Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 23

Genesis 25:1-26:11   -   Isaiah 65:23-66:8   -   (No Psalm)   -   Hebrews 12:14-29


Elul 13, 5761 /  Sept 1,  2001

Elul 11, 5764 / Aug 28, 2004

Elul 11, 5767 / Aug 25, 2007 

Elul 11, 5770 / Aug 21, 2010

Elul 11, 5773 / Aug 17, 2013

Elul 14, 5776 / Sept 17, 2016

Elul 14, 5779 / Sept 14, 2019

Elul 14, 5782 / Sept 10, 2022


V'yasaf Av'raham / So Av'raham again   SCRIPTURES should be read first


At the age of 140, Avraham had provided for the marriage of Yitzchak. The narrative will focus next on Yitzchak. The last 35 years of Avraham’s life, and the generations of Ishmael, will be quickly summarized.


Keturah is Aramaic for restrained. The sages say that Avraham remarried Hagar, who remained chaste during her separation, and was thus called Keturah. Their subsequent children were “sent away” (v.6), after receiving gifts from their fatheer. Ishmael, however, was present to participate in Avraham’s funeral (v.9), and his sons became chiefs of twelve nations according to God’s promise (v.17:20).


Avraham gave all that he had to Yitzchak, according to the will that he had sent with Eliezar in seeking a bride for Yitxchak (v.24:10). Yitzchak stayed in the Promised Land and inherited the priesthood.



Avraham is 175 years old and has just died.

Isaac is 75 years old, Rebecca is 49 years old.

Jacob and Esau are 15 years old. 48 years in the future Jacob will receive the blessing.


For Avraham’s funeral attendants, Jacob, the keeper at home/farm, was making the traditional funeral meal – lentil stew. Esau was out pursuing his trapping/deceiving. Jacob wanted to lead the family in spiritual ways, while Esau wanted to gulp a meal and get back to his sinful life.



(V. 23) Yahweh said to Rebecca, "Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples shall be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the elder shall serve the younger."

(V.29-34) And when Jacob had cooked (red lentil) stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, "Please pour down me some of that red . . . red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, "First sell me your birthright." And Esau said, "Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?" And Jacob said, "First swear to me"; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.


“The elder (Esau) shall serve the younger (Jacob).”

According to Midrash Or HaAfeilah, this prophecy shall be fulfilled in the days of Messiah: “When Jacob later addressing Esau referred to himself as ‘your servant Jacob’ (v. 32:5), God said to him, ‘not only have you profaned the holy (by referring to yourself as his servant and addressing him as my lord Esau), but additionally you thereby disregard My promise that the elder shall serve the younger. By your life! Your own words shall materialize: Esau will dominate you in this world, but you will dominate him in the world to come.’ ” Although Esau’s forces will be mightier and emerge triumphant in his quest for material strength, ultimately it will be seen that Esau’s victories will have paved the way for Jacob’s final triumph. The representative of strength will not be destroyed, but will submit to a new realization that spiritual principles are superior. – Artscroll Tanach


The birthright was the priesthood-of-the-firstborn (and secondly material inheritance). It cannot be sold or purchased, but Esau lost the position by sin and disregard for spirituality.

[Discuss holy and profane.]



The Hebrew word for twins (v. 24) means two alike, but here it is spelled defectively, indicating that Jacob and Esau were not alike. God said of them, even before they were born, “Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated.”


Note: This is a Bible topic, not an “Old Testament” or “New Testament” issue. God did not divide His Word into two sets of books, one to supersede the other. The “New Covenant” is defined in Jeremiah 31: see commentary Y1-10.


The subject of God’s sovereignty is not well accepted, even in religious circles. Objectors usually ignore the Scriptures and base argument on feelings. But the Scriptures are overwhelming on the subject, and objections are anticipated and answered.


The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of Yahweh; He turns it wherever He wishes (Proverbs 21:1). There are many examples, throughout the Bible, of how God is sovereign over rulers: the Pharaohs (Genesis 40, Exodus 4:21) and Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:35) are prime ones.


All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ ” (Daniel 4:35). We do not have the standing to even question God’s doings!


While it is popular (though unbiblical) to say that God hates sin but loves the sinner, David said of God: “You hate all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5).


Now, let us look at the examples of Jacob and Esau.


Malachi 1:1

The oracle of the word of Yahweh to Israel through Malachi. 2 "I have loved you," says Yahweh. But you say, "How hast Thou loved us?" "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares Yahweh. "Yet I have loved Jacob; 3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation, and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness." 4 Though Edom says, "We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins"; thus says Yahweh of hosts, "They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom Yahweh is indignant forever." 5 And your eyes will see this and you will say, "Yahweh be magnified beyond the border of Israel!"


Romans 9:8

That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. 9 For this is a word of promise: "At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son." 10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." 13 Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. 19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? 


Paul, using the examples of Jacob and Esau, shows that God raises up whomsoever He wills: some to serve Him, some to be destroyed. So (from those who think that God should be under man’s rules, and that responsibility necessitates “free” will) Paul anticipates the question of God being unfair: How then can God find fault? For who has resisted His will? Paul answers: O worm of a man, who do you think you are to find fault with God? 


In Hebrews, we read that Esau was a godless person. He would give up spiritual position for food. We are warned to not be like that.


God has raised us up for a greater-than-imaginable promised future: we owe the greatest possible respect!



"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 So again Avraham took a wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore to him Zimran and Jokshan and Medan and Midian and Ishbak and Shuah. 3 Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim and Letushim and Leummim. 4 The sons of Midian were Ephah and Epher and Hanoch and Abida and Eldaah. All these were the sons of Keturah. 5 Now Avraham gave all that he had to Yitzchak; 6 but to the sons of his concubines, Avraham gave gifts while he was still living, and sent them away from his son Yitzchak eastward, to the land of the east.

Reader 2* Amen 7 These are all the years of Avraham's life that he lived, one hundred and seventy-five years. 8 Avraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people. 9 Then his sons Yitzchak and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre, 10 the field which Avraham purchased from the sons of Heth; there Avraham was buried with Sarah his wife. 11 It came about after the death of Avraham, that God blessed his son Yitzchak; and Yitzchak lived by Beer-lahai-roi.

Reader 3* Amen 12 Now these are the records of the generations of Ishmael, Avraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's maid, bore to Avraham; 13 and these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael, and Kedar and Adbeel and Mibsam 14 and Mishma and Dumah and Massa, 15 Hadad and Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages, and by their camps; twelve princes according to their tribes. 17 These are the years of the life of Ishmael, one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people. 18 They settled from Havilah to Shur which is east of Egypt as one goes toward Assyria; he settled in defiance of all his relatives.

[V’elleh toldot  (These are the generations]

Reader 4* Amen 19 Now these are the records of the generations of Yitzchak, Avraham's son: Avraham became the father of Yitzchak; 20 and Yitzchak was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 Yitzchak prayed to Yahweh on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and Yahweh answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of Yahweh. 23 Yahweh said to her, "Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger." 24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Yitzchak was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.

Reader 5* Amen 27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Yitzchak loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, "Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, "First sell me your birthright."

 32 Esau said, "Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?" 33 And Jacob said, "First swear to me"; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Reader 6* Amen 26:1 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Avraham. So Yitzchak went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. 2 Yahweh appeared to him and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 "Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Avraham. 4 "I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Avraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws." 6 So Yitzchak lived in Gerar.

Reader 7* Amen 7 When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, "She is my sister," for he was afraid to say, "my wife," thinking, "the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful." 8 It came about, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out through a window, and saw, and behold, Yitzchak was caressing his wife Rebekah. 9 Then Abimelech called Yitzchak and said, "Behold, certainly she is your wife! How then did you say, 'She is my sister '?" And Yitzchak said to him, "Because I said, 'I might die on account of her.'" 10 Abimelech said, "What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us." 11 So Abimelech charged all the people, saying, "He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death."


"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 65:23 – 66:8

Reader 8* Amen 23 "They will not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they are the offspring of those blessed by Yahweh, and their descendants with them. 24 "It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25 "The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says Yahweh.

Reader 9* Amen 66:1 Thus says Yahweh, "Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? 2 "For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being," declares Yahweh. "But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. 3 "But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; he who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog's neck; he who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine's blood; he who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, 4 so I will choose their punishments and will bring on them what they dread. Because I called, but no one answered; I spoke, but they did not listen. And they did evil in My sight and chose that in which I did not delight."

Reader 10* Amen 5 Hear the word of Yahweh, you who tremble at His word: "Your brothers who hate you, who exclude you for My name's sake, Have said, 'Let Yahweh be glorified, that we may see your joy.' But they will be put to shame. 6 "A voice of uproar from the city, a voice from the temple, the voice of Yahweh who is rendering recompense to His enemies. 7 "Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy. 8 "Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons.


[no Psalm]


Hebrews 12:14-29

Reader 11* Amen 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. 18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20 For they could not bear the command, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned." 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, "I am full of fear and trembling."

Reader 12* Amen 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Yeshua, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. 25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens." 27 This expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

"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)