October 5, 2013 Shabbat Bible Study
©2013 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
October 5, 2013 – Year 1 Sabbath 30
Genesis 31:3-32:2 – Jeremiah 30:10-16; Micah 6:3-7:20 – Psalm 26 – James 4:1-12
Gen.31.3-16 – Y’hovah spoke directly to Ya’acov and told him not only to go back home, but that he would have his back along the way. So he called Rachel and Leah (not Bilhah and Zilpah) out and for counsel. Ya’acov tries a snowjo … uhhh … sales pitch to get them to see how it would be best if they went to Canaan. Y’hovah shows him right away that he has Ya’acov’s back by making the sale an easy one. Both wives agreed that they would all be better off in Canaan than in Lavan’s sphere of influence. They knew [in the same way Rivkah had] that Lavan’s heart was larcenous, and that he was happy that they were not his responsibility. 15 mouths to feed, and most of them light eaters – for now. Wait about 6-7 years and who would be able to feed them all? Well, Y’hovah could, but that wouldn’t be Lavan’s point of view. He might see them more as a liability, especially since Y’hovah is increasing Ya’acov WAY beyond Lavan.
Ya’acov recounted how Lavan had changed his wages a hundred times (lit. 10 tens), or about every 3 weeks for 6 years. He also explained how Y’hovah had shown him in dreams how the males of one color would mate with the females and then the other males would, as Lavan changed his wages. So, it was Ya’acov’s story that Elohim had actually stolen Lavan’s cattle, not Ya’acov. The rabbis explain that the reason for the strakes in the rods before the cattle was to keep Lavan from seeing the intervention of Elohim, and instead think Ya’acov had worked some sorcery or something. IOW, the rods stuck in the ground were a cover story, which Lavan’s boys swallowed hook, line and sinker.
The girls, meanwhile, say that everything Elohim had taken from Lavan and given to Ya’acov was theirs by right of inheritance, anyway, so whatever Elohim told Ya’acov to do was OK by them. Ya’acov had appealed to their flesh and what is morally right from the beginning and they answered him in kind. Q&C
Vv. 17-20 – Ya’acov didn’t need another minute to think about it. He had Elohim covering his 6 and his wives support and encouragement, so he packed up the tents, loaded his wives and kids and their stuff on the camels and other critters and was gone, lock, stock and barrel faster than you can say ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’.
What has shearing sheep got to do with Lavan’s idols? Did he keep his sheep shears in the same basket as his images? Were his images little golden sheep on a stand? Image is from Str. Heb. 8655, t’raphim, meaning healer, from the Heb. 7495, rapha, to mend by stitching. Quite possibly he kept his ‘1st aid kit’ (they were ‘shearing’ sheep, good chance of someone needing to be stitched up) in a specific place that he knew, but not one he was in more than once or twice a week. The tent could have doubled for a sanctuary to the t’raphim. Or maybe the thing the 1st aid kit was in had an image on it.
But why did Rachel steal his images, anyway? Maybe she just wanted the 1st aid kit. Or maybe she wanted something of value that Leah didn’t have access to. Whatever the reason, I think it was a foreshadowing of Israel spoiling Egypt on her Exodus some 200-250 years in the future. The Schottenstein’s Chumash [p.178] has this note on v.19:
“The teraphim were idols, and Rachel took them to keep Lavan from idol worship (Rashi). The Torah records this episode because her intentions were noble.
Ramban derives the word from rapha, weak, alluding to the weakness of their prognostications. Zohar relates the word to t’raph and torpha, denoting obscenity.”
I think the Torah records this because it is the only scripture in the world that doesn’t embellish the accounts of its heroes like the rabbis do in these notes. The heroes of the faith in the Bible are shown as fallible human beings, just like those who read it. Rachel stole from Lavan, plain and simple. The reason she did is actually up in the air and my guess is as good as anyone’s. I prefer that my heroes be imperfect. It gives me hope.
If Rachel had NOT been guilty, why did she sit on the basket in which the t’raphim were hidden and make up a lame ‘niddah’ excuse to stay seated on it? Both she and Lavan heard what Ya’acov had said, ‘the one with whom it is found will die’, and I think neither Rachel nor Lavan wanted her to die. It is possible that Lavan had preferred Rachel to Leah in the same manner as Ya’acov did. Rachel, the cute one, may have been spoiled all her life, which would also help to explain the depth of the rivalry between Leah and her. Q&C
*Get out your bible atlas, or your inspired maps.*
Vv.21-55 – Ya’acov ‘fled’, stealing away in the middle of the night and then, beating feet, he crossed over Euphrates (his camp must have been near the river) and started on his journey home. It wasn’t until the 3rd day that Lavan was told that Ya’acov had left his graze. There was a 3-day separation between Ya’acov’s and Lavan’s cattle, so now I presume there was a 6 day journey for Lavan to catch up. That he did so in only 7 days TOTAL [4 days from his learning that Ya’acov and girls had left] is a testament to his earnestness to catch him, AND the slowness of the flocks and herds Ya’acov had to deal with. This also foreshadows the Exodus, in that Ya’acov went 3 days journey before Lavan was told of their departure, just like Israel did before Paraoh was; and on the 7th day, they caught up, just like Paraoh would. Lavan caught him at the hills of Gilead (I assume at the beginning of the River Jabbok’s passage through them to the Yarden) as Paraoh caught Israel at the end of Wadi al-Arish at the Yam Suf.
Unlike the account in Exodus and Paraoh, somewhere between Padan-Aram and the hills of Gilead, Elohim warned Lavan in a dream and told him to not say anything to entice or force (neither good nor ill) Ya’acov to return to Padan-Aram. Now, I think Ya’acov knew that Lavan didn’t make this trip over a 1st aid kit or a few images, so when all Lavan demanded was his images, Ya’acov got bold. I also think he figured out where the images were and in his fear of possibly losing Rachel he got overly verbose. He unloaded on Lavan for all the real and perceived wrongs he’d been done while in Padan-Aram for 20 years.
When he finished, Lavan still held that his daughters, grandchildren and the flocks belonged to him, but that he would overlook all this if Ya’acov would covenant with him for peace between them, and that neither party would send an armed force beyond this point with hostile intent against the other. Ya’acov set up a rock for a pillar to mark the place of the pact, his children helped him build a mound [which included all of them in the covenant, as well] and they all sat down to conclude the peace with a feast that, under the circumstances, could not be beat. The meal was meant to mark mutual acceptance of the covenant. Ya’acov’s brethren could only be his elder sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Dan and Yehudah who would all be between 10 and 13 by now. Lavan called this Yegar-Sahadutha while Ya’acov called it Galeed. Both of these mean the same thing – heap of witness. And Lavan and Ya’acov agreed that it would be a watchtower (Mitzpeh) of Y’hovah between them. So neither Lavan nor Ya’acov would send passed this point with hostile intent. Of course, from here on there will be no documented visit either way. The word ‘offered a sacrifice’ in KJV is rendered ‘slaughtered for a feast’ in Stone’s translation in Chumash. The Hebrew reads, “Vayizbach Ya’acov zevach”; “And [he] Ya’acov slaughtered for a feast.” He shared this feast with his ‘brethren’, whom I said before I infer to likely be his elder children since his only brother is Esav, who is not in this episode.
The fear of Yitzhak is interesting. Did Lavan fear Ya’acov’s father? Or are the rabbis right that this refers to the human fear Yitzhak felt at the Akeidah when his father’s hand picked up the knife to cut his throat? Or does this refer to Ya’acov’s fear and reverence for Yitzhak? I infer the last.
32.1-2 – When Ya’acov left from Galeed/Mitzpah the messengers of Elohim met him. And when he recognized who they were he named the place Machanayim. Machanayim means ‘hosts’, and right here refers to the host [singular] of Y’hovah and the host of Ya’acov [also singular]. What the rabbis say is that Ya’acov saw the hosts of Elohim that watch over Eretz Yisrael and the hosts of Elohim that watch over his people who are in the lands to the north and east of haAretz. I think this gave Ya’acov an idea to break up his family into a number of hosts to present before Esau on his journey home. We’ll look at that next week. Q&C
Jer. 30:10-16 – Vv.2-3 give the context that Yhwh will ‘bring again the captivity of my people Yisrael and Yehudah’, which phrase he then explains, ‘I will cause them to return to haAretz’. V.4 gives us the application of these verses. It is to be given to Yehuda and Yisrael; 2 houses. Ya’acov = both houses. Vv.10-16 are generally to both houses, but some is specific to Yisrael. Neither is to be dismayed at what they see coming at them, for they need to be corrected in this life. The beauty of being children of haMelech Y’hovah is that we have only this life in which to be corrected, for there will be no more correction in our next life to come. The clue as to the major focus of this passage is given in v.10, where Y’hovah says he will save us from afar. In Eph.2.11-19, Rav Sha’ul makes allusion to this:
11 Wherefore remember, that ye in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Moshiach, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without Elohim in the world: 13 But now in Messiah Yeshua ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah. 14a For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition … 15b to make in himself of twain one new man, making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto Elohim in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of Elohim; (Ephesians 2:11-14a,15b-19)
He promises Yisrael in Jer.30.10 that he will save her seed from the land of their captivity along with the rest of Ya’acov and they both shall be at rest. That sounds like Eph.2.11ff to me.
While Y’hovah will use our diaspora to chastise us, he will not abandon us there, like he will the nations to which we are exiled. He will chastise us ever more severely (vv.11-15) until we repent and ask him to deliver us. Those whom he used to chastise us will pay dearly for their actions against us. Though he used them to chastise us, he holds them responsible for the chastisement they brought against us because they had the freewill to choose to NOT chastise us. As he holds us accountable for our sins until we repent of them, so he holds them accountable for their treatment of us until they repent of it. Remember, even when he returns to wipe out the nations’ armies he will offer each man his Shalom (Is.27.4-5). All sins, even these peoples’, are forgiven (Heb.10.10, 1Jn.2.1) IF they will repent of them – turn away from their own and unto his Way. Q&C
Micah 6:3-7:20 – In 6.16, Omri and his son Ahab were kings of Israel in Samaria. They were arguably the most wicked kings in Israel’s 235 year history as a separate kingdom. Omri’s daughter Athaliah was the mother of Ahaziah, king of Judah, the woman who usurped the throne and killed all the men who were in line for Yehudah’s throne except one – YoshiYahu. The statutes of Omri are obviously wicked in the extreme, and only Ahab was more wicked in his deeds (thanks probably to Jezebel being his wife), for he built groves and worshipped Ba’al. The chastisement we receive is because we are doing what these kings did – Omri worshipped the false yhwh in Mt. Gerizim like none before him. Ahab followed his father’s lead and then went a step further by marrying Jezebel of the Zidonians and built groves to and worshipped Ba’al, her god.
So here are the thousands of rams Micah talked about up in v.7. Ba’al worshippers killed them by the dozens, but the death of animals was never the point of Israel’s sacrificial system. The point was the remorse a man felt from having to kill the animal to atone for the sin he’d committed, knowing the animal was innocent and WE were guilty. When we got to where the blood we shed had no effect on us because we sinned anyway and just killed another lamb or kid like it meant nothing, because to us it meant as much as Esav’s birthright meant to him – nothing, Y’hovah had to deal with us differently and actually visit the consequence on us anyway – exile from him and his land. They are like those to whom Yeshua referred in
And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. (Matthew 11:17)
Ch.7 – Vv.1-4 seem to speak of our generation of men, where wickedness has become normal and Yhwh’s righteousness seems an abomination. Vv.3&4 speak specifically of corrupt government and religious officials. Those of us see this and begin to think like EliYahu after Yezevel threatened his life, like he was the only righteous man left on earth. We need to remember than Yhwh had 7000 in Israel (not Yehudah) who had not bowed the knee to Ba’al. We need to seek out those in government and religious leadership who do not take rewards [read bribes for politicians and tithes for preachers] and mark them for our attention. These are more likely, though not necessarily, prophets of Yhwh.
In vv.5-7, Micah is telling us to NOT trust even our close family members when the time of trouble comes, for they will do whatever it takes to be in the good graces of the powers that be. Don’t blame them, since everyone has to eat, and if they don’t turn you in, they won’t get their rations (or whatever). It will be dog-eat-dog. Trust only in Y’hovah, keep everything elsewise close to the vest.
In 8-9, Ya’acov must fall before he can rise, he must see darkness before he can see the light and for him the way to life may be through death. But we must bear the chastisement of Y’hovah, if he puts it on us, because it is for our good. When I show my trust in him, he will plead my cause, bring me to the light and show me his righteousness.
Beloved, now are we the sons of Elohim, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:2)
Vv.10-13, I think, speak of America; sea to sea, mountain to mountain, land shall be desolate. Vv.16-17 speaks of Armageddon and Gog uMagog, when the nations that come against Y’hovah will THINK they have advantage in numbers and weaponry, thanks to the lies of haSatan.
But, to me, the exiting verse in Mic.7 is 19. In Rev.21 he says
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation of John 21:4)
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty Elohim, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Y’hovah Tsavaoth will perform this. (Isaiah 9.6-7)
If there will be no sorrow, crying, pain or death in the New Earth, but his government and peace will increase forever, what happened to the yetzer hara, the evil inclination or OSN? The people who populate the New Earth are not resurrected believers, but physical people who can procreate and have children – the government and peace will increase, get larger in number at least. But if WE were to populate it in this flesh, the only thing that would increase is sin.
But v.19 says,
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19)
Here’s what I think happens: All through the Kingdom, everyone went up to J’lem for Tabernacles, but most did it only so it would rain on their crops. When haSatan is released for a short time at the end of the thousand years, he gathers all the disaffected, dissatisfied, people who only went to Tabernacles by force. They go up to J’lem, but not to keep the feast – they go up to destroy the camp of saints and the King, but they are confounded (7.16) that their numbers and weaponry don’t strike fear into the camp. They are then wiped out by fire out of the heavens and immediately find themselves at a judgment seat. (Rev.20.7-15)
The people who lived through the Kingdom and kept the final Feast of Tabernacles will see the New Heaven and New Earth where Y’hovah Tabernacles with them forever and they have their sins cast into the sea, i.e.; their sin nature/evil inclination/yetzer hara expunged. The enemies of Y’hovah will be judged and dissolved with this heaven and earth while the New Heaven and Earth are created, and the saints who were encamped around J’lem will be made like Adam and Chava before the fall. The growth of the population will be very quick and will soon reach a point where we will have to go to other planets.
Did you think all those stars are just ornaments? Q&C
Ps.26.1-3 – David asks Y’hovah to judge his heart, not his actions or their outcome. Y’hovah judges the hearts of men, their motives more than their specific actions. Why do we do what we do? Are we doing what in our integrity we believe is right, what we can ascertain from scripture is his will for us to do? The word integrity is the Heb word towm.
It means innocence. There is no guile or evil intent in it when we act in our integrity. David’s heart was habitually after the heart of Y’hovah, he wanted Y’hovah’s heart to be his own and to know Y’hovah intimately. But even he could lapse into sin. So he requests that Yah look at his heart and his motives when he judges him. David knows that only Yah can know what our true motives are, and he is convinced that Yah will vindicate him, because he has tried to live according to Y’hovah’s Torah.
Vv.4-5 – How true are these verses of you and your walk? It says that David didn’t SIT with vain persons. It does NOT say he had no dealings with them. In order for us to not have anything whatever to do with habitual sinners, we would have to go out of the world.
1Cor.5.9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
If we went right out of the world, how would we be a witness to the world for the sake of righteousness? To sit with vain persons, we must congregate with them, have fellowship with them. So David is telling Y’hovah that he doesn’t hang with vain, wicked or dissembling evil doers. He can’t thoroughly avoid them, but his relationship is not friendly, he’s not their ‘chum’, if you will.
Vv.6-8 – is a marriage metaphor. As the Bride encompasses her groom 7 times in the Hebraic wedding, so David encompasses Y’hovah’s altar. IOW, he identifies with the offering, he is thankful for the gracious provision of Y’hovah and submits to his authority. He does this so that he can speak confidently of all Yah has done for him, and his love for the Tabernacle of Y’hovah.
Vv.9-10 – David says he doesn’t want to be identified with sinners, whom he describes as ‘bloody’ men. Bloody men = those who cause the death of others. Now, we’re talking about David, here. What did he mean. He was a VERY bloody man, physically speaking. He was a relatively small guy, maybe 5’6” or so. But he was nobody to mess with. He killed a guy who was 9’9” and a champion of the Philistines with no armor and a rock from a sling. Talk about gutz! Not bloody? He didn’t habitually kill people just for the fun of it. THAT’S what Y’hovah means by bloody. These men’s strength, their right hands, are full of bribes to act mischievously – they were hired killers.
Vv.11-12 – In contrast, David wants to walk in his integrity. Remember that integrity is from Str. Heb word 8537, towm, innocence. This is the 3rd time he’s used the concept of ‘innocence’ in this psalm, vv.1, 6 and 11 – start, middle and end. Even as violent as his life had been, he was innocent in all the blood he’d shed except UriYahu’s, for which he received some heavy chastisement. But even though he had daily reminders of his guilt in the UriYahu affair, he was able to maintain his innocence because his life was set-apart by his life’s overarching drive to live by Y’hovah’s instructions. In v.6, his ‘innocency’ is from Str. Heb 5356, nikawyown, cleanness, with a root of nikah, clean or empty. David’s position in Y’hovah was such that you could look for what Y’hovah would blame him for and not find anything – even after UriYahu, because he had repented of that sin and accepted that his chastisement was his due. He was blameless before Y’hovah, regardless what men would say about him.
In v.12, he ‘stands’ in an ‘even place’. ‘Stand’ = Str. Heb.5975, amad, to stand fast or endure. “Even place = St. Heb. 4334, miyshowr, which is the root yashar – straightness, to be or walk straight or right with a mem prefix. So David stands fast from his position of imputed right or uprightness, even after the matter of UriYahu the Hittite. No wonder he could and, according to his heart of innocent integrity, would bless Y’hovah from the kahal. Q&C
Ya’acov 4.1-12– All the divisions that are in the body of Messiah are caused by our lust for power or approbation or both. These lusts bring NO desired fruit, only contention. This was the main issue that Rav Sha’ul was dealing with in Romans, and in 14.1 he says,
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. (Romans 14:1)
Let me tell you that if someone is causing division over something that Elohim has shown only to him, he’s probably one who is weak in the faith. He MEANS to prove HIS point, but isn’t REALLY open to the truth. If he were, he’d listen with a Berean attitude, checking to see if what he’s being told is in accord with the Word of Y’hovah. And if it IS in accord with Torah, he will be willing to amend his own position. We are ALLOWED to disagree over fine points, but we must do so without disassociating, for we need each other.
We don’t get what we want because we are trying to fill our own bellies (or whatever we are trying to fill) with stuff, not to fill our minds and hearts with Torah or provide service to Y’hovah or his body. Ya’acov tells us in v.4 that this is adultery, that we have made ourselves gods in his face. Ya’acov was referring in v.5 to Gen.6.5, ‘every imagination of man’s heart is only evil continuously, where ‘imagination’ also includes the ideas of purposes and desires (lusts). But in v.6, Y’hovah gives us not just enough, but MORE than enough grace to overcome our lustful desires, if we’ll just access it. If we live in our pride, we will not be able to access it, but if we live in humility, submitted to him, he will supply all the grace we need and THEN some to get through and move on from there. By submitting to Y’hovah we resist haSatan, who plays on our pride but can’t get hold of our humility. And so we need to draw close to Y’hovah. As soon as we make the first step towards him he runs to meet us, like the father of the Prodigal.
We cleanse our hands by doing the positive commandments and we purify our hearts by meditating on them. If we are doing his commands and thinking about them our minds will be single. If we are not, then v.9 is for us until we have repented and become single-minded and v.10 is how to get it done – realize you’re prideful, turn from your pride and toward walking humbly before Elohim. He will lift you up exponentially higher that you could have ever lifted yourself, if you’ll think and do his commandments after him.
Vv.11-12 are still talking about the wars and divisions we have. Basically, Ya’acov is saying, ‘Keep your mouth SHUT, Mister!’ How many of us have been wronged by a brother or sister and gone right out and published it abroad for the world to see – well, alright – the congregation, anyway. It happens WAY too often among our brethren. I have been accused to my face of lacking wisdom because I have not accepted what my brethren have told me is their understanding of a thing. I’ve been told, ‘one who judges a matter without hearing it is not wise’, and the brethren will not listen to the words of my mouth – that I have already studied the matter and found it without scriptural merit. I don’t know if they can’t believe I’ve heard about the doctrine before, or if they just assume that in my arrogance (of which I freely admit, I have more than my share) I WILL not listen. I have lost relationships with beloved brethren because of it, not because I have cut them off, but because they have cut me off. My brothers and sisters, this ought not so to be. Why is it so hard to just agree to disagree and go on in fellowship over the MAJOR points on which we DO agree? Can we fellowship in Torah and not argue over ancillary issues? But the worst part of this whole ‘wars and fightings’ among us is that we get down to lashon hara, evil speech, about those we are admonished to love. We speak of the goodness of Elohim and then speak ill of our brother in Y’hovah, sometimes in one breath. “My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (3.10)” The same Y’hovah who gave us the Torah, who created all there is and will dissolve the very atomic structure of the universe, will also be our judge. Why don’t we just leave the judgment of people and their motives to him? Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study