Parashah 13: Sh’mot (Names) – Exodus

Parashah 13: Exodus 1:1-6:1

“These are the names of the sons of Isra’el who came into Egypt with Ya’akov …” (Exodus 1:1).

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan Naphtali, Gad and Asher entered into Egypt as a nation of 70 men.  They joined Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.  Their descendants increased abundantly and grew very powerful.  Then, a Pharaoh came to power who knew nothing about Joseph and his family.  The fear of Isra’el and anti-semitism begins.

This Pharaoh spoke to his people, “Look, the descendants of Isra’el  have become a people too numerous and powerful for us.  Come, let’s use wisdom in dealing with them.  Otherwise, they’ll continue to multiply; and in the event of war they might ally themselves with our enemies, fight against us and leave the land altogether” (Exodus 1:8-10).

The verse states that Pharaoh is using ‘wisdom’ or chokmah. Wisdom involves judging wisely and then following the right course of action.  Wisdom is the ability to see Elohim’s perspective in a situation.  On the surface, Pharaoh’s wisdom seems foolish.  He does not fear Elohim which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7), however, true wisdom comes only from Elohim, from His mouth comes understanding (Proverbs 2:10).  From the very start of this parashah, Elohim is using Pharaoh to complete His plan of deliverance for the Hebrew people.  Though concealed by Elohim, Pharaoh prophesies a blessing over the descendants of Jacob.  They will multiply and leave his land altogether, but before that happens, Elohim will make war against him, his people and his land.

Pharaoh’s prophetic words are also grounded in fear.  Fear is self-prophesying.  Consider Job,  For the thing I feared has overwhelmed me, what I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25).  These will be the very same words of Pharaoh.  His fears will become his worst nightmare.

“But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied and expanded, until the Egyptians came to dread the people of Isra’el …” (Exodus 1:12).

Pithom (House of Turn)  and Ra’amses (Begotten by Ra) were two cities built by the Hebrews, who had become Egypt’s  slaves; the Septuagint mentions Heliopolis (Sun City) as well.  These cities were known as Pharaoh’s  ‘treasure cities.’

In 1863, excavations found the location for Pithom along the canal route connecting the Nile River to the Red Sea.  Its Arabian name was Patumos (Egyptian, Memphis) and its capital was Goshen, where Isra’el had first settled.   A group of granite statues representing Ra’amses II was found standing between two gods.  A ruined temple and the remains of brick buildings with very thick walls and rectangular chambers with openings at the top believed to have been granaries was also uncovered.  These discoveries confirm the Biblical account and points to Ra’amses II as the Pharaoh who oppressed Isra’el.

Ra’amses is a general name given to 11 Egyptian Pharaohs. It derives from the sun god Ra and means ‘the one who gave birth to him.’  Ra’amses II is also known as Ra’amses the Great and reigned during the 19th dynasty (650-600 B.C.E.)   The early part of his reign focused on building cities, temples and monuments.

The Midwives

It wasn’t enough to increase the oppression of the Hebrew people, Ra’amses told the Hebrew midwives to kill every boy born to a Hebrew family.  Girls were allowed to live.  The midwives feared Elohim and did not obey the Pharaoh’s instructions and allowed the boys to live. When Pharaoh demanded a reason for their disobedience, they replied that Hebrew women were vigorous in childbirth and gave birth before they arrived.  Because of their willingness to disobey the order and gave every baby the right to life, the midwives prospered and the Hebrews continued to multiply. 

These women were commanded to perform post-birth abortions, killing a baby after it is born.  Because Shifra and Pu’ah were God-fearing women, they became founders of their own families.  This frustrated Pharaoh even more and commanded that every boy that was born be thrown into the Nile River.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Shiphrah or Shifrah – שפרה – shin, peh, resh, hey

overcomes the spoken word of the head, behold

Puah or Pu’ah – פועה – peh, vav, ayin, hey

the source of the binding is seen, behold

The names of these two midwives, Shifrah and Pu’ah:  One ‘overcomes the binding of the children’ while the other sees the ‘source of the binding‘ with a spiritual discernment.  

A Levite Family

About 320 years after Joseph’s life in Egypt, a Levite family, from the Tribe of Levi has a son.   His mother hides him for three months.  After three months, she makes a papyrus basket, coats it with clay and tar, and puts the baby boy inside.  She floats it in the Nile River among the reeds of the shoreline.  His sister, Miryam, watches from a distance to make sure he is safe.

Pharaoh’s daughter comes to the river to bathe and spots the basket.  She has her slave girl retrieve it.   She looks inside and finds the baby boy and is moved with ‘pity, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children” (Genesis 1:6).

All male babies who are descendants of Abraham were to be circumcised when they were eight days old.  This sign in the flesh was evidence of being the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and ultimately his twelve sons, the Tribes of Isra’el.   In the movie, “The Ten Commandments,” a piece of cloth placed in the basket is used to reveal the heritage of the baby, but in the Scriptures, Pharaoh’s daughter looks inside the basket and immediately knows, from his circumcision, that the baby is Hebrew. 

Miryam comes out of hiding and asks Pharaoh’s daughter if she should find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby.  Pharaoh’s daughter tells her “Yes, Go.”   Miryam brings her mother, Jochebed and she nurses her son until he is weaned.  The Scriptures say that Pharaoh’s daughter paid her for her services (Genesis 1:9). Once the boy is weaned,  he is brought back to Pharaoh’s daughter.  She names him Moshe meaning ‘pulled out’ because she had pulled him out of the river.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Moses (Drawn from the Water) or Moshe – משה – mem, shin, hey

chaos consumed revealed

Moshe was nursed by his mother until he was weaned.  According to Jewish sages, weaning could take place anytime between 18 months and 5 years.  Whatever the length of time, Jochebed had sufficient time to teach her son about the Elohim of Isra’el and Moshe’s Hebrew heritage.  These seeds take root in his soul and 40 years later, they begin to sprout (Acts 7).

In Genesis 1:11, Moshe goes to visit his kinsmen.  The use of the word kinsmen means that he understood his heritage to be Hebrew.  Even though he was raised in an Egyptian palace,  he felt the need to be with his people.  He watched them struggle as slaves.  He watched the overseers treat his relatives with cruelty.  When he witnessed an Egyptian overseer strike one of his Hebrew brothers, he couldn’t handle the injustice.  When no one was looking, he killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand.

The next day he witnesses two Hebrews fighting with each other.  He asks the one, “Why are you hitting your friend?”  The man responded, “Who appointed you ruler and judge over us?  Do you intend to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian?” (Genesis 1:14)

Though the words, “Who appointed you rule and judge over us” frightened Moshe and brought a death sentence to his life,  his kinsmen had spoken prophetic words.  They became the driving force for Moshe to leave Egypt, wander to Midian where he would meet the Elohim of the Hebrews face to face.

“This Moshe, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’ is the very one whom God sent as both ruler and ransomer by means of the angel that appeared to him in the thorn bush. This man led them out, performing miracles and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years” (Acts 7:36).

In Midian, Moshe meets the seven daughters of the priest of Midian while sitting by a well.  They came to draw water for their father’s sheep, but other shepherds tried to keep them away.  Moshe defended the women from the men and then watered their sheep.  He is invited into Reuel’s home and shares a meal with him in his tent.  Reuel gives his daughter Ziporah to Moshe for a wife.  She gives birth to a son, Gershom for Moshe said, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land” (Exodus 2:22).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Zipporah (ָ A Little Bird) or Tzipporah – צפורה – tzadik, peh, vav, resh, hey

drawn toward the source bound to the head revealed

Gershom (I had been a foreigner) or Gershom – גרשם – gimel, resh, shin, mem

lift up the head destroys chaos

Eleazar (My God helps) or El’azar – אליעזר – alef, lamed, yod. ayin, zayin, resh

the strongest shepherd, the finished work understand, divides the head

Reuel is also referred to as Yitro.  Yitro or Yitro means ‘His Excellency” and is not the name of Moshe’s father-in-law, but his title as a priest of Midian.  A description of the name Yitro as a baby name defines the character and leadership of Yitro when Moshe brings Isra’el into the wilderness:

“People with this name tend to be orderly and dedicated to building their lives on a solid foundation of order and service. They value truth, justice, and discipline, and may be quick-tempered with those who do not. Their practical nature makes them good at managing and saving money, and at building things in the material world. Because of their focus on order and practicality, they may seem overly cautious and conservative at times.”

Hebrew Word Pictures

Yitro (His Excellence) or Yitro – יתרו – yod, tav, resh, vav

finished work, sign of the covenant, bound to the head, highest authority

Reuel (Friend of God) or Re’u’el – רעואל – resh, ayin, vav, alef, lamed

the highest authority sees the binding of the first shepherd

Holy Ground

“ God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Avraham, Yitz’ak and Ya‘akov” (Exodus 2:24).

While Moshe is tending sheep in the desert , he comes to the mountain of Elohim, known as Horeb. An angel of Elohim appears to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush.  Moshe looks up and sees that though the bush was flaming with fire, it did not burn.  He becomes curious and walks over to see why the bush has not burned up.  He hears Elohim call his name from inside the bush, “Moshe, Moshe.”

Moshe answers, “Here I am” or hineni just like his forefather Abraham. Hineni has two aspects: Moshe is ready in the physical present and ready to receive what will be spiritually imparted to him. 

“Don’t come any closer!  Take your sandals off, because the place where you are standing is holy ground.  I am the God of your father,” he continued, “the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’ak and the God of Ya’akov” (Exodus 3:5-6).  

Elohim speaks to Moshe.  The voice, the spoken Word, from the beginning of Creation has always been Yeshua (John 1:1-14).   As a flaming fire within a bush that doesn’t burn, Yeshua speaks with Moshe.  Yeshua is called a flaming fire when he is revealed from heaven to punish those who don’t know God.  Moshe is being prepared to be the vessel that Elohim uses to punish the Egyptians who don’t know Him (1 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

Yeshua also tells Moshe to take off his sandals because he is standing on holy ground.  Moshe obeys.  He doesn’t question the voice. He doesn’t make excuses.  He removes his sandals. 

Because of the modern twisted doctrine that Jesus is our friend and we can treat him as we would any of our friends, most who worship Elohim would never consider taking off their shoes when standing on holy ground.  Though believers may have a concept of the holiness of Elohim, there is generally little behavior that gives evidence to that concept.  Holiness and being ‘set apart for Elohim’ has been polluted with cultural traditions and a loss of reverence for the Creator of the Universe.  Most in the traditional church setting no longer think of Elohim as a devouring fire who commands us to “be holy as I am holy” and to worship Him with fear and awe (Hebrews 12:28, 2 Peter 1:16). 

Moshe covers his face because he is afraid to look at Elohim.  His is completely humbled.  Yeshua continues to speak and tells Moshe that He has seen His people in slavery and has “come down to bring them up out of Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).  Then, Elohim reveals that Moshe is the one He is choosing to go to Egypt and lead the descendants of Isra’el out of their oppression.

Selah

Elohim says, through his voice, that He (Yeshua) has come down to bring Isra’el up out of Egypt (Proverbs 30:4).

Moshe isn’t quite so sure about this calling on his life.   He wonders who he is that Elohim would call him.  Elohim reassures him that He will be with him and gives Moshe a ‘sign.’  Elohim will bring Isra’el back to the very mountain on which Moshe is standing and they will worship Him on that mountain. 

Moshe then asks what to tell the people if they want to know who sent him to deliver them.  It seems Elohim, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or the God of Isra’el is not enough to convince Moshe of the reality of the conversation he’s having.   Moshe wants more.

The Memorial Name, Forever

“God said to Moshe, ‘Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],’ and added ‘Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Will Be] has sent me to you.’”  God said further to Moshe, ‘Say this to the people of Isra’el: Yod-Hey Vav-Hey  [Yahweh], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Ya’akov has sent me to you.  This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation” (Genesis 3:14-16).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (I Am that I Am)  אהיה אשׁר אהיה – alef, hey, yod, hey; alef, shin, resh;  alef, hey, yod, hey

the first, behold the finished work, revealed;  the first glory of the head;  the strength behold, the finished work revealed

Yahweh (YHVH) – יהוה– yod, hey, vav, hey

the finished work, behold, the binding[nails], behold

The memorial name forever, yod-hey-vav-hey, Yahweh, has been replaced in our modern-day Bibles with LORD.  LORD is not the name of Elohim given to Moshe, it is a title.   In the Complete Jewish Bible, the memorial name has been replaced with ADONAI.  In this book, Yahweh will be used when referring to the Elohim of Isra’el. This is not to be disrespectful, but from my understanding, the true name of Yahweh is Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh and I will use that with respect. 

From the Hebrew rendering of the Name, Elohim’s essence given to Moshe is a simple phrase consisting of the relative pronoun asher stuck between two instances of the first person singular imperfect of the verb hayah–to be. Ehyeh is usually translated “I will be.”  Asher is a unique word.   Imagine one word that can mean ‘that, who, what, or where’ and that is the ‘meaning’ of asher.   Thus,  the forever memorial name of Elohim given to Moshe has the meaning: “I will be that I will be; I will be who I will be; I will be what I will be; I will be where I will be.”  From the Hebrew rendering for Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh comes the Hebrew, yod, hey, vav, hey –יהוה – Yahweh – referred to as the ‘name of God.’

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is a phrase not a name, but a state of being, the essence of who Elohim is and an expression of His existence.  He cannot give Moshe a name that is finite because Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is an infinite and difficult reality to comprehend. 

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh can be experienced through the who, what, where, but never defined by a name.  The Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is telling Moshe, He can be whatever Moshe needs Him to be; whoever he needs Him to be, whenever he needs Him to be, wherever he needs Him to be and so much more.  No matter what happens in Egypt, the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh will be present, seen and available.

Moshe was commanded to make this presence known to the Hebrews and it was to be His memorial name, remembered from generation to generation.

Selah, Selah

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the essence of Elohim is that He can be who He will be;  He can be what He wants to be; He can be where He wants to be; and He can be that which He will be.  He can be the King of Salem,  a visitor with Abraham, an angel who wrestles Jacob, the commander of Yahweh’s army, a smoking pot, a fire in a bush, a dove, a whirlwind, a rock, a pillar of fire, a cloud or even parts of Himself – His right hand, His finger which writes, and His mighty arm which saves.  He can even become flesh in the body and person of Yeshua.

Over the millennia, the correct pronunciation of the ‘yod, hey, vav, hey’ disappeared.  The Levitical priesthood took possession of the name allowing only the high priest to use it on Yom Kipper.  They were fearful the name might be profaned among the nations so the people of Isra’el never heard it spoken.  Within generations they forgot how to say it and ultimately use it.   Today it is remembered and only used as ‘the name’ or HaShem by most Jewish people. 

Since Isra’el became a nation over 60 years ago, there has been movement by Messianic believers (mostly gentiles) to begin using the memorial name again.  This is a fascinating move of the Spirit of Elohim in these last days.  As Islam becomes more prevalent in the world,   Muslims speak and murder in the name of their god quite boldly, but ‘the name’ of the One True and Living Elohim remains hidden under titles such as Lord, Adonai, HaShem or the generic God

Unfortunately, those desiring to use the memorial name have split in every direction from the most probable translation of yod-hey-vav-hey being Yahweh or Yahveh to some of the most nonsensical words giving credence to the reason the Levites decided to keep ‘the name’ only in the mouths of those who would not profane it. 

Signs for Moshe

Yahweh tells Moshe to gather the leaders of Isra’el.  He is to tell them that the Elohim of their fathers appeared to him and Yahweh has seen their oppression and will lead them out of their misery into a land flowing with milk and honey.  Tell them to go three days journey into the desert so they can sacrifice to Yahweh their Elohim. Yahweh tells Moshe that the leaders will do as he says, but Pharaoh will not let them go unless he is forced to free them (Exodus 3:16-19).

“But I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will do there.  …Moreover, I will make the Egyptians so well-disposed toward this people that when you go, you won’t go empty-handed…. You will plunder the Egyptians” (Exodus 3:20-22)

Moshe worries that the people will not listen to him and believe he is lying.  Yahweh asks what is in his hand, to which Moshe replies “a staff.”  Yahweh tells him to throw his staff down onto the ground and it turns into a snake. Moshe recoils from it, but Yahweh tells him to grab it by its tail.  He does and it becomes his staff again.

In Egypt, as Moshe knew from growing up,  the snake was the symbol of Wadjet, an Egyptian goddess who controlled and protected the land.  The snake symbolized Pharaoh’s sovereignty, royalty, deity, and divine authority in Egypt.  The snake was so important that it became part of the headdress of the Pharaoh.  By turning Moshe’s shepherd’s staff into a snake, Yahweh proved He is the Sovereign Ruler over Egypt.  Yahweh alone is the only Elohim and His authority surpasses that of Pharaoh’s.

Yahweh tells Moshe to put his hand into his coat.  Moshe slips his hand into his coat and when he pulls it out, it is leprous.  He put his hand back into his coat and when he pulls it out a second time, it was healed.

Leprosy was a punishment for pride and arrogance against the Creator of the Universe.  This sign was given to Moshe as proof that Yahweh was going to judge and punish Pharaoh’s pride of being god himself by the meekest of men (Numbers 12:3).

In spite of the powerful signs, Moshe creates another excuse for not going to Egypt.  He says that he is a terrible speaker and his words come slowly.   This does seem ironic as his excuses come out of his mouth rather quickly!  Yahweh promises that He will go with him, teach him and be his mouth. 

Moshe now expresses his true feelings.  He doesn’t want to go to Egypt. Period.  He would rather Yahweh send someone else.   How often are we like Moshe when Yahweh has something for us to do?  How often do we find other activities more important than being His hands and feet?   How often do we consider ourselves incapable and forget that when Yahweh calls, He equips?

Each of us can be like those who were invited to the wedding feast and are full of excuses: marriage, fields, livestock.  Because of their multitude of negative RSVP responses, others are invited and receive the reward of attending the wedding of the King’s son (Matthew 22).  Or, we can be like the prophet Isaiah who heard the voice of Elohim and immediately responded with “send me!” (Isaiah 6:7-8)

In the book of Esther, Mordecai reminds Esther who has become Queen of Persia that if she does not rise to the call of saving her people, then help will come from somewhere else, but she and her family will perish (Esther 4:14).  When Elohim calls us to do His will, we either do it and receive the blessing or He will find someone else.

With Moshe’s response, Yahweh’s  anger “blazed up.” From the way this is written, the fire within the burning bush must have burned higher, hotter and maybe even singed Moshe’s beard and eyebrows.  Still, Moshe is Yahweh’s choice and He offers a solution.  Moshe’s brother, Aaron, has the ability to speak and will become his mouth; and Aaron is already on his way in anticipation of seeing his brother. 

Yahweh encourages Moshe by telling him that everyone who wanted him dead have died, and despite the miracles he is able to do, Yahweh will harden Pharaoh’s heart.  

Moshe returns home and asks Yitro to allow him to return to Egypt to see if his kinsmen are still alive.   Yitro blesses him and tells him, “Go in peace.”  Moshe gathers his wife and two sons and they leave Midian.

Circumcising the ‘Son of Abraham’

At a lodging place with his family, Moshe has another encounter with Yahweh. This time, however, it is a confrontation that could have ended in death.   In order to end the situation, Zipporah takes a flint knife and circumcises her son, Gershom.  She throws the foreskin at Moshe’s feet and says, “What a bloody bridegroom you are for me! … a bloody bridegroom because of this circumcision” (Exodus 24:25-26).

Circumcision was the sign of the covenant El Shaddai made with Abraham that commanded all male babies eight days old to be circumcised as evidence of being a child of Abraham.  As a descendant of Abraham, Moshe’s Levite family circumcised him and he should have circumcised his son(s).  Yahweh could not let Moshe go into Egypt dishonoring the sign of the covenant, but he also had to show Moshe a portion of His redemptive plan.

Zipporah and the Midianites were not part of the covenant given to Abraham.  From her reaction to the procedure, it is likely that she did not want her sons circumcised and had taken a stand against it.  She did not understand, until that moment,  the serious consequences of her unwillingness to have them enter the covenant of their father and his forefathers. 

Zipporah takes immediate action.  Whether it was from the realization that they had disobeyed Yahweh’s command or she just didn’t want anyone’s death on her hands, she performs the circumcision.  With a flint knife, she cuts off the foreskin of her son. She hurls the piece of bloody flesh at Moshe’s feet and calls Yahweh a ‘bloody bridegroom.’  While she is judging Moshe’s Elohim, she is also prophesying.

“Then you are to tell Pharaoh: ‘Adonai says, “Isra’el is my firstborn son.  I have told you to let my son go in order to worship me, but you have refused to let him go. Well, then, I will kill your firstborn son!” (Exodus 4:22-24) 

The most common interpretation in these verses where Zipporah circumcises her son say that Yahweh was in a confrontation with  Moshe and Zipporah saved his life by circumcising their son.  There is also the interpretation that it was Gershom who was going to die during the encounter.   As Gershom was a young man, not a small child, he could have been rebelling against the circumcision and needed to be held down through the strength of his father.  Zipporah performed circumcision and with piece of flint got the job done before her son would die.   Both are valid interpretations when the lives of the firstborn of Isra’el and the firstborn of Pharaoh will be in a spiritual struggle resolved only when the firstborn of Pharaoh dies and death passes over the firstborn of Isra’el.

Zipporah and her sons do not enter Egypt; they return home.  Because of this, they do not take part in Yahweh’s Passover.  Anyone who did not put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost were cut off from Isra’el and their firstborn died.   By circumcising Gershon, death would pass over Moshe’s firstborn even when Gershon lived in a foreign land.  This was a sign to Zipporah that though she was a foreigner, being married to Moshe a son of Isra’el, it was necessary for her to enter the ‘blood’ covenant through the foreskin of her son.   For Moshe, it was a sign that Pharaoh would not relent and the deaths of the firstborns of Egypt was inevitable.  And, it was also a sign that many Egyptians who were uncircumcised in the flesh would accept the blood of the lamb and become part of circumcised Isra’el, the enduring promise to Abraham.

Circumcision became the requirement for taking part in the Passover (Exodus 12:47-49). Those who weren’t circumcised could not share in the Passover lamb.  With the new covenant and circumcision of the heart, everyone whether Jew or foreigner may take part in the Passover memorial. However, it seems that Yahweh has kept foreigners from the Passover because of uncircumcised and anti-semitic hearts.  In the coming Kingdom, Isra’el is chastised for allowing foreigners to enter the Millennial Temple without being circumcised in heart and flesh (Ezekiel 44:9).   Someday, circumcision of the flesh will be restored as the symbol of faith as given to our father Abraham.

Moshe and Aaron Arrive in Egypt

Yahweh tells Aaron to go to the desert to meet his brother.  Moshe tells him all that Yahweh has spoken to him.  He shows him the signs they are to use to show the Israelites they have received a calling from the Elohim of Isra’el to deliver them from slavery.  When they arrive in Egypt, they call the leaders of  Isra’el together and Aaron tells them everything Yahweh has promised while Moshe performs the signs as evidence for the people.  Their knowledge that Yahweh had remembered them and wants to deliver them from bondage caused them to bow their heads and worship. 

“The people believed; when they heard that Adonai had remembered the people of Isra’el and seen how they were oppressed, they bowed their heads and worshipped” (Exodus 4:31).

Let the Judgment Begin

“The God of Isra’el says, ‘Let my people go, so that they can celebrate a festival in the desert to honor me’” (Exodus 5:1).

In Hebrew, the word ‘festival’ is chag.  Chag Sameach or ‘Happy Holiday” is the greeting used for Biblical holidays.  Simply,  Moshe is asking Pharaoh to let the Israelites go for a three-day holiday to the desert.  Pharaoh refuses and calls the Israelites lazy.  He mocks them and their desire to sacrifice to Elohim.

Pharaoh doesn’t know Moshe’s Elohim, the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. With great pride and arrogance he demands, “Who is Yahweh, that I should obey Him?” Moshe and Aaron try to explain that Yahweh is the Elohim of the Hebrews and, if Pharaoh doesn’t let the Israelites leave, Yahweh will strike them with a plague or the sword.  Pharaoh’s heart is hard and refuses to let them leave (Exodus 5:2-3)

Pharaoh orders the overseers to stop giving the Hebrew slaves straw for the bricks they make while requiring the same number of bricks per day.   The Hebrew foremen are flogged when they do not keep up their daily quota of bricks.   The foremen judge Moshe and Aaron, “May Yahweh look at you and judge accordingly, because you have made us utterly abhorrent in the view of Pharaoh and his servants, and you have put a sword in their hands to kill us!” (Exodus 5:20) 

According to one interpretation of this passage, Egypt is the expression of a three-pronged denial of Yahweh.  Egypt denies Yahweh’s existence, His divine intervention in the lives of humanity and His ability to change events on the earth.  Pharaoh’s heart reflects his country’s view as the sovereign of Egypt.  Moshe and Aaron are sent to Pharaoh (and Egypt) to show him, he has gone too far in his lack of human rights and human dignity given to humanity by Yahweh Himself.

Yeshua, the Ehyeh, ‘I Am’

“Yeshua answered, “I AM the bread which is life! Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever trusts in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

“Yeshua spoke to them again: “I AM the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life” (John 8:12).

“I AM the gate [door]; if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).

“I AM the good shepherd” (John 10:11).

“Yeshua said to her, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25)

“Yeshua said, “I AM the Way — and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

“Yeshua said, “I AM the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can’t do a thing” (John 15:5).

Haftarah (Readings from the Prophets)

Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23

Jeremiah 1:1-2:3

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

Hebrews 11:23-26 

Acts 7:17-36

Acts 24:14-16

Midrash Sh’mot: Isra’el or Hebrews

From the time that  Jacob’s name is changed to Isra’el in Genesis, his sons and their offspring are referred to as Ya’akov’s sons or sons of Isra’el.  When the book of Exodus begins, these same people are referred to as Hebrews.  What does this suggest happened to Isra’el while enslaved in Egypt.

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