Shabbat Bible Study for November 12, 2016
©2016 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 1 Sabbath 31
Genesis 32:3-33:17 – OvadYah 1:21 – Psalm 27 – James 1:1-12
Gen.32.3-12 – Ya’acov and fam are at the place named Machanayim – 2 hosts. The 2 hosts are Ya’acov’s family and Y’hovah’s hosts that met him in v.1. With this backup, Ya’acov seems to have the guts to face Esav, but not so much that he is unworried, and he begins to send emissaries to soften his brother up. He humbles himself before Esav before he even sends his servants by calling Esav his ‘lord’ and referring to himself before his own servants as Esav’s servant. Ya’acov’s servants would be able to give the sense of Ya’acov’s humility since they have heard him abase himself before Esav before their very eyes. He tells his servants to tell Esav that he has been away and is returning home, and would like to live there in peace. ‘That I may find grace in thy sight’ means, “I want you to like me.” This is what is happening right now in Israel, and has been for almost 70 years – Ya’acov is trying to get Esav to like him. There are exactly 2 chances of that happening in the large picture – slim and none; though individuals will be able to reconcile, if they so choose.
Ya’acov understood how difficult this would be when his servants returned to tell him that Esav was coming to welcome him home – with about 400 of his closest friends in battle array. This has been the pattern throughout history, as can be seen in Num.20.20, where Edom refuses Israel passage and comes out against Israel in full combat gear, and again in the return from Babylon in the books of NehemYah and Ezra, and again in the establishment of the secular Zionist State of Israel in 1948. Esav does NOT want Israel in the land and never has since Ya’acov received the blessing from Yitzhak v’Rivkah. Esav wants Ya’acov dead. I think that one of the reasons the Edomite Muslims hate America so much is that they know better than we do that we ARE [or were] the bright ‘city shining on a hill’. Just an aside – did you know that the only city described as ‘city on a hill’ in the KJV is Samaria (1Ki.16.24), and that the root for Samaria is shamar – to guard? In regards the confrontation of Esav and Ya’acov, there is a good note in Chumash, p.186, that is informative as to WHY Israel gives away so much in the pursuance of shalom w/brother Esav.
So Jake divides the family into 2 bands, Machanayim, so that Esav might miss some of them in his zeal to kill the other. Then he resorts to Y’hovah for protection of both hosts, first by reminding Y’hovah of his promise to deal well with him in the land (v.9), then by humbling himself before Y’hovah and thanking him for his grace to date (v.10) and only then by making his supplication (v.11). Now, I COULD be wrong about this (though I DOUBT it), but I think we have here an excellent example of how we should approach Y’hovah with our supplications. We ought to 1) be sure that our request is righteous, 2) remind him of his promises to us, 3) acknowledge our sinfulness and our need for his gracious protection, 4) ask him for his favor in granting our needs and desires and then remind him again of his promise. But, as the rabbis also say in Chumash, we ought not rely on our righteous standing alone, but make preparations to do physical battle, as well.
In v.10 he makes mention of the 2 hosts that Y’hovah had blessed him to become. These two bands can be seen as the ‘2 sheepfolds’ in the stars. In the constellation Pisces (I think – I really COULD be wrong about this one) there are representations of two fish (sheepfolds in the Hebrew ‘zodiac’), one swimming celestial north and the other swimming celestial east along the ecliptic, both tied by a band to the foot of Cetus (the sea monster). The northbound fish is the larger of the 2, as Ephraim is the larger of the sheepfolds and was carried off to the north. Yehuda, the smaller of the fish/sheepfolds was carried eastward by Babylon to the east. I think it is Perseus who is standing with his sword ready to cut the bands tying the sheepfolds to the sea monster. This is Mashiach, cutting that which ties the two houses to haSatan, setting us free. It is very interesting to me, at least, that when a star map is overlaid on a globe, with Jerusalem as the ‘center of the earth’, the sheepfolds/fish are laid over Assyria and Babylon, respectively, and the bands conjoin over Jerusalem. Scripture says that Jerusalem is the center of the earth (Ezekiel 5.5, 38.12). This would mean to me that it is the right place for the equator AND the prime meridian, the division between east/west and north/south.
Notice at the end of v.11 [12 in Hebrew] that Ya’acov is thinking more of Rachel (and Yoseph) than the others when he said, ‘the mother of the children’, not the mothers. I don’t think it was intentional, but just his nature. He always favored Rachel, even when he didn’t realize he was doing so. Q&C
Gen.32.13-23 – Ya’acov stayed overnight in Machanayim, and he separated out a bunch of animals to send as peace [appeasement?] offerings to Esav. Notice that the numbers are all even, 200 she goats, etc. These are the total numbers he sent, but he divided them into 2 groups, as well as his family. All the groups were spaced some distance apart so that (I think) Esav will think there are more people and cattle with Jake than he has men to handle. OR Esav’s larcenous nature may have thought that this was a lot of stuff to take possession of. Jake gave instructions on how the servants were to speak to Esav. Jake knew the customs of the area and how to deal with these folks. He also knew the nature of Esav and how to soften him up.
The servants went ahead with the bribes … er, presents … and Jake spent the night in the camp – NOT his tent. This was not normally where he slept, or it would not have been mentioned. After the camp was asleep, he gathered up his wives and kids and slipped across the brook to be that much further from Esav and less accessible. In all this Jake was walking by sight, rather than the assurance that Y’hovah would deliver on his promise.
24-32 – So Jake was alone at the fords of the Jabbok, his wives and kids across the brook, and his servants and belongings in the camp yonder. And there came a man to him whom he wrestled with all the rest of the night. His wrestling through the night foreshadows ‘those days’ of tribulation, when Ya’acov’s sons will have great trials of faith and endurance. When this comes on them (us) it will be well for them (us) to remember this passage. It is given “for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. [1Cor.10.11]” Please note that the spirit cannot overcome the flesh unless the flesh is either weakened or it submits to the spirit. The Spirit of Elohim will NOT force his will on us. We must be willing to do as he commands in order to be used of him. He can use our fleshly lusts to his advantage, but when we submit to the Spirit of Elohim, he can use US. This second is MUCH more preferable and better for us – if not immediately, at least in eternity. Again, the Ruach cannot prevail over the flesh, for he speaks in a ‘still, small voice’, while it jumps up and down, screaming and playing a kazoo to make sure it has our attention. For Ruach to control us, we must make a conscious effort to submit to him and obey his lead.
Ya’acov wrestled until the ‘man’ dislocated the ‘hollow of Jake’s thigh’ (his hip), the strongest muscle and joint and the sturdiest bone in the human body, and, knowing Yah as I do, he chose the dominant hip to dislocate. But still Jake wouldn’t release the ‘man’ until he had his blessing.
And what a blessing it was. He gave him a new name
For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. 2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of Y’hovah shall name. [Yesh.62.1-2]
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [Rev.2.17]
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and my new name. [Rev.3.12].
Only those who overcome are given new names. Jake’s new name was Yisrael; ‘he is prince of Elohim’. We will receive our new names, those of us who overcome, at the end of the tribulation, even as Yisrael got his as the ‘sun rose upon him,’ or the night ended and the day broke – the tribulation ends and the Messianic Kingdom begins.
I find it interesting that, despite Ya’acov’s own words in v.31, the Chumash contends that the ‘man’ whom Ya’acov wrestled was actually the guardian angel of Esav, haSatan. I can see this as a midrashic application, as haSatan will be exiled from the world at the end of the ‘night’ of Esav’s/Babylon’s/Egypt’s dominance of the world system and the dawning of the Millennial Messianic Kingdom, but not as the primary interpretation of the ‘man’ in the passage. As we have stated before, one of the primary interpretive tools of the rabbis is the one called gezerah shava; the idea that the tapestry of Tanach has threads running throughout in the background and that they sometimes come to the surface for our edification. This is the first place that one of those threads comes to light,
29 And Jacob asked and said, Tell, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?
The next place this thread comes to light is in
17 And Manoah said unto the angel of Y’hovah, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour? 18 And the angel of Y’hovah said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? [Judges.13.17-18]
The word translated ‘secret’ is H6383 peliy, which Stone’s Tanach translates hidden. The next appearance of the thread is in
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 God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. [Is.9.6]
The word translated as ‘Wonderful’ is from H6382 pele, meaning secret, hidden, wonderful. Both 6383 and 6382 derive from the root 6381 palah, meaning to distinguish or set apart. The Name of the Ayn Soph, the Almighty, is so far above our paygrade that we cannot truly grasp it in our fleshly beings. It is too wonderful for us to comprehend. Q&C
33.1-2 – As Ya’acov comes out of the brook at Penuel, he lifts his eyes to see Esav riding up with those 400 close friends we spoke about earlier. I want us to notice how different Jake is this morning. Yesterday he was putting as much space and bodies between him and Esav as he could. Today, he still divides his family into 3 camps, but NOW he goes forward first to protect his wives and children. He doesn’t hide among them as he had in the camp the night before, but goes right to the source of trouble, like the real man he’d become. He humbles himself before his elder brother, who climbs down to embrace Jake as they probably had not done since the womb.
The root word beneath ‘kissed’ is nashak (nun, shin, kuph). Nashak in paleo-Hebrew = touch in love w/the lips, or in battle w/weapons. Every time we see the English word ‘kiss’ in the Torah, it is translated from nashak. Where does the idea of touching with a weapon come from, then? I think mainly from this passage. The rabbi’s tell us that the ‘jots of Moshe’ above the word ‘v’nishakayhu, vav, nun, shin, kuph, hey, vav (six letters, each with a dot above in the MT) represent the 6 upper teeth, 4 incisors and 2 canines, of Esav as he attempted to bite Jake on the neck to rip out his jugular. Also the word nayshek (spelled the same) means to equip with weapons. A rhetorical question: Do you think that Judas’ kiss might have been like Esav’s?
After Esav met Jake’s families, he asks what all the animals meant. Follows a typical Middle Eastern bargain. I loved going into the suq in Bahrain when I was over there. You get to find out just how those guys LOVE the art of haggling. The customer asks how much for the merchandise. The merchant asks how much the customer would like to pay. The customer low-balls the guy, who begs for mercy since he has wives and children to feed. The customer signals how serious he is about the buy if he acquiesces and raises his offer, but only because he would not want the merchant’s family to die of starvation. And on and on. It can be great fun. Or absolutely maddening. Depends on the customer’s attitude. Jake answered with ‘They’re yours, sent so that you’ll be friendly to me.’ Esav doesn’t want to seem greedy, but recognizes that Jake has some nice stuff, and doesn’t want to cut off this sweet connection for meat and rich sons-in-law, so he says, “I’m already a rich man, bro. Keep it for yourself.” In this Esav is also thinking, “If I take the stuff, how can I justify ripping out his heart? I’ll be shunned, even by my pagan buddies.” But Jake says, “No, bro. If you like me (the best modern day translation I know of for ‘if I have found grace’), keep the stuff. I’ve already been repaid enough just seeing your sweet face, my beloved brother. You’re almost as handsome as Y’hovah.” Despite what it says in v.11, I don’t think it took a lot of urging for Esav to make off with the booty.
He DID however try to get Jake to go stay out front of him. I think he was keeping him in sight, so he wouldn’t steal the gift back. But Jake said that he would slow Esav down too much, what with the wives and kids and animals and all; Lavan had caught up to his nation in only 4 days after Ya’acov’s tribes had traveled for 7. Jake said, “Nah. You go on ahead and we’ll see you at Seir.” Then Esav went ahead towards Seir and Jake turned aside to Sukkoth.
How much will you bet that all this coincided with the Feast of Sukkoth? I have a nickel that says it does. When will day break after tribulation? When will Yeshua walk in the east gate of Yerushalayim? 1st day of Sukkoth? You betcha. Q&C
OvadYah 1 & 21 – V.1 looks like the rumour is that Edom will rise up against Yisrael. It sounds like Beit Ya’acov’s tribulation to me. Ambassadors are sent among the heathen to have the faithful remnant rise up despite their oppressors. This faithful remnant may speak of 10 and/or 2 Yisrael among the nations. If that is so, the Ambassadors MAY be the 144K. V.21 definitely speaks to the Millennial Messianic Kingdom and the judgment of the Edomite nations of the earth by Y’hovah Yeshua haMoshiach and his vice-regents in their spheres.
Tehellim 27 – What is this psalm about? Vv.2-3 = exile. Vv.4-6 = redemption. V.5 in particular says that Y’hovah will protect you and me through tribulation and v.6 that he will lift up my/our head above my/our enemies. He will protect us in tribulation and then deliver us out of it. Upon a rock (tsur – a cliff, indicates solid, monolithic) reminds me of OvadYah 3, where Edom in his pride says I am in the clefts of a rock (cela – a craggy rock, indicates broken). The one puts me in mind of Y’hovah Yeshua, who is a sure and solid foundation, an impregnable fortress made by the Creator of the Universe, while the other refers to Petra, a man-made fortress that has and will again (I think) be defeated in battle. Vv.13-14 are what we need to take away today, though. We need to believe that he will preserve us and deliver us through our trials. He always waits (in our estimation) until the last minute to redeem us and fulfill his promises to us. We need to wait on his direction and his timing. If we remain courageous through the tribulation, he will strengthen our spirits and minds and hearts, and bring us through and build us up. Q&C
Ya’acov1.1-12 – To whom is Jake writing? Is he writing to the gentile church at Philippi or Ephesus? 12 tribes scattered abroad? What’s that? Those are the 12 tribes of Israel, and he knew where they were. They didn’t have moveable type or Xerox machines to make multiple copies to be sent everywhere, so they had to have a good idea where to send this letter. This book was possibly the first written after Yeshua’s ascension, perhaps as early as 49 CE. Thompson’s book outline says that date is arrived at because the Jerusalem council’s decree is not mentioned. Of course, it isn’t mentioned in Peter, John or Hebrews, either, but that never before stopped the ECF [early church fathers] from making a determination. PCF either (present church fathers). The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge says this about that:
This epistle appears to have been written but a short time before his death; and it is probable that the sharp rebukes and awful warnings given in it to his countrymen excited that persecuting rage which terminated his life. It is styled Catholic, or General, because it was not addressed to any particular church, but to the Jewish nation throughout their dispersions. Though its genuineness was doubted for a considerable time, yet its insertion in the ancient Syriac version, which was executed at the close of the first, or the beginning of the second century, and the citation of, or allusion to it, by Clement of Rome, Hermas, and Ignatious, and its being quoted by Origen, Jerome, Athanasius, and most of the subsequent ecclesiastical writers, as well as its internal evidence, are amply sufficient to prove the point.
Do you suppose that tribulation is the theme for today? Faith tests = patience building. Are you listening? If you are enduring trouble, and you stay fixed on Y’hovah Yeshua, you will gain patience, or the ability to wait on Y’hovah for HIS timing in your life. But if you SAY you are waiting on Y’hovah and then act without his counsel, if you SAY you trust his atonement and then go to offer trespass offerings at the altar, if you SAY that you love Y’hovah and then mistreat the least able to protect themselves, you are double-minded, driven of the waves and tossed and bound to NOT receive the blessings of Y’hovah that you expect.
VV.9-12 are about rich men who trust in their riches instead of Y’hovah Yeshua, which is an extension of the lesson being taught in vv.1-8. The rich man who believes will have to endure the same type of tribulation as the poor schlubs, spiritually speaking. He may not have to beg for his food, but he will be brought low and have to trust in Y’hovah for something. How he endures, whether he tries to bail himself out with his money or power, will determine if he truly trusts Yeshua, or not. Usually, it takes longer for the rich man to give it all up to Y’hovah than for the poor, for the poor have a shorter way to fall before they hit bottom. This is why the first beatitude has to do with the ‘poor in spirit’. The poor have to trust Y’hovah daily, hourly, and minutely for their sustenance, so the drop is not so far. The rich man, on the other hand, has a LONG way to fall before he hits bottom, unless he is poor in spirit. If he’s poor in spirit, he is more spiritually aware of his need, no matter how sumptuously he lives. Soon, he will see the disparity between him and his poor brethren and he will give of his substance and perhaps later his time and talents to relieve the suffering of his brethren. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study