith Yhwh, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yhwh: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Yhwh: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (YirmeYahu 31.33-34)
Yhwh chooses to not remember our sins, so they are out of his mind and no longer exist. What is there to fear when your iniquities have been made as if they had never happened. Q&C No Psalm –
1Corinthians 14:20-33 – This passage is in the immediate context of tongues speaking and the overall context of order in the assembly. I will not get into that can of worms right now except to say that there are lots of interpretations of what tongues-speaking means and it is a point over which many divide or break fellowship. But Sha’ul is doing a Midrash of sorts, here, so taking a verse from Tanakh and using it in a different context than it was originally is ‘kosher’. That is what Sha’ul does here. Suffice it to say that Paul would rather speak 5 words in the kahal [assembly] with his understanding (meaning that he will get his point across to his audience) than 10,000 words that noone can understand. Then, to illustrate that, he ‘quotes’ the prophet (kinda)
9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [the] weaned from the milk, drawn from the breasts. 10 For precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12 To whom he said, [With] This the rest ye may cause the weary to rest; and this the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (YeshaYahu 28.9-13)
Yhwh had spoken to them via the prophets from their own nation and they would not hear, so he sent prophets from another nation, where a different language was spoken, to speak to them, but they would not hear, so he gave them over to what they wanted until they’d get their fill of it, awaken to their self-imposed exile, and turn back to him. Here, Sha’ul is speaking to Corinthian Yisraelites (v.20), who had heard him teach in their own kahal for 18 months. He had taught them in the fashion that Yhwh described through YeshaYahu: ‘precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line’: building a Torah-based fortress of knowledge (da’at) and understanding (biynah) for them to trust in in time of trouble. With what he’d taught them, they should not be ‘children’, nursing milk from their mama’s breast; they should be completed (tamiym) men, ready to do battle with the enemy. Instead, the Corinthians are concentrating on side issues that the enemy uses to distract.
The spiritual gift of tongues was designed as a sign to unbelievers, not to believers. Prophecy, or teaching from Tanakh, is for the edification and training of believers. The prophets that came to Israel from other lands, who did not speak Hebrew, but prophesied to Israel in Hebrew so they COULD understand were no more successful than their own prophets had been in turning Israel back to obedience to Yhwh’s Torah. If everyone in the kahal starts speaking in tongues all at once and a visitor, believer or unbeliever, walks into that cacophony; that guy speaking Spanish while this woman speaks Chinese, while that guy speaks Swahili, and noone can translate any of it; he is going to think the place is a loony bin (v.23). But if each person in the kahal prophesies in turn, the one building on the other, “precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line’, the visiting believer is edified and the visiting unbeliever is convicted unto repentance or condemnation.
Look at vv.24-33. Paul says that as many as have a word of prophecy: and prophecy does not mean just foretelling the future [as many seem to think]; but it more importantly means that you have something to edify, or build up, your brethren in the faith of Yeshua: that many should speak their prophecy. But if there are going to be some speaking in tongues in the kahal, allow 2 – MAYBE 3 to speak IF there is an interpreter so that EVERYONE can get more binah v’da’at, or understanding and knowledge, for their halacha, or walk, with Yhwh Yeshua. Everything within the kahal is for equipping the saints for their service in and to Yhwh.
Do you see in v.30 that if one is prophesying (which in this context I infer to mean unpacking, or exegeting, a passage of scripture) and another gets a revelation [Yhwh opens a new understanding for someone related to the passage in question] let the person reveal it to everyone in the kahal. THAT’S what we want here. That is the purpose of this weekly Shabbat Bible Study. I don’t do this to spout off and build myself up; Yhwh knows I am enough of an egoist without that. It’s my job to get y’all’s brains working with your human spirits by Ruach haKodesh so that you will think about the passages and add the line Yhwh has given you to the line he has given me so that we can build the kind of fortress Sha’ul strove to construct in Corinth. If all that’s going on is MY edification, the study time I spend is of no use to Yhwh’s Kingdom, but only to my own personal edification. Your input is as important or more so than mine. Everyone who is in this room needs to hear it. Who knows if YOUR line of revelation added to my line of revelation won’t open another line of revelation in someone else? Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study