Posts Tagged ‘Parashah 7’

Parashah 7: Vayetze (He went out)

Parashah 7: Genesis 28:10-32:3

“Ya’akov went out from Be’er-Sheeva and traveled toward Haran” (Genesis 28:10).

Because the sun is setting, Jacob decides to stop and rest near Haran.  He places a stone under his head and lays down to sleep.  While he sleeps, he dreams there is a staircase or sullum resting on the ground with its top reaching to heaven.  The angels of Elohim were going up and down on the sullum. Suddenly, the Elohim of Abraham was standing next to him.

“I am Adonai, the God of Avraham your [grand] father and the God of Yitz’ak.  The land on which you are lying I will give to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the grains of dust on the earth. You will expand to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. By you and your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed. Look, I am with you. I will guard you wherever you go, and I will bring you back into this land, because I won’t leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Stone or Aben – אבן – alef, bet, noon

the strength of the house brings life

Within the word אבן there is the smaller Hebrew word, son –בן  – bet, noon

the son is strength of the house who brings life

In the gospel of John, Yeshua tells his disciples that he is the sullum on which the angels ascend and descend.  He is the place where the heavenly realm meets the earthly.  He is the intercessor for prayer requests that ascend to the Father and the responses descend.  The Son of Man is the place where heaven is opened and El Shaddai reveals His salvation, Yeshua.  

“Then Yeshua said to him [Nathaniel], ‘Yes indeed!  I tell you that you will see heaven opened and the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man’” (John 1:51).

When Jacob woke up he called the place the ‘Gate of Heaven’ or ‘House of Elohim,’ – Beit-el.  This is the same place mentioned numerous times in Scripture as Mount Moriah, the very place where Abraham went to offer Isaac as a burnt offering.  It could be that one of the stones from Abraham’s altar was used as a pillow for Jacob’s head.

Beit-el’s former Hittite name was Luz which means ‘turning away from wisdom’ or ‘twisted person.’  The Hittites were a ‘twisted and perverse generation’ of people who possessed Mount Moriah until the events of Abraham and Isaac.  Luz is also the Hebrew word for ‘almond wood’ suggesting there may have been almond trees in the area.

Hebrew Word Pictures

House of God or Beit-el – בית אל – bet, yod, tav, alef, lamed

sign of the hand, the house of the first shepherd

Jacob took the stone that was under his head and set it up as a standing stone to mark the place where Elohim had visited him.  Again, the Hebrew word for stone is aven. If the letters are reversed, they become neva meaning ‘prophet.’  The stone that Jacob slept on and stood up as a memorial at the ‘House of God’ cries out as a voice of prophecy.

“But he answered them, “I tell you that if they keep quiet, the stones will shout!” (Luke 19:40)

Jacob poured oil on the stone.  This is the first instance of oil being poured out for anointing.  Kings, prophets and priests were anointed with oil symbolic of their calling and a sign that the Ruach Elohim was with them. Yeshua, the ‘Rock of our salvation’ and our High Priest was also anointed with oil. 

“While he was in Beit-Anyah in the home of Shim‘on (a man who had had tzara‘at), and as he was eating, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfume, pure oil of nard, very costly. She broke the jar and poured the perfume over Yeshua’s head” (Mark 14:3).

“God will be with me and will guard me on this road that I am traveling, giving me bread to eat and clothes to wear, so that I return to my father’s house in peace, then Adonai will be my God, and this stone, which I have set up as a standing-stone will be God’s house; and of everything you give me, I will faithfully return one-tenth to you” (Genesis 28:20-22).

Jacob promises to return ten percent of everything Elohim gives him for blessing his life.   This is the second time the tithe is mentioned before Mount Sinai and the Torah.  Abraham gave the tithe to Melchizedek; Jacob gives it to Elohim.

Rachel and Leah

“Continuing his journey, Ya’akov came to the land of the people of the east.  As he looked, he saw a well in a field; and there were three flocks of sheep lying there next to it; because they watered the sheep from that well. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, and only when all the flocks had gathered there would they roll the stone away from the opening of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place on the well’s opening….  He said, ‘Look, there’s still plenty of daylight left; and it isn’t time to bring the animals home; so water the sheep; then go, and put them out to pasture.’ They answered, ‘We can’t, not until all the flocks have been gathered together, and they roll the stone away from the opening of the well. That’s when we water the sheep’” (Genesis 29:1-8).

The account of Jacob continues with another stone.  This stone covers a well where local sheep are watered.  It is only rolled away when all of the flocks have been gathered together.  While Jacob waits for the flocks to gather, Rachel arrives with her father’s sheep.  Because she is his cousin, he removes the stone from the well and waters her sheep.  He then kisses her and weeps because he has finally met a relative.  He no longer has to wander seeking a home.

In Hebrew,  Rachel means ‘ewe’ or a female sheep.  Her name represents the people of Isra’el and their struggles in the world as Elohim’s flock of sheep.  Jacob as a shepherd falls in love with Rachel, who is beautiful, and desires to marry her.

Rachel has an older unmarried sister, Leah.  In Scripture, it is written that her eyes are ’weak.’  In Hebrew, this word is rakkot meaning ‘weak or tender.’  The same word rak is used for the ‘tender calf’ that Abraham prepared for the three visitors. Rakkot could mean Leah was delicate or refined; not as a judgment, but praise for her gentleness. Rashi suggests Leah’s eyes were weak from crying and that she cried so much her eyelashes fell out.  Her weakness may have come from an emotional vulnerability and the tendency to be hurt.  She knew she was not the love of Jacob’s life and it caused her pain.  Whatever the meaning for her ‘weak eyes,’ her beauty is nothing compared to her sister’s.

When the wedding day of Jacob and Rachel arrived, Laban deceives Jacob and gives him Leah instead.  Though Jacob loved Rachel more because of her external beauty, it becomes Leah who births Judah, the lineage of Messiah. Along with their maidservants Zilpah and Bilhah, Rachel and Leah birthed 12 sons for Jacob.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Rachel (Ewe) רחל – resh, chet, lamed

She birthed two sons

head inner room (heart) of the shepherd

Leah (Weary) – לאה – lamed, alef, hey

She gave birth to six sons and one daughter

the strong leader revealed

There were birthing competitions between these four women as Leah was very fertile while Rachel was barren.  When maidservants turned concubines began conceiving, jealousy arose.  Rachel trades one night with her husband for some mandrakes so Leah could sleep with Jacob.  It was Rachel’s hope the mandrakes would take away her infertility.  Instead, Leah becomes pregnant with Issachar whose name means ‘for hire.’ 

The Hebrew word translated as mandrake is dudim meaning ‘love plant.’  It is a Mediterranean herb that includes some of the most poisonous plants such as nightshade, jimsonweed, tobacco and some of the more common vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, green pepper and eggplantsA mandrake plant consists of several large, wrinkled, dark green leaves that lie flat upon the ground forming a rosette. In the center of this rosette, a cluster of attractive purple flowers appear in winter. The root of the mandrake may be several feet long and weigh several pounds. It has bizarre often human-like shapes and for this reason was used especially to promote conception.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Reuben

Reuven (See, A Son) ראובן – resh, alef, vav, bet, noon

The firstborn of Jacob

the head strength bound to family life

Simeon

Shim’on (Hear) – שמעון – shin, mem, ayin, vav, noon

consumes the chaos, understand the binding of life

Levi

Levi (Join) לוי – lamed, vav, yod

shepherd bound to the finished work

Judah

Y’hudah (Praise)  – יהודה – yod, hey, vav, dalet, hey

the finished work revealed, bound to the door, behold

Dan

Dan (He Judged) – דן – dalet, noon

the pathway of life

Issachar

Yissakhar (Hire) – יששכר – yod, shin, shin, kaf, resh

the finished work doubly consumes the covering of the head

Zebulun

Z’vulun (Living Together) זבולן – zayin, bet, vav, lamed, noon

divide the family bound to the shepherd of life

Naphtali

Naftali (Wrestling) – נפתלי – noon, peh, tav, lamed, yod

life, the mouth is the sign of the shepherd’s finished work

Gad

Gad (Good Fortune) – גד – gimel, dalet

lift up the pathway

Asher

Asher (Happy) – אשר – alef, shin, resh

the strength consumes the head

Joseph

Yosef (May He Add) יוסף –yod, vav, samech, peh

the finished work binds and supports the mouth

Benjamin

Benyamin (Son of the Right Hand) – בנימין – bet, noon, yod, mem, yod, noon

the house of life is finished work, the chaos of life is finished

Jacob Sheep

In Genesis 31:1-13,  Jacob has a dream where Elohim shows him spotted and speckled rams that are bred with ewes.   After the dream,  Jacob sets up rods from different trees to encourage breeding and produce his own flock of sheep.

Rods, like scepters, signify authority as they were used by kings, priests and even prophets.  Shepherds also used rods to guard and guide their sheep. The Hebrew word for ‘rods’ in this passage is maqqelah and signifies a ‘traveler’s staff’ or ‘war club’  that is cut from a tree.  Some suggest that Jacob is using divining rods; however, since it appears he is imitating what he had dreamed, the rods are more prophetic of Jacob knowing that Elohim is in control of a greater plan.

Jacob made his rods from fresh-cut branches of almond, poplar and plane trees.  They were peeled and set upright in the watering troughs so the sheep could see them when they came for a drink.  Since they bred when they were drinking, the animals mated in the sight of the rods and birthed streaked and speckled lambs.  Jacob used only spotted rams for breeding and this resulted in a flock that consisted almost entirely of spotted offspring.

Eventually Jacob took his large flock of spotted sheep back to Canaan. As an old man in the days of Joseph,  he moved his flocks to Egypt in northern Africa.   From there the breed spread  to Europe, specifically Spain, and eventually found their way to England and even to our little midwestern community as a distinct ‘unimproved’ breed of sheep.

Jacob Sheep, with impressive horns and unusual coloring, are small and hardy, economical to feed and have few health problems. On pasture, stocking rates for Jacob  Sheep are about six sheep per acre compared to about five per acre for larger breeds. These small, fine-boned sheep have no lambing problems in contrast with the improved breeds that often need birthing assistance. The ewes are good mothers and often have twins and occasional triplets.

Selah

Jacob, a shepherd,  loved a woman whose name meant ‘ewe,’ was the father of the 12 Tribes of Isra’el, a special breed of ‘sheep’ for the Good Shepherd.  Just as Jacob’s breed of sheep exist today, so do the children of Isra’el.

The Almond, Plane and Poplar Trees

The Almond tree is the first tree to sprout in the spring and the last to lose its leaves. In Hebrew, ‘almond’ is the word luz and means ‘to turn aside.’   The Hebrew word shaquad, from which ‘almond’ is derived means ‘I watch.’

Jacob has ‘turned aside’ from being subservient to Laban.  He wants to make his own way and travel back to Canaan, the land of his grandfather.  He knows that Elohim is watching over his life and his animal husbandry so that the promises to Abraham and Isaac are fulfilled.  This was Elohim’s promise to him at Bethel (Genesis 28:13-15).

“The word of Adonai was addressed to me asking, ‘Jeremiah, what to you see?’  ‘I see a branch of the watchful tree,’ I answered.  Then Adonai said, ‘Well seen! I too watch over My Word to see it fulfilled” (Jeremiah 1:11-12).

The Plane tree is known as the Common Sycamore which  belongs to the same family as the fig tree.  The fruit of this tree was considered to be a ‘humble food.’   It comes from the Hebrew word arman which has its root in ‘bare or naked’ because its bark peels off each year.  This tree grows to great heights.

Elohim takes a humble shepherd and makes him a very wealthy man.  He tells him to go back to the Promised Land where his descendants will ‘grow to great numbers’ and eventually possess the land on which he slept with his head on a rock and where heaven met the earth at Beit-el (Genesis 28:13-15).

“I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets.  I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was Adonai who took me from herding the flock, and Adonai who said, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Isra’el” (Amos 7:14-15).

The Poplar or Willow tree is a symbol of joy and blessing.  It comes from the  Hebrew word libneh.  Laban comes from libneh and means ‘white.’  It is a fast growing tree and was found abundantly along the banks of the Jordan River.

The Ruach Elohim will bless the offspring of Jacob’s sheep as well as his descendants.  They will spread out to the east, west, north and south.  All nations will become blessed through him (and even his breed of sheep).  This is also part of the blessing Jacob received from Elohim at Bethel (Genesis 28:13-15).

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit on your descendants, my blessing on your offspring. They will spring up among the grass like willows on the riverbanks” (Isaiah 44:3-4).

Jacob’s sheep become numerous.   His father-in-law becomes jealous and Jacob decides to leave with his family and flocks.  Rachel and Leah agree saying their father considers them ‘foreigners’ and no longer members of his family.

Household Idols

“So Rachel stole the household idols that belonged to her father” (Genesis 31:19).

When I taught my children the Ten Commandments, I used the Hebrew letter pictures associated with each commandment  The letter picture for the second commandment is a ‘house’ or the letter bet. 

ב

The second commandment is about idols, making idols and having ‘other gods.’    The connection made was that idols were generally found in the home.  Many people still have household idols, especially catholics and buddhists where statues of Mary, angels, dead saints or buddhas are set apart on tables or small altars. 

The Hebrew word for ‘idols’ in this passage is teraphim and refers to ‘domestic idols.’ Domestic idols were often used to worship Elohim so Rachel may not have been intending to worship a false god as much as she was going to worship Him in an incorrect manner.  Though her intention may have been right,  idolatry in any form is not acceptable to Elohim from the days of the patriarchs until even today.

Laban finds his household gods missing and pursues Jacob.  Jacob’s response to his accusations is quite serious.  He knew that Elohim was the source of the blessing for him and his family.  He would not worship Elohim with an idol dishonoring the Elohim of his fathers.  Even without a written ten commandments, Jacob knew and understood in his heart that idol worship was wrong.  Jacob also maintained his emotions when dealing with his father-in-law.  Though at times his behavior bordered on deceit, he was a man who was not easily angered; however, he did not appreciate being called a thief.

The unfortunate part of this account is that the idols were in the possession of his favored wife and she deceived not only her father, but also her husband.   She had put them in her camel’s saddle bag and sat on them.  Though her father searched her, he didn’t find them because she used the excuse she was in her time of niddah, her monthly cycle. 

It became time for Laban and Jacob to make a clean break.  They gathered stones and made a boundary that both agreed not to cross.  They entered into a covenant of witness known as a mitzpah or ‘watchtower.’

“May Adonai watch between me and you when we are apart from each other.  If you cause pain to my daughters, then even if no one is there with us, still God is witness between me and you” (Genesis 31:49-50). 

Laban swore by the god of Nachor, but Jacob swore by Elohim, the God his father feared.  Jacob made a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his kinsmen to eat with him – a fellowship meal.  Jacob leaves the next day and angels of Elohim meet him.  He sees them and names the place machanayim or ‘two camps.’   Here begins the journey between the natural, physical camp of Jacob and the spiritual camp of Isra’el.

Yeshua and His Sheep

These twelve Yeshua sent out with the following instructions: “Don’t go into the territory of the Goyim, and don’t enter any town in Shomron, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el. As you go, proclaim, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is near…” (Matthew 10:5-7).

“When Yeshua came ashore, he saw a huge crowd. Filled with compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, he began teaching them many things” (Mark 6:34).

“I am the gate; if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”….“My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me,  and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands (John 10:9-11; 27-28).

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own, and my own know me — just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father — and I lay down my life on behalf of the sheep.   Also I have other sheep which are not from this pen; I need to bring them, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).

“After breakfast, Yeshua said to Shim‘on Kefa, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me more than these?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Shepherd my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, are you my friend?” Shim‘on was hurt that he questioned him a third time: “Are you my friend?” So he replied, “Lord, you know everything! You know I’m your friend!” Yeshua said to him, “Feed my sheep!” (John 21:15-17)

Haftarah (Readings from the Prophets)

Hosea 12:2-12

Hosea 14:9

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

John 1:43-51

Midrash Vayetze: Sheep in the World

Discuss the three flocks of sheep in the world: the flock of Judah, the flock of Isra’el, and the flock of the nations.  Using Psalms 23, 79:13 and Isaiah 12:3, discuss each flock and the ‘stone’ over the ‘living water’ that each encounters toward salvation.

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article.  For a hard copy of this Torah portion or the complete cycle, please purchase Open My Eyes, Wonders of Torah.

Parashah 8: Vayishlach (He sent)

Parashah 8: Genesis 32:4-36:43

“Ya’akov sent messengers ahead of him to ‘Esav his brother toward the land of Se’ir, the country of Edom, with these instructions …” (Genesis 32:3).

Jacob heads toward the land of Seir in Edom, the land of his brother Esau. He has become a wealthy man with wives, children and livestock.  Because he fears that his brother may attack him, he divides his family into two camps so if he is attacked, one camp may escape.  He prays to Elohim:

I’m not worthy of all the love and faithfulness you have shown your servant, since I crossed the Yarden with only my staff. But now I have become two camps. Please! Rescue me from my brother ‘Esav!” (Genesis 32:10-11)

While messengers are sent to Esau,  Jacob divides his camp and sends his two wives and two concubines along with his 11 sons to the other side of the Jabbok River.  Jabbok in Hebrew means ‘to empty itself.’  The source of this river was in Edom (modern-day Jordan) where his brother lived.  When Esau is seen in the distance, Jacob further divides the camp.  The concubines and their children were sent out first followed by Leah and her children.  Rachel and Joseph were last. 

Jacob divides his family to protect them as sometimes division is necessary for protection, but the division is prophetic to the future.   Joseph, along with his mother (Benjamin has not yet been born), were kept behind the other mothers and Jacob’s other ten sons.  The separation of these ‘ten northern tribes’ from the ‘two southern tribes’ was part of Elohim’s plan to keep the nation of Isra’el protected from complete destruction.  At the ‘appointed time,’ all of the tribes will be brought back together as the nation of Isra’el (Ezekiel 37:17).

Jacob, the Overcomer

Once the camps are divided, Jacob is alone.  During the night a man comes to him and they begin to wrestle.  When the man sees that he would not defeat Jacob, he strikes his hip socket so that it becomes dislocated.  At sunrise, the man requests that Jacob let him go, but Jacob refuses unless he receives a blessing.  The man asks his name and Jacob replies “Ya’akov.

The man blesses him,

“From now on you will no longer be called Ya’akov, but Isra’el; because you have shown your strength to God and men and have overcome” (Genesis 32:28).

Jacob asks the man his name, but he refuses to reveal it.

Jacob named the place Peni-El or ‘Face of Elohim’ because he had seen Elohim ‘face to face’ and his life had been spared.  The ‘man’ who wrestles with Jacob is the Elohim of Hosts or the Commander of Elohim’s army – Yeshua.   This is a personal encounter with Yeshua and the reason Jacob can be ‘face to face’ with Elohim and live.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Peni’el (Face of Elohim) פני – אל – peh, noon, yod, alef, lamed

the source of life is the finished work of the strong shepherd

Up until Jacob wrestles with Yeshua, he lives his life in the flesh doing things his own way which always includes some form of deception. As he fears the meeting with his brother,  he separates himself from his family and flocks.  Alone and sitting by the Jabbok River, he ‘empties himself’ before Elohim.   His carnal ways of life battle with the strength of Elohim’s right hand.  He releases his carnality, limping for the rest of his life and takes on Elohim’s strength, the Ruach Elohim and receives the name, Isra’el

“That is why, to this day, the people of Isra’el do not eat the thigh muscle that passes along the hip socket – because the man struck Ya’akov’s hip at its socket” (Genesis 32:32).

Isra’el means ‘because you have shown your strength both to Elohim and men and have prevailed’ or ‘overcomer.’  In the book of Revelation, Yeshua rewards those in the Messianic congregations who ‘overcome’ with the right to eat from the Tree of Life, not being hurt by the second death, hidden manna, a new name, authority, white clothing, an eternal name, a pillar in the Temple, the name of Elohim, the New Jerusalem, and to sit down on his Father’s throne.  To ‘overcome’ the flesh and its unspiritual desires has everything to do with Isra’el.

There are now two ‘persons’ within the same man: Jacob, the physical carnal man and Isra’el, the spiritual man.  In the  physical world, Jacob receives a land inheritance and physical descendants; in the spiritual world, Isra’el receives the inheritance of the coming eternal Kingdom.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Jacob (Supplanter) or Ya’akov–יעקו –yod, ayin, koof, bet

the finished work understands what is behind the binding

Isra’el (Overcomer) or Yisra’el –ישראל–yod, shin, resh, alef, lamed

the finished work consumes the head of the strong shepherd

Jacob Meets Esau

“A person’s gift clears his way and gives him access to the great” (Proverbs 18:16).

Esau has also grown into a nation of people.  He brings 400 men with him to meet his brother.  His cry to Isaac, “Have you only one blessing, my father,” has proven unfounded. He has become a wealthy man and as a physical descendant of Abraham, Elohim blessed him just as He blessed Ishma’el.  Esau seems to have forgotten what happened in the past and is not interested in Jacob’s gifts or his wealth.  He is just grateful to make shalom with his brother.

Sukkoth

Jacob leaves his brother and travels on to Sukkoth where he builds himself a temporary dwelling and puts up shelters for his cattle.  Sukkoth is a city located east of the Jordan River and is known today as Tel Deir Alla in the plain north of the Jabbok River.  As there is a fall ‘appointed time’ called Sukkot, the site of this temporary dwelling may be an allusion to the season when Jacob and his family camped at Sukkoth. 

Hebrew Word Pictures

Sukkoth (Shelter) or Sukkot – סוכות– samech, vav, kaf, vav, tav

lean on the binding, covering the binding of the covenant

The Account of Dinah

“Here is what Adonai says: ‘Don’t learn the way of the Goyim [pagan nations] …’” (Jeremiah 10:2).

Dinah is the only daughter of Leah and Jacob.  In Genesis 34:1, it is written that she went out to visit the local girls.  By doing this, she leaves the security of the camp, her father, her mothers and her brothers.  The implication given by Josephusis that Dinah wanted to observe, and probably copy, the customs of her neighbors.

“Now as the Shechemites were keeping a [pagan] festival,  Dinah, who was the only daughter of Ya’akov, went into the city to see the finery of the women of that country.”

Shechem, a descendant of Canaan who was cursed because of his father’s sexual sin, raped Dinah, but then fell in love with her and wanted to marry her. Shechem’s father went to Jacob to arrange a marriage.  Jacob maintained his personal shalom while his sons were outraged. Their immaturity in dealing with jealousy and anger will be what leads them to sell their younger brother into slavery.

There has been no command given by Elohim against intermarriage. Abraham and Isaac desired their sons not marry Canaanite women which suggests there was a generational understanding regarding intermarriage with the cursed descendants of Canaan.

The negotiation plan presented by Shechem’s father to Jacob had five options:

1. Begin the intermingling of the two nations.  This was irrelevant because Shechem was the first place where Abraham pitched his tents.  There had been intermingling between the two nations since that time.

2. Sign a treaty of peaceful co-existence.  Jacob had lived in this area for about 11 years before the event with Dinah.  The problem between Shechem and Dinah is the first recorded problem between the two nations.  A treaty was irrelevant to the negotiations. 

3. Jacob would be given rights of land possession in the territory.  Jacob had already paid 100 pieces of silver for the land on which he lived.  He already had the right of physical ownership.  Spiritually, he had taken possession of the land when he put up an altar to Elohim in Bethel. This suggestion was irrelevant to the negotiation.

4. Shechem was part of the great trading route between the Far East, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.  Shechem’s father knew of Jacob’s wealth and perhaps wanted a share in it so he offered a trade agreement. This could be relevant to the negotiations and would be a perk when Shechem married Dinah.  However, Jacob did not accept this offer.

5. The last option was a bride price to be set by Dinah’s family.  A bride price was most definitely relevant to the negotiations as Dinah has been raped which was the reason negotiations had to take place.  It is not Jacob, Dinah’s father, who sets the bride price, it is her brothers.  They require the circumcision of Shechem and the men of the city as Dinah’s bride price.   Shechem is willing to do whatever they ask because he is “honorable of all the men in his father’s house” and he loves Dinah.

Selah

Shechem’s circumcision could be the first example of one of the nations entering into the covenant given to Abraham because of a love forthe virgin daughter of Isra’el.

Circumcision was the sign of the covenant given to Abraham, a symbol of his faith and obedience, a ‘sign’ of his heart for El Shaddai. Circumcision set Jacob’ssons apart from the uncircumcised nations around them, a separation instituted by Elohim.  Shechem and the men of the city did not have a heart for Elohim and therefore circumcision was not something they should have been required to do. The sons of Isra’el perverted the act of circumcision and used it as a deceitful way, not only to humble the men of the city, but to destroy them.

Three days after the men were circumcised and in pain,  Simeon and Levi took their swords and boldly descended on the city and slaughtered all the males.  They killed Hamor and Shechem.  The remaining brothers climbed over the dead bodies Simeon and Levi had killed and plundered the city as revenge for defiling their sister.

Dinah was found in Shechem’s house which means she was betrothed, even married and most likely believed the bride price had been paid in full with the circumcisions.  Shechem had done what was honorable and paid the required bride price.  Dinah’s brothers, however, responded with vengeance and murder. 

Simeon and Levi do not regret killing the men of Shechem.  They viewed it has an honor killing for their sister.  Jacob is not pleased with their behavior and says they made him a “stink in the opinion of the local inhabitants” (Genesis 34:30). Jacob makes it quite clear and it becomes written in Torah that honor killings are an abomination to Elohim and an unacceptable way for Isra’el to live and solve problems with their neighbors. 

Judah and Reuben do not take part in the murders.  Later, it is Judah who saves Joseph’s life and Reuben repents for everything done to their brother.  In spite of their shortcomings (Reuben sinning with his father’s concubine and Judah’s rejection of Tamar),  they have a deeper sense of value for human life, especially when it comes to family.   

Hebrew Word Pictures

Dinah (Controversy) – דינה – dalet, yod, noon, hey

the pathway of the finished work of life revealed

Shechem (Shoulder) – שכם – shin, kaf, mem

consumed to cover the chaos

Immersion and Purification

“Get rid of the foreign gods that you have with you, purify yourselves, and put on fresh clothes.  We’re going to move on and go up to Beit-El.  There I will build an altar to God, who answered me when I was in such distress and stayed with me wherever I went” (Genesis 35:2-3).

Elohim tells Jacob to return to Bethel.  Before the camps set out,  he instructs everyone to get rid of their foreign gods.   Apparently while living near Shechem, his family collected more foreign gods.   The household teraphim along with all the women’s earrings were collected and buried under a Pistachio tree.

The Pistachio tree in Hebrew is terebinth and is often translated in the Scriptures as ‘oak’  as in the ‘oaks of Mamre.’  The Hebrew word is for pistachio is elah.  It was in the Valley of Elah also known as the Valley of Pistachio trees where David fought Goliath.

Jacob tells his family to purify themselves and put on fresh clothing.   The Torah still has not been written, yet Isra’el and his family know the requirements for purification.  They obviously understand there are ‘clean and unclean’ physical issues even before Elohim gave specific instructions.

Many teach there are no longer ‘clean or unclean’ regulations because the Torah was abolished with the cross.  They claim Yeshua did everything for us therefore we have no need to purify ourselves.  This is not a Biblically sound argument when both John and James support purifying oneself even after the resurrection of Yeshua.

“And everyone who has this hope in him continues purifying himself, since God is pure” (1 John 3:3).

“Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Clean your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded people!” (James 4:8)

Purification or cleansing refers to ritual washing done long before Torah.  Ritual washing was more than just taking a bath; it was symbolic of repentance and removing the impurities that pollute the soul by immersing oneself in water.   A ritual cleansing or immersion takes place in a mikvah.  A mikvah is a pool of water that must be connected in some way to natural water or spring water.  Putting on clean clothes is part of the purification required to attend a holy event.  Jacob’s family is heading to Bethel or the ‘House of Elohim’ to meet with the holy One of Isra’el.  They need to wash and dress accordingly; they need to prepare their souls.

El Shaddai

Wherever Jacob and his family traveled, the fear of Elohim fell on the people so no one followed or tried to attack them.  During their travels, Elohim appears to Jacob a second time and blesses him.  By repeating  that Jacob’s name is changed to Isra’el, there is a witness of two and the nation of Isra’el is established forever. 

“Your name is Ya’akov, but you will be called Ya’akov no longer, your name will be Isra’el.  Thus he named him Isra’el.  God further said to him, ‘I am El Shaddai.  Be fruitful and multiply. A nation, indeed a group of nations, will come from you; kings will be descended from you.  Moreover, the land which I gave Avraham and Yitz’ak I will give to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you’” (Genesis 35:10-12).

This is the second time Elohim refers to Himself as El Shaddai.  The first time He changes Abram’s name to Abraham.  El Shaddai emphasizes His all-pervasive power, influence  and authority in all of creation while still having the nuance of being the “Elohim of the bosom.”  It is El Shaddai who made promises of land and descendants to Abraham, Isaac and now Jacob.

Jacob set up a second stone pillar.  Along with anointing it with oil, he poured out a drink offering.    This is the first time a drink offering  is mentioned in Scripture.  A drink offering was offered on the Sabbath as a symbol of rest.  Only after El Shaddai defeated the enemies of Isra’el and gave them rest in the Promised Land did He  accept drink offerings, but even then, the people did not drink the offerings as they were not the ones who defeated their enemies.  El Shaddai defeated them by His arm of salvation, Yeshua.

Jacob is now at rest.  He has shalom with his brother and his neighbors.  His enemies have been subdued and he has received the eternal covenant given to his grandfather and father. Since drink offerings were poured out on the Sabbath, there is the inference that he set the stone and poured out the drink offering on the Shabbat.

The drink offering was only given to Elohim.  While portions of animal sacrifices were set aside to be eaten by the priest and the person offering the sacrifice, the entire drink offering was poured out on the Altar.  This prevented the priesthood from drinking in the Tabernacle.  As there is no Tabernacle at this time, there are no prescribed animal sacrifices or rules for drink offerings.  On the  stone altar that Jacob makes, he does not offer an animal.  Instead he pours out a drink offering for El Shaddai and Him alone.

The drink offering symbolizes the life of the worshipper.  Sha’ul refers to his life as being ‘poured out like a drink offering’ (Philippians 2:17).   Jacob has definitely ‘poured out his life’ to be at the place he has arrived and now acknowledges the work was done through El Shaddai and not himself. He cannot deny that he wrestled with Yeshua, had his name changed and limps!

At Yeshua’s last Passover seder, he takes a cup of wine and refers to it as his blood being poured out as drink offering (Matthew 26:26-28).   This drink offering would occur on the cross, symbolic of an altar, as the required atonement for forgiveness of sin.  Once he became the High Priest, he would not drink from the fruit of the vine until the coming of his Father’s Kingdom.

“I am poured out like water; all my bones are out of joint; my heart has become like wax — it melts inside me; my mouth is as dry as a fragment of a pot, my tongue sticks to my palate; you lay me down in the dust of death” (Psalm 22:14-15).

“I tell you, I will not drink this ‘fruit of the vine’ again until the day I drink new wine with you in my Father’s Kingdom” (Matthew 26:29).

Rachel Dies

While traveling to Efrat (Bethlehem), Rachel goes into labor.  She dies soon after giving birth to Jacob’s last son, but not before she names him Ben Oni (Son of My Grief).   Jacob changes the baby’s name to Benjamin (Son of the Right Hand).  Rachel is buried near Bethlehem. Jacob continues to travel.

Selah

Bethlehem or Beit-Lechem in Hebrew means ‘House of Bread.’

Isra’el pitches his tent on the other side of the Migdal Eder near Bethlehem. Migdal Eder means ‘Tower of Eder.’  The prophet Micah refers to this place as the ‘watchtower of the flock.’  This was the same location where sheep were raised for the Temple sacrifices in Jerusalem.  On the night that Yeshua was born, it was the shepherds at the Migdal Eder, who raised the sheep for the sacrifices that received the good news from the angels that the Messiah had been born.

“You, tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Tziyon, to you your former sovereignty will return, the royal power of the daughter of Yerushalayim” (Micah 4:8).

“But you, Beit-Lechem near Efrat, so small among the clans of Y’hudah, out of you will come forth to me the future ruler of Isra’el, whose origins are far in the past, back in ancient times. Therefore he will give up [Isra’el] only until she who is in labor gives birth. Then the rest of his kinsmen will return to the people of Isra’el. He will stand and feed his flock in the strength of Adonai, in the majesty of the name of Adonai his God; and they will stay put, as he grows great to the very ends of the earth; and this will be peace…” (Micah 5:2-5).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Ephratha or Efrat (Fruitful) – אפרת – alef, peh, resh, tav

first words, head of the sign

Bethlehem or Beit-Lechem – ביתלחם – bet, yod, tav – lamed, chet, mem

house of finished work sign – the shepherd’s inner room (heart), mighty

Esau and the Edomites

The Edomites, the descendants of Esau, have an interesting Biblical history.  Esau had many Canaanite wives against his parents‘ wishes.  None of the marriages were blessed by Isaac or Rebekah and created an ongoing conflict between Isra’el (sons of Jacob) and Edom (sons of Esau). 

Though Esau was blessed in terms of physical wealth, he was not part of the spiritually blessed lineage. He behaved corruptly with sexual immorality and godlessness (Hebrews 12:15-17).   One of Esau’s wives, Adah, gave birth to Amalek from whom descended the Amalekites, Isra’el’s greatest  enemy.   King Saul was commanded destroy the Amalekites, but disobeyed.  An Amalekite named Haman came to power in Persia during the reign of King Xerxes wanted to destroy the Jewish people from earth (Esther 3).

Elohim commanded that Isra’el regard the Edomites as brothers despite their unwillingness to let them pass through their land (Deuteronomy 23:7).  During the reign of King Saul, Edom became a subject nation of Isra’el (1 Samuel 14:47) and David established a military fort there (2 Samuel 8:14).  In the days of Yoram, the son of Ahab, the Edomites became an independent nation.  Herod the Great, who wanted Yeshua killed, was an Edomite.  Since the Muslims conquered the region of Edom, the area has been virtually unoccupied except by Bedouins.

Isra’el and the Edomites

This parashah contains the genealogy of Esau because it is important to know one’s enemies. Understanding the battles between these two nations is also important for understanding prophecies against Edom in the ‘last days.’  The Edomites along with the Ishamelites are the first of many nations mentioned who desire the destruction of Isra’el.

“God, don’t remain silent! Don’t stay quiet, God, or still; because here are your enemies, causing an uproar; those who hate you are raising their heads, craftily conspiring against your people, consulting together against those you treasure. They say, “Come, let’s wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Isra’el be remembered no more!” With one mind they plot their schemes; the covenant they have made is against you — the tents of Edom and the Yishma’elim …” (Psalm 83:1-8).

“Therefore Adonai Elohim says, ‘I will stretch my hand out over Edom and Eiliminate both its humans and its animals. I will make it a ruin; from Teman to D’dan they will die by the sword.  Moreover, I will lay my vengeance on Edom through my people Isra’el; they will treat Edom in accordance with my anger and my fury; and they will know my vengeance’…” (Ezekiel 25:13-14).  

The prophet Obadiah states that Edom will be completely destroyed for its hatred of his kinsman, Judah.

“You whose homes are caves in the cliffs, who live on the heights and say to yourselves, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?” (Obadiah 3)

Mount Seir is the hill country where Esau took his wives and children to live.  The Edomites held the rock fortress of what is known today as Petra, modern-day Batzra, Jordan, which can only be reached through a narrow, winding gorge.  The fortress was so protected that it was said only 12 men were needed to defend it against an entire army. 

“Your warriors, Teman, will be so distraught that everyone on Mount Esau will be slaughtered” (Obadiah 9).

Teman is a city or region in southern Edom to the east of Isra’el.  It was named after the grandson of Esau and became synonymous with all of Edom.   Teman is possibly the modern-day Ma’an located about 135 miles southwest of Ammon, Jordan.

“For the violence done to our kinsman Ya’akov, shame will cover you …” (Obadiah 10).

The word ‘violence’ in this verse is the Hebrew chamas or as it is spelled today Hamas.   It refers not only to violent crimes like robbing and extortion, but also false witness.  Hamas is an Arabic acronym for “Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyya,” which means “The Islamic Resistance Movement.” Hamas in Arabic means ‘zeal.’

“Here is what Adonai says: “For Edom’s three crimes, no, four — I will not reverse it — because with sword he pursued his kinsman and threw aside all pity, constantly nursing his anger, forever fomenting his fury; I will send fire on Teman, and it will consume the palaces of Botzrah” (Amos 1:11-12).

Who is this, coming from Edom, from Botzrah with clothing stained crimson, so magnificently dressed, so stately in his great strength? “It is I, who speak victoriously, I, well able to save.” Why is your apparel red, your clothes like someone treading a winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the peoples, not one was with me. So I trod them in my anger, trampled them in my fury; so their lifeblood spurted out on my clothing, and I have stained all my garments; for the day of vengeance that was in my heart and my year of redemption have come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I was appalled that no one upheld me. Therefore my own arm brought me salvation, and my own fury upheld me.  In my anger I trod down the peoples, made them drunk with my fury, then poured out their lifeblood on the earth”  (Isaiah 63:1-6).

The prophet Isaiah asks, “Who is coming from Edom?”  Revelation 19:12-14 reveals that it is Yeshua, stained with blood of his enemies.  He is coming, not from a place called heaven, but from Edom in southern Jordan and the stronghold of Petra where he finally judges Edom for its chamas against Isra’el.

“Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many royal crowns. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself.He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood, and the name by which he is called is, “THE WORD OF GOD” (Revelation 19:11-14). 

Esau became a great nation, but as a man he lived a faithless life and passed that godlessness onto the generations after him bringing complete destruction on his own progeny by none other than Yeshua, his brother.   The same may be said of Ishma’el who also became a wealthy man,  but left the faith of his father Abraham.  His descendants have become the ever-increasing population of Arabs who embrace chamas and perpetuate violence on Isra’el.  Their destruction is prophesied along with Edom.

Yeshua’s Immersion

“The [Jewish] people  were in a state of great expectancy, and everyone was wondering whether perhaps Yochanan himself might be the Messiah;  so Yochanan answered them all, “I am immersing you in water, but he who is coming is more powerful than I — I’m not worthy to untie his sandals! He will immerse you in the Ruach HaKodesh and in fire.  He has with him his winnowing fork to clear out his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the straw with unquenchable fire!  While all the people were being immersed, Yeshua too was immersed. As he was praying, heaven was opened;  the Ruach HaKodesh came down on him in physical form like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, whom I love; I am well pleased with you” (Luke 3:15-22).

“Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim [disciples], immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh …” (Matthew 28:19).

“They replied, “When you are in your glory, let us sit with you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Yeshua answered, “You don’t know what you’re asking! Can you drink the cup that I am drinking? or be immersed with the immersion that I must undergo?” They said to him, “We can.” Yeshua replied, “The cup that I am drinking, you will drink; and the immersion I am being immersed with, you will undergo” (Mark 10:37-39).

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now six stone water-jars were standing there for the Jewish ceremonial washings [immersion], each with a capacity of twenty or thirty gallons. Yeshua told them, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim” (John 2:5-7).

Haftarah (Readings from the Prophets)

Hosea 11:11-12

Obadiah 1-21

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Revelation 7:1-12 

Midrash Vayishlach:  Jacob and Isra’el

Jacob is now Isra’el, a physical man and a spiritual man.  In this parashah (and the ones to follow), make note of the events that happen to either the physical man, Jacob, or the spiritual man, Isra’el, and discuss the possible reasons and prophetic allusions. For example, Reuben sleeps with Isra’el’s concubine, but Jacob buries his father.  Consider why the Tribulation is called ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’ and not the time of Isra’el’s.

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