Commentary on the Parasha and Haftara – Ki Tavo

This Shabbat the reading in the Synagogues, Ki Tavo, will be from Deuteronomy 26-29, and the Haftara reading from the Prophets is Isaiah chapter 60. This chapter in Isaiah in fact is my very favorite text in the Bible. It starts with this very grandiose opening:

Rise up, shine forth, for your light has come,The glory of THE LORD has dawned over you! Though darkness covers the earth and deep gloom the nations, THE LORD shines over you like the dawn, his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light,and kings to the radiance of your dawn.”

For me this text embeds in it the whole END TIME (Eschatology) essences of the Bible. All through a history of more than 3800 years the Abrahamic family, Israel and his children have forever been under the shadow of war, persecution, darkness, and the hate of the Nations. There is always someone who wants to destroy God’s chosen people. There has always been some enemy of God and enemy of Israel who wanted to stop the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people. As the promised child Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah at the sunset of their lives his half brother tried to destroy him by sexually abusing him. (I realize that most of the readers don’t understand this. For this reason I must explain it although I don’t really like to explain this sordid affair.)

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing (metzahek). (the same word in Genesis 26:8 is translated “showing endearment” – having sex with his wife.) Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” – Gen. 21:9-10

״Now it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked through a window, and saw, and there was Isaac, showing endearment (metzahek) to Rebekah his wife.״ – Gen. 26:8

Some Jewish Rabbinical commentary use the word “fondling” (metzahek) in this place. As Sara was a righteous woman, she would not have insisted that Abraham just cast out a poor Egyptian servant and her young son into the scorching desert out of pure prejudice or racist motives. In fact it was Sara who gave Hagar to Abraham to give him a son and Ishmael was born. Sara raised Ishmael as Abraham’s son, why would she suddenly want to cast him out of Abraham’s camp. Ishmael was wanting to “play with Isaac’s body” just like Isaac was “playing” with Rebecca his wife when Abimelech looked through the window and saw that Rebecca was not Isaac’s sister but his wife.

If you think that this is far-fetched look at Gen. 39:14. Potiphar’s wife complained falsely about Joseph and said: “she called to the men (servants) of her house and spoke to them, saying, “See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock (metzahek) us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice.” If you have any doubt that this is the right interpretation read the story of Joseph in Potiphar’s house and the relationship that his wife wanted to have with Joseph and it will make it clear also from Genesis 39:17 where the same word in Hebrew is used that the meaning of this word in this form is not Scoff or “Mock” but it is to have sex. Ishmael until this very day is working hard to deny the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. This is actually the main reason for the war of the Arabs against Israel and it is nothing new and the issue is not really the land. In fact, the land is only the excuse and not the cause. The real cause is that our enemies just don’t want us to exist because of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – promises that are confirmed in all the prophets and wonderfully so in Isaiah chapter 60.

I got a bit carried away with this issue. My point is that through the ages even from the beginning of God’s choice of Abraham and His seed through Isaac, Jacob, and the children of Israel, there is an attempt by the enemy to stop the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham and to all of Abraham’s children, those in the flesh and those in the spirit.

So, Isaiah chapter 60 starts with this great proclamation of God, “Rise up, shine forth, for your light has come,The glory of THE LORD has dawned over you! Though darkness covers the earth and deep gloom the nations, THE LORD shines over you like the dawn, his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the radiance of your dawn.”

I am in Japan now and this is the last station of this teaching journey in Asia. I am traveling with two young men from our congregation in Jerusalem, Reuven and Teruto. Reuven is Jewish and Teruto is Japanese. Both of them are students in the Hebrew University, and both of them are active in our congregation in Jerusalem. We have been almost a month on the road. We started in Korea, and continued to Hong Kong, China, and now Japan. We are teaching two seminars one on the highlights of the book of Leviticus (an important book in the Bible that only very few Christians study and try to understand) and also the story of King David and more specific answering the question why God loved David so much in spite of David’s sins. What we have seen in Asia is simply a partial fulfillment or the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promises in Isaiah chapter 60. This is one reason why I am so excited about this chapter.

The Gentiles shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising. “Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.” – Isaiah 60:3-5

How are these things going to happen? Who is the ONE who is going to bridge the gap of understanding and the chasm of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate that is promulgated throughout the world from B.D.S. and from the United Nations, and even from the present White House. There is only one human bridge that spans this great chasm of some of the nations against Israel and the Jewish people – Yeshua the Messiah. He is the only Jew who has and continues to bridge this gap and connect Jews with non-Jews with the bond of love that was revealed to the World both in His teaching and in His death, burial and resurrection.

Just one more thing: If you want to know what The Apostle Paul meant when he commanded the non-Jews in the Church to provoke Israel to Jealousy in Romans chapter 11, read Isaiah chapter 60, you will get a revelation of what Paul intended for the church to do and also how to do it. This is the only way that the church can fulfill Paul’s command in Romans 11, and it is the only way to partner with God in fulfilling the wonderful promises that He made to all of us in Israel chapter 60. Of course when you read this chapter, and please do read it, you will see that there is some indemnity for those of the nations that refuse to comply and be obedient to God’s expectations as they are lined up in Isaiah in general and in chapter 60 specifically. Please pray that we who are alive today see these promises of Isaiah and the other prophets will be fulfilled soon and in our own eyes we shall behold His Glory.

This article originally appeared as a part of the Jerusalem Prayer List by Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, September 22, 2016, and reposted with permission.