HOME          TEMPLE SEDARIM      < PRIOR WEEK      NEXT WEEK >

 

 

Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 18

Genesis 21:1-34   -   I Samuel 2:21-28   -   (No Psalm)   -   Matthew 1:18-25
 

 

Av 8, 5761 / July 28, 2001 

Av 6, 5764 / July 24, 2004

Av 6, 5767 / July 21, 2007

Av 6, 5770 / July 17, 2010

Av 6, 5773 / July 13, 2013

Av 9, 5776 / Aug 13, 2016

 

V'Yahweh Paqad / Yahweh had Visited   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

The “three interpretations of Torah” follow (the literal, the prophetic, and the spiritual).

 

The literal interpretation – the historic narrative surrounding of the birth of Yitzchak:

 

Avraham prayed for Abimelech, because his kingdom’s women could not bear children. “If someone prays for mercy on behalf of another when he himself needs that very same thing, he is answered first” (Talmud: Bava Kamma 92a).

 

(V.1) Yahweh had visited (pluperfect – past action with continuing consequence) Sarah, before He visited Abimelech’s wives to stop them from bearing; He had restored Sarah’s youth, so that she was even desired for a King’s harem. Now Yahweh did for Sarah as He had promised.  Sarah was the princess – of nations, not Sarai – Avram’s princess, or Hagar – the Egyptian princess. So Sarah conceived and, at 90, bore a son to Avraham – the Father of Many Nations, who was 100 – at the appointed time (Passover) of which God had spoken to him.  And Avraham called the name of his son who was born to “him” (certifying no other), whom “Sarah” (not Hagar or any other) bore to him, “Yitzchak” (Isaac) / Laughter. And Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me," which contrasts to her laughter of unbelief when the angel brought God’s promise.

 

(V.4) Then Avraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Avraham had circumcised himself before Yitzchak’s conception. So Avraham, the Hebrew – from the other side of the dispersion, was symbolically made like Adam before the fall, and his promised son carried the same symbol.

 

(V.7) And Sarah said, "Who would have said to Avraham that Sarah would nurse children? 8 And the child grew (indicating Sarah’s ability to nurse sufficiently when over 90), and was weaned (traditionally at 2 years old); and Avraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

 

(V.9) Now Sarah saw the “son of Hagar the Egyptian” mocking. The word metzacheq – mocking, is used to represent three cardinal sins: idolatry (Exodus 32:6), adultery (Exodus 39:17), and murder (2 Samuel 2:14). Ishmael had become so corrupt that he was detrimental to the family’s spiritual future, and he had to be sent away.

 

Ishmael was following in his mother’s footsteps: Hagar had previously mocked Sarah, and she still had Egypt (symbolizing sin) in her heart. Her son Ishmael was not inclining to God’s ways, though Avraham did not want to give up on him yet.  But Sarah said to Avraham, "Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac." Though it was Sarai’s idea for an uncircumcised Avram to have a son by Hagar, she now saw that Yitzchak alone was to inherit the (Malchi-Tzedik) priesthood of the firstborn. The matter distressed Avraham greatly, so Elohim said to him, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Yitzchak your descendants shall be named. But of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant.” Yitzchak was the son of God’s promise, destined to the priesthood. This was not just about sibling rivalry; Sarah was a prophetess, and though previously she had the right motive – to build the Kingdom of God, in giving Hagar to Avraham – she had the wrong perspective – lacking faith in God’s ways. So, “Elohim,” the Judge, corrected Avraham. Paul affirms this in Galatians 4:30.

 

(V.14) Avraham again wasted no time fulfilling God’s commandment: he awoke early to perform the task. Avraham gave sufficient bread and water to Hagar, and sent her and the boy away. But she became lost in the wilderness of Beersheva, on her way back to Egypt. (When previously running away, she had found her way and come to a well.) When the water in the skin was used up, she left the boy under one of the bushes.  Then she went and sat down about a bowshot away, for she said, "Do not let me see the boy die," and she wept.

(V.17) Rather than comfort her supposed dying son, she acted according to her own ‘discomfort’. Therefore, though we read that Hagar was crying, God heard the boy’s cry. The angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, telling her not to fear, to lift up the boy, for He would make a great nation of him, and God showed her a well. Note that God called himself “Elohim” here rather than “Yahweh”. God was acting in justice toward Ishmael, rather than grace. According to the Midrash (Rosh HaShannah 16b), the angels pleaded with God to not perform a miracle for Ishmael, because in the future his offspring would persecute and murder Isaac’s descendants; but God would judge Ishmael only according to his present deeds, not his future.

 

(V.21) And Ishmael lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt. This is the beginning of the Arab nations. Though Avraham found grace in Yahweh, he also found consequences, and suffered for his unbelief – the child by Hagar troubles Israel to this day.

 

(V.22) Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Avraham, saying, "God is with you in all that you do; 23 now therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, or with my offspring (children), or with my posterity (grandchildren); but according to the kindness that I have shown to you, you shall show to me, and to the land in which you have sojourned." 24 And Avraham said, "I swear it." This was binding to the third generation. It was contrary to God’s promise that Avraham’s seed would inherit the land, and it caused future problems.

25 But Avraham complained to Abimelech because of the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized. 26 And Abimelech said, "I do not know who has done this thing; neither did you tell me, nor did I hear of it until today." 27 And Avraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them to Abimelech; and the two of them made a covenant. 28 Then Avraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 29 And Abimelech said to Avraham, "What do these seven ewe lambs mean, which you have set by themselves?" 30 And he said, "You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand in order that it may be a witness to me, that I dug this well." 31 Therefore he called that place Beersheba; because there the two of them took an oath. 32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba; and Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, arose and returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 And Avraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of “Yahweh El Olam” (Yahweh – God Everlasting).

 

The seven ewe lambs represented the seven-oath alliance, and the well was named the ‘Well of the Seven’.

The Philistines observed these oaths until the days of Samson, then they began to attack Israel (according to Sotah 7a); this was questioned by congregants, referring to Genesis 26:15.

 

(V.34) And Avraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines (Palestine) for many days. Note that he did not settle, but rather he sojourned. This time is reckoned as part of the four-hundred years which referred to Israel as ‘aliens in a land not their own’.

 

The prophetic interpretation – the representation of the birth of  Yeshua:

 

Avraham and Isaac representing our Heavenly Father and Yeshua

 

Of our Father Avraham . . . . .

An angel (Yahweh) told Avraham: Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him. (Gen 17:19)

Now Avraham and Sarah were old (99 and 90 years respectively), and Sarah was past childbearing.  And Sarah laughed to herself, saying: since I have become old, shall I have pleasure (childbearing), my lord being old also? (Gen 18:11-12)

Avraham circumcised his son Isaac at eight days old, as God had commanded him. (Gen 21:4)

 

Avraham saddled his donkey . . .
and took Isaac his son, and went three days before seeing the place of sacrifice, Mt. Moriah. (Gen 22:3)


 

Avraham took the wood for the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son . . . . . and the two of them walked together. (Gen 22:6)

 

Avraham bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the wood of the altar. (Gen 22:9)

"God will provide Himself the Lamb." (Gen 22:8)

 

 

Of our Heavenly Father . . . . .

An angel told Joseph:  Miryam will bear a son, and you shall call His name Yeshua; for it is He who will save His people from their sins. (Matt 1:20-21)

 

Miryam said to the angel: How can this be, since I am a virgin?  The angel answered: The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Holy Offspring shall be called the Son of God.  (Luke 1:34-35)

Eight days were completed before His circumcision; and He was named Yeshua, as the angel commanded. (Luke 2:21)

God prepared a donkey, which Yeshua rode to Jerusalem, going there three days before being arrested to be sacrificed on the Mount of Olives in view of Mt. Moriah (Matt 21:2-11) (at a place called Calvary and Golgotha).

Yeshua went out, bearing His own cross. (John 19:17)  "I am not alone, because the Father is with me." (John 16:32)

They crucified Him (bound to a wood cross). (John 19:18)

"Behold the Lamb of God . . ." (John 1:29)

  

The spiritual interpretation:

 

God will fulfill His promises, but for wrong actions does not negate the consequences that are long-term, even for those chosen by God.

 

We see this in the case of David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). God said (2 Samuel 12:9-10), “Why have you despised the word of Yahweh by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife”.

 

We see it in the case of Solomon, who multiplied wives against God’s instruction, and they led him into idolatry. (1 Kings 11:11) “So Yahweh said to Solomon, ‘Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant’.”

____________________

 

The three interpretations of this Torah portion are:

 

(1)     Literal – the historic narrative surrounding of the birth of Yitzchak.

(2)     Prophetic – the representation of the birth of  Yeshua.

(3)     Spiritual – Yahweh fulfills His promises, but for wrong actions gives consequences that are long-term.

 

Readings:

"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 Torah."

Reader 1* Amen

1 Then Yahweh took note of Sarah as He had said, and Yahweh did for Sarah as He had promised. 2 So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Avraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. 3 Avraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. 4 Then Avraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.

 

Reader 2* Amen 5 Now Avraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me." 7 And she said, "Who would have said to Avraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age." 8 The child grew and was weaned, and Avraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

 

Reader 3* Amen 9 Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Avraham, mocking. 10 Therefore she said to Avraham, "Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac." 11 The matter distressed Avraham greatly because of his son. 12 But God said to Avraham, "Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. 13 "And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant."

 

Reader 4* Amen 14 So Avraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and gave her the boy, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 When the water in the skin was used up, she left the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away, for she said, "Do not let me see the boy die." And she sat opposite him, and lifted up her voice and wept.

 

Reader 5* Amen 17 God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 "Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him." 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink. 20 God was with the lad, and he grew; and he lived in the wilderness and became an archer. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

 

Reader 6* Amen 22 Now it came about at that time that Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Avraham, saying, "God is with you in all that you do; 23 now therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but according to the kindness that I have shown to you, you shall show to me and to the land in which you have sojourned." 24 Avraham said, "I swear it."

 

Reader 7* Amen 25 But Avraham complained to Abimelech because of the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized. 26 And Abimelech said, "I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, nor did I hear of it until today." 27 Avraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a covenant. 28 Then Avraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 29 Abimelech said to Avraham, "What do these seven ewe lambs mean, which you have set by themselves?" 30 He said, "You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand so that it may be a witness to me, that I dug this well." 31 Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because there the two of them took an oath. 32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba; and Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, arose and returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Avraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God. 34 And Avraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines for many days.

 

"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 Torah."

______________________

 

"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 righteousness."

 

1 Samuel 2:21-28

Reader 8* Amen 21 Yahweh visited Hannah; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before Yahweh. 22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 23 He said to them, "Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people? 24 "No, my sons; for the report is not good which I hear Yahweh's people circulating. 25 "If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against Yahweh, who can intercede for him?" But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for Yahweh desired to put them to death.

 

Reader 9* Amen 26 Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with Yahweh and with men. 27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, "Thus says Yahweh, 'Did I not indeed reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh's house? 28 'Did I not choose them from all the tribes of Israel to be My priests, to go up to My altar, to burn incense, to carry an ephod before Me; and did I not give to the house of your father all the fire offerings of the sons of Israel?

 

[No Psalm]

 

Matthew 1:18-25

Reader 10* Amen 18 Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins."

 

Reader 11* Amen 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated means, "God With Us." 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Yeshua.

 

"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 and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."

 

© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)