Shabbat Bible Study for November 19, 2016
©2016 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 1 Sabbath 32
Genesis 33:18-35:8 – Nahum 1:12-2:5 – Psalm 28 – Revelation 22:8-21
Gen.33.18-20 – Shechem seems to be a region of haAretz named for Hamor’s son. Hamor is the local ruling elder of the region. The town of Shalem sits in a narrow valley between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. Bible-History.com quotes Smith’s Bible dictionary:
The site of the present city, which was also that of the Hebrew city, occurs exactly on the water-summit; and streams issuing from the numerous springs there flow down the opposite slopes of the valley, spreading verdure and fertility in every direction.
This was also the place where Israel returned after the Egyptian Exodus, immediately after the destruction of Ai in Josh.8:
30 Then Joshua built an altar unto Y’hovah Elohim of Israel in mount Ebal, 31 As Moses the servant of Y’hovah commanded (Dt.11.29, 27.9-26) the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of Torah of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto Y’hovah, and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of Torah of Moshe, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. 33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of Y’hovah, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of Y’hovah had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. 34 And afterward he read all the words of Torah, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of Torah. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.
It’s interesting that the first curse pronounced in Dt. 27 is this one:
14 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, 15 Cursed the man that maketh graven or molten image, an abomination Y’hovah, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth in secret. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
Yacov pitched his tents for his family and his cattle outside Shalem in Shechem, liked the parcel of land and purchased it from Hamor for 100 pieces of silver. He then built a stone altar there and called on Elohim, the El of the Prince of Elohim. Just to be sure he would have unfettered access to water, he dug a well here at which Yeshua had a conversation about 1800 years later with a Samaritan woman.
34.1-5 – Dinah went out to see the women of the land [maybe she was looking for other girls to befriend?]. There is only one other place where a similar phrase is used in KJV,
And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. (Judges 21:21)
That is a reference to the men of Gibeah defiling the Levite’s concubine and the Levite cutting her dead body into pieces to send to the other tribes as a token of the Benyamites’ ‘sin’ and to call Israel to judge, curse and wipe out the Gibeites, the rest of Benyamin coming to Gibeah’s aid. The ensuing battle and the curse Yisrael placed on BenYamin, taken up by Israel without consulting Y’hovah, nearly destroyed the entire tribe – only about 600 men were left in BenYamin. It looks like Yisrael acquiesced to take wives of BenYamin as kinsmen redeemers in 21.21 to save the tribe from extinction. Perhaps this was a practice of the Canaanites, all Israel had gone away from Torah to varying degrees by this point in Judges, and Israel used the same custom as Shechem did in our Torah passage today.
Whatever the meaning of the phrase, ‘see the daughters of the land’ is, Shechem, the son of Hamor, took her and lay with her, defiling her [is this the source of the idea that a ‘tamim’ (pure) Israelite was made ‘tamei’ (common, defiled) by a gentile’s touch – the lie of which Peter was disabused by his vision in Acts 10?]. Shechem then asked his father to get Dinah for a wife. Hamor saw nothing wrong with the fact that his son had raped the new girl (possible evidence of the custom I speculated about) and went to see Yacov about working out a bride price. I think this incident and the ensuing plan of Hamor was haSatan’s attempt to destroy the Messianic line. The prophecies about Messiah begin in Gen.3.15, and haSatan understood them from right then – he was to be destroyed by the seed of the woman. And he began immediately to undermine and STOP the prophecies from being fulfilled. Had Yacov and his sons acquiesced to Hamor/Shechem, the bloodline could be compromised almost immediately. And so we see what seems to be duplicity and deceit from Yacov’s sons, who had changed Yacov’s name to Yisrael in the text. It would seem that way to those unversed in Torah, anyway. But I think it was, in reality, their responding to the Spirit of Y’hovah (whether they knew it or not). Is Y’hovah a respecter of persons? Does he treat rulers differently than he treats the ‘rabble’? Please notice that the only condemnation for the young men’s actions is from Yacov, but that THEY remind him that these heathen defiled Yisrael, not Yacov. If Yacov had acceded to Hamor and allowed intermarriage, Yehuda might have married a gentile bride and defiled his own line and the lineage of Yeshua thereby. Of course, Yehudah’s royal lineage DOES go through Tamar, the Moabitish(?) woman that lay with her father-in-law because he refused to let his 3rd son marry her as kinsman redeemer.
Imagine the wickedness of this people – that a man could just grab any woman he chose and rape her without consequence? That his father would cover for Shechem’s wickedness and do almost anything – NO! he would do anything to gain his son’s approval (v.12) – is wickedness. BTW, does this sound like any culture in the world today – one that is perhaps prevalent in the same part of the world and gaining ascendancy in the West as we speak? – a culture that requires 4 male witnesses to the overt act to get a conviction for a man raping a woman? I speak of Islam, a churlish and hateful religious culture of human, not godly origin. Do you suppose Hamor’s city was a center of moon-god worship, like Islam’s antecedents? From Fausset’s Bible Dictionary on Ashtoreth:
The earliest worship of apostasy was that of the sun, moon, etc. This naturally was grafted on idol worship, Baal sometimes being the sun god, sometimes distinct (2 Kings 23:5). So Ashtoreh and the moon. The stone pillar (image) was the symbol of Baal, as the sacred tree was the symbol of Ashtoreh; stone marking his strength as the male, the tree her fruitfulness
21 Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of Y’hovah Elohecha, which thou shalt make thee. 22 Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which Y’hovah Elohecha hateth. (Deuteronomy 16:21-22).
The sacred tree constantly accompanies the gods in the Assyrian monuments. In the Moabite Dibon stone the male form Astar is prefixed to Chamos or Chemosh, answering to the female Astarte. Identical with Athtar or Athtor of the Himyeritic inscriptions, and Estar of the Ninevite inscriptions; the Canaanite form of the male Aphroditos answering to the female Aphrodite.
From biblebelievers.org on ‘moon god’:
Archaeologists have uncovered temples to the moon-god throughout the Middle East. From the mountains of Turkey to the banks of the Nile, the most wide-spread religion of the ancient world was the worship of the moon-god…
Evidence gathered from both North and South Arabia demonstrate that Moon-god worship was clearly active even in Muhammad’s day and was still the dominant cult. According to numerous inscriptions, while the name of the Moon-god was Sin, his title was al- ilah, i.e. “the deity,” meaning that he was the chief or high god among the gods…
The Moon-god was called al- ilah, i.e. the god, which was shortened to Allah in pre-Islamic times.
I think, based on this short study, that the teraphim that Rachel stole from Lavan were idols to the moon goddess, Astarte or the moon-god Allah. Isn’t it interesting that when Y’hovah ordered Yisrael to leave Shechem (ch.35), he buried ALL the household teraphim under an oak, the symbol of the pagan goddess? Q&C
Vv.13-31 – Did they deceive Hamor/Shechem with their words? Yes and no, for it WOULD have been a reproach to them to allow their sisters to marry uncircumcised men, but they had another idea that they didn’t reveal just then. V.17 reminds me of the rich kid down the street, the only guy in the neighborhood with a football. And in v.19 we see that the most honorable of men in Shechem was the rapist.
But look at what Hamor says to all his buds,
20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, 21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.
Do you see that scripture defined itself in v.22? ‘Dwell with us’ = ‘be one people’.
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)
And they shall know that I am Y’hovah Elohechem, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am Y’hovah Elohechem. (Exodus 29:46)
15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: 16 He shall dwell with thee, among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.(Deut.23.15-16)
I think Ruach revealed the duplicitous nature of Hamor/Shechem to b’nei Yisrael, and led them to the course they took. Yisrael rejected assimilation by a bit of prestidigitation, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”, as it were. They let the pagans see what they wanted to see and used that against them. Hamor/Shechem’s plan was syncretism, a mixture of good and bad seed. “All we have to do is LOOK like them and they’ll mix with us, then we’ll take all they have.” They were not converting to Y’hovah worship, but becoming the tares among the wheat to choke out its life and take over its field. Even after giving over 550 head of cattle to Esau, Yacov was very rich, and a good ‘mark’ for the con-men of Shechem.
So Hamor, Shechem and ‘all that went out the gate of the city’, which means his army, were circumcised. Shimon and Levi, who became a part of Yehudah in haAretz and were carried off to Babylon with him, took a leisurely walk through the city and wiped out the entire male population. In effect, they said, “Defile MY sister, will ya?!”, and then led the rest of B’nei Yisrael in taking the booty.
This was an object lesson for every other city in Canaan – you don’t mess with Yisrael. Part of the booty MUST have been the idols of the aforementioned moon gods that we’ll see in ch.35. Y’hovah has them dump the gods immediately after they were taken as booty. Syncretism is already forbidden, even though it has not yet been codified in Torah – one may not have man-made gods and call them Y’hovah.
Do you see any rebuke from Y’hovah for this action by Simeon, Levi and the rest? The only rebuke is from Yacov in v.30, where he uses the 1st person pronouns “I” and “me” 7 times, + 1 ‘my house’, as an afterthought. And, BTW, who was his house, if not his sons? I think the wording of v.7 is instructive here. Yacov’s sons seem to be taking his name change more seriously than he is himself. They were angry because Shechem/Hamor had ‘wrought folly in Yisrael’. Yacov wasn’t seeing that. All he saw was that people weren’t going to like him because of what they’d done. The strong MAN, who limped out on a crutch ahead of the rest of his stuff to meet Esau and his 400 close friends in battle array, had reverted to his human nature and was worried about what the pagans thought of him. Is this not the problem in Yisrael today? They are proud of whose sons they are, but aren’t necessarily after Y’hovah Elohechem’s heart. Q&C
35.1-8 – Immediately after the Dinah incident was ‘resolved’, Elohim told Yacov to go to Bethel and build an altar to the Elohim who appeared to him there. Chumash’s prefatory comments to vv.1-7 are instructive [p.203]. I do not ‘buy’ all of the explanation, but I can see how they arrived at it. Ya’acov immediately went to his house and had them purge their tents of the teraphim. Is this Pesach and purging the leaven from their homes? They are to 1) put away their strange gods, 2) be clean as in washing themselves or perhaps ‘mikvah-ing’ and 3) change their clothes. Does this all remind you of instructions given to Israel in the wilderness? There’s LOTS of clothes washing there. Changing clothes puts me in mind of Ps.102:
24 I said, O Elohai, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. 25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: 27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. 28 The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.
The guy who changed his clothes in the wilderness was the high priest (Lev.16.4, 24). On the day of atonement he would change 2 or 3 times, washing in between changes. Yacov had not told anyone to get rid of his gods before this. 3 possibilities I see, 1) they didn’t have many until after wiping out Shechem, 2) they kept them for their melt-down value, 3) they had them in Haran and were used to having them around. I think that was the case for Rachel, and may have had something to do with her untimely demise. Maybe yes, maybe no for the boys.
In v.3, Yacov follows through on the promise he made in
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If Elohe will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 So that I come again to my father’ house in peace; then shall Y’hovah be Elohai: 22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be Elohim’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee. (Genesis 28:20-22)
He was walking in his sight then, but now he had trusted Y’hovah and obeyed him.
In v.4, Yacov did NOT destroy the gods and earrings, he just hid them under an oak, where he could presumably get them later. ‘Under the oak’ reminds me of
13 And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, 14 And went after the man of Elohim, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of Elohim that camest from Judah? And he said, I am [1Ki.13.14].
This may be the same oak. It’s not very far from Bethel. This ‘oak’ under which the gods were hidden is from the Hebrew 424, elah, quite literally strength, strong tree.
When two guys from one family wipe out an entire city with just their swords, the folks around take notice. The fear of Elohim was on them, because they knew where Yisrael’s strength lay. So noone followed Yisrael for fear of what Y’hovah would do to them. Q&C
Yacov built an altar in Luz/Bethel on which to offer to Y’hovah, and he calls it Elohe of the House of Elohim. Rivkah’s wet-nurse died, who had probably raised both Esau and Yacov, and took care of them in their youth. I’d guess that both Yacov and Esau mourned for her. She was also buried under the oak (KJV). Was she buried under the same oak as the Elohims? And why was she with Yacov, and not Rivkah? AllonBachuth means oak or plain of weeping. The root of allon (Heb 437) is ayil (Heb.352) which is strangely similar to ilah, the Arabic word for mighty, from which Allah was contracted, as we saw earlier. Ayil means strong, hence the translation as ‘oak.’ Any Hebrew word beginning with the letters aleph, lamed will have the idea of strength in it somewhere, but alon, spelled aleph, lamed, vav, nun is only used a few times in scripture. When it’s used in the prophets it invariably is speaking of illicit shrines, as in Hos.4.13,
13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.
Or as felled, as in Is.6.13,
13 But yet in it a tenth, and shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast the holy seed the substance thereof.
In both the above instances, oak is from allon, and elm/teil is from elah. Strong, mighty. In Is.44.13-15, the same tree is used to warm the house, cook the food and to make an Elohim from
13 The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house. 14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it . 15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh an elohim, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.
How incredibly stupid can one be? In case you haven’t figured it out, an image in scripture is a phallic symbol, and a grove is a tree representing a woman’s pudenda – they are worshipping fertility gods therewith. Allah and all pagan elohim, are, in reality, representations of sexual apparatus – not likenesses of a human body, but of a part of a human body. I hope I’ve made the point in my attempted circumlocution. These are the gods that Yacov hid under the oak. Since he hid them instead of destroying them, I think we’ll see problems from the spirits of these gods in future. That these are the gods of Shechem city, it becomes more understandable why Shechem just took Dinah. Demon possession is not out of the question, and is in fact probable. Q&C
Nahum.1.12-2.5 – Judah will be besieged by Sennacharib about 701BCE and this is a prophecy given in about 705 as a comfort to the people of Judah in the coming siege. Nahum was a contemporary of Isaiah, so the record of Sennacharib’s defeat in Is.37 shows that Nahum was a true prophet of Yah. The imprecations of vv.12-14 are against Sennacharib, who is characterized in v.11 as
There is come out of thee … a wicked counselor.
You can see his counsel in Is.36, as it was delivered by Rabshakeh. Nahum is delivering his message to Nineveh, telling them that what Sennacharib says through Rabshakeh is going to be stopped and that those who share good tidings for Yisrael are the ones who will be blessed.
The blessing of Yehudah begins in 1.15, which is 2.1 in the Hebrew Tanakh, and is probably more correct. V.15 may be related to Rev.14.6-7,
6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear Elohim, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
This speaks of Yeshua, who brought the good news of reconciliation between Judah and Ephraim, between Yisrael and gentiles and between men and their Elohim.
Even with the good news of deliverance and reconciliation, there is a warning to keep up the defenses against Assyria, for Y’hovah’s deliverance WILL come. This is an exhortation to us, as well. Y’hovah, remember, is one who tests us to see if we will trust him to the end and delivers seemingly in the nick of time. We need to wait on him and stay ready to fight if need be. Assyria has J’lem up against it in v.1, literally is in Judah’s face. Turning away the excellency of Jacob means that Y’hovah will deliver, Jacob won’t have to fire a shot. The ‘emptiers have emptied them out’ speaks of the courage of the Assyrian hosts being supernaturally removed, perhaps by evil angelic forces. The valiant men of Assyria are red with each other’s blood, for the panic that took them made them attack each other. At the same time as this is going on in J’lem there’s a revolt in Nineveh and the emperor’s own sons kill him in the house of his elohim and run off for Armenia (Kurdistan?) and Esarhaddon became Emperor in Sennacharib’s stead (Is.37.38). Siege over. No muss. No fuss for J’lem. Except for the loss of lives due to starvation during the siege. Application? Wait on Y’hovah. He will deliver you, Israel – IF you trust in him and you are called to his purpose. Q&C
Ps.28 – Our psalm more fits the haftarah than the Torah, though there is a connexion. In v.1 David tells Y’hovah that if he doesn’t answer, he’ll die – ‘like them that go down to the pit’, dead men do not worship and praise Y’hovah. He asks that Y’hovah will shema, hear and do, what he asks. He asks Y’hovah to keep him from becoming like Shechem/Hamor, speaking words of peace, but planning destruction. He wants to stay true to Y’hovah in all he says and does. He asks Yah to NOT extend mercy or grace to such men, but to give them exactly what they deserve – their just desserts, which is a spiritual and physical desert to live in. Boy, has he answered that prayer request in spades – the descendants of Shechem/Hamor live on the same land as Israel, but their labor does not produce the same fruit. Where Israel is, there is a flourishing garden; where Plishtim are, there is quite literally desert. They don’t even think about the righteousness of Yah, so he will tear them down for their duplicity. David then blesses Y’hovah for hearing his requests, and for strengthening him and protecting him. Yah helps those who trust him; he strengthens ALL his anointed people. People who are anointed in Israel are kings and priests, which is exactly what we are in Moshiach. He is our saving strength, our yeshu ma’oz. David likens the people of Israel to Y’hovah’s inheritance and asks Yah to save, bless, feed and lift us up. Is that not exactly what he does for us and almost always in that order? David spells out the order of our spiritual walk. We are 1) saved, delivered from death by his justification; 2) blessed in innumerable ways, beginning with the gracious provision of his Ruach so that we CAN obey him and become more like him; 3) feeds us with that which nourishes us both physically and spiritually so we can grow in him and in the knowledge of him; and 4) he will lift us up, raise us up from physical death or translate us at the last day of this age and to our eventual glorification with and in him. Q&C
Rev.22.8-21 – Was John engaging in idolatry in v.8? He was worshipping an angel, who turns out to be just a guy. The angel tells him in v.9 that he is John’s fellow-servant, he’s no different from John except he’s already experienced death. He’s an overcomer, because he is a prophet of Yah (which we are all called to be) who lives in Torah (cf.14.12). V.9 ends with the messenger saying “Worship Elohim.”
The speaker seems to change in v.10, where I think we see Yeshua speaking. He then tells John to fulfill his calling to share the prophecies of this book with others. And then v.10 says “HE said” and the last masculine 3rd person singular noun was Elohim. And by v.12, with no change of speaker we know we’re listening to Yeshua haMoshiach. So I’m guessing he is the Elohim referred to by the fellow-servant in v.9. The phrase ‘this book’ is generally thought to mean what John is writing, but is that what the servant meant in v.9? The reason I ask is that in v.14 Yeshua refers to ‘his commandments’, which I assume means the commandments of the Eternal ‘Ayn Sof’, of whom he is the express image, except in the flesh (see note 45 in AENT). These commandments are the ones the overcomers guard in 14.12,
12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of Elohim, and the faith of Yeshua.
For this reason I think it is POSSIBLE that ‘this book’ refers to all of Torah, not merely Revelation. The phrase is used 7 times, 6 as ‘the prophecy of this book’ and once as ‘the book of this prophecy’. Prophecy in scripture speaks of foretelling, but also of FORTH-telling – just testifying to the truth.
In this new earth and heaven, there is no more chance to repent for those who have sinned. They have found their place in the Lake of Fire, which I do not believe is an everlasting hell, but an utter annihilation by atomic dissolution into it’s constituent part – light energy along with the rest of the matter of this fallen world system. In the New Earth, there is no more sin, no more death, and therefore no more tears. So it only stands to reason that wicked men will not have any effect on people in the New Earth and Heaven and the righteous and set-apart will therefore remain righteous and set apart. The dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters and all who love and make a lie are not only without the city, but also entirely without the New Creation wherein dwells righteousness. They no longer exist. I think that B’nei Yisrael pictured this in our Torah portion today – Hamor and Shechem city were entirely wiped out and the description here is as good as you can say about them – dogs and such. These are they who failed to guard and do Torah. They went their own way and got what they deserved.
Yeshua has revealed himself as Aleph and Tav, beginning and ending, the first and last; the root and offspring of David and the bright and morning star. He who adds to Torah, he will partake of the curses of Torah. If anyone takes away from the Torah, he will have his name blotted out of the Book of Life, which will disqualify him for entrance into the New Jerusalem and the blessings of Torah.
MaranAtha = Aramaic for “You are Master!” Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study