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Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 16

Genesis 19:1-37   -   Isaiah 17:14 - 18:7   -   Psalm 15   -   Luke 17:20-37
 

 

Tammuz 23, 5761 / July 14, 2001 

Tammuz 21, 5764 / July 10, 2004

Tammuz 21, 5767 / July   7, 2007

Tammuz 21, 5770 / July   3, 2010

Tammuz 21, 5773 / June 29, 2013

Tammuz 24, 5776 / July 30, 2016

 

Vayabou sheni / Then Came the Two   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

(V. 1) Then came the two angels to Sodom – one for each mission: one to destroy Sodom and one to save Lot. They got from Hebron to Sodom (50 miles S-SE) very quickly (by evening)! They met Lot at the gates to the city, where elders and judges sit.

 

Lot saw the angels as men, evidenced by his feeding them (v.3), and the men of the city called them men (v.5). The angels came appearing as men, saying, “. . . We shall spend the night in the square”, to test how the men of Sodom would treat them. Yet Lot urged them strongly, so they turned aside – they did not go through the dangerous streets of the city, but took a less noticeable route to Lot’s house, and entered with him.

 

Lot prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread – it was still the seven-day Feast of deliverance, that began when Avraham served them.

 

(V.4) Before they lay down, all the men of Sodom surrounded the house (not just disreputable rabble, but representative citizens), to confront this “outsider-judge” who would defy their social order; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” This is not only sexual sin, but terroristic coercion, opposite to God’s hospitality laws. [See Isaiah 1:10, 3:9, 13:19, Jeremiah 49:18, Ezekiel 16:46-57, Amos 4:11, Lamentations 4:6.]

 

(V.6) But Lot went out to them and shut the door, and said, “Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But their response was, “Stand aside.” “Usually a man will fight to the death for the honor of his wife and daughters, to slay or be slain, yet this man offers his daughters to be dishonored!” – (Tanchuma).

 

Furthermore, they accused Lot, as a sojourner, of acting like their judge, and said; “now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed against Lot until the door was about to break.  But the angels reached out and brought Lot into the house with them, and they struck the Sodomites with blindness, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway: these people were so adamant, that they would not stop when struck blind! They were so fixed on the path of sin that their doom was sealed and announced. [Literally, the Sodomites accused Lot of being “judge of the judgments”, meaning he was judging their laws to be wrong: whence it is taken that Sodom had laws against hospitality – to keep all their wealth for themselves. Thus visitors were made to “pay” for entering.]

 

(V.12) Then the angels said to Lot, “. . . Your son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place.” And Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, to whom his daughters were betrothed, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for Yahweh will destroy the city.” But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting. In the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up, take your wife and your two daughters, who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” BUT LOT HESITATED. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of Yahweh was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. And it came about when they had brought them outside, that one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, lest you be swept away.” BUT LOT SAID TO THEM, “OH NO, my lords! . . . I cannot escape to the mountains, lest the disaster overtake me and I die; now behold, this town (Zoar, the smallest of “the five cities of the plain” called “Sodom and Gomorrah”) is near enough to flee to, and it is small. Please, let me escape there (is it not insignificant?) that my life may be saved.” And the angel said to him, “Behold, I grant you this request also, not to overthrow the town of which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.”

 

How often do we “hesitate”, or say to God’s instruction, “Oh, no! I’d like to do this instead!”

 

Abraham had an attitude problem: he would put his wife in danger to save his own skin. Lot had a greater problem: he outright offered his daughters.

 

But Abraham and Sarah worked together for God: they wanted children to build God’s kingdom, when God said, “move for My sake”, they left home; they both worked to serve wayfarers. Lot had a dysfunctional family: Lot alone invited wayfarers under his part of the roof, and prepared a meal; his wife was not party to the service; when God said, “move to save your life”, Lot hesitated, then said, “Oh, no”, and his wife looked back.

 

(V.23) In the morning when Lot came to Zoar, Yahweh rained brimstone and fire from heaven on all the valley with it’s four cities (leaving out Zoar), killing all the inhabitants and plant life. But Lot’s wife, from behind him, looked back; and she became a pillar of salt.

 

When God calls us out from a life of serving the desires of this world, we are not to longingly look back!

 

Isaiah 17:14

At evening time, behold, there is terror! Before morning they are no more. Such will be the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who pillage us.”

 

(V.30) And Lot, being afraid that Zoar would also be destroyed, in spite of the angel’s assurance, went up and stayed in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; and he stayed in a cave, with his two daughters. Lots two daughters thought that the rest of the earth was destroyed, and there could never be mates for them, and man would therefore perish from the earth. So these two inexperienced young ladies hatched a plan to preserve mankind: they got their father too drunk to know what was going on, then both raped him on consecutive nights. Lest one think that conception is happenstance, they both conceived on their first attempt (conception on one attempt being very rare). The first-born bore a son, and called his name Moab (mo-Av: Of-his-father); he is the father of the Moabites. The younger also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi (Son-of-my-people); he is the father of the sons of Ammon.

 

When we have faith in an all-powerful God, we wait for His provision, not making rash judgments contrary to God’s word, and actions that lead to disaster.

 

(Going back to V. 27) Abraham arose early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before Yahweh; and he looked down toward five cities of the plain, and he saw the smoke of the land ascending. Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow.

 

As with Lot, so with us: we are saved by God’s remembering his covenant with Abraham.

 

Luke 17:28

It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let not the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house go down to take them away; and likewise let not the one who is in the field turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life shall preserve it.

 

Is buying, selling, planting, building, marrying – is this sin? Yes, if it is not to serve God. To have our heart set on the creation, rather than on the creator – this is sin; everything the person of this world does is sin. “Remember Lot’s wife”: let us “set our hearts on things above” – (Colossians 3:2). If we seek to keep this world’s way of life, we lose eternal life (not as “falling from grace”, but displaying that we are not of the faith). We, too, may face this test when Yeshua returns.

 

2 Peter 2:4-10

For if God . . . turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

 

Psalm 15:1

Who may dwell on Your holy hill? . . .

When we live whole-heartedly by God’s standard of righteousness, when we hold Him in awe above all things on earth, when we seek His way and trust everything to His care, then we can live completely at peace, regardless of circumstances. And then also we are prepared, for the Great Sabbath, to dwell with Him in righteousness.

 

We can be like Lot, greedy for the riches of the low life, and end up with a dysfunctional family; or we can be like Avraham, living on high ground, preparing for life in with God in Zion.

 

Mi Yagur (Who may abide) in Your tent” implies permanent residence of the soul in a glorious dwelling. “Mi Yishkon (Who may dwell) on Your Holy Hill” refers to Mount Moriah with the Holy Temple. What are the requirements for our souls to dwell eternally in a glorious body, and to be permitted in God’s House?

 

The requirements relate to the thoughts of our hearts, the words of our mouths, and our actions. This is not “salvation by our own works,” but rather our future resurrection state, and our goal here to be in fellowship with our Creator.

 

Heart

 

 (V.2 & 5) “Who walks in perfect innocence.” We are to walk before Him whole-heartedly, with assurance that He will provide for everything that He wills for us to do. We are not to be anxious about our future (Matthew 6:34).

 

We are not to seek to ‘climb the ladder of success’ by stepping on others, but rather we are to seek the success of others (). We are not to compete unfairly with business rivals. We are not to seek interest when loaning to someone in need, but rather loan with willingness to let it be a gift (Acts 20:35).

 

Speech

 

(V.2b - 3) “Who speaks truth in his heart, and does not slander with his tongue.” We should take care to avoid deceptive speech. If we agree to do something, and later discover it will be unexpectedly expensive to us, we must not go back on our words.

 

We are not to defame another person: this is considered murder, as it is destroying a person’s name (1 John 3:15); slander includes both false and true statements that defame. (There are situations where we are required to defame another, such as in protecting others from danger, and testifying of witnessed criminal behavior to authorities.)

 

(V.4) We are to honor those who fear Yahweh, but we are forbidden to exalt or flatter idolaters.

 

Actions

 

(V.2) “Does what is right” refers to works. We are to be scrupulously honest in our dealings. We are to put others before ourselves: consider our example – Yeshua. We are to write God’s Words on our hearts to know how to follow Him – in other words, study! We are not to be over-involved in this world’s ways. However, we are to be productive here in whatever God has given us to do; we are to work to justify God’s provision for us – that being a different perspective than scheming to amass worldly treasure.

 

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

 

Reader 1* Amen 1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 And he said, "Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant's house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way." They said however, "No, but we shall spend the night in the square." 3 Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

 

Reader 2* Amen 4 Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; 5 and they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them." 6 But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, 7 and said, "Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. 8 "Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof." 9 But they said, "Stand aside." Furthermore, they said, "This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them." So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door.

 

Reader 3* Amen 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway. 12 Then the two men said to Lot, "Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; 13 for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before Yahweh that Yahweh has sent us to destroy it." 14 Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, "Up, get out of this place, for Yahweh will destroy the city." But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

 

Reader 4* Amen 15 When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city." 16 But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of Yahweh was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. 17 When they had brought them outside, one said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away." 18 But Lot said to them, "Oh no, my lords! 19 "Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die;

 

Reader 5* Amen 20 now behold, this town is near enough to flee to, and it is small. Please, let me escape there (is it not small?) that my life may be saved." 21 He said to him, "Behold, I grant you this request also, not to overthrow the town of which you have spoken. 22 "Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there." Therefore the name of the town was called Zoar. 23 The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then Yahweh rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Yahweh out of heaven, 25 and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

 

Reader 6* Amen 27 Now Avraham arose early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before Yahweh; 28 and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace. 29 Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Avraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived. 30 Lot went up from Zoar, and stayed in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; and he stayed in a cave, he and his two daughters.

 

Reader 7* Amen 31 Then the firstborn said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of the earth. 32 "Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him that we may preserve our family through our father." 33 So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn went in and lay with her father; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 34 On the following day, the firstborn said to the younger, "Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father." 35 So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

______________________

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

Isaiah 17:14 - 18:7

Reader 8* Amen 14 At evening time, behold, there is terror! Before morning they are no more. Such will be the portion of those who plunder us and the lot of those who pillage us. 18:1 Alas, oh land of whirring wings which lies beyond the rivers of Cush, 2 which sends envoys by the sea, even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters. Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared far and wide, a powerful and oppressive nation whose land the rivers divide. 3 All you inhabitants of the world and dwellers on earth, as soon as a standard is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and as soon as the trumpet is blown, you will hear it.

 

Reader 9* Amen 4 For thus Yahweh has told me, "I will look from My dwelling place quietly like dazzling heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." 5 For before the harvest, as soon as the bud blossoms and the flower becomes a ripening grape, then He will cut off the sprigs with pruning knives and remove and cut away the spreading branches. 6 They will be left together for mountain birds of prey, and for the beasts of the earth; and the birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them, and all the beasts of the earth will spend harvest time on them. 7 At that time a gift of homage will be brought to Yahweh of hosts from a people tall and smooth, even from a people feared far and wide, a powerful and oppressive nation, whose land the rivers divide – to the place of the name of Yahweh of hosts, even Mount Zion.

 

Psalm 15    (to be sung)  A Psalm of David

1 O Yahweh, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? 2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. 3 He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 in whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honors those who fear Yahweh; he swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 he does not put out his money at interest, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.

 

Luke 17:20-37

Reader 10* Amen 20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst." 22 And He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 "They will say to you, 'Look there! Look here!' Do not go away, and do not run after them. 24 "For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25 "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

 

Reader 11* Amen 28 "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 "On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32 "Remember Lot's wife. 33 "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 "I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 "There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 "Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left." 37 And answering they said to Him, "Where, Lord?" And He said to them, "Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered."

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."


© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)