Shabbat Bible Study for September 24, 2016
©2016 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 1 Sabbath 24
Genesis 26:12-35 – Isaiah 62:8 – Psalm 21 – Luke 16:1-15
Gen.26.1-11 – Chumash’s prefatory comment on pg.139 is instructive. So is the comment on v.2, pg.139-140. Yitzhak pulled an Avraham on Avimelech. Could this be the SAME Avimelech that Avraham had done this to? In next week’s Torah portion we’ll see the name Phichol as Avimelech’s chief of military staff. Either he’s the same guy, or that name is a title. If it was the same Avimelech, what do you think he thought of this Avrahamson [Abramson/Abramovitch] family? If it were me, I would never trust another one. Notice also that even the Canaanites knew about adultery and that such sins had their consequences. If this were the same Avimelech, he would remember what had happened when Avraham and Sarah had done it. If it was his son, he would have heard the story, may have been among the first born AFTER the incident. Either way, I’d have been ticked. The king showed remarkable restraint under the circumstances.
The question is why didn’t Yitzhak trust in Y’hovah enough to know that he’d protect him and his family. Was he not there when Avraham had picked up the knife to slay him? Perhaps he was not walking close to Y’hovah at the time of this incident. But how could that be, when Y’hovah had just talked with him face to face? Perhaps it was a momentary lapse into sight-walking. But Y’hovah did protect him by having Avimelech look out the window at the opportune moment to see Yitzhak ‘sporting’ with Rivkah in a way in which no man ‘sports’ with his sister. They were not tossing a football in the back yard. I think Avimelech remembered either the Avraham/Sarah incident, or was aware of it and moved to save his people the same fate they’d had to deal with 60 years previous. They all had been plagued with a stopping of every excretion, including sweat and other stuff – the discomfort of that particular plague would cause a genetic or racial memory that would not easily be forgotten. And the guy who might bring it about would not be considered friendly to them. But that same memory would cause Avimelech to protect Yitzhak and Rivkah from harm, in hope of getting as great a deliverance and blessing as had occurred a generation before.
VV.12-16 – Yitzhak sowed his land and it brought forth 100 fold. A hundredfold has got to be an idiom meaning ‘Y’hovah’s manifold blessing’, for we see it used here, in 1Sam.24.3 by Yoav, David’s CinC of the hosts of Y’hovah when David ordered the census, by Yeshua in Mat.13 in the parable of the sower and again in Mat.19.29 and Mk.10.30, when promising his disciples an hundredfold reward in his life WITH PERSECUTIONS, and life everlasting in the olam haba – the world to come. Putting those rather disparate passages together, we can see that Yitzhak was preaching Derech Hashem – the Way of Y’hovah – to his neighbors, and he MAY even have used words. Yitzhak was showing that his faithfulness to Y’hovah was the source of his increase and not some new agrarian secret recipe. He preached the besorah, the good news, by his life and lifestyle. But all that his neighbors saw was the fruits of his righteousness and they envied him for it. Hence, the persecutions that Yeshua spoke of.
V.13 uses a pretty cool word play. Where the KJV says he ‘went forward’ the Hebrew is from the roots ‘yalak’ – to walk, and ‘halak’ – ‘to walk’. ‘Yalak’ seems to be just walking, not necessarily with a plan. But ‘halak’ means there is a purpose to the walk, there is a definite direction to the halacha. The direction is towards Y’hovah’s will, and the hundredfold increase is the evidence of that direction being from Y’hovah. The only thing different about Yitzhak’s life than the Plishtim’s seems to be his devotion to doing what Y’hovah instructed him to do – he habitually walked in Torah and stayed pure in Y’hovah. He did business with anyone who would do business with him, but he didn’t live according to their ways. And Y’hovah blessed him.
Where v.13 says he ‘waxed great’, ‘went forward’ and ‘grew until he became very great’ tells me that he walked after Y’hovah, saw the fruit of his increase, kept going in that direction and grew even more both in his physical wealth and in his faith and faithfulness to Y’hovah’s Word and ways. His life can be illustrated by the moon’s phases. In the beginning of ch.25, we see him at new moon, not showing much light or having much obvious influence. But, as he lived Torah, he ‘waxed’ great. As the moon ‘waxes’ towards full, it exerts more influence over the night, dispelling more and more darkness until it shows 100% of the light it can reflect. When the moon is at the ‘full’ phase, it is shining as much light as it can in the darkness, metaphorically (and often physically, as well) an hundredfold increase from its ‘first sliver’ phase (often only 1% of the visible surface illuminated). He grew from just another guy with a religious difference into a man of unbending faith and faithfulness to Y’hovah who effortlessly witnessed to his power and to the impotence of the Plishtim gods. Hence, the persecutions that Yeshua spoke of in Mk.10.
It is plain for all to see that Yitzhak has the favor of Elohim like no other, and no manner of physical power will overcome the Elohim who can deliver so abundantly to a man who is after his heart. I think the people were beginning to put 2+2 together, and Yitzy was gaining influence over them by his faithful halacha. The political powers began giving ‘the ol’ heave ho’ to Yitzhak by stopping up the wells Avraham had dug – kind of a hint to move on. Yitzhak didn’t take the hint. He hadn’t done anything to harm Avimelech or Philistia, so why would they want him to go? Jealousy over their political position is the source of the jealousy and persecution, like the Pharisees in the days of Yeshua’s halacha.
Avimelech and Phichol saw the greatness of Yitzhak’s faith, knew that he was absolutely faithful to Y’hovah as the source of his greatness, and asked him nicely to leave their land. They were willing to take advantage of his greatness while it didn’t interfere with their political power. But when they could see that his ways were beginning to affect their people – that the reasons for his greatness were becoming apparent to the rabble – they couldn’t have him hanging around anymore. The racial memory of Avraham and Sarah – the stopping of their ‘issues’ in ch.20 – reminded them not to do anything physically against him, so they asked him to go.
This illustrates for us that the wicked want what we have but are unwilling to do what it takes to be blessed in the same way – walk according to Y’hovah’s Torah instructions. They live in their envy. The word translated ‘envy’ in KJV is the Strong’s Hebrew
7065 qana’ kaw-naw’ a primitive root; to be (causatively, make) zealous, i.e. (in a bad sense) jealous or envious:–(be) envy(-ious), be (move to, provoke to) jealous(-y), X very, (be) zeal(-ous).
So rather than earn the blessings of obedience, and rather than allowing us to have those blessings of obedience we’ve earned, they try, with the zeal of envy and the hatred of Y’hovah who gives the blessing, to stop what they can see as the source of our blessing – our wells of living water. What they don’t understand is that our source for Mayim Chayim is not physical, but the very real Spirit of the Living Y’hovah. All the stopping of physical wells is going to do nothing of consequence in the life of the faithful believer. We’ll just move somewhere that we can live without contention. Q&C
Vv.17-22 – So Yitzy moved from the town of Gerar (Heb.1642, garar – to chew up, to ruminate) to the valley of Gerar – he stayed in the neighborhood. That was neither Y’hovah’s intent nor the intention of Avimelech’s request. His intent was to move Yitzhak as far away as practicable. So when Yitzhak re-opened the wells his father had dug and found more Mayim Chayim, Avimelech’s men came and claimed it as their own. KJV calls the water ‘springing water’ in v.19, but the root word is chai, life. The Plishtim contended for the water, so Yitzhak moved on to another of Avraham’s wells and re-opened it. But the Plishtim showed their hatred for Yitzhak by contending for it, as well. Yitzhak called these wells Esek, which means contention, and Sitnah, which means hatred. The Plishtim contended that the water was theirs because Avraham’s family had left it there and they had claimed it – squatted on it, like they have the land in our times [there is truly “nothing new under the sun”]. When a prophet preaches Truth to religious men set in their religious ways he will encounter contention for the sake of the Water of Life they share. Hence, the persecutions that Yeshua spoke of in Mk.10.
But rather than being contentious for his father’s property (for which he had every right to contend in the natural), he moved far enough away from Avimelech that the Plishtim could not claim squatter’s rights on the fruit of Yitzhak’s labors. He dug a well where the Plishtim had no claim and finally got to drink of the Water of Life freely. Yeshua had this kind of contention from the woman at the well in Shechem (Jn.4.10-14), but overcame her argument with truth because she was open to it. Yitzhak had been preaching to them in his lifestyle and words for years. Now they had rejected Y’hovah’s truth and he had moved on. There comes a time when it is obvious that the people we witness to have no interest or are in rebellion against the truth. That is when it is time to move on and stop casting our pearls before swine who would as soon rip you open and leave you to bleed to death as have to hear another Word of Truth from you. So, it was time for Yitzy to kick the dust off his feet and move. He dug a well without contention and called it Rehovoth – room. He now had enough space between him and Avimelech that they would not be physical adversaries.
While we’re thinking about the woman at the well, I think it’ll be good to get this idea out. A friend of mine, Dave Green, offered a pretty good midrash on the woman’s 5 former husbands and the one she was shacking with at the time. He likened the woman to chol Yisrael and her 5 husbands to the 5 world kingdoms that Israel had been harlot to up until then; Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Medo-Persia, and Greece. And the man she was shacking with would have been the Roman Empire. I think there is adequate similarity that it could truly apply. I only offer this idea as food for gerar, rumination. Q&C
Vv.23-25 – He didn’t even stay there in Rehovoth, but moved once again to Beer-Sheva, where Y’hovah appeared to him and recapitulated the Avrahamic Covenant to and with Yitzhak. So Yitzhak built an altar from which to call on Y’hovah’s name, pitched his tent in Beer-Sheva, dwelt there and dug a well. Yitzhak was living in the grace of Y’hovah, which is pictured in the 5 things he did in Beer Sheva – he 1) Built an altar, 2) Called on Yah’s Name, 3) Pitched his tent, 4) Dwelt there and 5) Dug a well.
Vv.26-35 – Avimelech now comes to make covenant with Yitzhak. I think this was because, as great as Yitzhak had become in Philistia, he had become even greater in Beer-Sheva, and Avimelech was worried that Yitzhak would go the way of most kings and attack his neighbors to exact tribute from them – no evidence to that, just an educated guess. He didn’t understand that Yitzhak coveted Y’hovah’s heart, not his neighbor’s goods. He came with his chief of military staff, Phichol, and his friend Achuzzath, whose name is plural of achuzzah, which is the feminine participle of achuz, – to seize possession. Here’s Strong’s
270 ‘achaz aw-khaz’ a primitive root; to seize (often with the accessory idea of holding in possession):–+ be affrighted, bar, (catch, lay, take) hold (back), come upon, fasten, handle, portion, (get, have or take) possess(-ion).
Achuzzath’s character was to seize other folks’ possessions. He and Phicol were there as Avimelech’s ‘knuckle-draggers’, to impress Yitzhak with his power to take what Yitzhak possessed by force [we’ll see this a bit later today in the Brit Chadashah portion]. I think this embassage was to impress on Yitzhak the idea that he could either be Avimelech’s ally or his enemy. And I doubt that Yitzhak was very impressed, because he mouthed off to Avimelech and his knuckle-draggers right away.
“You hated me enough to send me away, but now – all of a sudden – you want me to be your friend?! Why is it that I’m suddenly the belle of the ball?” (Mark paraphrase) So Avimelech, Phichol and Achuzzath decided to test some unfamiliar waters – they told the truth. Kinda. They spoke as one – all the verbs are in the 1st person plural. “WE saw, we saw” = ra’ahnu ra’ahnu = We verily or certainly saw that Y’hovah is with you (‘like he was with your father Avraham’ is implied)”. Noone else was prospering like Yitzhak. It was apparent that he was doing as well or better than Avraham did. And they had ‘wind’ of a little engagement Avraham had with the kings of the east about 100 or so years before.
They wanted to be sure Yitzhak would not enter a covenant AGAINST them. They didn’t ask his alliance, only that he not fight against them. They said, “As we have done you no harm…”, conveniently forgetting the wells their men had stolen from him. Yitzhak didn’t bring it up because he saw an agreement that could do him no harm, but might do him some good. It was just a non-aggression pact, and he wasn’t planning to aggrieve any of them, anyway. And now, he had their covenant to leave him alone. He could use it to keep the fruits of his labors from Achuzzath’s and Phichol’s marauders.
And as if in answer to the confirmation of the covenant, as soon as the guests left one of Yitzhak’s servants ran in to tell him about their finding another well of mayim chayim. It seems that Y’hovah blessed Yitzhak’s covenant with the Plishtim leaders. And that is where the well of seven got its name – Beer Sheva. Seven is the # of completion.
Vv.34-35 – Esav took 2 Canaanitish women to wife, both Hittites. The first was Judith, whose name, interestingly enough, means female descendant of Judah – a Jewess. Isn’t THAT weird? Her father was Beeri. As in the place name, Beer Sheva, Beer means well. So Beeri means ‘my well’? Esav’s other wife, Bashemath, whose name means fragrant and the root word means balsam plant, is the daughter of Elon, whose name means oak grove. Oaks are notorious for their strength, and oak groves were Asheroth worship centers. The fact that Esav didn’t ask advice or even give Yitzhak and Rivkah a heads-up about the marriages, shows how he honored his parents. They were upset about his marrying Canaanite women. But even at that, Yitzhak still expects to give the ‘bruchah habachor’, the blessing of the firstborn, to Esav (outwardly, at least). That’s our portion for next week. Q&C
YeshaYahu 62.8 – Y’hovah will be extending the Covenants of Avraham and Yitzhak to ALL their seed. We will be husbandmen, tillers of the ground in the Millennial Kingdom and the eternal ages of the Olam Haba – the World to come. We will plant and raise our own food and Y’hovah will be there to protect our fields by his right hand and his strength. We will enjoy the fruit of our labors. Q&C
Psalm 21 – From commentary on Psalm 20 from 2 weeks ago, because this week’s psalm is referring to Ps. 20’s petitions; from TSK overview of Ps.21
This is the people’s επινικιον [great victory], or song of triumph, after the victory for which they prayed in the former Psalm.
As we saw the remnant called home to the land in YeshaYahu 13-14, perhaps to witness the Master offer shalom to the nations gathered against him both corporately and individually, and SOME of the individuals accept and be delivered from the destruction that he will meet out coolly and systematically without any anger or vitriol [it was poured out in the Days of Awe leading up to this final Yom Kippur (Ps.27.4-5)], so David speaks in his psalm of the deliverance of his anointed remnant. The religio-political leaders of Israel will have their backs up against the wall, quite probably with the Western powers on one side and the Eastern powers on the other, and, remembering who they were originally called out of Charan to obey, they will cry out to Y’hovah for deliverance. And he will answer in the most remarkable fashion – according to Torah and the prophets.
So, Israel had called out to Yhwh for deliverance from the enemy and for a victory through which Yhwh would garner honor and glory, and when he responded as only he can, they hallel to Him. This psalm not only has to do with David’s rejoicing, but is prophetic of Mashiach ben David’s similar rejoicing in his victory over the nations of the earth in BOTH of his battles agains them, at HarMegiddo and at Jerusalem at the beginning and end of the Millennium. Abba has given Mashiach [both David and his ultimate Son] his heart’s desire, which I take to mean both great victory over his enemies and ALSO a great harvest of souls from among the forces arrayed against him. Selah [stop and consider that].
When KJV says ‘preventest’ [qadam- to go before] in v.3, it does not mean that Avinu keeps him from doing something; it means that Yhwh goes before him, making the victory sure [pure gold crown is a symbol of triumph over adversaries]. I know this psalm is ultimately aimed at Mashiach Yeshua by v.4, “length of days for ever and ever.” Mashiach [v.5] will glory in Yhwh’s deliverance of His people and the Almighty will give Mashiach honor and majesty, for MarYah will bless Mashiach forever and set him ever before His face [v.6], FOR Melech Mashiach ben David [v.7] places his trust in the Almighty who, in His rachamim, makes His Mashiach immoveable.
Mashiach’s hand, the Right Hand of the Almighty Yhwh [v.8], shall discover and uncover all the enemies of Yhwh and will burn them up in his Consuming Fire [v.9-10]. Whether that happens literally at the moment or it awaits the final resurrection to judgment of the wicked I cannot tell, but I THINK it is the latter FOR [vv.11, 12] they intended to destroy Mashiach and his people, though they were unable to carry out their nefarious plans because Yhwh Mashiach ben David has His people’s backs and fronts and sides and ups and downs and the wicked cannot get to them. Mashiach’s talmidim will sing his praises and exalt their Tzadik Melech, Yeshua ben David ben Yhwh. Q&C [Stick around for the video The Fire That Consumes – An Historical and Biblical Study of Hell by Edward Fudge. It is worth the hour invested.] Q&C
Lk.16.1-16 – Chapter 15 ends with the parable of the prodigal son and the Father’s admonition to his ‘faithful’ son about his lost brother’s condition. There isn’t even a breath taken before Yeshua moves into this story of the rich man and his unjust steward. The rich man is a metaphor for Avinu, and the steward is a metaphor for the Edomite high priests and the Sanhedrin of J’lem. We see them prophetically in Is.56:
8 The Adonai Y’hovah which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him. 9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea , all ye beasts in the forest. 10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. 11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. 12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.
The stewards, the political leaders of the religion in Yehudah, were out for themselves, for that which would boost their ‘take’ and garner the praises of men. They were not for the sheep of Israel and obedience to Torah that related to their positions that would garner the praises of Y’hovah. The steward was walking by sight, not by Ruach. Since he had done so for so long, ostensibly without the Master’s ‘notice’, he thought he could continue forever. It was the graciousness (or laziness) of those under the steward’s rule that kept the Master’s judgment from him. The Declaration of Independence says:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
That’s essentially what brought the Sanhedrin to Y’hovah’s attention – their Nicolaitan spirit and a call to him for deliverance. Avinu answered the call with Yeshua. And he will again.
So the rich man called the steward to account for his stewardship and fired him from that position. As the steward thinks within himself how he can mitigate the trouble he’d brought on himself, can you see the same kind of thought on the parts of the rabbis in charge in Judaism? They were no longer to be the stewards of Y’hovah’s kingdom. That was being given to Yeshua’s disciples/apostles (Acts 5, 11 and 15). By Acts 15, Yacov, Yeshua’s brother, was at least a part of the Beit Din, was leader of the Notzrei sect, and quite possibly the Navi in Jerusalem. Y’hovah was transitioning from one steward to the next, which the Sanhedrin must have understood or they would not have wanted to kill Peter and the apostles in Acts 5. The Sanhedrin had done a good job of keeping Judaism a viable force in the world so that Yeshua could come and rectify the misinterpretations and traditions Judaism had adopted. Now, those who did not want the reformation were being shunted aside by a large minority who wanted the purity of Torah rightly applied.
So, in v.4, the steward figures a way to mitigate his loss and keep from having to actually work by the sweat of his brow to survive. He could keep some semblance of his position if he got some debtors to pay at least a portion of their debt to the Master. This would have two benefits to him; 1) he could stay in his position long enough for the transition to take effect and 2) he could set himself up with those debtors that only had to pay a portion of their debt as allies with whom he might still have influence in future. Pretty smart. The children of this world are in their generation, i.e.; in the things they create and the system in which they live, wiser than the children of light. And that includes the unjust steward – the religio-political leadership of 1st C. J’lem.
Why did Yeshua give us v.10? I think he knew there were some among his disciples who would fail him, like Judas Iscariot. And it’s given to us because he knows there are some in every audience – even this one – that will fail of the grace he’s provided us all. Then, in vv.10-12, he gives a guideline about how to tell who is who – faithfulness. If a man is faithful to his duties to his Master, his Master may reward him with his own property and goods to control and profit by. But one can’t adequately serve the Master if he is also serving himself. The one who serves himself is serving another god, and not MarYah. He is in idolatry. Such was the Sanhedrin of 1st C. J’lem.
Vv.13-16 – These Pharisees gave him the raspberries over the whole 2 Masters thing. Mammon is the idolatry of physical riches, and modern day televangelists have nothing over the Pharisees in that regard. What the Pharisees coveted, I think, was the Sadducees’ position as High Priests, which by the 1st C. CE was a politically appointed position. It had less to do with being a son of Aharon, so much as fealty to Caesar. Yeshua gave it right back to them, telling them plainly what their problem was:
Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but Eloha knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of Eloha. [v.15]
“You do things in the open that make yourselves look righteous to those who don’t know any better, but Elohim knows what your collective heart is after – and it ain’t him. [a Mark paraphrase]” Next comes a verse that is absolutely butchered by the church due to an added word – were.
What Yeshua says in v.16 [in another Mark paraphrase] is “From the time of Torah and the prophets right up to Yochanan haMatbe’el [immerser] the Kingdom of Elohim has been preached and now people are trying to force their way in.” He spoke of certain, not ALL, Pharisees when he said that. They were trying to force their way into the priesthood and stewardship of Judaism, IMO. They were successful, and are to this day. Again, this refers to CERTAIN, by all means not ALL, Rabbis. By their fruits you shall know them.
What will follow is from The Life of Yeshua haMoshiach – A Messianic Perspective by yours truly and is offered for further food for thought. Q&C
168). Parable of the unjust steward. (Lk.16.1-18) – From here, when I say ‘the Pharisees’, I am referring to those Pharisees whom Yeshua is rebuking or warning, not all Pharisees. There were, obviously, Pharisees who believed that Yeshua was who he was showing himself to be; Mashiach.
A steward is a trusted employee who administers the assets of a man’s estate. This steward is accused of wasting his client’s substance. His job was to make his client’s assets work for him, to turn a profit. This steward had not done a great job at this, or at least had nothing to show his client for his stewardship. So he was being fired, because, it seems, he either was loaning his client’s money for his own gain or was just incompetent.
Now he wanted to minimize the damage to make it possible to get another job, so he went out to the guys who had the assets, the banks and brokers and such, and demanded a portion back. For this he was commended, though he didn’t get to keep his job (at least there is no evidence that he did). He did all this to set himself in the good grace of the debtors, from whom he could then get a job or perhaps some financial assistance when his client finally dumped him.
I think this is meant as a warning to the Pharisees, the fundamentalist leaders of the Hebrew religion who were entrusted with the kingdom and were not very faithful in making it grow. Yeshua was telling them that they had better get their affairs in order, because they were about to be fired for malfeasance and misfeasance in office. They had been entrusted with the most valuable commodity on the planet and had squandered it. They were being told to get back what they could before they were turned out, to make some friends among the heathen and the debtors with whom they’d invested, for the house would not be theirs to live in for much longer.
The ‘mammon of unrighteousness’ [v.9] is an interesting turn of phrase. Mammon means avarice, and unrighteousness means 1) legal injustice and 2) moral wrong. The Pharisees were being told to build some bridges to the legally and morally corrupt pagans so they won’t be swallowed up in the persecutions to come. Instead, they totally alienated themselves from the ‘goyim’ as well as the “sect of the Yehudim called ‘the way’”, which was also to be persecuted by the pagans. The followers of Mashiach Yeshua were held in derision by the Pharisees [remember the caveat at the beginning of this section], who held everyone who didn’t unquestioningly keep their traditions in derision. They held their traditions to be of greater worth than the Word of Y’hovah, much like many of our Xian friends do today. Yeshua did not hold to tradition for tradition’s sake. He kept Talmud as well as scripture so the Pharisees could bring no true accusation of unrighteousness against him (Mat.3.13-15, ALL righteousness).
The phrase that I am having a hard time with is “that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.” I think it may have to do with the Yehudim being dispersed among the nations and having to make habitations in heathen lands. Their habitations have certainly been there for 1900 years now. Through persecution after persecution, and pogram after pogram the Yehudim have maintained their uniqueness by their separation from the goyim, but they have yet to make friends among them. In the 1900 years of the diaspora, there has been but one nation who has been a moderately true friend of the political nation of Yisrael, the united States of America. That is due, of course, to our Christian heritage and the certain knowledge that Yisrael is the apple of Eloha’s eye. Sometimes we are very true, sometimes not, as politics gets in the way. We ought to always be true where she is in accord with scripture, and hold her accountable when she is not, like we do our believing brethren. If we would be faithful in this one small thing, I think we could be a great witness to the entire nation of Yisrael. We aren’t, and we haven’t been. This ought to be done on both the personal and the national levels. And remember that we have been graffed into her root (Rom.11.17), Mashiach Yeshua, so we are also the apple of Eloha’s eye, Yisrael in spirit, if not in physical fact, but the seed of Avraham nonetheless [Gal.3.16].
‘If you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s’ [v.12] is also for the Pharisees. They had been given the gospel to share with the nations and didn’t do it (with certain personal exceptions). Since they couldn’t do that task for Y’hovah in their lifetime, what made them think they would get the kingdom in their lifetime?
For the Pharisees, ‘mammon’ [v.13] was at least partly the adulation and respect they received from men, and usually from their peers since they despised the ‘hoi-poloi’, the common folk. They lusted after approbation, the approval of their peers and the peons. They should have sought the approval of Y’hovah instead. They may have been derided by their buddies at the club, but they would have had great reward in the world to come.
Now, having said all that, look to your own life. Are you after the approval of men, or of Eloha? Don’t just say, ‘Of Eloha! Of Eloha!” and let it go at that. I mean really look at your life and how you’ve been living. Are you really after the heart of Y’hovah like David was, or like ChizkiYahu was, or like YoshiYahu, THE most godly king in Yehudah’s history, was? If not, why not? I used kings as examples in this question because that is what we are who were bought by the blood of Mashiach. Yisrael was to be a kingdom of priests until the coming of Mashiach. Now, we are both kings and priests in our Mashiach Yeshua, after the order of Melchizedek, the King of Righteousness. We ought to act like it (Phil.2.12), ‘acting’ out our salvation by obedience to his commands – not to earn our salvation, but to show our salvation to ourselves and to the world, as Yitzhak did before Avimelech, Phicol and Achuzzath. In this we will show that we are men after the very heart of Y’hovah in our lives.
A group of Pharisees, who were after bucks rather than approval, derided [v.14] , or sneered at, him. These are the very guys to whom he was directly addressing this parable. I think they were so corrupt in their hearts that they figured everyone else was, too. Hence the sneer, “like you aren’t exactly like us, you hypocrite.” Yeshua said [v.15] that they derided him to justify themselves in their own minds and before the folk standing nearby, but that Y’hovah knew what was in their hearts – greed, and malice for anyone more righteous than themselves. The Father holds anything that gets between us and himself as abomination. It keeps us from the peace and rest that comes from trusting him to do what he’s promised. Abominations are those things we do to gain His favor. Again, we keep his commandments not to earn his favor, but to show forth our salvation. The Pharisees kept commandments and traditions to gain the favor of Y’hovah Elohenu, which is abomination to Him. We keep his commandments because we have already received his grace [which is his enabling power to shamar, guard or keep, them].
These Pharisees were told in v.16 that they were trying to crowd themselves into the kingdom. ‘Presseth’ is literally to crowd oneself. In other words they were trying to force their way into Y’hovah’s kingdom by outwardly obeying his commands and their traditions without the accompanying trust in Him, or without trusting Mashiach. Yeshua was disabusing them of that lie. He had told them they had the law and the prophets all the way up to Yochanan the Immerser, and they refused them and instead trusted that they could force Y’hovah to accept them. But there was no way that any of the law would fail in its job of conviction of sin. They could lie to themselves all they wanted, but the Word of the Father would be his witness against them.
Why is v.18 put in here? It seems to be out of place for the casual reader, as if there should be a new paragraph, or even a new chapter, but there is no such break here. It is intended to be an illustration of the point. The Pharisees had been warned, remember, that they were about to be fired – put away. Their Father in heaven would not put them away and marry another. He would [Rom.11] sever some of the branches (NOT all of them) and graff in new branches from a wild tree, until such time as the individuals would repent and turn to him in faith, trusting Y’hovah to do as he promised. We are those wild branches, a part of the commonwealth (Mashiach, the root) of Yisrael [Eph.2.11ff]. Notice please that the put away wife here is not an adulteress. If the husband marries, he is an adulterer – an impossibility if the husband is Y’hovah. If someone marries her, he is an adulterer. She is not said to be an adulteress. I think that is because Yeshua knew that the Yehudim would separate themselves from the heathen and their gods, as they have these 1900 years. They are ready to be graffed back into the root. All that’s necessary for that to happen is that they make teshuvah that is, repent and return to Yhwh; acknowledge their Mashiach. Some are doing this individually now, and the rest who are alive at the time will do it when he returns to conquer and to rule the Millennium. Q&C End Shabbat Bible Study