Shevat 13, 5762 /
Jan 26, 2002
Shevat 12, 5765 /
Jan 22, 2005
Shevat 12, 5768 /
Jan 19, 2008
Shevat 12, 5771 /
Shevat 10, 5774 /
for two weeks for leap year
Then Jacob Summoned
SCRIPTURES should be read first
As we come to the end of the Book of
Genesis, where we have followed the Messianic line from Adam, we have prophecies
of the future Messianic Age.
The twelve sons of Jacob – the twelve
tribes of Israel – were chosen by God to be His messengers to the whole world –
the “Light of the World.” They would be given the Torah at Mt. Sinai, and be the
progenitors of Messiah. None of this was because of any inherent righteousness
or ability or greatness of theirs: it was so that God could show His
righteousness and strength through their weaknesses.
(V.1) JACOB (the name representing
him as natural father) called for his twelve sons and said, “assemble
yourselves, and I will tell you what will (yiqra) call to you in the end of days”
(literal translation). The immediate generation was to be told what their
calling would be for the Messianic Age (Last Days).
(V.2) ISRAEL (the name representing
him as spiritual father) said, “gather yourselves and listen”. All spiritual
descendents should gather to learn of these words to obey them.
REUBEN was the firstborn: with him
Jacob’s primary purpose in life should have been carried on. He inherited the
natural right to the “lifting of hands” of priesthood, and the authority of
kingship. But he was “impetuous like water”, making rash decisions, like
in the incident of Bilhah. So he lost his birthright to Joseph, he lost his
kingship to Judah, and he lost his priesthood to Levi.
We should carefully consider the end
of our actions, and our purpose before God; we should avoid making quick,
Messiah would come through Joseph and
Judah-David, not Reuben. Messiah’s priesthood, however, is not through Levi, but
goes back to that of the firstborn (Malchi-Tzedek), though not through Reuben.
This is why we read in Hebrews 6:20 that Yeshua is a priest forever after the
order of Melchizedek.
SIMEON and LEVI were comrades in
deed. They conspired against Shechem (v.34:25) and against Joseph (v.37:19).
Their kinship was based on violence (Rashbam). Jacob previously denied
knowledge of their plotting (v.34:13), and now, for his descendents, desired no
part in their conspiratorial ways. This may be applied to such matters as the
spies who slandered Israel (Num 13:4), and the uprising led by Levi’s descendent
Korach against Moses and Aaron (Num 16:1). (V.6) “At their whim they maimed
an ox” may refer to their attempt to unseat Joseph, who is likened to an ox
(Deut 33:17). (V.5) “Their weaponry is a stolen craft” – from Esau.
Jacob desired the annihilation of
their fierce rage and harsh wrath (this curse on their rage is actually a
blessing to the brothers). So he prophesied of their separation and dispersion
within Israel (v.7). Simeon’s cities were scattered throughout the south of
Judah’s territory (Joshua 19:1). Levi was not numbered among the tribes (Num
26:62), though he held the position of priest, and received no territory, but
forty-eight cities dispersed among the tribes.
Our anger and wrath does not fulfill
the purposes of God. We need to overcome such ways for our own good.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren,
let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of
man worketh not the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).
However, this in no way detracts from
the righteousness of God’s wrath: we cannot put God under our laws!
JUDAH is a lion cub – who will mature
into the lion king. In Messianic prophecy, his brothers will ascribe majesty to
him; they will prostrate themselves before him (v.8). “His hand will be at
his enemies’ nape” was fulfilled in David (2 Samuel 22:41) – “You have
given me the nape of my enemies”, and will see greater fulfillment in the
future when all of Yeshua’s enemies are put under his feet.
(V.10) “The scepter shall not
depart from Judah . . .” means that Judah will be the tribe providing
Israel’s sovereign ruler, from David all the way to Messiah Yeshua; it does not
mean that there would always be a Judean king. Judah has had preeminence in
leading Israel even in exile and other times when they had no king: Judah led
the Sanhedrin even under Roman domination.
The ancient sages, and even most
rabbis in modern rabbinic Judaism, see this as referring to the coming King
Messiah ben David. Modern rabbinic Judaism has rejected the already-come
suffering-servant Messiah ben Joseph. “To him will be the assemblage of the
nations” (see Isaiah 18:7 and Psalm 76:12), ultimately fulfilling Jacob’s
preface – “gather
yourselves and listen”
“He will tie his donkey to the
vine” indicates the future abundance of the land, where the vines would be
strong enough to restrain one’s animals. So Yeshua’s coming on a donkey
represented his proper place of kingship in a prosperous land.
“He will wash his garments in wine”
is seen by ancients as a Messianic prophecy concerning the blood of His enemies:
(Isaiah 63:1-6) –
Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,
this One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His
strength? "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save." Why is Your
apparel red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? "I
have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with
Me. I also trod them in My anger, and trampled them in My wrath; and their
lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment. "For the
day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. "And I
looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished and there was no one
to uphold; so My own arm brought salvation to Me; and My wrath upheld Me. "And I
trod down the peoples in My anger, and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured
out their lifeblood on the earth."
(V.10) “Nor a scholar . . . until
Shiloh arrives”: Judahites (Jews) are the ones responsible for preserving
God’s instruction that we have today. And our only “rabbi” (Matthew 23:8) –
Yeshua our ultimate teacher, is a Judahite. Shiloh means a gift to him,
which the Midrash explains is a reference to King Messiah, to whom all nations
will bring gifts.
ZEBULUN and ISSACHAR, the next to be
blessed, are not the next of Jacob’s sons in age, but complete the list of sons
by Leah. The remaining sons are blessed in birth order.
“DAN will be a serpent on the highway
(v.17).” Dan represents the Messianic judge: “For we must all appear before
the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). We, in this life,
are to judge righteously: the quotations that we commonly hear against “judging”
are really against “condemning” others (there being several Biblical words that
are commonly translated “judge” in various versions).
GAD and ASHER are the two sons by
Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid.
Dan (mentioned previously) and
NAPHTALI are the two sons by Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid.
JOSEPH is the only son not mentioned
first by name, but as “a charming son” (v.22), which is repeated. He is
treated as the firstborn insofar as he was given a double portion of inheritance
– through Ephraim and Manassah. (He was the firstborn of Jacobs intended only
wife Rachel.) He displayed an upright walk, even in great tribulation; and
through him would come the suffering Messiah, to bring righteousness to Israel.
["A fruitful bough"- NASB / "A
charming son is Joseph, a charming son to the eye; each of the girls climbed
heights to gaze" - The Chumash - The Stone Edition.]
BENJAMIN is the second son of the
beloved Rachel, who died giving birth to him.
Year by Leah - Zilpah
; Rachel - Bilhah
6 Issachar Asher
(V.28) Israel “blessed each
according to his appropriate blessing.” They were blessed according to their
respective spiritual attainment, their ancestors fulfilled their prophesied
futures, and their Messianic positions are for us to see.
In the Haftarah, we see an allusion
to these blessings:
“When you pass
through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not
overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will
the flame burn you” – Isaiah 43:2.
In Psalm 40, Joseph’s life is
pictured; ultimately, it is Yeshua’s life that is pictured. “He brought me up
out of the pit of destruction” (v.2). “I have not hidden Thy
righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy
In today’s portion, we see the
burials of both Jacob and Joseph. In the Apostolic portion, we see the burial of
Yeshua. Then, as Jacob said, “Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob; and
listen to Israel your father”, so after Yeshua was raised, he said to Peter,
Our congregation is named “Followers
of the Messiah”, and we are to gather to learn Torah, and we are to follow
"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 Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, "Assemble yourselves
that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come. 2
"Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob; and listen to Israel your father.
3 "REUBEN, you are my firstborn; my might and the beginning of my
strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. 4
"Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to
your father's bed; then you defiled it-- he went up to my couch.
Reader 2* Amen.
5 "SIMEON and LEVI are brothers; their swords are implements
of violence. 6 "Let my soul not enter into their council; let not my
glory be united with their assembly; because in their anger they slew men, and
in their self-will they lamed oxen. 7 "Cursed be their anger, for it
is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob, and
scatter them in Israel.
Reader 3* Amen.
8 "Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be
on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons shall bow down to you. 9
"JUDAH is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches,
he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up? 10
"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his
feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 "He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey's colt to the choice
vine; he washes his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 "His eyes are dull from wine, and his teeth white from milk.
Reader 4* Amen.
13 "ZEBULUN will dwell at the seashore; and he shall be a
haven for ships, and his flank shall be toward Sidon. 14 "ISSACHAR is
a strong donkey, lying down between the sheepfolds. 15 "When he saw
that a resting place was good and that the land was pleasant, he bowed his
shoulder to bear burdens, and became a slave at forced labor.
Reader 5* Amen.
16 "DAN shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of
Israel. 17 "Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the
path, that bites the horse's heels, so that his rider falls backward. 18
"For Your salvation I wait, O Yahweh. 19 "As for GAD, raiders shall
raid him, but he will raid at their heels.
Reader 6* Amen.
20 "As for ASHER, his food shall be rich, and he will yield
royal dainties. 21 "NAPHTALI is a doe let loose, he gives beautiful
words. 22 "JOSEPH is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring;
its branches run over a wall. 23 "The archers bitterly attacked him,
and shot at him and harassed him; 24 but his bow remained firm, and
his arms were agile, from the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is
the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), 25 from the God of your father
who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of heaven
above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of
Reader 7* Amen.
26 "The blessings of your father have surpassed the blessings
of my ancestors up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; may they be on
the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among
his brothers. 27 "BENJAMIN is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he
devours the prey, and in the evening he divides the spoil."
"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
1 But now, thus says Yahweh, your Creator, O Jacob, and
He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have
called you by name; you are Mine! 2 "When you pass through the
waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame
burn you. 3 "For I am Yahweh your God, the Holy One of Israel, your
Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place. 4
"Since you are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you, I
will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
5 "Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from
the east, and gather you from the west. 6 "I will say to the north,
'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring My sons from
afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth, 7 Everyone who is
called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed,
even whom I have made." 8 Bring out the people who are blind, even
though they have eyes, and the deaf, even though they have ears. 9
All the nations have gathered together so that the peoples may be assembled. Who
among them can declare this and proclaim to us the former things? Let them
present their witnesses that they may be justified, or let them hear and say,
"It is true."
Reader 9* Amen.
10 "You are My witnesses," declares Yahweh, "and My servant
whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am
He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. 11
"I, even I, am Yahweh, and there is no savior besides Me. 12 "It is I
who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange god among
you; so you are My witnesses," declares Yahweh, "and I am God. 13
"Even from eternity I am He, and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I
act and who can reverse it?" 14 Thus says Yahweh your Redeemer, the
Holy One of Israel, "For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and will bring them
all down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, into the ships in which they rejoice.
15 "I am Yahweh, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King."
16 Thus says Yahweh, Who makes a way through the sea and a path
through the mighty waters, 17 Who brings forth the chariot and the
horse, the army and the mighty man (They will lie down together and not rise
again; they have been quenched and extinguished like a wick): 18 "Do
not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. 19
"Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be
aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
20 "The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the
ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the
desert, to give drink to My chosen people. 21 "The people whom I
formed for Myself will declare My praise.
(To be sung.)
For the choir director. A Psalm of David.
1 I waited patiently for Yahweh;
and He inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of the
pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making
my footsteps firm. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise
to our God; many will see and fear And will trust in Yahweh. 4 How
blessed is the man who has made Yahweh his trust, and has not turned to the
proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. 5 Many, O Yahweh my
God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is
none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be
too numerous to count. 6 Sacrifice and meal offering You have not
desired; my ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You have not
required. 7 Then I said, "Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book
it is written of me. 8 I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law
is within my heart." 9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of
righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I will not restrain my lips, O
Yahweh, You know. 10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my
heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not
concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.
11 You, O Yahweh, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your
lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me. 12 For
evils beyond number have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, so that
I am not able to see; they are more numerous than the hairs of my head, And my
heart has failed me. 13 Be pleased, O Yahweh, to deliver me; make
haste, O Yahweh, to help me. 14 Let those be ashamed and humiliated
together who seek my life to destroy it; let those be turned back and dishonored
who delight in my hurt. 15 Let those be appalled because of their
shame who say to me, "Aha, aha!" 16 Let all who seek You rejoice and
be glad in You; let those who love Your salvation say continually, "Yahweh be
magnified!" 17 Since I am afflicted and needy, let the Lord be
mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.
Reader 11* Amen.
12 Yeshua said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the
disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord.
13 Yeshua came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish
likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Yeshua was manifested to
the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. 15 So when they had
finished breakfast, Yeshua said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love
Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He
said to him, "Tend My lambs." 16 He said to him again a second time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that
I love You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." 17 He said to him
the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because
He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You
know all things; You know that I love You." Yeshua said to him, "Tend My sheep.
18 "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to
gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will
stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you
do not wish to go." 19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of
death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow
"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."