Parashah 6: Tol'dot (History)
Genesis 25:19 through 28:9
Parashah 6: Tol'dot (History) - Genesis 25:19 through 28:9.
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Malachi 1:1 through 2:7.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Romans 9:6-16; Hebrews 11:20; 12:14-17.
Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadash Scriptures from the AENT.
Welcome "newbies" and "oldies!" By now you all know that Torah was written by Moshe (Moses) and consists of the first five Books of the Bible which contain God's original Divine Instructions in Righteousness. Since this is a Netzarim (Nazarene/Messianic) website, we refer to God by His proper Name: Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, transliterated into English as YHWH, and most likely pronounced "Yah-way" (see Exodus 3:13-15). His Son's Name is Y'shua (most likely pronounced "Ye-shoo-ah"). Enjoy this week's Torah portion!
In this week's parashah we learn the history of Yitz'chak (Isaac), Avraham's son - and we will discover that YHWH doesn't chose those who believe themselves to be qualified; but rather, He qualifies the chosen....
We begin this Torah portion not with the regular Torah reading, but with one of today's Haftarah portions because it clarifies that YHWH actually hated Yitz'chak's firstborn, Esav (Esau), and this is why his younger twin brother, Ya'akov (Jacob) became our second Patriarch. (In ancient customs the first-born always had the "birthright" and the blessing - but as you will see in today's lesson, YHWH had other ideas).
Before we get into the pertinent scriptures, here is a quick overview:
Esau was also known as Edom. Take a look at Obadiah and you will discover why YHWH was less-favored with him:
- Verse 3 - proud heart
- Verse 10 - Violence to Ya'akov
- Verse 11 - not helping Ya'akov when he was under attack
- Verse 12 - displaying arrogance toward his brother
- Verse 13 - participating in the ransacking of the city
- Verse 14 - ambushing the fugitives
Esau not only sold his birthright for a cup of soup, but he was genuinely bad and his descendants were those referred to in Malachi. Take a look at the following scriptures:
Malachi 1: 1 A prophecy, the word of ADONAI to Isra'el through Mal'akhi: 2 "I love you," says ADONAI. But you ask, "How do you show us your love?" ADONAI answers, "'Esav was Ya'akov's brother. Yet I loved Ya'akov 3 but hated 'Esav. I made his mountains desolate and gave his territory to desert jackals."
In the same passage we see how mankind in its arrogance, always believes it can go against the Power and Will of God:
Malachi 1: 4 Edom says, "We are beaten down now, but we will come back and rebuild the ruins." ADONAI-Tzva'ot answers, "They can build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Land of Wickedness, the people with whom ADONAI is permanently angry. 5 You will see it and say, 'ADONAI is great, even beyond the borders of Isra'el.'"
Furthermore, we also see YHWH's warning against "religiosity". When you read this, please ask yourself WHO ALL in the world today is polluting the Word of God:
Malachi 1: 6 "A son honors his father and a servant his master. But if I'm a father, where is the honor due me? and if I'm a master, where is the respect due me? - says ADONAI-Tzva'ot to you cohanim who despise my name. You ask, 'How are we despising your name?' 7 By offering polluted food on my altar! Now you ask, 'How are we polluting you?' By saying that the table of ADONAI doesn't deserve respect; 8 so that there's nothing wrong with offering a blind animal as a sacrifice, nothing wrong with offering an animal that's lame or sick. Try offering such an animal to your governor, and see if he will be pleased with you! Would he even receive you?" asks ADONAI-Tzva'ot.
9 So if you pray now that God will show us favor, what your actions have accomplished is that ADONAI-Tzva'ot asks, "Will he receive any of you? 10 Why doesn't even one of you shut the doors and thus stop this useless lighting of fires on my altar? I take no pleasure in you," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot, "and I will not receive an offering from you. 11 For from farthest east to farthest west my name is great among the nations. Offerings are presented to my name everywhere, pure gifts; for my name is great among the nations," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot.
12 "But you profane it by saying that the table of ADONAI is polluted, so that the fruit and food offered deserve contempt. 13 You also say, 'It's all so tiresome!' and sniff scornfully at it," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. "Then you bring animals that were taken by violence, or they are lame or sick. This is the sort of offering you bring. Am I supposed to accept this from you?" asks ADONAI. 14 "Moreover, cursed is the deceiver who has a male animal in his flock that is damaged, but vows and sacrifices to ADONAI anyway. For I am a great king," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot, "and my name is respected among the nations.
While in the above scripture YHWH admonishes His people for offering blemished animals as sacrifices, it also serves as a reminder that YHWH expects our BEST from each of us, on every level of worship. For instance, many never crack their Bibles except for the hour they spend in church on Sundays, when their pastors tell them to turn to a particular passage. Is that "our best?"
Think about it: YHWH commanded the Seventh Day to be a day of REST (which on our Gregorian calendars happens to fall on Saturday). How many actually keep the true Sabbath, much less, rest on it and keep it holy and set apart for God? Is that "our best?"
Some people never show up in church at all except on Christmas and Easter. Is that our best? Did you know He gave His people seven feasts/appointed times to celebrate throughout the year so that He could constantly be in contact with us? Each holy feast is a "date" with God - and yet "the church' with its nearly 40,000 different denominations refuses to bother! Most don't know a thing about the feasts or recognize that each one foreshadows our Messiah, who has so far only fulfilled FOUR of the SEVEN!
That is NOT "our best", folks! Most take the Word of YHWH lightly! "Torah is a curse!", they chant. "We're under grace, not under the law!" Really? In Malachi 2 YHWH has a warning for the cohanim (which includes today's priests, pastor, ministers - all those who believe themselves to be qualified teachers of the Word):
Malachi 2: 1 "Now, cohanim (priests), this command is for you. 2 If you won't listen, if you won't pay attention to honoring my name," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot, "then I will send the curse on you; I will turn your blessings into curses. Yes, I will curse them, because you pay no attention. 3 I will reject your seed; I will throw dung in your faces, the dung from your festival offerings; and you will be carted off with it. 4 Then you will know that I sent you this command to affirm my covenant with Levi," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. 5 "My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave him these things. It was also one of fear, and he feared me; he was in awe of my name.
6 The true Torah was in his mouth, and no dishonesty was found on his lips; he walked with me in peace and uprightness and turned many away from sin. 7 A cohen's lips should safeguard knowledge, and people should seek Torah from his mouth, because he is the messenger of ADONAI-Tzva'ot. 8 But you turned away from the path, you caused many to fail in the Torah, you corrupted the covenant of Levi," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. 9 "Therefore I have in turn made you contemptible and vile before all the people, because you did not keep my ways but were partial in applying the Torah." 10 Don't we all have the same father? Didn't one God create us all? Then why do we break faith with each other, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?
Since the body is now our "temple" and we are priests in His eyes, shouldn't WE take YHWH and His commands seriously? According to the Apostle Peter, we should!
1 Peter 2: 9. But you are an elect race, officiating as priests of the Kingdom; a Set Apart people, a redeemed congregation; that you should proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness to his precious light: 10. who formerly were not counted as a people but now are the people of Elohim; and also, there were (once) no mercies on you but now mercies are poured out upon you. 11. My beloved, I entreat you as strangers and pilgrims, separate yourselves from all lusts of the body, for they war against the soul.
12. And let your behavior be honorable before all men; so that they who utter evil speeches against you, may see your good actions and may praise Elohim in the day of trial. 13. And be submissive to all the sons of men, for Elohim's sake; to kings, on account of their authority; 14. and to judges because they are sent by him for the punishment of offenders, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of Elohim, that by your good deeds you may stop the mouth of the foolish who do not know Elohim: 16. As free men, you are not like men who make their freedom a cloak for their wickedness, but as the servants of Elohim.
There are all kinds of people making all kinds of excuses to keep from adhering to YHWH's Torah! Years ago, we were acquainted with a female pastor who exemplified the "I'm under grace" attitude, all while frequenting a Messianic congregation and pretending to be Torah observant. In other words, she "talked the talk" but rarely "walked the walk." She worked herself silly on Saturdays, cooking, doing laundry and cleaning her apartment and sorting and organizing all the boxes of donations she had collected during the week, etc. - with the excuse that she needed her Saturdays to "catch up on things."
She never had time to bother with the Feasts because she always had "other things to do." She also frequented "gay bars" because she felt most "at home there as the people are so nice." At first, she tried to tell us she went there to "witness" but then changed her tone when we reminded her that Yeshua witnessed to prostitutes, but he never hung out in brothels to do it....
Please read and re-read Malachi 2:9-10 above, because - contrary to popular belief - this pertains to ALL believers today!
And now, on to our Torah portion:
In the beginning of this parashah, we discover that Yitz'chak's (Isaac's) wife Rivkah wasn't able to get pregnant until 20 years after they were married and Yitz'chak prayed to YHWH on behalf of his wife. After that, she conceived and bore twins. Yitz'chak was 60 when she bore them (Genesis 25:26).
Please note that YHWH "sowed a seed" in Rivkah concerning the two sons she was to have:
Genesis 25: 21 Yitz'chak prayed to ADONAI on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. ADONAI heeded his prayer, and Rivkah became pregnant. 22 The children fought with each other inside her so much that she said, "If it's going to be like this, why go on living?" So she went to inquire of ADONAI, 23 who answered her, "There are two nations in your womb. From birth they will be two rival peoples. One of these peoples will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."
Verse 23 is very powerful message, according to Andrew Gabriel Roth who brought us the Aramaic English New Testament:
"VERAV YAAVOD TSA-IR (25:23) = the greater will serve the younger. This indicates not just Esau's status an elder son but that he has greater power than Jacob and yet still will ultimately be Jacob's servant. This prophecy is often forgotten when people criticize the deception Rebecca inflicts on Issac in favor of Jacob. YHWH though has already prophesied that Jacob will rule over Esau."
As we see in the B'rit Chadashah, this was all be part of YHWH's will:
Romans 9: 11. Before her children were born or had done good or evil, the choice of Elohim was proclaimed in advance; that it might stand, not through works, but through him who called the choice up. 12. For it was said: The elder will be servant to the younger. 13. As it is written: Ya’akov have I loved, and Esau have I hated. 14. What will we say then? Is there iniquity with Elohim? May it never be! 15. Behold, to Moshe also he said: I will have pity on whom I will have pity; and I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful. 16. Therefore, it is not of him who is willing, nor of him who runs, but of the merciful Elohim.
Although we are not outright told in Genesis that YHWH would hate Esav "from the beginning," he obviously did, as was clarified for us in today's Haftarah portions in Malachi 1:2 and in Romans 9:11-14 (above). As we can see in today's parashah, there was major rivalry between Esav and Ya'akov, featuring plenty of scheming and deceit!
Genesis 25: 24 When the time for her delivery came, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first to come out was reddish and covered all over with hair, like a coat; so they named him 'Esav [completely formed, that is, having hair already]. 26 Then his brother emerged, with his hand holding 'Esav's heel, so he was called Ya'akov [he catches by the heel, he supplants]. Yitz'chak was sixty years old when she bore them. 27 The boys grew; and 'Esav became a skillful hunter, an outdoorsman; while Ya'akov was a quiet man who stayed in the tents. 28 Yitz'chak favored 'Esav, because he had a taste for game; Rivkah favored Ya'akov.
29 One day when Ya'akov had cooked some stew, 'Esav came in from the open country, exhausted, 30 and said to Ya'akov, "Please! Let me gulp down some of that red stuff - that red stuff! I'm exhausted!" (This is why he was called Edom [red].) 31 Ya'akov answered, "First sell me your rights as the firstborn." 32 "Look, I'm about to die!" said 'Esav. "What use to me are my rights as the firstborn?" 33 Ya'akov said, "First, swear to me!" So he swore to him, thus selling his birthright to Ya'akov. 34 Then Ya'akov gave him bread and lentil stew; he ate and drank, got up and went on his way. Thus 'Esav showed how little he valued his birthright.
Note that Esav had little regard for his birthright as the first born of the twins, and that Ya'akov immediately took advantage of that fact. Isn't that just like young people today who just don't understand the importance of the values and morals the parents would like for them to have. Some eventually "get it" and some don't....
In Genesis 26 we see a famine come over the land and the boys' father Yitz'chak going to Avimelekh King of the P'lishtim (Philistines), but YHWH gave him the following command:
Genesis 26: 2 ADONAI appeared to him and said, "Don't go down into Egypt, but live where I tell you. 3 Stay in this land, and I will be with you and bless you, because I will give all these lands to you and to your descendants. I will fulfill the oath which I swore to Avraham your father - 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, I will give all these lands to your descendants, and by your descendants all the nations of the earth will bless themselves. 5 All this is because Avraham heeded what I said and did what I told him to do -he followed my mitzvot, my regulations and my teachings." (Actually, the Hebrew says ve'torati which means "and my Torah"...which is actually the first time we ever see the use of the word "Torah.)
Please pay special attention to verses 4 and 5 above, which make a profound statement: That the world's nations would be blessed because of Avraham's descendants - because Avraham and his descendants were Torah observant (meaning, they obeyed YHWH)! Torah consists of YHWH's Divine Instructions in Righteousness, without which we would have no blueprint for moral, holy living! Anyone who adheres to any other "god" or religion which excludes YHWH and His Torah is NOT going to end up living in the "new heavens and new earth" that YHWH will give to His people one day (Revelation 21)!
Anyway, Yitz'chak obeyed, but then once again we see another of our Patriarchs breaking a mitzvot (command/word) by lying (as did his father Avraham who twice caused his wife to lie and pretend she was his sister, Gen. 12 and Gen. 20):
Genesis 26: 6 So Yitz'chak settled in G'rar. 7 The men of the place asked him about his wife, and out of fear he said, "She is my sister." He thought, "If I tell them she's my wife, they might kill me in order to take Rivkah. After all, she is a beautiful woman." 8 But one day, after he had lived there a long time, Avimelekh king of the P'lishtim happened to be looking out of a window when he spotted Yitz'chak caressing Rivkah his wife.
9 Avimelekh summoned Yitz'chak and said, "So she is your wife, after all! How come you said, 'She is my sister'?" Yitz'chak responded, "Because I thought, 'I could get killed because of her.'" 10 Avimelekh said, "What is this you have done to us? One of the people could easily have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us!" 11 Then Avimelekh warned all the people: "Whoever touches this man or his wife will certainly be put to death."
Amazingly, even the pagans in the land where Yitz'chak lived understood the power of Yitz'chak's God and feared Him! Today, most of the world is filled with pagans who seem to be too dense to understand that there is a God who is to be obeyed AND feared! Today, adultery is cheered by most; most have "the worldly" things as their idols...and Hollywood, "religion" and many pastors who twist the Scriptures to suit their agendas have done their level best to promote anti-God behavior that will lead myriads into the pits of hell (Matthew 7:13).
Ultimately YHWH allowed Yitz'chak to move to Be'er-Sheva, where He appeared to him and said:
Genesis 26: 24 ... "I am the God of Avraham your father. Don't be afraid, because I am with you; I will bless you and increase your descendants for the sake of my servant Avraham." 25 There he built an altar and called on the name of ADONAI. He pitched his tent there, and there Yitz'chak's servants dug a well.
Note verse 25: There he built an altar and called on the name of ADONAI. So far, whenever we've seen that phrase, it denotes someone who has totally turned his life over to YHWH! (See Genesis 4:26; 12:8; 13:4; and 21:33.)
What we also see in Genesis 26 is that the "older twin" Esav took two wives (and where in the Bible did YHWH ever tell man to take TWO or more wives?). Not only did he take two wives at once, but they were also pagan women (Genesis 26:34). Later, to make up for it, he decides to take a third wife in Genesis 28:9 - but from the line of Ishmael - Yitz'chak's half brother whose mother was Sarah's maid, Hagar.
NOTE: So far, we've seen several reasons why YHWH hated Esav: (1) He didn't appreciate his birthright and even sold it for a bowl of lentil soup; (2) and he didn't care enough about his father's God to discover who HE was and how to properly please and worship Him; (3) and then he stepped outside of his "chosen people" lineage to marry pagan wives....
Please read Genesis 27 which outlines the events of Rivkah and her favorite son, Ya'akov, scheming to deceive the aging, nearly blind Yitz'chak into giving the coveted blessing of the first-born to the second-born! (This was done, apparently, with YHWH's blessing, because He knew what type of lukewarm person the first-born was and as we are later told, He hated Esav.)
Regardless, once the blessing passed from Yitz'chak's lips, it could not be retracted (much to Yitz'chak's dismay - Gen. 27:33) and so, when Esav came home and discovered what happened, he was furious and planned to kill his brother. However, again, the mother Rivkah intervenes and tells Ya'akov to stay with her brother in Haran until things settle down.
At that point we again receive another lesson in the importance of lineage (remember, Yeshua ultimately came from the Tribe of Judah - who was one of Ya'akov's 12 sons; there are NO pagans in Yeshua's lineage!) when Yitz'chak calls Ya'akov to his side and says:
Genesis 28: 1 So Yitz'chak called Ya'akov, and, after blessing him, charged him: "You are not to choose a wife from the Hitti women. 2 Go now to the home of B'tu'el your mother's father, and choose a wife there from the daughters of Lavan your mother's brother. 3 May El Shaddai bless you, make you fruitful and increase your descendants, until they become a whole assembly of peoples. 4 And may he give you the blessing which he gave Avraham, you and your descendants with you, so that you will possess the land you will travel through, the land God gave to Avraham."
That ends today's Torah study, but we would ask our readers to take a good look at the Brit Chadasha (NT) scripture below, because it contains some goosebump raising thoughts concerning the wonderful God we serve!
Some Brit Chadasha readings:
Our Brit Chadasha portion today reveals that everything that happened was part of YHWH's Plan!
Romans 9: 6. Not, however, that the Word of Elohim has actually failed. For all are not Israel who are of Israel. 7. Neither are they all sons because they are of the seed of Awraham: for it was said, In Yitz'chak will your seed be called. 8. That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of Elohim; but the children of the promise are accounted for the seed. 9. For the Word of Promise was this: At that time will I come, and Sarah will have a son.
10. Nor this only; but Rebecca also, when she had lived with one (man), our father Yitz'chak, 11. Before her children were born or had done good or evil, the choice of Elohim was proclaimed in advance; that it might stand, not through works, but through him who called the choice up. 12. For it was said: The elder will be servant to the younger. 13. As it is written: Ya'akov have I loved, and Esau have I hated. 14. What will we say then? Is there iniquity with Elohim? May it never be! 15. Behold, to Moshe also he said: I will have pity on whom I will have pity; and I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful. 16. Therefore, it is not of him who is willing, nor of him who runs, but of the merciful Elohim.
Footnote: Not all Israelites after the flesh (physical birth) are the Israel of Elohim; see Galatians 6:16. The next two verses affirm this; it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of Elohim, but the children of the promise are accounted for the seed. Therefore, regardless if a person is born Jewish, Israelite or otherwise, the seed of promise are those who enter into the Malchut (Kingdom) of Elohim in Y'shua and permit Torah to be written upon their hearts.
Hebrews 12: 14. Follow after peace with every man; and after being Set Apart, without which a man will not see our Master (Y'shua). 15. And be careful or else any be found among you destitute of the grace of Elohim; or else some root of bitterness shoot forth germs and trouble you, and thereby many be defiled: 16. or else anyone be found among you a fornicator or a reckless one like Esau who for one mess of food sold his birthright.
17. For you know that, afterwards when he wished to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; for he found not a place for repentance although he sought it with tears. 18. For you have not come to the fire that burned and the tangible (mount); nor to the darkness and obscurity and raging storm;
There is so much more that could be said about today's study, and we wholeheartedly urge you to read the cited scriptures through, if you haven't already done so. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write! Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and we pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH. And, as always, please let us know if you ever see anything in our studies that sounds "off the mark"! Nobody has the market cornered on absolute Truth; we are all learning and obeying to the best of our abilities....
The next Parashah reading will be:
Parashah 7: Vayetze (He went out) - Genesis 28:10 through 32:3.
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Hosea 11:7 through 14:10.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): John 1:43-51.
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