Shabbat Bible Study for October 29, 2016
©2016 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 1 Sabbath 29
Genesis 30:21-31:2 – I Samuel 1:11 – Psalm 25 – Acts 13:1-21
Gen.30.21-31.2 – Leah’s last child was a daughter, whom she named Dinah. Her name is from the root Str.1779, din or judgment. She was Zevulun’s twin sister, according to the rabbis. There is no mention, for the first time in this chapter, that Leah conceived again, so they probably are correct. The 2 names taken together, Zevulun and Dinah = to abide/dwell in judgment. This may be how Leah dwelt with Ya’acov from this point, for though she said after Z’vulun was born, “Now my husband will dwell with me,” that wasn’t the case. Leah may have dwelt in judgment of Ya’acov because, even though Leah had borne him ½ of the sons he was destined to have and, with the aid of Zilpah, 4/5 of the sons he currently had, he STILL favored Rachel. He still dwelt with Rachel and she finally conceived and bore Ya’acov a son, naming him Yoseph.
Yoseph is from the Hebrew root verb Str. 3254, yasaph, to add or augment. When she said, ‘Elohim hath taken away my reproach’, the root behind ‘taken away’ is Str. 622, asaph. He shall take away can also be spelled yasaph. So Rachel asked Elohim, who is the aspect of the Ayn Sof that judges (the severity of Elohim), to remove her reproach, and then acknowledged Y’hovah, the aspect of the Ayn Sof who dispenses mercy (the goodness of Elohim) as he who added her son, Yoseph. The inference I take from this wordplay is that when Y’hovah takes away one thing, he adds another. In Rachel’s case, Elohim took away reproach while Y’hovah added a son. BDB (pg.415) has Yoseph’s full name as Yehoseph, Str.3130 – Y’hovah adds.
The Chumash has a corroborating note on this. Here’s a Mark paraphrase of it: Rachel chose the name for her son purposely using the word play, the rabbis say. In it Elohim, the Name of Judgment, had removed her disgrace, and she requested Y’hovah, the Name of mercy, to grant her another son. If you look at https://tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm, you will see the concepts graphically depicted there, Y’hovah as the RIGHT side of the Ayn Sof and Elohim as the LEFT side of the Ayn Sof, the two meeting in the keter, or crown. Mashiach judges righteously in mercy and grace. Paul summarizes this in:
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of Elohim: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (Romans 11:22)
When Yoseph was born, Ya’acov asked Lavan politely to let him take his family and go. He didn’t have a lot of stuff to take with him, having been a bond-servant of Lavan’s for 14 years. He asked for his wives and kids and nothing else. But Lavan knew a good thing when he saw one. Ya’acov had not only served faithfully and well, but Y’hovah blessed everything he touched.
Lavan recognized the blessing on his stuff was due to Ya’acov being there (v.27). The rabbis say he knew ‘by divination’, while KJV says ‘by experience’. The root word there is Strong’s H5172, nachash, which does mean divination and is the same root behind the burning fiery ‘serpents’ in the Wilderness Adventure and the serpent [H5175] in Gan Eden. So Lavan worked it out with Ya’acov that he would stay longer so he could reap the harvest of righteousness that he did not deserve or earn, but did partake of through his association with a tzaddik.
A righteous employee should be a blessing to an unrighteous employer. Are you the source of Y’hovah’s blessing at the company YOU work for? What will happen to that company if it lets you go for no cause? A friend of mine and I worked for a window company in the 90s, which was sold to a local manufacturer. First they let me go as ‘a reduction in force’ and a year or so later did the same for my friend. Within another year, that company closed its doors. I am not saying it went under BECAUSE they let us go, but that it may have contributed.
Lavan knew what would happen if he let Ya’acov go, so he negotiated to keep him around. However, Ya’acov was intimately familiar with the sheep and goats of the flocks. He knew which were healthier and which merely LOOKED pretty. He may have known about inbreeding, and how a smaller gene pool will create inferior animals. Lavan didn’t have Ya’acov’s knowledge, and Ya’acov took advantage of it.
He chose the animals with the wider gene pool (in dogs this is called a ‘mutt’) and gave the more uniform looking sheep and goats to Lavan. He kept Lavan’s males away from his females, and vice versa. In fact, he segregated the unnaturally colored sheep and goats from the naturally, better-colored ones, as they were Lavan’s. The result was a stronger line for Ya’acov – “Boer” Goats, as it were. One day he heard Lavan’s sons complaining about how he’d robbed their father and Lavan began to notice that Ya’acov was getting wealthy on his nickel. And Lavan wasn’t pleased. It was not that Ya’acov had not kept his end of the deal, for there were no naturally colored goats or sheep in Ya’acov’s herds. It was that Ya’acov’s herds were healthier. But the stipulation to which Ya’acov and Lavan had agreed Ya’acov had expressly observed. It doesn’t say so, but I would expect that any ‘favorably’ colored sheep and goats were taken to Lavan as soon as they were weaned, to get them out of the stronger gene pool. When it says Lavan’s countenance wasn’t toward him as before, it means his countenance was against him – he was not smiling upon him. Lavan was looking for a way to get rid of Ya’acov, and probably to keep both his cattle AND Ya’acov’s, too.
I truly do not understand what effect having the females facing a stick partially stripped of bark while the buck mounts them could have. Perhaps the color of wood or bark had something to do with the color of the lamb or kid, but I don’t see how. Perhaps there was an herb or natural essence in or under the barks of the trees that would influence the offspring of the sheep or goat. Or perhaps each type of tree had a different ovine aphrodisiac quality. Whatever the reason that Ya’acov pilled the rods with rings of bark removed from them, it seems to have worked.
The types of trees are kind of interesting; poplar is a gray barked and greenish-fleshed hardwood, hazel is brownish barked and reddish-fleshed nut wood [used, interestingly enough, to make shepherd’s crooks and walking sticks], and chestnut is a reddish brown barked, and light fleshed nut wood. Chestnut is great for cabinetmaking and poplar is good for finish woodworking, like chair rails, base, crown and arch framing. Hazelwood is good for baskets and tool handles, as well. Of these, the hazel is most interesting to me, as the Hebrew root word is luwz, a word we saw a few weeks ago referring to J’lem and the Temple Mount, when Ya’acov slept at Beit El and had the dream about the ladder and angels [28.19]. It is H3869 and Strong’s says it may be speaking of the almond. Hazels grow from Northern Europe to North Africa [it’s a major crop in Turkey], so they could be native to the Levant, as well. Q&C
1Sam.1.11 – Hannah’s prayer reminds us of Rachel’s prayer in 30.23, 24. She asked Y’hovah for a son, as Rachel did. And she received a son as Rachel did. And this son was perhaps as great a man as Rachel’s son, too. Yoseph ruled the kingdom of Egypt for Pharaoh, Sh’muel became the final judge to rule over Israel, and the prophet who anointed Israel’s first 2 kings, Sha’ul and Duvid. And both sons were given unto Y’hovah from their birth. It doesn’t say so in Yoseph’s case, but that it was from the beginning is obvious by the prophetic nature of his dreams. If Joel 2.28 is true, Yoseph was an elder at an early age. He was full of the Ruach from his early life, as was Sh’muel, who at about 3 years of age heard the Spirit of Y’hovah speaking to him. Sh’muel is the prophet Shimshon COULD have been had Manoah and his wife been the kind of parents Elkanah and Hannah were. Q&C
Ps.25.1- – In v.2 David asks that he not be ashamed, then in vv.3 and 21 he defines who is ashamed. Those who transgress w/o cause are ashamed, but those who wait in Y’hovah are not. This implies that transgressing w/o cause = not waiting on Y’hovah. In v.20 the one who won’t be ashamed is the one who trusts Y’hovah and in v.21 he who waits on Y’hovah has his uprightness and integrity preserved.
V.3 has an interesting turn of phrase – “let them be ashamed who transgress without cause”. That implies that it is not shameful to transgress WITH just cause. How can that be? Torah forbids us to touch a grave:
And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. (Numbers 19:16)
But what if I am walking passed a graveyard and I hear a call for help? Am I not permitted to go to a person’s aid by the shortest route, even if it takes me through the graveyard? This is what the sin offerings are for, to make a way to atone for the transgression of one mitzvah to perform a greater one. Now, instead of being outside the camp for 7 days, I can do the offering and come home for dinner. I broke a minor mitzvah to do a greater one and perhaps, in my example, save a life. But if I just walk into a graveyard and walk all over the graves there, THEN I get to be outside the camp for 7 days. Being outside the camp is not a walk in the park. Someone has to bring you food, perhaps it will be cold or stale by the time it gets to you. Noone can touch you for 7 days, or they’ll become unclean themselves. You get the picture. Willful transgression is what the mitzvah is to avoid. Inadvertent or necessary transgression is what the psalmist speaks of.
If we wait on Y’hovah (v.3) he will show us his ways and teach us his paths (v.4) and lead us to and teach us his truth (v.5) and we will not be ashamed (v.3).
Vv.6-8 speak to the mercy of Y’hovah – the goodness of Elohim (Rom.11.22). David asks Y’hovah to remember His tender mercies and lovingkindness, to NOT remember David’s sins and transgressions and to remember him according to Y’hovah’s goodness. Remember that Y’hovah remembers someone by acting on his behalf, not by recalling him to mind. So David is asking Y’hovah to act on his behalf by not cursing him in judgment for his sins and by blessing him according to his goodness and mercy.
Vv.9-11 speak of how Y’hovah deals with the meek. Meek in scripture does not mean Chester Milquetoaste softness. It means quiet strength, like a Louis Lamour hero; someone you might never expect to be as tough as he is, because he doesn’t parade his strength – it just shows itself when the need arises. Moshe was the meekest man ever to live
(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) (Numbers 12:3)
but when Y’hovah told him to get out of the way so he could destroy Israel and raise up a nation through him, Moshe got respectfully in Y’hovah’s face and stood in the gap to protect Israel. He may not have portrayed himself as strong, but noone in Israel was his match for courage and strength before Y’hovah. A godly man’s meekness comes from his knowledge of Y’hovah’s goodness AND severity, that he will forgive even the worst sins for those who truly repent and go his way.
And that is the focus of the meek – to go Yah’s way. The meek he guides in judgment and to the meek he teaches HIS way. The meek walk in his paths of mercy and truth, and seek his pardon for his own and his people’s iniquities. Q&C
Vv.12-14 speak of those who fear Y’hovah. Now remember that Y’hovah is the Name of the Ayn Sof’s mercy and grace, so what is there to FEAR? How about the Ayn Sof’s severity (Rom.11.22) – his righteous justice? Look once again at
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of Elohim: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, IF thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (Romans 11:22)
The believer fears Y’hovah’s judgment of his unconfessed sins, for these will cause loss of reward in the Olam Haba – the world to come. He will be delivered due to the mercy of Y’hovah through the faith of Moshiach, but he may not overcome the world in his life due to his submission to the flesh rather than to Y’hovah’s Spirit. This is the difference between the Bride and the friends of the bride who are invited to the celebration. “There is now, therefore, no condemnation for them which are in Mashiach Yeshua” whose Y’hovah teaches those who fear him to walk in the way that Y’hovah chose for him and ‘before ordained that he should walk in them” [Eph.2.10]. When he is walking in Yah’s way, he lives in Y’hovah’s ‘tov’ (at ease). And like Avraham, his seed shall inherit the earth. Meekness is the appearance of the person who fears Y’hovah, and knowledge of the ‘secret’ of Y’hovah – the sod, or mysteries of scripture – will characterize him because he is intimately acquainted with his Word.
V.15 is both a stand alone and a connector between vv12-14 and 16-18. IF we keep our eyes on the prize (Phil.3:14) we will be the target of haSatan’s snares. We will see them in our periphery. But by keeping our eyes on Y’hovah, we will stay in the Way and not fall into those snares. It is when we look at the snares that we walk into them. Once in a while he’ll put one directly in our path. But if our focus is on the goal, the snares directly before us are relatively easy to evade, though they can still be scary. To illustrate: I was riding in a road rally to raise money for Disabled Vietnam Vets. We were riding 2×2 and about 150 sets of motorcycles deep on a state highway in the mountains of SoCal. I was on the curb side and my buddy Dave was on the stripe side of the lane, and Dave and I were in front of the pack. As we came upon a left curve at about 50MPH, I noticed a bunch of cinders kicked into my path from the berm. I was headed right for them, leaning into the curve and I was going to hit them if I didn’t do something. At that moment I remembered the instruction of my M/C safety instructor – “Look where you want to go, not at the obstruction.” So I looked to the left where the cinders weren’t, and I pulled myself out of trouble. Same thing with our walk with Y’hovah. Look to him and the goal of echad with him and our brethren, not at the distractions, which are the snare of the Adversary.
Vv.16-18 deal with us when we are in … EXILE – desolate and afflicted. Our troubles are too hard for us to deal with and only his mercy can bring us out of them. He is always looking on us, but allows us to have what we want – if we want to handle it ourselves, he will let us. Like the Prodigal’s father, he waits for us to turn to him. THEN he can forgive us, work a miracle in our lives and garner ALL the glory.
Vv.19-22 deal with our response to Y’hovah’s forgiveness. When we say, “love the sinner but hate the sin”, we are talking about reasoning and deciding what to hate or love. Our enemies hate us with cruel hatred – it’s emotional. Godly hatred is reasoned, not a result of emotion.
20 For they speak against thee wickedly, thine enemies take in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, Y’hovah, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. Ps.139.20-22
David was saying that his hatred of Y’hovah’s enemies was like Y’hovah’s own. His heart was like Y’hovah’s and he wanted Y’hovah’s justice to be worked against them until they would either repent or be destroyed. Since his heart is like Yah’s, he knows that Yah will guard him and deliver him from his enemies, who are also Yah’s enemies. The integrity and uprightness are not his own, but Yehoshua’s own, He waited on Y’hovah’s Deliverer to be Yisrael’s redeemer. Q&C
Acts 13.1-13 – Sha’ul and Barnabas were called of the Spirit to a mission in Asia Minor. They began a pattern that they kept up throughout their ministries. They went FIRST to the Jews in their synagogue on shabbat, to offer the Kingdom to the children of Yisrael and their doggy disciples. Only when they were asked to leave the synagogue did they go to any other venue.
BTW, this is not the Barnabas who wrote the Epistle of Barnabas. That heretic was a Greek Alexandrian ‘early church father’, not the Torah observant Hebrew follower of Yeshua. Clement of Alexandria (HISS!) and Origen (P-TUI!) were his contemporaries. The Yochanan who ministered was Mark, who wrote the Gospel of that name.
They came upon a Jewish false prophet and magician named Bar-Shuma and a political official named Sergio Paulo (nice Italian boy). One of the hints that this book was an Aramaic original is that Bar-Shuma (KJV = bar-Jesus) is an Aramaic name, son of Yehoshua. I think this guy was not just a false prophet, but he was a false Yehudean, as I infer from the AENT, which says he was ‘a sorcerer prophet’ … a ‘Yehudean who was false’. I think he was trying to capitalize on the integrity of Yeshua while being the physical focus of demonic activity. Then the greek name Elymas (its a masculine name ending in ‘s’ – pointing to its greek source) is interpreted INTO the original language as meaning sorcerer. I would not be surprised if this magician Bar-Shuma had not been controlled by demons who worked supernatural works to make people think he was a real prophet. This false prophet was trying to influence the proconsul against the Way, and Sha’ul got in his face by the Spirit’s power and pronounced a curse of blindness on him. When he was immediately struck blind, the proconsul was duly impressed and accepted Sha’ul’s witness, and his Master Yeshua. This is the first recorded conversion of a Gentile directly into the Way from his paganism. This is going to be the beginning of the argument among the Pharisees that believe in Yeshua and Sha’ul about the need to be circumcised to be members of the Way.
They left Paphos for Antioch in Pisidia, and where was the first place they went? The Kahal on Shabbat. They held their peace until after the reading of the Torah and Nevi’im, which usually included the writings, as well, and the elders asked if they had a word of encouragement for the Kahal.
Notice to whom he addresses his speech – ‘Men of Israel and ye who fear Elohim.’ So there were Elohim-fearers in the audience, gentiles who were learning of the faith once delivered to the saints. Cornelius was described as a ‘Elohim-fearer’ (Acts.10.2). Now there are men in Antioch of Pisidia who are also called Elohim-fearers. An Elohim-fearer was a Gentile who wanted to worship the Elohim of Avraham, but had not yet been fully accepted in the faith – had not been CCd into official Judaism. Sha’ul was addressing both Jews and gentiles in the synagogues he visited. He then recounts an abbreviated history of Israel from the exile in Egypt to the anointing of their first king, which is where our portion ends for today. But I want to show you a bit from further on in this chapter.
He continues to show that Elohim raised up David, a man after his own heart, of whose seed Yeshua was born. Why? Well it doesn’t say what Torah portion they read that day, but I would be willing to bet that he addressed something out of that portion in his brief history lesson, and then showed how the scripture was fulfilled by Yeshua. He addresses the men of Antioch again as
‘26 Men, brethren, children of the stock of Avraham, and whosoever among you feareth Elohim, to you is the word of this salvation sent… 38 Be it known unto you therefore, men, brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. … 43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of Elohi 44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of Elohim. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
This word – ‘ye could not be justified by the law of Moshe’ – is speaking of the Oral Law of the Pharisees that was more of a stumbling block to Torah observance than a help in it. But do you see how many times he addresses the audience as men and brethren? Do you see the definition of those terms as ‘god-fearers’ and ‘stock of Avraham’? Do you also see the difference between ‘the Jews’ and the believers? I have contended for years that those designated as Jews in the KJV are the leaders of the religion, such as many of the priests and of the Sanhedrin in J’lem. Sha’ul had intimated that they are the ones who had crucified Mashiach the previous week. The people were generally followers of the Way, but ‘the Jews’ were generally despisers of the Way. In Yeshua’s life, the people followed him, but he was at odds with the political leadership of the religion. This carried on for another 40 years until the destruction of the second temple, when the Netzari Way saw what was going on and fled J’lem for the mountains of Judea in obedience to
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. Matt.24.15-18
The Netzari were never accepted among the Jews again, because they didn’t stay to defend the city and the Temple. Remember that I am making a distinction that I believe is seen in the KJV between the people of Israel and Judah, who wanted to obey written Torah, and the Jews, who seem to be the leadership of the Hebrew religion. I believe that the leaders of the religion were political or government leaders by the 1st C. CE. Q&C
End of Shabbat Study