Commentary - Year 1
20:1-18 - Isaiah 61:9-10 - Psalm 16
- Galatians 3:15-29
Av 1, 5761 / July
Tammuz 28, 5764 / July 17, 2004
Tammuz 28, 5767 / July 14, 2007
Tammuz 28, 5770 / July 10, 2010
Tammuz 28, 5773 / July 6, 2013
Av 2, 5776 /
Aug 6, 2016
Vayisa Misham / He
Journeyed from There
should be read first
Here are some thoughts
about thinking. Reportedly, you will have 65,000 thoughts today,
about one per second. Tomorrow, again, you will have 65,000
thoughts. Monday you will have about 65,000 thoughts. Of tomorrow’s
65,000 thoughts, more than 60,000 will be the same as today’s.
Monday, more than 60,000 will be the same as tomorrow’s.
Thoughts are “from the
heart.” God has much to say about the thoughts of our hearts.
What we think will
determine what we say. What we think and say will determine our
actions. Our actions become our habits, and our habits become our
disobeying God’s instructions. “Iniquity” is wrong motives and
desires and thoughts of the heart. Iniquity results in transgression
We all have wrong
thoughts. We need to study God’s Word and pray, in order to change
our thought patterns, to be overcomers.
If we start every
morning, praying for those we know, that will help correct our
feelings and actions towards them. If we read God’s Word every
morning, that will put us on a course of remembering God during the
day, and will establish our thoughts and actions in righteousness.
(V. 1) “Avraham
journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled
between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar.” Avraham,
having twice previously gone to rescue Lot, is now moving farther
from him. He is also, in a sense, staking claim to another part of
the Promised Land (‘Palestine’ – the area of the Philistines)
(V. 3) God speaks to the
heathen only at night.
(V. 5) Abimelech said,
“In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have
God answered, “Yes, I
know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this,” but
his ‘hands’ were not innocent (the sages say, because he had
Abimelech made full
restitution to Avraham and sought forgiveness. He did not make gifts
to Sarah, which, had they been given, could have been interpreted as
payment for prostitution: thus their integrity was portrayed.
offspring was in God’s mind, and Sarah was kept pure. (Isaiah
who see them will recognize them because they are the offspring whom
Yahweh has blessed. I will rejoice greatly in Yahweh, my soul will
exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom
decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her
jewels.” As David said (Psalm 16:1), “Preserve
me, O God, for I take refuge in Thee.”
Let us consider the
doctrine of forgiveness. Forgiveness is needed because of sin. We
need forgiveness from God and we need forgiveness from man.
‘Torah’ comes from a
root meaning to flow or shoot. Torah is instruction – how to glorify
God. It instructs us how to love Yahweh and our neighbor who is
created in His image.
‘Sin’ (Hebrew - chata)
means to miss. Sin is missing the goal of glorifying God, missing
the purpose for which we are created and sustained by God. Doing our
own thing is sin, and sin requires repentance – which means turning
around toward God.
Those who live only for
their own selfish desires, and do not repent, are called ‘wicked’
(Hebrew - raah), which means ‘good for nothing.’ They do not
go by the Creator’s instructions for living, and they do not fulfill
their designed purpose. They are destined to be ‘taken’ in judgment
There are conditions for
forgiveness: repentance and request. God does not just simply forget
our sins, and we are not instructed to just forget sins others
commit against us: these are common religious teachings, but they
are not Biblical. (This is not about being bitter, or holding a
We are also required to
be truthful witnesses about many kinds of observed sins, and we are
not permitted to ignore them. Our witness is to be to judges (proper
authorities), and we are forbidden to slander (which is defaming
another, regardless of whether or not the statements are true).
Yeshua was so named
because He came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
Sin means missing the mark of glorifying our creator. ‘His people’,
the firstfruits, are the reason for the word’s existence (Colossians
1:16, James 1:18; see commentary on Genesis 1:1).
Our goal should be to
have God be glorified in the entire world, which requires getting
rid of sin – that which does not glorify God – in the world.
The first part of our
goal should be to glorify God ourselves, which requires overcoming
sin in our own lives. Then we are to help our brethren overcome sin.
Then we are to seek the salvation of others.
There is intentional sin,
and there is unintentional sin – which may be discovered after being
committed. Both are contrary to glorifying God. While Abimelech’s
sin was unintentional – it was done with integrity of his heart, it
was still contrary to God’s design – his hands were not innocent,
and repentance was required.
Last Sabbath afternoon,
we studied the Prophet Haggai. His name means ‘My Feast.’ On the
first day of the sixth month (Elul 1), Yahweh said, “Consider your
ways!” (v.5 & 7). This is the first day of the forty days of
repentance that culminates with Yom haKippurim – the Day of the
Atonements (on Tishrei 10). These are forty days specifically set
aside to consider our ways. They are the period of time when ‘the
baptism of repentance for remission of sins’ (Mark 1:4) is
undertaken each year. This is the season when John the baptizer was
preaching repentance at the Jordan River (Matthew 3:1-8).
The Day of the Atonements
is for the purification of the Bride of Messiah – it is for
believers, all of whom need repentance. It is the only day on which
the Torah requires us to fast. It is an annual requirement to help
us remember our position, and keep a proper attitude toward God and
(V. 7 & 14) Forgiveness –
Forgiving a brother is based upon repentance:
(Luke 17:3) “Be on
your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents,
forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and
returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him.”
Repentance may require restitution, depending upon the sin.
“Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my
brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ 22
Yeshua said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up
to seventy times seven. 23 For this reason the kingdom of heaven may
be compared to a certain king who wished to settle accounts with his
slaves. 24 And when he had begun to settle them, there was brought
to him one who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But since he did
not have the means to repay, his master commanded him to be sold,
along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment
to be made. 26 The slave therefore falling down, prostrated himself
before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will repay you
everything.” 27 And the master of that slave felt compassion and
released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that slave went out
and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii;
and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, “Pay back what you
owe.” 29 So his fellow slave fell down and began to entreat him,
saying, “Have patience with me and I will repay you.” 30 He was
unwilling however, but went and threw him in prison until he should
pay back what was owed. 31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had
happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their
master all that had happened. 32 Then summoning him, his master said
to him, “You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you
entreated me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow
slave, even as I had mercy on you?” 34 And his lord, moved with
anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all
that was owed him. 35 So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if
each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.’ ”
Repentance must be from the heart. That is, saying that we repent,
without serious intent, is meaningless.
(Exodus 22:1) “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters
it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for
the sheep. 2 If the thief is caught while breaking in, and is struck
so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. 3
But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on
his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing,
then he shall be sold for his theft. 4 If what he stole is actually
found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep,
he shall pay double.”
(Luke 19:8) “And
Zaccheus stopped and said to Yahweh, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my
possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone
of anything, I will give back four times as much.’ ”
(Matthew 18:15-17) When
we see a believer caught up in a sin, we are to go to him to seek
his repentance. If he will not hear us, we are to take one or two
This does not mean that
we are to tell others about the sin, and take them along: that would
be slander. It means to take others whom we know to have witnessed
If he will not hear two
or three witnesses, then the matter is to be taken to the judges of
If he will not hear the
judges, then he is to be considered as a wicked one – one who does
not seek to follow God, not a believer.
(1 Timothy 5:19-20) An
elder is not to be accused before the judges unless there are two or
three witnesses. Then an elder who refuses to repent of his sin is
to be rebuked by the judges before the entire congregation.
God’s forgiveness of sin
is shown by repentance:
“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each of you be
baptized in the name of Yeshua the Messiah because of the
forgiveness of your sins . . .’ ”.
“Even if a man pay the
required five-fold compensation (for sustained injury, pain, medical
care, loss of working time, and humiliation), he is not forgiven
until asking for a pardon” – Bava Kamma 92a.
For believers: (1 John
1:9) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous
to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Paul explains to us (in
Galatians 3) that the commandments, which were given 430 years after
the Covenant, were added because of sin. Those who were recipients
of God’s grace needed further instruction to overcome sin and learn
to love Yahweh and neighbor.
We need the perspective
that David had (Psalm 16:7-11), “I
will bless Yahweh who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me
in the night. I have set Yahweh continually before me; because He is
at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad,
and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely. For You
will not abandon my soul to Sheol; neither will You allow Your Holy
One to undergo decay. You wilt make known to me the path of life; in
Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are
Reportedly, 88% of
Christendom believes in Replacement Theology – the idea that
gentile churches replaced Israel in God’s plan, about 2000 years
ago. This was part of the basis for the holocaust.
has taught for about 1300 years, that it replaced both Judaism and
Christianity in God’s plan. They seek to impose their religion on
the whole world by force. That is why we are in an undeclared world
Today, many in
Christendom teach that God has two side-by-side plans, one for
Israel and one for “the Church.”
Messianics teach a “Two House” doctrine, that believers are
really unknowingly natural-born Israelites.
All of this nonsense
should be settled by Galatians 3.
God made an eternal,
unconditional covenant with Abraham 4,000 years ago. It was to be
fulfilled through Isaac, not Ishmael as Islam teaches. It is the
basis for all salvation, by grace through faith – whether for
ancient Israelites or modern gentiles.
God established an order
for His church, by that term (Heb. qehal), 3,500 years ago.
That church represents all who are of the faith of Abraham – “Jews”
and gentiles who follow their God.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who chose us from among all peoples by
giving us Your Torah.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
Reader 1* Amen
1 Now Avraham journeyed from there toward the land of the
Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in
Reader 2* Amen
2 Avraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." So
Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God
came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Behold,
you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she
is married." 4 Now Abimelech had not come near her; and
he said, "Lord, will You slay a nation, even though blameless?
5 "Did he not himself say to me, 'She is my sister '? And she
herself said, 'He is my brother.' In the integrity of my heart and
the innocence of my hands I have done this."
Reader 3* Amen
6 Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that in
the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you
from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.
7 "Now therefore, restore the man's wife, for he is a prophet,
and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not
restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are
Reader 4* Amen
8 So Abimelech arose early in the morning and called all
his servants and told all these things in their hearing; and the men
were greatly frightened. 9 Then Abimelech called Avraham
and said to him, "What have you done to us? And how have I sinned
against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great
sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done." 10
And Abimelech said to Avraham, "What have you encountered, that you
have done this thing?"
Reader 5* Amen
11 Avraham said, "Because I thought, surely there is no
fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.
12 "Besides, she actually is my sister, the daughter of
my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my
wife; 13 and it came about, when God caused me to wander
from my father's house, that I said to her, 'This is the kindness
which you will show to me: everywhere we go, say of me, "He is my
Reader 6* Amen
14 Abimelech then took sheep and oxen and male and female
servants, and gave them to Avraham, and restored his wife Sarah to
him. 15 Abimelech said, "Behold, my land is before you;
settle wherever you please." 16 To Sarah he said,
"Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver;
behold, it is your vindication before all who are with you, and
before all men you are cleared."
Reader 7* Amen
17 Avraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and
his wife and his maids, so that they bore children. 18
For Yahweh had closed fast all the wombs of the household of
Abimelech because of Sarah, Avraham's wife.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living
Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who selected good prophets, delighting
in their words which were spoken truthfully.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the
Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,
and the prophets of truth and
Reader 8* Amen
9 Then their offspring will be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them
will recognize them because they are the offspring whom
Yahweh has blessed. 10 I will rejoice greatly in Yahweh,
my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of
salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a
bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns
herself with her jewels.
(to be sung)
A Mikhtam of David.
Hear a just cause, O Yahweh, give heed to my cry;
give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips. 2
Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes look
with equity. 3 You have tried my heart; You have visited
me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have
purposed that my mouth will not transgress. 4 As for the
deeds of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept from the paths of
the violent. 5 My steps have held fast to Your paths. My
feet have not slipped. 6 I have called upon You, for You
will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.
7 Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who
take refuge at Your right hand From those who rise up against them.
8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow
of Your wings 9 from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly
enemies who surround me. 10 They have closed their
unfeeling heart, with their mouth they speak proudly. 11
They have now surrounded us in our steps; they set their eyes to
cast us down to the ground. 12 He is like a lion
that is eager to tear, and as a young lion lurking in hiding places.
13 Arise, O Yahweh, confront him, bring him low; deliver
my soul from the wicked with Your sword, 14 From men with
Your hand, O Yahweh, from men of the world, whose portion is in this
life, and whose belly You fill with Your treasure; they are
satisfied with children, and leave their abundance to their babes.
15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;
I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.
Reader 9* Amen
15 Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even
though it is only a man's covenant, yet when it has been ratified,
no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16 Now the
promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say,
"And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to
your seed," that is, Messiah. 17 What I am saying is
this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does
not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to
nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based
on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it
to Abraham by means of a promise.
Reader 10* Amen
19 Why the Law then? It was added because of
transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of
a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been
made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only;
whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to
the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given
which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have
been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up
everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Yeshua the
Messiah might be given to those who believe. 23 But
before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut
up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24
Reader 11* Amen Therefore the Law has
become our tutor to lead us to Messiah, so that we may be justified
by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no
longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God
through faith in Messiah Yeshua. 27 For all of you who
were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave
nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one
in Messiah Yeshua. 29 And if you belong to Messiah, then
you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh
our God, King of the Universe,
Rock of Ages, righteous
throughout all generations.
You are the faithful God,
promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,
for all Your words are true
Faithful are You, Yahweh
our God, and faithful are Your words,
for no word of Yours shall
You are a faithful and
merciful God and King.
Blessed are You, Yahweh our
God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."