Elul 13, 5761 / Sept 1, 2001
Elul 11, 5764 / Aug 28, 2004
Elul 11, 5767 / Aug 25, 2007
Elul 11, 5770 / Aug 21, 2010
Elul 11, 5773 / Aug 17, 2013
Elul 14, 5776 / Sept 17, 2016
V'yasaf Av'raham / So Av'raham again
SCRIPTURES should be read first
At the age of 140, Avraham had
provided for the marriage of Yitzchak. The narrative will
focus next on Yitzchak. The last 35 years of Avraham’s life,
and the generations of Ishmael, will be quickly summarized.
is Aramaic for restrained. The sages say that Avraham
remarried Hagar, who remained chaste during her separation,
and was thus called Keturah. Their subsequent children were
“sent away” (v.6), after receiving gifts from their fatheer.
Ishmael, however, was present to participate in Avraham’s
funeral (v.9), and his sons became chiefs of twelve nations
according to God’s promise (v.17:20).
Avraham gave all that he had to
Yitzchak, according to the will that he had sent with
Eliezar in seeking a bride for Yitxchak (v.24:10). Yitzchak
stayed in the Promised Land and inherited the priesthood.
Avraham is 175 years old and has
Isaac is 75 years old, Rebecca is
49 years old.
Jacob and Esau are 15 years old.
48 years in the future Jacob will receive the blessing.
For Avraham’s funeral attendants,
Jacob, the keeper at home/farm, was making the traditional
funeral meal – lentil stew. Esau was out pursuing his
trapping/deceiving. Jacob wanted to lead the family in
spiritual ways, while Esau wanted to gulp a meal and get
back to his sinful life.
(V. 23) Yahweh said to Rebecca,
"Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples shall be
separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger
than the other; and the elder shall serve the younger."
(V.29-34) And when Jacob had
cooked (red lentil) stew, Esau came in from the field and he
was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, "Please pour down
me some of that red . . . red stuff there, for I am
famished." Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob
said, "First sell me your birthright." And Esau said,
"Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the
birthright to me?" And Jacob said, "First swear to me"; so
he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then
Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and
drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his
“The elder (Esau) shall serve
the younger (Jacob).”
According to Midrash Or
HaAfeilah, this prophecy shall be fulfilled in the days
of Messiah: “When Jacob later addressing Esau referred to
himself as ‘your servant Jacob’ (v. 32:5), God said to him,
‘not only have you profaned the holy (by referring to
yourself as his servant and addressing him as my
lord Esau), but additionally you thereby disregard My
promise that the elder shall serve the younger. By
your life! Your own words shall materialize: Esau will
dominate you in this world, but you will dominate him in the
world to come.’ ” Although Esau’s forces will be mightier
and emerge triumphant in his quest for material strength,
ultimately it will be seen that Esau’s victories will have
paved the way for Jacob’s final triumph. The representative
of strength will not be destroyed, but will submit to a new
realization that spiritual principles are superior. –
The birthright was the
priesthood-of-the-firstborn (and secondly material
inheritance). It cannot be sold or purchased, but Esau lost
the position by sin and disregard for spirituality.
[Discuss holy and profane.]
The Hebrew word for twins (v. 24)
means two alike, but here it is spelled defectively,
indicating that Jacob and Esau were not alike. God said of
them, even before they were born, “Jacob have I loved, and
Esau have I hated.”
Note: This is a Bible topic,
not an “Old Testament” or “New Testament” issue. God did
not divide His Word into two sets of books, one to
supersede the other. The “New Covenant” is defined in
Jeremiah 31: see commentary
The subject of God’s sovereignty
is not well accepted, even in religious circles. Objectors
usually ignore the Scriptures and base argument on feelings.
But the Scriptures are overwhelming on the subject, and
objections are anticipated and answered.
The king’s heart is like
channels of water in the hand of Yahweh; He turns it
wherever He wishes
(Proverbs 21:1). There are many examples, throughout the
Bible, of how God is sovereign over rulers: the Pharaohs
(Genesis 40, Exodus 4:21) and Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:35)
are prime ones.
“All the inhabitants of the
earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His
will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of
earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What
have You done?’ ” (Daniel 4:35). We do not have the
standing to even question God’s doings!
While it is popular (though
unbiblical) to say that God hates sin but loves the sinner,
David said of God: “You hate all workers of iniquity”
Now, let us look at the examples
of Jacob and Esau.
The oracle of the word of Yahweh
to Israel through Malachi. 2 "I have loved you," says
Yahweh. But you say, "How hast Thou loved us?" "Was not Esau
Jacob's brother?" declares Yahweh. "Yet I have loved Jacob;
3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a
desolation, and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of
the wilderness." 4 Though Edom says, "We have been beaten
down, but we will return and build up the ruins"; thus says
Yahweh of hosts, "They may build, but I will tear down; and
men will call them the wicked territory, and the people
toward whom Yahweh is indignant forever." 5 And your eyes
will see this and you will say, "Yahweh be magnified beyond
the border of Israel!"
That is, it is not the children
of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of
the promise are regarded as descendants. 9 For this is a
word of promise: "At this time I will come, and Sarah shall
have a son." 10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah
also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father
Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born, and had
not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose
according to His choice might stand, not because of works,
but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, "The
older will serve the younger." 13 Just as it is written, "Jacob
I loved, but Esau I hated." 14 What shall we say then?
There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have
mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have
compassion." 16 So then it does not depend on the man who
wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For
the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I
raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My
name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." 18 So
then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He
desires. 19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find
fault? For who resists His will?" 20 On the contrary, who
are you, O man, who answers back to God?
Paul, using the examples of
Jacob and Esau, shows that God raises up whomsoever He
wills: some to serve Him, some to be destroyed. So (from
those who think that God should be under man’s rules, and
that responsibility necessitates “free” will) Paul
anticipates the question of God being unfair: How then can
God find fault? For who has resisted His will? Paul answers:
O worm of a man, who do you think you are to find fault with
In Hebrews, we read that Esau
was a godless person. He would give up spiritual position
for food. We are warned to not be like that.
God has raised us up for a
greater-than-imaginable promised future: we owe the greatest
"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 So again Avraham took a
wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore to him
Zimran and Jokshan and Medan and Midian and Ishbak and Shuah.
3 Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan.
And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim and Letushim and Leummim.
4 The sons of Midian were Ephah and Epher and
Hanoch and Abida and Eldaah. All these were the sons of
Keturah. 5 Now Avraham gave all that he had to
Yitzchak; 6 but to the sons of his concubines,
Avraham gave gifts while he was still living, and sent them
away from his son Yitzchak eastward, to the land of the
Reader 2* Amen
7 These are all the years of
Avraham's life that he lived, one hundred and seventy-five
years. 8 Avraham breathed his last and died in a
ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was
gathered to his people. 9 Then his sons Yitzchak
and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the
field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre,
10 the field which Avraham purchased from the
sons of Heth; there Avraham was buried with Sarah his wife.
11 It came about after the death of Avraham, that
God blessed his son Yitzchak; and Yitzchak lived by Beer-lahai-roi.
Reader 3* Amen
12 Now these are the records of
the generations of Ishmael, Avraham's son, whom Hagar the
Egyptian, Sarah's maid, bore to Avraham; 13 and
these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names,
in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of
Ishmael, and Kedar and Adbeel and Mibsam 14 and
Mishma and Dumah and Massa, 15 Hadad and Tema,
Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons
of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages, and
by their camps; twelve princes according to their tribes.
17 These are the years of the life of Ishmael,
one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last
and died, and was gathered to his people. 18 They
settled from Havilah to Shur which is east of Egypt as one
goes toward Assyria; he settled in defiance of all his
(These are the generations]
Reader 4* Amen
19 Now these are the records of
the generations of Yitzchak, Avraham's son: Avraham became
the father of Yitzchak; 20 and Yitzchak was forty
years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the
Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to
be his wife. 21 Yitzchak prayed to Yahweh on
behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and Yahweh
answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22
But the children struggled together within her; and she
said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to
inquire of Yahweh. 23 Yahweh said to her, "Two
nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated
from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the
other; And the older shall serve the younger." 24
When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there
were twins in her womb. 25 Now the first came
forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him
Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came forth with
his hand holding on to Esau's heel, so his name was called
Jacob; and Yitzchak was sixty years old when she gave birth
Reader 5* Amen
27 When the boys grew up, Esau
became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was
a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Yitzchak
loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah
loved Jacob. 29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau
came in from the field and he was famished; 30
and Esau said to Jacob, "Please let me have a swallow of
that red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name
was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, "First sell
me your birthright."
32 Esau said, "Behold, I am about
to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?"
33 And Jacob said, "First swear to me"; so he swore to
him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then
Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank,
and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his
Reader 6* Amen
26:1 Now there was a famine in the
land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the
days of Avraham. So Yitzchak went to Gerar, to Abimelech
king of the Philistines. 2 Yahweh appeared to him
and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of
which I shall tell you. 3 "Sojourn in this land
and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your
descendants I will give all these lands, and I will
establish the oath which I swore to your father Avraham.
4 "I will multiply your descendants as the stars
of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands;
and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall
be blessed; 5 because Avraham obeyed Me and kept
My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws." 6
So Yitzchak lived in Gerar.
Reader 7* Amen
7 When the men of the place asked
about his wife, he said, "She is my sister," for he was
afraid to say, "my wife," thinking, "the men of the place
might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful."
8 It came about, when he had been there a long
time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out
through a window, and saw, and behold, Yitzchak was
caressing his wife Rebekah. 9 Then Abimelech
called Yitzchak and said, "Behold, certainly she is your
wife! How then did you say, 'She is my sister '?" And
Yitzchak said to him, "Because I said, 'I might die on
account of her.'" 10 Abimelech said, "What is
this you have done to us? One of the people might easily
have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt
upon us." 11 So Abimelech charged all the people,
saying, "He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be
put to death."
"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
Isaiah 65:23 – 66:8
Amen 23 "They will not labor in vain, or bear
children for calamity; for they are the offspring of those
blessed by Yahweh, and their descendants with them. 24
"It will also come to pass that before they call, I will
answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.
25 "The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the
lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the
serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy
mountain," says Yahweh.
Amen 66:1 Thus says Yahweh, "Heaven is My
throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house
you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may
rest? 2 "For My hand made all these things, thus
all these things came into being," declares Yahweh. "But to
this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of
spirit, and who trembles at My word. 3 "But he
who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; he who
sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog's neck;
he who offers a grain offering is like one who offers
swine's blood; he who burns incense is like the one who
blesses an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, and
their soul delights in their abominations, 4 so I
will choose their punishments and will bring on them what
they dread. Because I called, but no one answered; I spoke,
but they did not listen. And they did evil in My sight and
chose that in which I did not delight."
Amen 5 Hear the word of Yahweh, you who
tremble at His word: "Your brothers who hate you, who
exclude you for My name's sake, Have said, 'Let Yahweh be
glorified, that we may see your joy.' But they will be put
to shame. 6 "A voice of uproar from the city, a
voice from the temple, the voice of Yahweh who is rendering
recompense to His enemies. 7 "Before she
travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she gave
birth to a boy. 8 "Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can
a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion
travailed, she also brought forth her sons.
Amen 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the
sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of
God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble,
and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no
immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own
birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know
that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the
blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for
repentance, though he sought for it with tears. 18
For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and
to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,
19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of
words which sound was such that those who heard begged that
no further word be spoken to them. 20 For they
could not bear the command, "If even a beast touches the
mountain, it will be stoned." 21 And so terrible
was the sight, that Moses said, "I am full of fear and
Amen 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and
to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and
to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly
and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and
to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the
righteous made perfect, 24 and to Yeshua, the
mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood,
which speaks better than the blood of Abel. 25
See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if
those did not escape when they refused him who warned them
on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him
who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the
earth then, but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more
I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens."
27 This expression, "Yet once more," denotes the
removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created
things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may
remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom
which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we
may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and
awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
"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."