July 13, 2013 Shabbat Bible Study
©2013 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
July 13, 2013 – Year 1 Sabbath 18
Genesis 21:1-34 – ISamuel 2:21-28 – (No Psalm) – Matthew 1:18-25
3 Miraculous births are the subject of the Midrash today.
There will be a number of I thinks today. In all of them I COULD be wrong …. but…
Gen.21.1-8 – Y’hovah follows through on his promise to Avraham. 25 years ago, he had promised Avraham that his seed would be as the stars of the heavens and the sand of the sea. Now, at age 99 and 89 respectively, Avraham and Sarah conceived a son, whose name would be Yitzhak. When Avraham knew that Sarah was with child, he KNEW that Y’hovah could and would do all he’d promised and he got off the spiritual roller coaster. His faith never again wavered.
Yitzhak was born on the same appointed time that Y’hovah and the two men visited on a year before. If you remember what Avraham prepared for them to eat, it included ‘cakes’ of bread, cheese and a fatted calf – a cheeseburger. The cakes were not loaves, and so were unleavened. The moed was ‘Pesach’ – 14th day of the 1st month.
When Yitzhak was circumcised, he became the very 1st person ever CCd on the eighth day as Y’hovah had commanded. Avraham had presided over the CC of Ishmael and the servants and himself, but they had all been done well after the 8th day. Yitzhak’s CC day was the 21st of the 1st month and the last day of the future Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The rabbis say that Yitzhak was conceived on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, which would put his birth sometime around Shavuoth. This doesn’t fit the narrative’s context.
Sarah was laughing again, for good reason, as she thought, ‘Who’d have thought I, a 90 YO woman, would give Avraham a son in his old age?’ It’s a ‘mika mocha’, for she is referring to the prophecy given to her in ch.18 when Y’hovah told this to Avraham in her hearing. Only Y’hovah, the ex nihilo Creator, could have prophesied this to happen and it occur. She doesn’t have any lapses of faith from now on, either. Q&C
Vv.9-21 – When Ishmael laughingly mocked Yitzhak; Sarah saw the intent in his visage and demanded that he and his mother be put out of the camp. In ch.16, when Hagar despised Sarai, Avraham took a kind of “ho-hum’ attitude to Sarai’s complaint:
5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: Yhwh judge between me and thee. 6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. (Gen.16.5-6)
But this demand from Sarah deals with his beloved son. Avraham is understandably upset with this demand because he loves his son, but Elohim told him to not be upset, for in Yitzhak would Avraham’s seed be called. Elohim said to sh’ma Sarah’s word and send Hagar and Ishmael away. Notice that there is no hesitation on Avi’s part – he packs their bags, places them on their shoulders and sends them off, knowing that Elohim would do as he said – make Ishmael a nation.
Hagar starts for home, but ‘wanders’. The Heb. Word there is ta’ah, and means vacillate. Hagar can’t seem to decide if she should go home to the Paraoh’s house or back to ask forgiveness of Sarah again. Well, she vacillated long enough to use up the all water and she despaired of their lives to the point that she put Ishmael under a tree and went far enough away that she couldn’t see or hear him as he died, and there she wept. I don’t think she was weeping for Ishmael so much as her own plight. She didn’t call out to Elohim to help them – she left that to Ishmael to do. Y’hovah heard Ishmael’s cries and told Hagar to go and take care of him. When she obeyed his voice, he opened her eyes to the well that was there [Beer Sheva?] and she filled the bottles and revived Ishmael with the water. It was the water, not the food that ran out. Avraham had given them plenty of both to get them to Egypt had they gone directly there. A thought occurred to me: It MAY be that when Hagar returned to her father’s house that either she or Ishmael had a child there and that some 200 years later a descendant of that child ascended to the throne of Paroah and was ‘a Paroah who knew not Yoseph’, the very one who, just to be vindictive, put Avraham’s seed under bondage.
The wilderness of Paran was in the northern area of the Sinai peninsula between Wadi al Arish and the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. Hagar made arrangement for an Egyptian wife for Ishmael and he settled down to father the present day rulers of that land – Hamas. It is a principle of scripture that whenever we try to help Y’hovah out with his revealed plan, we end up causing trouble for our offspring. But if we are patient and wait for HIS timing or obey without question, everything works out perfectly. If Sarah had not suggested that Avraham go in to Hagar, there would have been no Ishmael or the trouble his offspring have caused and I think that Sarah would have conceived at THAT time. I have NO proof of that, but it fits Y’hovah’s character and his Word. We truly reap what we sow. Q&C
Vv.22-34 – So Avimelech came to negotiate a deal with Avraham, and he brought his chief general, Phichol, with him, perhaps as a bodyguard or perhaps as a knuckle-dragger for intimidation. Avraham is not impressed, as we’ll see in a bit. Phichol means ‘mouth of all’, or perhaps ‘all mouth’. He never said a word at this meeting. I think he’d been putting ideas in Avimelech’s head, false ideas about Avraham. All Avimelech wanted was assurance that Avraham had no plans to usurp his throne, or that of his offspring. I think Phichol was the source of the rumor. Avraham gave Avimelech his assurance that he had no designs on the throne of Philistia. I think also that Phichol had designs on the throne and wanted to cause doubt in the mind of Avimelech against Avraham, because Phichol knew the story of the 9 kings and that this was the guy who wiped them out. He may have wanted Avraham out of the way for when he attempted a coup de tat vs. Avimelech. But Avimelech remembered that Avraham could have had the throne just last year when his entire nation was experiencing general constipation of every excretory orifice and that Avraham had petitioned Yhwh for the curse to be lifted. Avimelech knew Avraham’s character. And so he went to Avraham to ease his mind [and shut Phichol up].
Then Avraham got in Avimelech’s [but I think the point is being made to Phichol] face about his men stealing a well that Avi’s men had dug. Avimelech was surprised to hear this from Avraham and I think truly had never heard of it before, as he stated. So Avraham gave back most of the animals that Avimelech had gifted him with only 9-10 months before to pay the prophet’s fee for prayer and a good report and separated 7 ewes for Avimelech to notice and ask about. Avi told him that these were a surety that he had dug the well, and possibly purchased the land in which it was dug from Avimelech. I have no proof of this, but I think that Avimelech had no better producing ewes in all his flocks than these 7 as a reminder of the covenant with Avraham.
Here’s what was likely going on backstage that Avimelech never saw or heard of: Phichol was having his men wait until Avraham’s men dug a producing well and then would swoop down and steal it. Avraham, being a visitor and sojourner on another man’s land bided his time, waiting for the proper opportunity to make his case, and just had his men dig a new well. Since Avraham didn’t do anything, Phichol took courage and started planting ideas in Avimelech’s head about Avraham, the purpose being to get Avimelech’s permission to go in and wipe Avraham out and steal his servants and property. Avimelech knew Avraham’s character and didn’t believe it, but after hearing the same lashon hara often enough one begins to consider if it’s true. Avimelech was a righteous man, in human terms, and he decided to go to the source and settle the issue. When he heard of the well issue, he started to see the truth was more than just what was passing Phichol’s lying lips – he was truly ‘all mouth’ and of low character. The same 2 Philistines pull the same shenanigans on Yitzhak some 40 years later [ch.24], Phichol having turned Avimelech’s character to one more like his own [or perhaps it was the son of the Avimelech in this encounter]. Give it a few weeks. Q&C
1Sam.1.21-28 – Hannah, Elkanah’s wife, was barren and went to the Tabernacle to pray for a son. She was so earnest in her prayer that she was actually mouthing the words without speaking them. Eli, the judge and high priest, saw her and assumed she was drunk (projecting his own faults, I think). When he rebuked her she explained and he blessed her and Elkanah. She immediately (well, as soon as was practicable) conceived and bore a son and named him Samuel – ‘heard of Elohim’.
I think the yearly sacrifice refers to the sacrifices offered every year at Yom T’Ruah. The phrase ‘yearly sacrifice’ is unique to 1Samuel – 3 times in ch.1&2 and once in ch.21 – David’s family had a yearly sacrifice, as well. THAT one (ch.21), and perhaps this one as well, was at Yom T’Ruah, for THAT one coincided with the new moon celebration in Jerusalem. Yom T’Ruah is that of which Yeshua said ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man (Mat.24)’ and is the only new moon that is a moad AND a sabbath of Y’hovah in Lev.23 [sorry lunar sabbath keepers, but it is true].
Hannah had vowed before Y’hovah that she would not go up to Jerusalem until she weaned Samuel. When she told Elkanah he could have denied her vow and made her go, but he affirmed her vow and took the rest of the fam for the yearly feast. Hannah weaned Samuel at his time, which may have been in his 3rd year. He was old enough when she brought him to Eli to be left in his care and to understand what was going on. I assume that Hannah was training him for his entire life to serve Y’hovah in the Tabernacle. He may have actually been excited to serve, if she’d trained him correctly.
As we see in our actual passage (ch.2), Israel was in dire need of a righteous priesthood and Judge, as Eli knew what his sons were doing and did nothing to stop them from robbing the people to fulfill their own lusts. Of course, his only recourse was to accuse them to the Sanhedrin, and if they were found guilty it would fall to Eli to throw the first stones. So, Y’hovah not only gave Hannah and Elkanah a son, he gave Israel the righteous man she needed to lead the people. So Hannah loaned Samuel to Y’hovah for the rest of his life and brought him to Eli for his training. And Samuel worshipped Y’hovah in the Tabernacle at age 3.
The reason that Samuel became a great man of Elohim was the upbringing he had from his mother and father. They prepared him for service to Y’hovah and impressed on him the importance of what he would do. This is probably 100% out of phase with how Eli raised Hophni and Pinchus, for they knew more about how to take advantage of their position than its performance’s importance to Israel. This may be another tie to our Torah for today; Avraham may have been very lenient with Ishmael or allowed his mother to raise him as she saw fit. That would explain a lot. Q&C
No Psalm today.
Mat.1.18-25 – The 3rd and most miraculous birth we discuss today is Moshiach’s. Each of the other miracle births was by union of husband and wife. Moshiach’s conception was by the Ruach HaKodesh quickening the egg in Miryam and then indwelling it. The Spirit of Moshiach IS the Spirit of Y’hovah, while the flesh of Moshiach is human. The son of man could die; the Spirit of Moshiach could not. Yeshua was throughly submitted to the Ruach from his conception, nothing wavering. His most purely human moment came in the garden of Gethsemane, when he asked Avinu to let the cup pass over (Grk wd = apo – above, over, away) him (Mat.26, et al), yet willingly submitted to Avinu’s will and be the Pesach lamb. He didn’t wish to die any more than any person does, but he knew Y’hovah’s plan and was willing to do it because he was in the control of the Ruach of Y’hovah, not a human spirit.
Yoseph, Miryam’s husband, was a righteous man and was not willing to make a public example of her. She was a pregnant betrothed woman, pregnant NOT by her husband. Torah says that she and the ‘other man’ are both guilty of a capital crime and need to be taken without the gates of the city and stoned to death. Yoseph truly loved Miryam and wanted to ‘put her away privily’, or in secret. But an angel from Y’hovah visited him and told him the child was by the Ruach and that he should marry her immediately, regardless the appearance of impropriety or impatience.
The angel called Yoseph, ‘son of David’. This is an appellation of the rightful heir to the throne of chol Yisrael, the sons of the line of succession to the throne AND of Moshiach. It is used to refer to Shlomo, ChizkiYahu, JoshiYahu and other kings and their siblings who were 2nd or 3rd in line for the throne. As such, when Yoseph was told to take the child and to name him Yeshua, he was being told that Yeshua would be the last son of David, and Moshiach therefore. Yeshua would be the lawful heir to the throne as Yoseph’s legal son, if not his physical descendant. By naming him, Yoseph was claiming Yeshua as his firstborn and heir. Meanwhile, the fact that Miryam was ALSO a physical descendant of David made Yeshua a physical son of David, as well. Every time you see the appellation, Son of David, in either Tanakh or in the Brit Chadashah it refers to either the King’s heir or Moshiach, or both. The angel speaking to Yoseph commanded him to name the baby Yeshua.
Please note the urgency of Yoseph’s obedience to the command of Y’hovah’s angel. There is absolutely no hesitation on his part to obey. He took Miryam to wife THAT day for 2 reasons; to 1) obey Y’hovah and to 2) protect her honor. He also made sure that she was a perfect fulfillment of Isaiah 7.14 and maintained her virginity until AFTER she bore Yeshua and they named him at his circumcision, not to mention her time of purification that followed (Lev.12.1-4). They had at least 6 other kids, 4 brothers who were named and at least 2 sisters.
There has been, for nearly 2000 years now, a controversy over the prophecy quoted in v.23. Did MattitYahu mistranslate Isaiah, or not. The controversy did not exist until he wrote his gospel and Gamaliel wrote his parody of it. There is a better word to use for virgin in Hebrew – Bethulah ALWAYS means virgin, where Almah CAN and usually DOES mean virgin, but technically means ‘young woman’. But in order for the Isaiah prophecy to have an immediate fulfillment in YeshaYahu’s day, almah was the correct word to use. In it’s ultimate fulfillment, MattitYahu [and numerous old-timey Jews who xlated it into Greek or copied it to the Qumran manuscripts] gets it right. See the appendix in the Aramaic-English New Testament on page 709 entitled ‘Almah’ (5½ pages, 10 point type – sit back and relax). Q&C
What follows is from my book, The Life of Yeshua haMoshiach – An Hebraic Perspective.
37d.) The angel appears to Yoseph (Mat.1.20ff) – Miryam returned from Elisabeth’s house and was found with child. She had some cockamamie excuse that the child is of Ruach haKodesh of Elohim, but how many do you think believed her? Not even Yoseph. He was ready to quietly put her away, until he was awakened from a sound sleep by someone he’d never seen before. Twice (Mat.1.20&24) we are told that this was the angel of Yhwh. I think that this is not Gavriel, or he’d have been named. What messes with our Greco-Roman minds is that The Angel of Y’hovah in the Tanakh, the one who spoke directly to men face to face, was, in my mind, the risen Yeshua – the Angel of Y’hovah in Gen.18, the Angel that wrestled with Ya’acov in Gen.32, the one who spoke to Moshe in Exodus-Deuteronomy, the Angel of Y’hovah’s hosts that spoke to Yehoshua in ch.5, the angle that spoke to Manoach and his wife in Judges 13 were all Moshiach Yeshua.
Matthew was written to Jews, to prove that Yeshua was the Moshiach. The Jews would have known that Gavriel was the special messenger of Elohim to Yisrael, so why not mention his name if this is, in fact, Gabe? The angel being Gabe position is strengthened by the probability that Yoseph was praying earnestly about what to do about Miryam. Anyway, this appearance is enough to convince Yoseph to marry his wife post-haste, despite the ridicule to follow.
Also, when we consider Hillel’s 2nd rule of interpretation, gezerah shava – that like words, ideas or phrases link different passages of Tanakh to each other, 2 of those references I mentioned are linked and shed light on yet another passage. Ya’acov wrestling with the Angel of Yhwh starts the weaving of his name together with Moshiach.
And Jacob asked him , and said, Tell me , I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. (Genesis 32:29)
This question is asked again in Judges 13,
And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? (Judges 13:18)
That Hebrew word xlated ‘secret’ in KJV is from the root, H6381 pala, which is rendered hidden in Stone’s Tanakh and can be rendered as ‘wonderful’. The same root appears again in reference to a name in
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of government and peace no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
So, in Gen.32 the thread of the tapestry appears as “Why do you ask after my name?”, reappears in Judg.13 as “Why do you ask after my name, since it [my Name] is Wonderful?”, and then we see that the wonderful Name of Yhwh appears in reference to Moshiach, whose government and shalom will grow, l’olam va’ed, world without end.
Notice the salutation of the angel, “Yoseph, thou son of David.” How many sons of David were around right then? Unless Yoseph’s progenitors were still alive, none. This is a title unique to the royal line and we see this royal blood line in Mat.1.1-17. Although other sons of David than Solomon existed, it was through Solomon that the royal line ran. Each chief heir of David was the unique son of David, the heir to the throne. This described Yoseph, son of Jacob, son of David.
24 As I live, saith Y’hovah, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; 25 And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. 27 But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. 28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? 29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Y’hovah. 30 Thus saith Y’hovah, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. (YirmeYahu 22.24-30)
This is a prophecy concerning the royal line of David. This Coniah is the same king as Jechonias in Mat.1.11. He is the last wicked king in a long line of wicked kings, punctuated every 4-5 generations by a good king in Yehudah. He was so wicked that Elohim removed the blessing of the kingdom from his line forever. But then how could Yeshua prosperously reign on the throne of his father David?
23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Yoseph, which was the son of Heli, 24 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Yoseph, 25 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, 26 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Yoseph, which was the son of Juda, 27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri, 28 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er, 29 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, 30 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Yoseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim, 31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David, 32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson, 33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda, 34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor, 35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, 36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, 37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God. (Luka 3.23-38)
Here we have the genealogy of Yeshua through Miryam. Notice that in v.31 Miryam is in the line of David through Nathan, another son of David. Here is the answer to the riddle. Miryam was a blood descendant of David, which explains why she had to go to Bethlehem with Yoseph to be taxed. She gave Yeshua the physical right to be called the son of David. The legal right came when Yoseph, the rightful biblical king of Yisrael, named the boy at his presentation/circumcision. When he did that he made Yeshua his principal heir, and, therefore, the rightful King of the nation of Yisrael. Yeshua is not physically the son of Yoseph, but he is legally and royally. He is not Jechoniah’s seed. Yoseph was precluded from the throne. Yeshua is not. Therefore, Yeshua was no Crown Prince, but King from the moment of his circumcision/naming, since only he could BE King. Ain’t Elohim great?
Notice also that the genealogies seem to converge at Shealtiel (Salaltiel) and Zerubbabel (Zorobabel). There must have been some kinsman-redeemer action happening here to keep the line of Nathan from being wiped out (Lk. 3.27, Mat.1.12, Ezra 3.8, 1Chron.3.19, 2Sam.5.14). The kinsman-redeemer begat children for his next kin (a brother or a cousin) to keep the line going and the property rights in the family. For as long as it took for the line to be renewed, that is how long the redeemer’s line would be considered a part of the male-less line. In this case it took two generations to beget a male to carry on the family property rights. It is as kinsman-redeemer that Yeshua begets us to Elohim. Our next kin had to beget us into the line of Elohim, so that we could partake of the blessings of His family. This could be done only by a sinless kinsman, Yeshua.
It is important that Yoseph not ‘know’ Miryam until she bore her son and named him so that the prophecy of Is.7.14 could be fulfilled. The virgin had to be such right until the naming of the child or the prophecy would be unfulfilled – ‘and call his name Immanuel.’ Yoseph obeyed completely. He took Miryam to wife, he knew her not and he named the child Yeshua, not Yoseph. I think his next son was named Yoseph (Mat.13.55). Q&C