Parasha #5

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 Parashah #05: Hayyei-Sarah (Sarah’s life)

(Genesis 23:1 – 25:18)

Additional Readings:
1 Kin. 1:1-31; Mat. 8:19-22; 27:3-10; Luk. 9:57-62

Previous parashah recap Last week we ended up with Abraham going to live in Beersheba and hearing the news that his brother Nahor had had lots of children too. And that one of them, Bethual, was the father of Rebecca. Whom we will read about today.

  • Now we start today this Parasha in verse 1 with the death of Sarah. Sarah died at the age of 127.

  • Today’s portion of the Torah is named Hayyei-Sarah which means Sarah’s life, for by presenting the death of Sarah, in the Hebrew perspective, it highlights her life.

  • This is the only parashah where a woman’s name is in the title. This shows us how important Sarah was. She is a matriarch; a mother of nations and kings; a woman of trust/faith and submission.

  • When Sarah died, the mourning time for Abraham was quite short. This lines up with the commandments under Moses; the time of weeping/mourning should not be more than one week. If the mourning period is prolonged this would be moving into grief and therefore open the door for spiritual garbage to enter. This set period of mourning was an instruction set in place by God for our own safety and well-being.

  • Now let’s look at the Chapter 24 for it’s one of the most important concerning our Christian walk. Gen. 24:2 – there was an oath made/sworn by Yahweh (God of heavens and the earth); this was done by Abraham getting his servant to place his hand under Abraham’s thigh. The word ‘thigh’ in Hebrew means not only the soft inner part of the leg, but also the genitalia. So effectively the servant is told to put his hand on Abraham’s penis. This was to say that when you swear in God’s name you swear on the covenant which was made between Abraham and God (which was circumcision). By the servant doing this, he was literally taking hold of the covenant itself. This is still in place throughout the bible even though its format has changed.

  • Deu. 6:13 – Here the people are told to swear by God’s name. No longer were people required to hold onto the circumcision because the covenant was changed/improved. The difference between the covenant of Abraham and the covenant of Moses was the Levitical priesthood. Under Moses they would swear an oath out loud and that was to be done with witnesses and would be carried to the priests.

  • 1 kin. 8:30-32 – This is referring to the covenant made under Moses. They were swearing in front of the altar/priesthood. Later on, the teachers of the law arose and put Talmudic laws in place for what was and wasn’t right to swear on. And when Jesus came he rebuked them for that (Mat. 23:16-22).

  • Mat. 5:33-37 – Why did Jesus change what used to be the law of Moses? Because the swearing had to fall in line with the covenant. We can see how it already changed from swearing on the covenant of circumcision, to swearing in front of the Levitical priesthood/temple. The covenant changed once more when Jesus came. The sign of the covenant with Jesus became twofold:

    1. Communion, which reveals the believer (Luk. 22:19-20);

    2. Love, which reveals the disciple (Joh. 13:35).

  • What is love? – Love for has different components (Mat. 22:36-39, Joh. 14:21, 15:12):

    1. Love God by following Torah;

    2. Love ourselves;

    3. Love others the way Yeshua loved us.

  • If our love is failing in one of these 3 aspects, then we are ‘lukewarm’ (Rev. 3:15-16)

  • This love shows itself by either being blessed, or by blessing others. When you can’t love God, you are separated from Him and therefore can’t know who you truly are and that will not only take away blessings from you but also impede on the 2 other aspects of love. And when you can’t love yourself, you can’t receive. When you can’t love others, you can’t give. So, if you can give but not receive or vice versa, you have a problem. If you can give or receive only in part, then it is also a problem. A bad fruit or spirit of the enemy is the inability to give or receive love.

  • When you have lack of love towards God, self or others it starts to build up in the body and can bring specific illnesses and/or demons. So we need to learn how to give and receive love on all levels; physically, spiritually, emotionally etc. so that we can fully move in the ways of the Lord and the covenant of love.

  • Gen. 24 – Abraham sends an unnamed servant to arrange a marriage for his son Isaac – this lines up with Mat. 22:2.

    The servant is unnamed because he doesn’t bring any glory to himself – this is like the role of the Holy Spirit who comes to bring glory to Jesus.

    The servant takes things of the bridegroom with which to win the bride – This reminds us again of the Holy Spirit who comes with gifts and fruit (Joh. 16:13-14). So when the servant came to Rebecca he gave her 2 bracelets and 1 nose ring (earrings in the LXX). The servant is bringing gifts to enrich the bride. The gifts of the spirit are for the work of the ministry to show God’s glory.

    The 2 bracelets signify work. If you are not ready/going to work, then you will not receive the gifts of the spirit. As you trust in the Lord and start doing the work, the Spirit brings the gifts, and signs and wonders will follow; you should not wait for the gifts to start doing the work. Follow in the steps of Abraham and move in trust.

    When you have love, you bear the fruit of the Spirit for everyone to see; you become a slave to righteousness. This is the same as the nose ring/earrings which symbolises slavery; it’s visible for all to see; just as we are to visibly show the fruit of the Spirit, and as we do, people will know who we belong to and it will also serve to bring conviction to others.

  • Each of the things pertaining to this marriage also pertain to our walk as Christians.

  • Abraham told his servant to find Isaac a bride from the land of his own kinsmen. This also relates to God the Father who sends His Holy Spirit to the bride of His kinsmen (His people). Also, Jesus will be coming back for His kinsmen; His own people.

  • Rebecca went back to her family to tell them what happened to her and they wanted her to wait for a while before leaving. This relates to us as Christians; when we come to the Lord and are ‘called out’, we need to make that decision to move and not delay; not even for our loved ones who would rather us stay behind with them.

  • Rev. 3:20 – The ‘door’ spoken about here is the door of our heart. As long as we continue to hide the fact that we are sinners, that door is closed, but when we humble ourselves and confess our sins to God, He will come and bring His fruit and give us all we need in order to become like Him.

  • It’s important to realise that fruits are grown through being cultivated. The scriptures are very clear on the fact that the One growing said fruit in us is God, not us (Gal. 5:22-23). So often we get so focused on being what we think we are supposed to be as believers that we don’t realise we are actually fabricating a false personality around our own understanding. The reason it is called the “Fruit of the Spirit” is because it is something that comes only from God as a work of the Holy Spirit. All of these characteristics listed as being the fruit of the Spirit are actually part of God’s character that He wants to perfect in us. 2 Pet. 1:5-8 lays out the blueprint for a believer’s spiritual growth. So we are supposed to move from faith alone and build onto it virtue (moral purity) then onto that we add knowledge. That knowledge coming from the Word (written word, our bibles). 

    And further on as this thing progresses we move into healthy relationship with each other and with God to finally be perfected in His love.

    It finishes by saying that if we grow up into these things then we will be fruitful and not barren. It is interesting that the word “fruit” is used for these qualities because it indicates that something must grow from something. This fruit can only come with close and intimate fellowship with God. It cannot be an act of your own will or your own creation (Joh. 15:4-5). What we imagine things to be may not come even close to the real fruit that God designed. In which case we are not only selling ourselves short but also those that are around us that will partake of our manufactured fruit.

    In fact when we are operating as a child of God in the fruit of His Spirit we are actively bringing His kingdom to Earth. That is when we will really have something to offer that cannot be obtained through any other means than through the Father!

  • After we need to be led by the Spirit: Act. 13:4; 16:6-7, Rom. 8:11, 1 Thes. 4:14-17 – these scriptures pertain to the people being led by the Holy Spirit, exactly like the servant was leading Rebecca. When we start moving on our journey we will be lead by the Holy Spirit.

  • We know that at the end we will be given heavenly bodies and we will be taken up to meet Yeshua. This is like what happened with Rebecca when she reached Isaac; she left her camel and went toward her husband to be. Likewise, when Isaac saw her coming he went toward her. So will it be on the day we go to be with the Lord. Jesus will come down from His throne just as we will come up from the earth, to meet together in the clouds (Rev 19:7-9).

  • Then let’s look at Gen. 24:12-14: ‘Laying a fleece’ – where did the idea of laying a fleece come from first? Not Gideon (Jdg. 6:36 – 7:1). It came from the servant sent by Abraham. This just goes to show that everything in the entire bible stems from the first 5 books of the law. We as Christians must learn and know the instructions found in those books, as every aspect of the Christian walk originates there; the remaining books are an explanation of how to apply the instructions found in those first 5 books. As per how was that laying of the fleece done? The LXX states that the prayer was done in the servants mind, which is said only once in the Masoretic texts and speaks about saying it in his heart. So there is a correlation between the mind and the heart, sometimes there are 2 different things, sometimes they are the same.

  • Abraham died – a few times in the new testament it speaks about Jesus ‘giving up the ghost’ which is a wrong translation. According to the bible, everyone in creation has, is or will be giving up their ghost (apart from those who will never die). Jesus is the only one who released the ghost, he released his spirit from the flesh. No one else can choose to do that, when we die our body gives up the ghost; it is a natural process and not a conscious or wilful decision on our part. But Jesus is the only one who put an end to it Himself when the time was right. [Note: this wasn’t suicide. He had accomplished all what the Father had for Him to do, everything written of Him in the Bible concerning His first coming had been fulfilled so He released His Spirit].

  • When Abraham died he was buried by both of his sons (Isaac and Ishmael). Many people think Ishmael was bad news because God ‘cursed’ him to be a wild man. But although this was outwardly, it was not his heart because clearly if he had any type of resentment about what was done, it was buried with Abraham. He didn’t have a problem to come bury his father and spend that time with Isaac. These were not the actions of a mentally unstable man.

  • Ishmael was not the father or the Arabs as some teachers may say. Abraham is, through his other wife Keturah. Each one of those lines that came from her go back to the Arabs. Ishmael had many sons and one of them traces back to the Saracens (who are not Arabs).

  • Now, to finish, let’s study Ishmael a lit bit. So let’s go back to what God had said about him: Gen. 16:12 (LXX & CJB) – he will dwell in the presence of all his brethren and he will be a wild donkey of a man. So this last part concerned his character, the other part links with the end of our Torah portion.

  • Gen. 25:17-18 – Ishmael died at 137 years. He had 12 sons, 12 princes because they were already ruling nations. He settled in the presence of all his brethren/kinsmen which in Hebrew is ‘Naphal’ (meaning divided by lot). So this would mean he was divided by lot or cut to pieces and divided amongst his children. Because how could he dwell in the presence of, or settled with his children if he was dead? Then let’s look at the other part, him being a wild donkey of a man. What does this mean?

  • Job 39:5-8 – the word ‘shackles’, Moserah in Hebrew, means discipline, instruct, admonish So this wild donkey spoken of was loosed from the shackles and restraints of instruction and discipline. So when God calls someone a wild donkey it means someone who has moved away from God’s instructions/laws.

    Aravah – a sandy desert, void of water

    Salty place – place where judgement has been rendered or to render judgement.

  • So these verses in Job tell us the donkey has no care for other men and doesn’t hear/listen to them. It’s always roaming the hills looking for food. Through the bible ‘mountains’ usually refer to kingdoms/powers, or the ruler of that kingdom (like in Daniel with Persia and its ruler).

  • So as we put all the elements together we find that each son had a part of their dad, as a relic or token. This viewed as being under his blessing: we have here the start of the ancestor’s worship and binding the dead to someone. Not going after demonic powers as in other gods, but going after the family dead in the hope of getting protection, insights, etc…

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