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

Tag Archives: genesis

genesis 32:3-36:43, vayishlach, “and he sent”

Read Genesis 32:3-36:43 at Bible Gateway.

And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed."

Genesis 32:28

Torah portion vayishlach contains these hebrew paragraph divisions (the teaching tools of scripture explain the teaching tools of hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures):

Gen 32:3-33:17 {s} Jacob renamed Israel, “Upright of El”
Gen 33:18-20 {s} Jacob acquires property in Canaan + altar of Elohiym
Gen 34:1-31 {p} Defilement with Canaanites + killing/ plunder + rebuke
Gen 35:1-8 {p} Repentance and return to the house of God (Bethel)
Gen 35:9-22 {p} Renewal of the covenant
Gen 35:23-29 {p} The seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Gen 36:1-19 {s} The seed of Esau
Gen 36:20-30 {s} The seed of Seir
Gen 36:31-43 {s} The kings of Edom

The single chiastic structure formed by vayishlach is posted here. As I was meditating on the overarching theme of vayishlach, I realized that in the strong theme from Gen 32:3-34:31, the life of Jacob was repeating events from the lives of Abraham and Isaac, i.e., his faith in the promise of God was tested, first by fear of Esau, an obstacle to overcome in his obedience to God in returning to the land, and then by the trouble with Shechem. For I believe he was as fearful of retribution from the inhabitants of the land after Simeon and Levi killed the men of Shechem, as he was of Esau:

Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies. And he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company which is left will escape.” Gen 32:6-8

Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my household and I.” Gen 34:30

I believe these are two matching pairs of the chiastic structure formed by the strong theme from Gen 32:3-34:31, although I do not have it yet completed. It is proving to be quite complex. However, if the strong theme from Gen 32:3-34:31 is that Jacob’s faith in the promise is tested, then the theme of the next two strong paragraphs from Gen 35:1-22 is also that events from the life of Jacob are repeating events from the lives of Abraham and Isaac, because for his fathers, whenever their faith in the promise was tested, God followed it by a renewal or reaffirmation of the covenant and promises. And this is what we find with Jacob also.

Which brings us to Gen 35:23 to the end of the parashiot: seeds. That the strong paragraph division occurs at the end of Gen 35:29, makes a distinction between the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on the one hand, and the seed of Esau, who is Edom, on the other hand. You might say that the theme from Gen 35:23-36:43 is the two seeds, i.e., the seed of the people of God contrasted with the seed of the people of the world. We have seen Scripture highlight this contrast beginning with Cain and Abel, the very first seed.

Gen 32:3-34:31 {s+s+p} Jacob’s faith in the promise tested (Esau + Shechem)
Gen 35:1-22 {p+p} Repentance + renewal of the covenant
Gen 35:23-29 {p} The seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Gen 36:1-43 {s+s+s} The seed of Esau, who is Edom

I.e., The life of Jacob repeats events from the lives of Abraham/ Isaac (faith tested + covenant reaffirmed) + the two seeds. Or, Jacob/ Israel is the heir to the covenant with God, not Esau, and not Edom (not the world or the seed of the world).

For further reading: The Principle of the Seed by Brad Scott

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genesis 28:10-32:2, vayetze, “and he left”

Read Genesis 28:10-32:2 at Bible Gateway.

"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go."

Genesis 28:15

(Beginning with this post, I am trying to post the torah portion studies one week ahead, for those who like to study ahead.)

Torah portion vayetze is a single strong paragraph according to the Hebrew paragraph divisions (the teaching tools of scripture explain the teaching tools of hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures):

Gen 28:10-32:2 {p} God fulfills His promise to Jacob

How did I come up with the topic theme of this paragraph, that God fulfilled His promise to Jacob? The single chiastic structure formed by this paragraph reveals it.

I found it interesting that only at the end of this long paragraph, do we have our first strong paragraph division in several chapters. The last strong paragraph division was at the end of Gen 25. So the entire section which God considers teaching a single overarching theme, is:

Gen 26:1-33 {s} Isaac and Abimelech (life of Isaac repeats events from the life of Abraham)
Gen 26:34-35 {s} Esau’s wives
Gen 27:1-28:9 {s} Jacob receives the blessing + Jacob’s wife (Life of Jacob repeats events from the life of Isaac)
Gen 28:10-32:2 {p} God fulfills His promise to Jacob (wives + children + flocks)

It turns out this single strong theme forms its own chiastic structure:

Gen 26:1-32:2
1a) Gen 26:1-33 {s}, God blesses Isaac in the land of his sojourning (Isaac and Abimelech);
1b) Gen 26:34-35 {s}, Esau’s wives;
central axis) Gen 27:1-42, Jacob receives the blessing;
2b) Gen 27:43-28:9 {s}, Jacob’s wife;
2a) Gen 28:10-32:2 {p}, God blesses Jacob in the land of his sojourning (wives + children + flocks).

The mystery of Esau’s wives is solved! Last week we saw that torah portion toledoth formed its own chiastic structure, leaving out the two verses of Gen 26:34-35 concerning Esau’s wives. We speculated at the time that it stood out like a sore thumb because it was a necessary component of a greater chiastic structure. And so it has proven to be.

The greater strong theme of this section seems to be, that God is transferring the blessing, covenant, and promises of Abraham to Isaac, and then to Jacob. Events from Isaac’s life repeat events from Abraham’s life, and events from Jacob’s life repeat events from Isaac’s life. God is revealing that the blessing, covenant, and promises in fact passed from Abraham to Isaac, not Ishmael; and then passed from Isaac to Jacob, not Esau. This reality revealed that the lives of the patriarchs also form an interesting repeating chiastic structure.

torah teachings index for sat 02 nov 2013

And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

Genesis 26:22

If you are reading the annual Torah cycle, this Sabbath’s Torah reading is Gen 25:19-28:9, toledoth, “generations”  (index of study notes). This is the new post for this torah reading.

If you are reading the triennial Torah cycle, this Sabbath’s Torah reading is Gen 37:1-36, triennial cycle vayeshev, “and he dwelt” (index of study notes).

genesis 25:19-28:9, annual cycle toledoth, “generations”

And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

Genesis 26:22

Read Genesis 25:19-28:9 at Bible Gateway.

The paragraph divisions for toledoth are posted here. Last year I was able to post just the bookends of the chiastic structure formed by toledoth. This year I was able to complete the chiastic structure:

1a) Gen 25:19-20, Isaac the seed of Abraham took his wife Rebekah from Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram;
1b) Gen 25:21-22, Contention between the seed and Rebekah’s inquiry:
– 1b.1) Gen 25:21-22a, Rebekah conceived, and the children struggled together within her;
– 1b.2) Gen 25:22b, Rebekah enquired of YHVH, If it be so, why do I live?;
1c) Gen 25:23, YHVH said unto Rebekah, Two nations are in thy womb + the elder shall serve the younger;
1d) Gen 25:24-26, Birth of twins: the younger held his brothers’ heel, therefore his name was called Jacob;
1e) Gen 25:27-34 p, Isaac preferred Esau/ Rebekah preferred Jacob + Jacob gained the birthright + Esau despised the birthright;
1f) Gen 26:1, Isaac went to Abimelech when there was a famine in the land;
1g) Gen 26:2-5, The Lord appeared to Isaac + renewed the covenant;
1h) Gen 26:6, So Isaac dwelt in Gerar;
central axis) Gen 26:7-22, Contention over Isaac’s wife + prosperity + wells (life of Isaac repeats events from the life of Abraham);
2h) Gen 26:23, Then he went up from there to Beersheba;
2g) Gen 26:24-25, The Lord appeared to Isaac + renewed the covenant;
2f) Gen 26:26-33 s, Abimelech came to Isaac when the Lord had blessed him;
2e) Gen 27:1-34, Isaac preferred Esau/ Rebekah preferred Jacob + Jacob gained the blessing + Esau sought the blessing with tears;
2d) Gen 27:35-36, Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he hath supplanted me these two times;
2c) Gen 27:37, Isaac said unto Esau, I have made your brother your lord, and all his brethren his servants;
2b) Gen 27:38-46, Contention between the seed and Rebekah’s inquiry:
– 2b.1) Gen 27:38-45, Esau plans Jacob’s murder + Rebekah plans Jacob’s escape;
– 2b.2) Gen 27:46, Rebekah enquired of Isaac, If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, what good will my life be to me?
2a) Gen 28:1-9 s, Jacob the seed of Isaac sent to Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram for his wife.

In the above chiastic structure, the weak paragraph from Gen 26:34-35 about Esau’s wives, the daughters of Heth (Hittites), who were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah, is missing. It does not pair with anything that I can find in this structure, although it is an integral component in a greater structure coming up, as we will see.

The significance of the birthright that Esau despised is posted here. The greatest portion of the birthright that Esau despised was Abraham’s covenant with the Lord God! Esau despised that covenant, but Jacob loved it and desired it – no wonder God said, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated,” (Rom 9:13). The first occurrence of the word “torah” in Scripture is in Gen 26:5, when the Lord first appears to Isaac (more about that here).

The central axis highlights the contention directed toward Isaac because of God’s blessing upon him. Isaac was minding his own business, but the pagans he was among could not stop themselves from contending over his wife, his prosperity, or his wells of water. But it also highlights something else – Isaac practiced the same character trait as his father Abraham, in that he relinquished his rights when confronted. In fact, this is a also a character trait of the Lord God (more on that posted here)!

What comforts me about this parashah, is first of all, Abraham loved God and kept His commandments, statues, charge, and torah. Isaac loved God, and walked in the way of his father Abraham with God. But they both made mistakes. God did not tell Abraham to take Hagar for a wife. God did not tell Isaac to prefer Esau over Jacob. And yet, in spite of their mistakes, God still worked out His plan and purpose for their children, and still brought His promises to pass. It gives me hope for my own family.

genesis 18:1-22:24, vayeira, “and he appeared”

Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

Genesis 22:13-14

Read Genesis 18:1-22:24 at Bible Gateway.

The paragraph divisions for vayeira are posted here. Vayeira forms a complete chiastic structure by itself, which is posted here. Each of the paragraph divisions also form their own chiastic structures, some of which are posted here. This week I was working on the chiastic structure for the akedah, the binding of Isaac, Gen 22:1-24:

Gen 21:33-22:19
1a) Gen 21:33-34, Abraham dwelt in Beersheba;
1b) Gen 22:1-2, God: Go to Moriah and offer your only son Isaac as a burnt offering;
1c) Gen 22:3-9, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering (chiasm);
central axis) Gen 22:10, Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son;
2c) Gen 22:11-15, Abraham called the name of the place, The LORD will provide (chiasm);
2b) Gen 22:16-18, God: Because you have not withheld your only son Isaac, blessing, because you have obeyed;
2a) Gen 22:19, Abraham returned to Beersheba and dwelt there.

The C pairs each form mini chiastic structures with the provision of the Lord as the central axis:

Gen 22:3-9 (1c pair above):
1a.1) Gen 22:3-5, Abraham went to the place of which God had told him (chiasm);
1a.2 Gen 22:6, Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son;
central axis) Gen 22:7-8, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering;
2a.1) Gen 22:9a, Then they came to the place of which God had told him;
2a.2) Gen 22:9b, Abraham bound Isaac his son and laid him upon the wood.

Gen 22:11-15 (2c pair above):
1a) Gen 22:11-12, The Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven;
central axis) Gen 22:13-14, Abraham beheld the ram + called the name of the place, The LORD will provide;
2a) Gen 22:15, The Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven.

Furthermore, the 1a.1 pair of the Gen 22:3-9 chiastic structure above also forms its own mini chiastic structure:

Gen 22:3-5 (1a.1 pair above):
1a) Gen 22:3, Abraham saddled his donkey, took two of his young men and Isaac his son and went;
central axis) Gen 22:4, Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off;
2a) Gen 22:5, Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go and come back to you.”

The signs of messiah are overwhelmingly evident in all the central axis’ of these chiastic structures (more on the signs of messiah in the akedah).

genesis 1:1-6:8, bereisheet, “in the beginnning”

Read Genesis 1:1-6:8 at Bible Gateway.

The paragraph divisions for bereisheet are posted hereIn 2011 I posted the bookends of a complex chiastic structure formed by bereisheet but was not able to complete its center portion. In 2012 I posted a completely different chiastic structure formed by bereisheet that emerged as I was organizing my notes. This year the Lord helped me complete the original chiastic structure begun in 2011 (please read the teaching tools of scripture if you are unfamiliar with Hebrew paragraph divisions or chiastic structures):

1a) Gen 1:1-2:3 px7, Elohiym’s pleasure in the goodness of His creation;
— 1a.1) Gen 1:1-2, Elohiym created the heavens and the earth + Spirit of Elohiym hovered over the face of the waters;
— 1a.2) Gen 1:3-31 px6, Six days of creation + Elohiym saw everything that He had made, and it was very good;
— 1a.3) Gen 2:1-3 p, Rest on the seventh day;
1b) Gen 2:4-3:24 s+s+p+s, Adam did not walk + promise of Messiah + consequences:
— 1b.1) Gen 2:4-3:14, Adam did not walk with Elohiym because of unbelief and sin;
— 1b.2) Gen 3:15-24 s+s+p+s, Promise of Messiah + consequences of sin: painful toil, curse on the ground, death;
1c) Gen 4:1-26 s, The seed of Adam through Cain, the unrighteous line;
central axis) Gen 5:1-2, Elohiym created mankind in His own likeness and blessed them;
2c) Gen 5:3-20 sx6, The seed of Adam through Seth, the righteous line;
2b) Gen 5:21-32 sx3, Enoch did walk + Noah a type of Messiah + consequences:
— 2b.1) Gen 5:21-24 s, Enoch walked with Elohiym and did not die;
— 2b.2) Gen 5:25-32 s+s, Noah a type of Messiah who will give rest from the curse;
—- 1a) Gen 5:25-27 s, Methuselah begot Lamech;
—- 1b) Gen 5:28, Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son;
—- central axis) Gen 5:29, Noah will give us rest because of our work + toil/ of the ground which YHVH has cursed;”
—- 2b) Gen 5:30-31 s, All the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died;
—- 2a) Gen 5:32, Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
2a) Gen 6:1-8 p, YHVH’s grief in the wickedness of His creation;
— 2a.1) Gen 6:1-4 p, Spirit of Elohiym shall not strive with flesh forever:
—- 1a) Gen 6:1, Daughters of men born;
—- 1b) Gen 6:2, Sons of Elohiym took them for wives;
—- central axis) Gen 6:3, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he is also flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years;”
—- 2b) Gen 6:4a, Children of the sons of Elohiym;
—- 2a) Gen 6:4b p, That the daughters of men bore to them.
— 2a.2) Gen 6:5-7, Elohiym saw man’s wickedness, and was grieved + destroy what He had made;
— 2a.3) Gen 6:8 p, Noah (“comfort, rest”) found grace in the eyes of YHVH.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26-27

The central axis of bereisheet brings out two amazing realities about Elohiym our Creator.

The first is the fact that Elohiym as our Creator, is properly our Father. The most basic meaning of “father” is the one who procreates offspring. Gen 5:1-3 tells us that Adam begot a son (became a father) in his own likeness and image, just as Elohiym created mankind in His own likeness.

The second is the fact of Elohiym‘s blessing upon us, not mankind’s failure or sin, or the curse, work, or painful toil we earned for ourselves. It is the enemy who attempts to focus our attention on our failures. He is the accuser of the brethren. The focus of God is His blessing upon us. He is our Father, which means, our encourager and upholder, the uplifter of our head (in both Hebrew ab and Greek pater, along with the sense of nourisher and protector).

The word of God encourages us to think on whatsoever is good, lovely, of good report. Our Father obeys His own Word, and thinks on whatsoever is good, lovely, and of good report about us.

Case in point: I am constantly reminded every time I read bereisheet, that God established rest (shabbat) as a gift of grace from the consequence of work and painful toil that we earned for ourselves, even before man fell. He is ever seeking that which blesses us for our benefit, just as any good Father does. Isn’t it interesting that Sabbath rest on the seventh day, is the matching pair for Noah (“comfort, rest”), the type of Messiah? Messiah is our shabbat.

Previous studies in bereisheet.