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The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

Category Archives: exodus

exodus 10:1-13:16, bo “go” chiastic structure

Read Exodus 10:1-13:16 at Bible Gateway.

The paragraph divisions for bo are posted here. This torah portion forms its own chiastic structure:

Exo 10:1-13:16 {s+p+p+sx3+p+s+p+p+s+px3}
1a) Exo 10:1-2, I perform these signs before Pharaoh that you may tell your son the mighty things I have done;
1b) Exo 10:3-29 {s+p+p} “Let My people go that they may serve Me,” to be accomplished by the Lord’s outstretched arm;
1c) Exo 11:1-3 {s} Pharaoh will drive you out/ favor in the sight of the Egyptians:
— 1) Exo 11:1, One more plague, afterward Pharaoh will let you go/ drive you out;
— 2) Exo 11:2-3 {s} Ask silver + gold/ the Lord gave them favor in the sight of Egyptians;
1d) Exo 11:4-10 {s+s} At midnight I will strike the land of Egypt and the all the firstborn shall die;
1e) Exo 12:1, Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying;
1f) Exo 12:2-14, Passover instruction:
— 1) Exo 12:2-11, Choose + kill unblemished lamb/ its blood on the doorposts + lintel;
— 2) Exo 12:12-13, For I will pass through Egypt + strike the firstborn/ when I see the blood, I will pass over you;
— 3) Exo 12:14, This Passover a memorial feast to the Lord throughout your generations by everlasting ordinance;
1g) Exo 12:15-16, Eat unleavened bread for seven days/ whoever eats leaven will be cut off;
1h) Exo 12:17a, You shall observe Unleavened Bread;
central axis) Exo 12:17b, On this day I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt;
1h) Exo 12:17c, Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance;
2g) Exo 12:18-20 {p} You shall eat unleavened bread for seven days/ whoever eats leaven shall be cut off;
2f) Exo 12:21-27, Passover commandment:
— 1) Exo 12:21-22, Choose + kill the Passover lamb/ its blood on the lintel + doorposts;
— 2) Exo 12:23, The Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians/ when He sees the blood, He will pass over the door;
— 3) Exo 12:24-27, You shall observe this Passover as an ordinance for you and your sons forever;
2e) Exo 12:28 {s} The children of Israel did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did;
2d) Exo 12:29-30, At midnight the Lord struck the firstborn of Egypt, and they died;
2c) Exo 12:31-36 {p} Pharaoh drove them out/ favor in the sight of the Egyptians:
— 1) Exo 12:31-34, Pharaoh let them go/ Egyptians drove them out in haste;
— 2) Exo 12:35-36 {p} Israel asked silver + gold/ the Lord gave them favor in the sight of Egyptians.
2b) Exo 12:37-51 {p+s+p} Israel ceased their sojourn in Egypt:
— 1a) Exo 12:37-42 {p} At the end of 430 years—on that very same day—all the armies of the Lord went out from Egypt;
— 1b) Exo 12:43, And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover;”
 — central axis) Exo 12:43b-49, The regulations for the ordinance of the Passover;
— 2b) Exo 12:50 {s} Thus all the children of Israel did; as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did;
— 2a) Exo 12:51 {p} On that very same day, the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt according to their armies;
2a) Exo 13:1-16 {p+p} Ordinance of the firstborn / Unleavened Bread a testimony to future generations.

So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.I find it interesting that remembering the Lord’s mighty outstretched arm in accomplishing deliverance for Israel as a testimony to future generations is a key highlighted at the open and close of this parashah.

Now the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.” Exo 10:1-2

So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is  this?’ that you shall say to him, ‘By strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ Exo 13:14-15

The purpose for telling these things in the hearing of our sons and son’s son, is that we and they may know that God is the I AM, YHVH. YHVH means, the Greater One than all the false gods of man- made religion; YHVH means Savior to the uttermost by the blood of our Passover Lamb, Messiah Yeshua; YHVH means Bringer out of whatever darkness and bondage the enemy has us trapped in, and complete Deliverer.

(Please notice that the LORD did not deliver Israel from Egypt so that they could now be anarchists, living in whatever manner they chose for themselves, but so that Israel could serve YHVH rather than serving Pharaoh, He brought them out, Exo 10:3.)

Perhaps we lose 90% of our children to the world, precisely because as the body of Messiah, we have been taught to ignore these remembrances and scoff at these observances with all their attendant regulations, which are an ordinance forever? Perhaps our children do not learn the meaning of “I am YHVH” for themselves because we have ignored the wisdom prescribed by God to transfer the faith from one generation to the next? Perhaps when we do not observe this Passover and Unleavened Bread, we are declaring by our non- observance, that we are not grafted in to the olive tree of Israel (Rom 11:17)? And perhaps, when we realize these things, and repent and return, and submit ourselves to the Lord our God, He also has mercy on our sons and our sons’ sons, and returns them to us, just as we have returned ourselves to Him.

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exodus 6:2-9:35, va’era “and I appeared” chiastic structure

Read Exodus 6:2-9:35 at Bible Gateway.

And Elohiym spoke to Moses and said: "I am Yehovah the Lord. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God."

The hebrew paragraph divisions are posted here. (I found a transcription error in my notes with the hebrew paragraph divisions, and have made all the appropriate corrections.) Torah portion va’era (“and I appeared”) forms its own chiastic structure:

Exo 6:2-9:35 va’era
1a) Exo 6:2-9 {p} YHVH to reveal the meaning of His name by an outstretched arm + great judgments:
— 1a) Exo 6:2a, Elohiym spoke to Moses and said to him;
— 1b) Exo 6:2b, “I am Yehovah;”
— 1c) Exo 6:3-5, “I established My covenant with Abraham + Isaac + Jacob to give them the land/ I remembered My covenant;
— 1d) Exo 6:6, “I am Yehovah; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians with great judgments;”
— central axis) Exo 6:7a, “I will take you as My people, and I will be your Elohiym;”
— 2d) Exo 6:7b, “You shall know that I am Yehovah your Elohiym who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians;”
— 2c) Exo 6:8a, “I will bring you into the land which I swore to Abraham + Isaac + Jacob/ I will give it to you as a heritage;”
— 2b) Exo 6:8b, “I am Yehovah;”
— 2a) Exo 6:9 {p} Moses spoke to the children of Israel; but they did not heed him because of anguish + cruel bondage.
1b) Exo 6:10-11, Moses to tell Pharaoh to let Israel go + the children of Israel have not heeded Moses;
1c) Exo 6:12a, “How shall Pharaoh heed me;”
1d) Exo 6:12b {p} “I am of uncircumcised lips;”
1e) Exo 6:13 {s} YHVH gave Moses + Aaron a command for Pharaoh, to bring the children of Israel out;
1f) Exo 6:14-15, Heads of the fathers’ houses of Reuben + Simeon;
central axis) Exo 6:16-25a, The seed of Levi;
2f) Exo 6:25b, Heads of the fathers houses’ of Levi;
2e) Exo 6:26-28 {s}, The same Moses + Aaron to whom the Lord said, Speak to Pharaoh to bring Israel out;
— 1a) Exo 6:26a, These are the same Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said;
— 1b) Exo 6:26b, “Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies;”
 — central axis) Exo 6:27a, These are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt;
— 2b) Exo 6:27b, To bring out the children of Israel from Egypt;
— 2a) Exo 6:27c-28 {s} These are the same Moses and Aaron + on the day the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt.
2d) Exo 6:29-30a, Moses of uncircumcised lips;
2c) Exo 6:30b {p} “How shall Pharaoh heed me?”
2b) Exo 7:1-7 {p} Moses to tell Pharaoh to let Israel go + Pharaoh will not heed Moses;
2a) Exo 7:8-9:35 {s+s+p+s+s+p+p+s+p+p} Miraculous signs + seven plagues.

The amazing way the seven plagues reveal the meaning of “I am YHVH” is discussed here. That the strong themes begin to reveal the God who performs His word is discussed here. How God multiplies His wonders through the plagues, and how the plagues reveal YHVH as the God who extends mercy in the midst of judgment, is discussed here and here. The A pair of the chiastic structure shows us that it is through the plagues that God teaches both Pharaoh and Israel what “I am YHVH” means … and contrary to what we might have been taught, “I am YHVH” does NOT mean, “I am vengeful, wrathful, angry, and judgmental.” There is no emotion of wrath or anger expressed in the plagues, but the teaching tools of Scripture reveal instead, that through the plagues, YHVH is teaching those who do not know Him, by patient increments, that He is the great God, greater than the false gods they have been taught to believe in, who extends mercy … even to Egyptians.

exodus 6:2-9:35 update

Yesterday and today (Sunday and Monday) I have been studying Exo 6:2-9:35, torah portion va’era, and have completed the chiastic structure of it, which had eluded me up until now. I ran out of time to post it today, but look for it tomorrow, Lord willing.

exodus 1:1-6:1, annual cycle shemot, “names”

Read Exodus 1:1-6:1 at Bible Gateway.

Exodus 2:5-6

The teaching tools of scripture
The hebrew paragraph divisions for exodus

The complete chiastic structure formed by shemot is posted here. The biblical chronology and Egyptian chronology, the Pharaoh of the Exodus, and Moses as a Messianic type, is discussed here. The signs of the power of the Spirit from the Old Testament, and more signs of Messiah in the narrative of Moses, is discussed here. That God is teaching everyone from Pharaoh down, what “I am YHVH” means, is discussed here.

One of the strong paragraphs in shemot always troubled me, so I studied it further this year:

Exo 4:18-26 {p} Return to Egypt with authority (rod of God) + obedience (circumcision)

Exo 4:18-26 {p}
1a) Exo 4:18, Moses to Jethro his father in law: “Let me go and return to my brethren in Egypt;”
1b) Exo 4:19-20, The men who sought Moses’ life + return journey to Egypt with his wife and sons:
— 1) Exo 4:19, The Lord said to Moses, “Return to Egypt, for all the men are dead who sought your life;”
— 2) Exo 4:20, Moses took his wife and sons, set them on a donkey + returned to Egypt with the rod of God in his hand;
1c) Exo 4:21, The Lord said to Moses: “Do these wonders before Pharaoh, but he will not let the people go;”
central axis) Exo 4:22-23a, Say to Pharaoh, “Israel is My son, My firstborn; Let My son go, that he may serve Me;”
2c) Exo 4:23b, “And if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, even your firstborn;”
2b) Exo 4:24-25, The Lord sought to kill him + Moses’ wife and son (circumcision):
— 1) Exo 4:24, Along the way at the inn, the Lord met him and sought to kill him;
— 2) Exo 4:25, Zipporah cut off the foreskin of her son + cast it at his feet: “You are a husband of blood;”
2a) Exo 4:26, So He let him go.

Exo 4:25-26
1a) Exo 4:25a, Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at Moses’ feet;
1b) Exo 4:25b, And said, “Surely a bloody husband you are to me;”
central axis) Exo 4:26a, So He let him go;
2b) Exo 4:26b, Then she said, “A bloody husband you are;”
2a) Exo 4:26c, Because of the circumcision.

This question has always plagued me about this parashah: Why did God provide a deliverer for Israel through miraculous circumstances, and call, equip, and anoint him for his task, then seek to kill him when he was finally on his way back to Egypt to execute his commission?

Moses, being born to the house of Levi in Egypt, was circumcised on the eighth day according to the covenant God made with Abraham. I believe this is how Pharaoh’s daughter was able to recognize immediately that the baby in the basket was a baby boy of the Hebrews. His sons born to his wife Zipporah, were not circumcised on the eighth day according to the covenant of God. Zipporah seems to have been opposed to the practice, and so Moses did not press the issue.

However, I believe that when Moses met God in the burning bush, it became fresh on his heart again to circumcise his sons after the covenant of God. It is clear that Zipporah remained opposed. Moses did not overrule his wife, but took the rod of God in his hand to accomplish his commission.

The rod of God represents the authority of God. The Hebrew letter lamed originally was a pictograph of the shepherd’s staff or rod, the tool of his office which allowed him to lead and direct the sheep. The lamed then can not only mean to shepherd, direct, or teach, but also to wield authority. The scepter of the king is the rod of his authority. When the authority of Aaron to act as high priest was questioned among the elders of Israel, it was Aaron’s rod that budded out of all the other rods.

God charged and anointed Moses with authority to command Pharaoh and accomplish deliverance for Israel, and the rod of God in his hand was the symbol that his message was indeed, “Thus saith the Lord.” The signs and wonders which the rod allowed Moses to perform, confirmed the Word of the Lord, and established that Moses’ authority had in fact been given to him by God.

But if Moses would not obey God when his wife said, “No;” how was he going to obey God when Pharaoh said, “No?” If he would not do the simple thing of circumcising his sons in faith, how was he going to do the hard thing of shepherding six million of the children of Israel? When Moses showed God that he would not exercise his rightful authority over his wife, God took the drastic step of seeking to kill Moses, as the Scripture records. In other words, the rod of God must necessarily be wielded by a man submitted in faith and in obedience to the Lord his God above all others.

We know nothing about how the Lord sought Moses’ life. If it had been the Lord’s intention to have Moses dead and go on to the next candidate, Moses would be dead, and a struggle would not have ensued. (The Lord God wrestled with Jacob also, when Jacob faced his crossroads of obedience.) That Moses and Zipporah both knew why Moses’ life was being sought, and who was seeking it, is clear. Zipporah relented to save her husband’s life, however casting the foreskin disdainfully at his feet, and calling him a husband of blood.

But Moses learned that day just how serious the Lord was when He asked something of him. I believe this incident was a turning point in Moses’ life and heart, which strengthened him to become the servant faithful in all His house for the next 40 years, as Scripture records of him.

exodus 33:12-34:26, chol hamo’ed sukkot, “weekdays of the feast of tabernacles”

My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.

Exodus 33:14

Read Exodus 33:12-34:26 at Bible Gateway.

We have just concluded Deuteronomy, and next week will begin the Torah again in Genesis. Today is the Torah portion for the Feast of Tabernacles. The paragraph divisions are:

Exo 33:12-16 {p} Mediation of Moses: My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest
Exo 33:17-23 {p} The plea of Moses: show me Your glory
Exo 34:1-26 {p} The renewal of the covenant, the Ten Commandments

Each of these strong paragraphs forms their own chiastic structures, which are posted here. This year I saw something interesting about the final strong paragraph, Exo 34:1-26. Its chiastic structure is:

Exo 34:1-26
1a) Exo 34:1-4, Two tablets of stone like the first tablets + the words of the first tablets;
1b) Exo 34:5-7, The glory and the name of YHVH proclaimed: merciful, gracious, longsuffering, good, true, forgiving, just;
central axis) Exo 34:8, So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped;
2b) Exo 34:9, Moses: As You are gracious and forgiving, go with us + take us for Your inheritance;
2a) Exo 34:10-26, The words of the covenant renewed (observe My commandments) (chiasm).

The 2a pair, Exo 34:10-26, also forms its own smaller chiastic structure:

Exo 34:10-26
1a) Exo 34:10-17, The Lord’s covenant: flee idolatry and worship the Lord only (chiasm);
1b) Exo 34:18-20a:
— 1b.1) Exo 34:18, Keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread;
— 1b.2) Exo 34:19-20a, The firstborn belong to the Lord;
1c) Exo 34:20b, None shall appear before Me empty-handed;
central axis) Exo 34:21, Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest;
2c) Exo 34:22-24, You shall appear before the Lord your God three times in the year;
2b) Exo 34:25-26a:
— 2b.1) Do not offer the blood with leaven (during the Feast of Unleavened Bread);
— 2b.2) The firstfruits belong to the Lord;
2a) Exo 34:26b, You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk (forsake the pagan practices of the land).

The central axis of Observe My commandments is to work for six days, but to rest on the seventh: the Sabbath commandment. The weekly Sabbath is the heart, but it is enclosed by keeping the annual Sabbaths, the annual Feast days of the Lord.

Now the 1a pair, Exo 34:10-17, of this smaller structure forms an even smaller chiastic structure:

Exo 34:10-17
1a) Exo 34:10-11a, The Lord’s covenant: observe what I command you this day (chiasm);
1b) Exo 34:11b-12, Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land;
central axis) Exo 34:13-14, “But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God);”
2b) Exo 34:15-16, Beware lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land;
2a) Exo 34:17, You shall make no molded gods for yourselves.

The central axis of flee idolatry and worship the Lord only, is more than just, don’t practice idolatry. It is, destroy idolatry wherever it is found, and do not enter into covenants with idolaters, lest they prove to be a snare to you. In our culture we are surrounded by idolatry on every side. We engage in destroying idolatry, not only by bearing witness to the Lord God in our observance of His commandments, but also in revealing the falsity of the false gods – we destroy idols – so that others are not deceived into adhering to them because they mistakenly believe they have been proven true.

The 1a pair, Exo 34:10-11a, forms a smaller chiastic structure still:

Exo 34:10-11a
1a) Exo 34:10a, Behold, I make a covenant;
1b) Exo 34:10b, Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation;
central axis) Exo 34:10c, And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord;
2b) Exo 34:10d, For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you;
2a) Exo 34:11a, Observe what I command you this day.

The covenant entails obedience. We saw that Moses and the people of Israel found grace in the Lord’s sight – therefore He delivered them from Egypt – but idolatry and disobedience caused Him to withdraw from them. Upon their confession and repentance, He renewed the covenant with them, because He is gracious and merciful. But obedience to the Lord’s commandments is not optional; observance is the flip side of the graciousness extended to us in the covenant.

This central axis is interesting. We were just talking about destroying idolatry wherever it is found. All the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord; they shall see Him do marvels and awesome wonders. That working of the miraculous among the Lord’s people, as a witness to those among whom we dwell, is wrapped in the covenant of grace on one side, and the observance of the Lord’s commandments on the other side, two sides of the same coin.

exodus 33:12-34:26, chol ha’moed pesach, “intermediate days of passover”

Read Exodus 33:12-24:26 at Bible Gateway.

(Please review the teaching tools of scripture, especially the Hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures. The paragraphs marked by an “s” at their close are weak paragraphs, which indicate a change of facet but not a change of theme or topic. The paragraphs marked by a “p” at their close are strong paragraphs, which indicate the completion of a theme or topic. The paragraph divisions reveal the chiastic structures: narratives which zero in on the main point of the narrative at its center, like a bull’s eye at the center of a target. The main point is revealed, because the narrative elements before the main point (or central axis) are repeated after the central axis, in reverse order, while the central axis itself is not repeated.)

The Hebrew paragraph divisions for chol ha’moed pesach are:

Exo 33:12-16 {p} My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest
Exo 33:17-23 {p} Plea of Moses: Show me Your glory
Exo 34:1-26 {p} The renewal of the covenant

Each of these strong paragraphs forms its own chiastic structure:

Exo 33:12-16 {p} My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest

Exo 33:12-16 p
1a) Exo 33:12-13, Bring up this people + grace + knowing + the Lord’s people:
– 1a.1) Exo 33:12a, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but who will You send with me?;
– 1a.2) Exo 33:12b-13a, If I have found grace in Your sight, show me Your way that I may know You;
– 1a.3) Exo 33:13b, This nation is Your people;
central axis) Exo 33:14, And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest;”
2a) Exo 33:15-16, Do not bring up this people + grace + knowing + Your separate people:
– 2a.1) Exo 33:15, If Your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here;
– 2a.2) Exo 33:16a, How will it be known that we have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us?;
– 2a.3) Exo 33:16b, This nation — Your people — is separate from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.

Exo 33:17-23 {p} Plea of Moses: Show me Your glory

Exo 33:17-23 p is made up of two chaistic structures:

Exo 33:17-19
1a) Exo 33:17a, For you have found grace in My sight;
1b) Exo 33:17b, And I know you by name;
central axis) Exo 33:18, And Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory;”
2b) Exo 33:19a, My goodness will pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you;
2a) Exo 33:19b, I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Exo 33:20-23
1a) Exo 33:20, You cannot see My face;
1b) Exo 33:21, Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand upon the rock;
central axis) Exo 33:22a, So it shall be, while My glory passes by;
2b) Exo 33:22b, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand;
2a) Exo 33:23, You shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.

Exo 34:1-26 {p} The renewal of the covenant

Exo 34:1-26
1a) Exo 34:1-4, Two tablets of stone like the first tablets + the words of the first tablets;
1b) Exo 34:5-7, The glory and the name of YHVH proclaimed: merciful, gracious, longsuffering, good, true, forgiving, just;
central axis) Exo 34:8, So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped;
2b) Exo 34:9, Moses: As You are gracious and forgiving, go with us + take us for Your inheritance;
2a) Exo 34:10-26, The words of the covenant renewed (observe My commandments).

Moses asked to be shown two things: Show me Your way that I might know You, and Show me Your glory. The final strong paragraph of Exo 34:1-36 contains the account of the Lord proclaiming His name YHVH before Moses. His name is intertwined with His character and attributes of gracious, mercy, compassion, longsuffering, goodness, truth, and justice. His name YHVH, I Am That I Am, and His attributes are intertwined with His glory. His greatness, His goodness, and His glory calls forth the only appropriate response from Moses: he bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.

There is a reason the strong paragraph whose central theme is the proclamation of the glory of the Lord, and man’s worship in response, is bookended with the words of the two tablets like the first tablets. His character and His nature cannot be separated from His commandments. His commandments express His way. When we are shown His way of walking, explained as commandments, we see His character and His nature – which is His glory – then we know Him.

Why is this the Torah portion for the intermediate days of Unleavened Bread? God has mercy and grace toward us, in forgiving us our iniquity, trespass, and sin (Passover) and our response to Him is to observe His commandments – not to allow sin to find a home in us, but to purge out the old leaven (Unleavened Bread, 1 Cor 5:7). That is our reasonable service of worship (Rom 12:1).