- The Hebrew name for this portion is “toldot.” What does this mean?
- Read Malachi 1:1-2:7. How does this relate to the story of Genesis this week?
- Consider the words found in Romans 9:1-13. What did you learn from studying this passage?
- When Rivkah / Rebekah was barren and could not conceive, what did she do?
- What does it mean that the children struggled within Rivkah? How does this show that life begins at conception? How does this parallel the movement of John in the womb of his mother Elizabeth in the Newer Testament?
- Rivkah prayed to YHWH and asked why the children fought so terribly within her. Then she listened and waited for a response. What did YHWH say? What did it mean then? How is this message playing out in today’s world?
- Who were the twins? What do their names mean?
- Esav was a mighty hunter. Who else is described as such in Genesis 10:9? Does this simply mean that these two were good at hunting down animals?
- Ya’acov was a “plain man who dwelt in tents.” This description of Jacob is a Hebrew idiom with a specific meaning. Do you understand this phrase?
- If Isaac loved Esav, could he have been all that bad?
- Esav is called “Edom” in Genesis 25. What is the significance of this term?
- Who were/are the Edomites?
- Why was the blessing of the firstborn so important? How is this concept spoken of in the Bible?
- In Genesis 26 there is a famine in the land. YHWH appears to Isaac and tells him not to go to Egypt. Why? When would Isaac’s descendants go to Egypt during a famine?
- When Isaac moved around during the famine he told his wife Rivkah to tell others that she was his sister and not his spouse. How is this similar to what Abraham did with Sarah?
- Did Abraham pass down a “lying spirit” to his son?
- What happened after Isaac spent too much time in the land of Avimelech?
- In Genesis 26, Yitzchak sowed in the land and was blessed with 100 fold return. What is this number symbolic of? Is a 100 fold return guaranteed for Bible believers?
- Envy caused the Philistines to plug up the many wells of Isaac. How does James 3:16 show how envy stops the flow of blessing?
- Isaac left the land of the Philistines and settled in the land of Gerrar. What had previously occurred in this land?
- YHWH appeared to Yitzchak at Ber Sheva. What was the Almighty’s message to Isaac?
- In Genesis 26 the enemies of Isaac come to him to make peace. They recognized the presence of YHWH upon Isaac. How does the presence of YHWH cause your enemies to live at peace with you? How does this compare to Proverbs 16:7?
- When Esav took to himself two wives it caused grief to Rivkah and Isaac. Why?
- From what land and nationality were Esav’s wives from?
- Again a meal involves a trading of blessing in Genesis 27. Explain what occurred in this chapter and if Rebekah and Jacob were wrong for deceiving Isaac?
- Did Rivkah ever tell Isaac of YHWH prophecy that her older son would serve the younger? Could this knowledge have made a difference?
- Jacob was concerned that his actions would make him to be perceived as a “deceiver” to his father. Does the Torah teach that Jacob was full of deception?
- How are Rivkah’s actions to ensure the blessing was give to Jacob by Isaac similar to those of Tamar with Judah in Genesis 49?
- Describe the blessing that Isaac spoke to Jacob. How are such words important?
- How did Isaac respond when he realized he blessed the “wrong” son?
- Why is the custom of speaking a blessing so special?
- Isaac does speak prophetically to both Jacob and Esav. The blessing to Jacob is an almost exact repetition of what was spoken to Isaac. What does Isaac say of Esav?
- Explain the meaning of Isaac’s blessing to Esav when he says “you shall live by the sword.”
- Who are the descendants of Jacob today? Describe some of their character traits.
- Who are the descendants of Esav today? Describe some of their character traits.
- Rivkah sends Jacob to her brother Laban to hide from the angry Esav. What comes of such a visit to Jacob’s relatives?
- In Genesis 28 Ya’acov is told to not take a foreigner as a wife. Whom should he marry?
- Isaac blesses Ya’acov and tells him to be “fruitful and multiply.” To who were these words were spoken before in the scriptures?
- The Torah portion ends with Esav adding another wife. This was just no ordinary woman. Esav marries a daughter of Ishmael. This dangerous mixing of Ishmael and Esav results in future trouble for Jacob and his descendants. What people originate from the seed of Ishmael and Esav? How do these people play a role in prophetic end time events?
Friday, November 20, 2009
Torah Portion Toldot
· Genesis 25:19-28:9
· Malachi 1:1-2:7
· Romans 9:1-13
The Torah Portion at a Glance
This portion is Toldot or “generations.” Yitzchak marries Rebekah. After twenty childless years their prayers are answered and Rebecca conceives. She experiences a difficult pregnancy as the "children struggle inside her"; YHWH tells her that "there are two nations in your womb," and that the younger will prevail over the elder.
Esav emerges first; Jacob or Ya’acov is born clutching Esau's heel. Esau grows up to be "a cunning hunter, a man of the field"; Jacob is "a wholesome man," a dweller in tents. Isaac favors Esau; Rebecca loves Jacob. Returning exhausted and hungry from the hunt one day, Esau sells his birthright (his rights as the firstborn) to Jacob for a pot of lentil stew.
In Gerar, in the land of the Philistines, Isaac presents Rebecca as his sister, out of fear that he will be killed by someone coveting her beauty. He farms the land, reopens the wells dug by his father Abraham, and bores a series of his own wells: over the first two there is strife with the Philistines, but the waters of the third well are enjoyed in tranquility.
Esau marries two Hittite women. Isaac grows old and blind, and expresses his desire to bless Esau before he dies. While Esau goes off to hunt for his father's favorite food, Rebecca dresses Jacob in Esav’s clothes, covers his arms and neck with goatskins to simulate the feel of his hairier brother, prepares a similar dish, and sends Jacob to his father. Jacob receives his fathers' blessings for "the dew of the heaven and the fat of the land" and mastery over his brother. When Esau returns and the deception is revealed, all Isaac can do for his weeping son is to predict that he will live by his sword, and that when Jacob falters, the younger brother will forfeit his supremacy over the elder.
Jacob leaves home for Charan to flee Esau's wrath and to find a wife in the family of his mother's brother, Laban. Esau marries a third wife --Machlat, the daughter of Ishmael.
(adapted from chabad.org)
Applying the Portion to Life Today
In this week’s reading, the scriptures recount a story of Esav selling his blessing of birthright and position as the first born for a simple bowl of soup. “Once when Ya’acov was cooking some stew, Esav came in from the open country, famished. He said to Ya’acov, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” Ya’acov replied, “First sell me your birthright.” Esav said, “Look, I am about to die. What good is the birthright to me?” But Ya’acov said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Ya’acov. Then Ya’acov gave Esav some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. Esav despised his birthright,” Beresheet/Genesis 25:29-34. Why did Esav do this? Why was this exchange so important and tragic? Did Esav trade his preeminence just because he was hungry or was there a deeper issue? What is so bad about this event that because of this the scriptures say that Esau was “godless” and not worthy of following?
To answer these questions one must first understand the cultural and Biblical significance of the birthright of the firstborn. The birthright of the firstborn is a central theme and part of the Israelite lifestyle and lifecycle.
The firstborn son of a Hebrew father is given special rights and is highly valued. He is the heir to the family and head of the household when the father is absent. The firstborn or “bikhor” in Hebrew would receive double the inheritance of the other sons when the father passed. “The father must acknowledge the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him,” Devarim (Deuteronomy) 21:17.
The “mishpat bikhor” or “right of the firstborn” is to serve as a priest for the entire family and act as the family ruler. This first child is to be dedicated to YHWH as the firstborn of every womb is YHWH’s possession. “YHWH said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal,” Shemot (Exodus) 13:2. The bikhor is YHWH’s special and unique treasure that is destined to serve as priest and minister unto YHWH Adonai.
The bikhor is to be redeemed, or bought back, in a service called the “pidyon ha’ben” meaning the “redemption of the firstborn.” This Biblical custom is found in Shemot (Exodus) 13:11-15. Just after the last plague, which was the death of the firstborn of Mitzrayim/Egypt, the Creator called the firstborn from each family to serve as priests until YHWH’s plan called for the Levites to take up this position. The bikhor were still dedicated to YHWH through a service of sacrifice and prayer, the pidyon ha’ben. Y’shua the Messiah went through this pidyon ha’ben in Luke 2:22-40 and was set apart as the bikhor of his family. After this service the bikhor were free to serve YHWH through their family rather than be raised by the priesthood and work as a priest for life. To put it plainly, the firstborn is YHWH’s and is to be dedicated to service to YHWH. This is either full time service as a Cohen or priest or full time service as the leader of a family that serves YHWH.
According to the Torah, Esav “despised his birthright.” He evidently did not want the inheritance and the power and responsibility that comes with being the son of Yitzchak and the grandson of the patriarch Avraham. Hebrews 12:25-17 tells believers that Esav was “godless” and therefore would not be the rightful heir to the promise of the faith. Clearly Avraham’s blessing of dominion, multiplication, and place in YHWH’s plan was to be passed on to this son.
One might casually look at the story of Ya’acov and Esav trading the birthright and think that Ya’acov was being overly deceptive and took advantage of a famished man. But this is simply not the case. Esav did not sell his birthright simply because he was hungry. “Esav sold his birthright, his mishpat bikhor, because he had not concept of its meaning,” said one Rabbi. Again, Esav despised his position and inheritance. This word for “despised” is “bazah” and from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and Dictionary this word literally means, “ a primitive root; to disesteem:—despise, disdain, contemn (-ptible), + think to scorn, vile person.”
Believers are to not be like Esav. The temptation is present and the trade looks pleasing but we must be careful not to follow Esav’s example. We must not despise our birthright, our destiny and inheritance as Isra’el. Consider these verses…
“YHWH says, ‘Isra’el is my firstborn,’” Shemot (Exodus) 4:22.
“If you belong to Messiah you are a seed of Avraham and heirs according to the promise,” Galatians 3:29.
“I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son,” Yermi’yahu (Jeremiah) 31:9
As a physical descendant of Avinu Avraham you are Isra’el. As a believer in Messiah you are Isra’el. Don’t be mistaken and don’t be talked out of it, you are Isra’el. You are YHWH’s firstborn bikhor and you are YHWH’s special possession destined to inherit family leadership, serve as ruler, and minister as a priest. “For you are a people set apart for YHWH as kadosh (holy) for YHWH your Elohim. YHWH your Elohim has chosen you from out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His Own unique possession,” Devarim (Deuteronomy) 7:6.
We must not loose interest in the privilege of being YHWH’s bikhor and we must not fall into the sin of Esav who despised his birthright. Esav did not esteem the honor of being the son of Elohim. What about you? The sin of despising the birthright can manifest in many ways. Just think about these few areas…Do you ever think that YHWH’s Torah is too hard to follow or too big of a burden? Do you have any ant-Semitism hidden inside of you? Have you accepted Israel as your identity? Have you dealt with the false teaching that says the church has replaced Israel? Do you live out your heritage and culture of Israel or are you scared of what others may think or say about you? Do you ever feel that something the Bible commands you to do is simply “too Jewish?” Is your lifestyle more like the world around you are is your life patterned after the Bible and it’s holy days and way of life?
As Isra’el you have been called to be in the family of faith. The name Isra’el itself simply means, “one who reigns and rules with El.” You have been given a special double portion inheritance from the Father through Messiah Y’shua. What is the double portion? “I have come that you might have life, and life more abundantly,” Y’shua said in Yochannan 10:10. The Father’s legacy of life today is a way of living that has significance and meaning. His legacy is also life in the hereafter – with Him in the realm of the Spirit. This is possible through the Messiah, the firstborn of the dead and the firstborn resurrection. “Y’shua HaMoshiach, is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth,” Revelation 1:5. The firstborn blessings were to follow YHWH in abundance and then multiply and fill the earth.
When Isaac blesses Ya’acov he tells him to “be fruitful and multiply.” This is a direct repetition of words spoken to Adam, Noah, and Abraham. When YHWH instructed Adam and Eve to be fruitful, He used the word “parah.” This Hebrew term means to “grow, increase, bear fruit like a vine, and bring forth, to open.” This word parah is used many times throughout the Scriptures in reference to the fruit of a vine. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” John/Yochannan 15:4-5.
Fruit is nothing more than the life giving seed source of a plant. The primary point of the family is to bear the fruit, or life, of the Almighty Vine. You are to produce the same life as the Savior. Remember that the book of John calls Y’shua the ‘word made flesh,’ so the Savior is the Living Word or Living Torah. Therefore to bear the fruit of the Vine Y’shua is to bear the fruit of Torah. To resemble Y’shua is to live His life and resemble the Torah. To put it plainly, the family is to live out the Divine Will as revealed in the first five books of the Bible.
So, when YHWH told Adam and Abraham to ‘be fruitful’ He was telling them to connect to the Vine and establish their lives as a place where the Almighty would be honored and therefore bring forth life. This wasn’t all though. They were also to ‘multiply.’
The word for multiply in the Hebrew is “rabah.” This Hebrew term means to ‘increase, excel, enlarge, continue, nourish, store, to shoot out like an arrow, to cast together, to multiply, ten thousands.” First you are to bear the fruit of Torah and then you should pass on the Biblical heritage to others. We are to multiply the fruit of Torah and others will follow.
YHWH is the Elohim of the family of Avraham, his children, and his grandchildren. Avraham was indeed fruitful when it came to imparting belief to his children! “For now YHWH hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land. And he went up from thence to Beersheba. And YHWH appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the Elohim of Avraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Avraham's sake,” Genesis/Beresheet 26:22-25. And to Ya’acov, “Elohim said unto him, I am Elohim Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins,” Genesis/Beresheet 35:11. The same family mission given to Adam is passed to Noach and to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’acov. YHWH is calling out is bikhor – His first born son Israel to understand his identity and walk in the fullness of Torah. As we understand the birthright of faith then we can be fruitful and multiply in the world. Pray today for workers for the harvest, for the fields are plentiful but the workers – those who know they are bachor – are few.
The Messiah in the Torah Portion
Y’shua is the firstborn of the firstborn – the head of the family. Because of His love and life we have been made into the “ekklesia of the firstborn” or “family/congregation of the firstborn.” It is Y’shua’s family, His congregation, “For those Elohim foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified,” Romans 8:29-30.
YHWH sees Israel as His bikhor, and all firstborn are in need of redemption. Israel is in need of someone to pay the price, to buy Israel back, and to make a sacrifice. To meet this need the Father sent forth His bikhor Y’shua. Y’shua is the redeemer and the sacrifice. The Encyclopedia Judaica says, “Owing to his favored status, the firstborn was considered was considered the most desirable sacrifice to a deity where human sacrifice was practiced.” Y’shua was the sacrifice that the Father used to redeem the firstborn Israel. This sacrifice of death brought life and established Y’shua as the firstborn of the resurrection, “He is the image of the invisible Elohim, the firstborn over all creation,” Colossians 1:15. Even the Psalmist refers to the Messiah as the firstborn in Psalm 89:27.
Study and consider this verse in light of your new understanding of Y’shua being the firstborn. “See that no one is godless like Esav, who in exchange for a single meal gave up his rights as the first born,” Hebrews 12:15-17. How can you praise YHWH today for His firstborn son Y’shua?
“For YHWH so loved the world that He sent His firstborn and only son. That whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life,” Yochannan 3:16.
Portion Points to Ponder
The Open Bible is a teaching series written by Daniel Rendelman of Emet Ministries. Daniel Rendelman is the found and leader of Emet Ministries and the author of the book “Finding the Truth.” He, his wife, and five children live in Newberry, South Carolina. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more teachings, audio messages, videos, and music at www.emetministries.com.