Thoughts and Teachings: Haftarah Bo

In this week’s Torah portion, Bo, (Exodus 10:1 – 13:16) Egypt experienced the last three plagues, locust, darkness, and the death of the first-born. The hardness, or resolve of Pharaoh’s heart was finally (though not permanently) dissolved and the physical exodus of the children of Jacob was about to begin. The Haftarah passage, Jeremiah 46:13-28, reiterates HaShem’s soon coming judgment on Egypt at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. As with the pronouncement in last week’s passage (Ezekiel 28:25 – 29:21), the glory and pride of mighty Egypt will be brought low by another, greater power – Babylon. Also, as in last week’s passage (Ezekiel 29:13), Egypt will not be left in exile and judgment. The LORD through Jeremiah comforts Egypt with “Afterward Egypt shall be inhabited as in the days of old, declares the LORD,” (Jeremiah 46:26b). Following the LORD’s fulfillment of His promise to Egypt, “Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD,” (Ezekiel 29:6) thus showing that discipline and judgment are not out of spite or revenge, even for those who are enemies of the LORD or Israel. The LORD states through the prophet Ezekiel, “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23).

After the pronounced judgment and restoration of Egypt is made, the Ruach changes directions, focusing once again on Jacob:

“But fear not, O Jacob my servant, nor be dismayed, O Israel, for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid. Fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, for I am with you. I will make a full end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but of you I will not make a full end.  I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.” (Jeremiah 46:27-28)

Twice in two verses, the LORD says “fear not” followed by “don’t be dismayed” “I am with you.” It could be that Yeshua was echoing Jeremiah when He told His disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me,” (John 14:1). Later, in the same chapter, Yeshua states, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid,” (14:27). Yeshua knew that life circumstances and even heavenly discipline would cause the disciples, as well as the rest of us, to be troubled or afraid at times. But the assurance He left with His disciples, like the affirmation the LORD gave to Jacob, remain for us today. ADONAI Tzva’ot is with us, preforming His Word and watching over His promises.

In closing some words of comfort and encouragement from Psalm 145 which Charles H Spurgeon called David’s Psalm of Praise, claiming it was David’s favorite psalm:

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made. (:8-9)

The LORD is faithful in all His words and kind in all His works. (:13b)

You open your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing. LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works. (:16-17)

And finally, the pièce de résistance:

The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them. (:18-19)

Enjoy and celebrate the presence of the LORD this Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom

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Michael Hillel with his wife Vered and their three children, made aliyah from the US in late 80s, and in biblical fashion has, for the last 27 years, done whatever his hands have found to do. In 2013 Michael began working on a MA degree in Messianic Jewish Theology. Using the tools learned from his studies, he has been writing teaching and devotional materials from both the Tanakh and Apostolic Writings. Since Messianic Judaism shares a communal context with both Judaism and Christianity, he incorporates material from both traditionally Jewish and Christian perspectives.