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Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 32

Genesis 33:18-35:8   -   Nahum 1:12-2:5   -   Psalm 28   -   Revelation 22:8-21
 

 

 

Heshvan 17, 5762 / Nov 3, 2001

Heshvan 15, 5765 / Oct 30, 2004 

Heshvan 15, 5768 / Oct 27, 2007

Heshvan 15, 5771 / Oct 22, 2010

Heshvan 15, 5774 / Oct 19, 2013

Tishrei   18, 5777 / Nov 19, 2016

 

Vayavo / Then He Arrived   SCRIPTURES should be read first  


(V.
18) Then Jacob arrived safely – meaning whole or perfect – in the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan – the Promised Land.

As spiritual descendants of Jacob, this portrays the Promised Land that awaits our arrival – in wholeness and perfection, though Laban the cruel will set out to kill us along the way.

 

As long as Jacob stayed in Sukkot (the temporary dwelling of this world), he lived in fear, sending gifts to appease Esau. But upon arriving in the Promised Land, he was safe and whole and perfect. His father Isaac (whom we saw earlier representing Yeshua – being bound to wood for sacrifice) was present in the land, and Esau could not do harm in His presence.

 

(V.19) Jacob purchased the property on which he camped (100 kesitahs is approx. 4 shekels, or it could be 100 sheep from an Aramaic word). Later, this would be the first part of the Promised Land to be conquered (v.34:28), almost 300 years before Israel inhabited all the land. “How shall we sing Yahweh’s praise on foreign soil?” – Psalm 137:4.

 

(V.20) Then he erected an altar, and using his new name, there called upon “El-Elohe-Yisra-el – which could translate “The Master Above is Master of the master below.” However, this did not fulfill Jacob’s 22-year-old vow to build an altar at Bethel.

 

Some commentators say that Jacob was punished for his haughty remark (“the master below”) by the following incident concerning his daughter Dinah. In any case, the incident about Dinah caused him to flee, and finally fulfill his vow at Bethel.

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(V.34:1) Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, is referred to as “the daughter of Leah,” because she neglected modesty  (see v.30:16) to go into the town of Shechem, to “look over the daughters of the land.” So the proverb, “Like mother like daughter.”

 

(V.2) Shechem (the son of Hamor the serpentine), the prince of the land, saw her, took her, and lay with her by force. Hamor was an Amorite (v.48:22); the term “hivi,” commonly translated “Hivite,” is Aramaic for snake (serpentine). “He who breaks down the fence will be bitten by a snake” – Ecclesiastes 10:8: Dinah broke down the fence of propriety and was bitten by the son-of-a-snake Prince Shechem.

 

Simeon and Levi, the second and third sons of Jacob by Leah, would be teenagers, five and four years older than their full sister Dinah.

 

The Midrash relates that everyone who passed through Shechem was asked to be circumcised. “Why?” asked one of the peasants. “So that Shechem may marry Jacob’s daughter,” they answered. “Shechem is getting married and the peasant has to get circumcised!” This became a proverb for situations where one person suffers for another’s decision.

 

On the third day, when all were circumcised and in pain, Simeon and Levi slew all the men of Shechem, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house. The other brothers joined and pillaged the city. Jacob, who represented “truth,” complained about the deception his son’s had perpetrated (even when deceiving his father, Jacob had made a “technically true” statement); he now feared the wrath of the surrounding nations. The sons argued that their act was just judgment.

 

(V35:1) Elohim said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel, and live there; and make an altar there to El, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau." So Jacob caused all his household to get rid of false gods, go through a mikvah, and leave for Bethel. There he fulfilled his vow, and made an altar, and called upon El-Beth-El – Elohim in the House of God.

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In the Haftarah, Nahum tells us Yahweh’s word concerning Ninevah, that though many strong rise against Israel, they will be “cut off” and pass away. Though Yahweh (the Eternal who is gracious) has afflicted His people, it was for their profit. Idols will be “cut off” from the House of Elohim.

 

Then, Yahweh says, pay your vows! Celebrate the Feasts! The wicked are “completely cut off.”

 

In the Psalm that we sang, David’s prayer for justice sounds applicable to Shechem: “Do not drag me away with the wicked and with those who work iniquity; who speak peace with their neighbors, while evil is in their hearts. Requite them according to their work and according to the evil of their practices; requite them according to the deeds of their hands; repay them their recompense. Because they do not regard the works of Yahweh nor the deeds of His hands, He will tear them down and not build them up. We have spoken before, how that David’s pleas for justice are for the building/purification of God’s Kingdom, not from selfish motivation.

 

In the Apostolic Reading, John says that the time is near: let the wicked fulfill their wickedness, but let the righteous continue walking in God’s instruction and let the holy continue being set apart for God’s work. The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." Let the one who hears say, "Come." Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

 

Do we hunger and thirst for righteousness – for understanding God’s way? Do we long for a dwelling in the Holy City, wherein dwells righteousness, not just to get away from hardship and pain here? The water of eternal life is not just a fire extinguisher; it’s the path to righteousness and holiness, symbolized by going through the waters of the mikveh.

 

(Genesis 33:18) Then Jacob arrived safely – meaning whole or perfect – in the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan – the Promised Land. As spiritual descendants of Jacob, this portrays the Promised Land that awaits our arrival – in wholeness and perfection, though “Laban the cruel” will set out to kill us along the way.

(Nahum 1:14-15) Yahweh says of the cruel one, “I will prepare your grave, for you are contemptible.” Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace!
(Psalm 28:9) David says, “Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; be their shepherd also, and carry them forever.

(Revelation 28:14) “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.”


As long as Jacob stayed in Sukkot (the temporary dwelling of this world), he lived in fear, sending gifts to appease Esau. But upon arriving in the Promised Land, he was safe and whole and perfect. His father Isaac (whom we saw earlier representing Yeshua – being bound to wood for sacrifice) was present in the land, and Esau could not do harm in His presence.

 

Prayer:

 

We teach the Shemoneh Esrei, the Disciples Prayer of Matthew 6, as a pattern for prayer – as a learning tool. We say blessings before and after Scripture readings and meals.

 

Now, for those who are beginning in this way, and may not yet understand as much as they would wish, I would like to offer some suggestions:

 

Begin every day by asking God for His guidance to walk in His paths. Read a portion of Scripture to start your day’s thoughts on God.

 

Before eating, practice to learn regularly to acknowledge God as your provider of everything needed to serve Him.

 

At the end of each day, thank Him for all of His provisions, remembering as many blessings as you can think of. These may include salvation, God’s Word, health, safety, prosperity, friends, weather, beauty, housing, clothing, job, etc. Reading a portion of Scripture will help guide your thoughts as you sleep.

 

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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. 18 Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. 19 He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem's father, for one hundred pieces of money. 20 Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.

Reader 2*  Amen. 34:1 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land. 2 When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force. 3 He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, "Get me this young girl for a wife." 5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in. 6 Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him.

Reader 3*  Amen. 7 Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done. 8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, "The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage. 9 "Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 "Thus you shall live with us, and the land shall be open before you; live and trade in it and acquire property in it." 11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, "If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me. 12 "Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage."

Reader 4*  Amen. 13 But Jacob's sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. 14 They said to them, "We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 "Only on this condition will we consent to you: if you will become like us, in that every male of you be circumcised, 16 then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people. 17 "But if you will not listen to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go."

Reader 5*  Amen. 18 Now their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor's son. 19 The young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob's daughter. Now he was more respected than all the household of his father. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21 "These men are friendly with us; therefore let them live in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters in marriage, and give our daughters to them. 22 "Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 "Will not their livestock and their property and all their animals be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will live with us." 24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.

Reader 6*  Amen. 25 Now it came about on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword and came upon the city unawares, and killed every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem's house, and went forth. 27 Jacob's sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field; 29 and they captured and looted all their wealth and all their little ones and their wives, even all that was in the houses. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household." 31 But they said, "Should he treat our sister as a harlot?"

Reader 7*  Amen. 35:1 Then God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau." 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone." 4 So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem. 5 As they journeyed, there was a great terror upon the cities which were around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. 6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7 He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother. 8 Now Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; it was named Allon-bacuth.

 

"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."

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"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."

 

Nahum 1:12 – 2:5

Reader 8*  Amen. 12 Thus says Yahweh, "Though they are at full strength and likewise many, even so, they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer. 13 "So now, I will break his yoke bar from upon you, and I will tear off your shackles." 14 Yahweh has issued a command concerning you: "Your name will no longer be perpetuated. I will cut off idol and image from the house of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are contemptible." 15 Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace! Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; pay your vows. For never again will the wicked one pass through you; he is cut off completely.

Reader 9*  Amen. 2:1 The one who scatters has come up against you. Man the fortress, watch the road; strengthen your back, summon all your strength. 2 For Yahweh will restore the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel, even though devastators have devastated them and destroyed their vine branches. 3 The shields of his mighty men are colored red, the warriors are dressed in scarlet, the chariots are enveloped in flashing steel when he is prepared to march, and the cypress spears are brandished. 4 The chariots race madly in the streets, they rush wildly in the squares, their appearance is like torches, they dash to and fro like lightning flashes. 5 He remembers his nobles; they stumble in their march, they hurry to her wall, and the mantelet is set up.

[KJV 3b the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken. 4 The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.]

 

Psalm 28   (To be sung.)  A Psalm of David.

1 To You, O Yahweh, I call; my rock, do not be deaf to me, for if You are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit. 2 Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help, when I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary. 3 Do not drag me away with the wicked And with those who work iniquity, Who speak peace with their neighbors, While evil is in their hearts. 4 Requite them according to their work and according to the evil of their practices; Requite them according to the deeds of their hands; Repay them their recompense. 5 Because they do not regard the works of Yahweh Nor the deeds of His hands, He will tear them down and not build them up. 6 Blessed be Yahweh, Because He has heard the voice of my supplication. 7 Yahweh is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. 8 Yahweh is their strength, and He is a saving defense to His anointed. 9 Save Your people and bless Your inheritance; be their shepherd also, and carry them forever.

 

Revelation 22:8-21

Reader 10*  Amen. 8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 But he said to me, "Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God." 10 And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 "Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy." 12 "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Reader 11*  Amen. 16 "I, Yeshua, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." 17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Yeshua. 21 The grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all. Amen.

 

"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)