Noach and Nacham- God Was Sorry?
We are now ankle deep in the new Torah cycle for 5777. Although last week’s Parasha (Bereshit) and this week’s Noach are only two Parashiot….they span a whopping 11 chapters of Torah! Not only that they are jam packed with some of the most incredible accounts (Creation, the fall of man, the first manslaughter, the corruption of man, the flood, re-creation, the Rainbow Covenant, the violation of Noach, Babel and the tower of Nimrod, nearly two whole chapters of genealogy and we are introduced to Avraham Avinu. Whew!)
“Human history is that of the rise and fall of civilizations. One after the other, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome. Each of these reached the heights of power and arrogance, only to enter into decline — just as we see contemporary “civilization” in its decline, with the widespread breakdown of security, social order and moral integrity. The parshah of Noach teaches us about the global, ecological disaster that comes about in the wake of human arrogance, excess and immorality. When man breaks down the boundaries of restraint, the natural order also breaks down in response. This is expressed in the “bursting forth of the springs of the depth and opening of the windows of heaven” that brought the Waters of the Flood upon a corrupt civilization.” While there are so many things we have ‘missed’ and could step into, let us dive in with a word study.
Bereshit 6; 5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם יְהוָ֔ה כִּֽי and the Lord was sorry ( vay·yi·na·cḥem )
This was the phrase which stood out to me. It was found only 7 times as shown in all of Tanakh.
לְאִשָּׁ֖ה וַיֶּאֱהָבֶ֑הָ וַיִּנָּחֵ֥ם יִצְחָ֖ק אַחֲרֵ֥י
And Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and took Rebekah to be his wife. Isaac loved her, and he was comforted after his mother’s death.
-Shortly after the Akeida we read the sudden and singular verse which sums up an incredible life. Ber.23;1 Now Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 Sarah died in Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
*I will read an excerpt from the Book of Yasher which will explain a proposed reason for Sarah’s ‘sudden’ death. See the following for biblical references to this apocryphal source:
Yehoshua 10;3 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Yashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.
2 Sh’muel 1;17 Then David chanted with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar. 19“Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How have the mighty fallen!
2 Timothy 3;8 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.
Yasher 23; 75 And all that Abraham did on this occasion by the altar, he would exclaim and say, This is in the room of my son, and may it this day be considered before the Lord in the place of my son; and Abraham finished the whole of the service by the altar, and the service was accepted before the Lord, and was accounted as if it had been Isaac; and the Lord blessed Abraham and his seed on that day.
76 And Satan went to Sarah, and he appeared to her in the figure of an old man very humble and meek, and Abraham was yet engaged in the burnt offering before the Lord.
77 And he said unto her, Dost thou not know all the work that Abraham has made with thine only son this day? for he took Isaac and built an altar, and killed him, and brought him up as a sacrifice upon the altar, and Isaac cried and wept before his father, but he looked not at him, neither did he have compassion over him.
78 And Satan repeated these words, and he went away from her, and Sarah heard all the words of Satan, and she imagined him to be an old man from amongst the sons of men who had been with her son, and had come and told her these things.
79 And Sarah lifted up her voice and wept and cried out bitterly on account of her son; and she threw herself upon the ground and she cast dust upon her head, and she said, O my son, Isaac my son, O that I had this day died instead of thee. And she continued to weep and said, It grieves me for thee, O my son, my son Isaac, O that I had died this day in thy stead.
80 And she still continued to weep, and said, It grieves me for thee after that I have reared thee and have brought thee up; now my joy is turned into mourning over thee, I that had a longing for thee, and cried and prayed to God till I bare thee at ninety years old; and now hast thou served this day for the knife and the fire, to be made an offering.
81 But I console myself with thee, my son, in its being the word of the Lord, for thou didst perform the command of thy God; for who can transgress the word of our God, in whose hands is the soul of every living creature?
82 Thou art just, O Lord our God, for all thy works are good and righteous; for I also am rejoiced with thy word which thou didst command, and whilst mine eye weepeth bitterly my heart rejoiceth.
83 And Sarah laid her head upon the bosom of one of her handmaids, and she became as still as a stone.
84 She afterward rose up and went about making inquiries till she came to Hebron, and she inquired of all those whom she met walking in the road, and no one could tell her what had happened to her son.
85 And she came with her maid servants and men servants to Kireath-arba, which is Hebron, and she asked concerning her Son, and she remained there while she sent some of her servants to seek where Abraham had gone with Isaac; they went to seek him in the house of Shem and Eber, and they could not find him, and they sought throughout the land and he was not there.
86 And behold, Satan came to Sarah in the shape of an old man, and he came and stood before her, and he said unto her, I spoke falsely unto thee, for Abraham did not kill his son and he is not dead; and when she heard the word her joy was so exceedingly violent on account of her son, that her soul went out through joy; she died and was gathered to her people.
87 And when Abraham had finished his service he returned with his son Isaac to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba, and they came home.
88 And Abraham sought for Sarah, and could not find her, and he made inquiries concerning her, and they said unto him, She went as far as Hebron to seek you both where you had gone, for thus was she informed.
89 And Abraham and Isaac went to her to Hebron, and when they found that she was dead they lifted up their voices and wept bitterly over her; and Isaac fell upon his mother’s face and wept over her, and he said, O my mother, my mother, how hast thou left me, and where hast thou gone? O how, how hast thou left me!
90 And Abraham and Isaac wept greatly and all their servants wept with them on account of Sarah, and they mourned over her a great and heavy mourning.
– After Sarah’s death Avraham goes to seek a burial place for her and the Tomb at Machpelah is purchased for an exorbitant fee. Next Abraham charges Eleazar to go find Yitzach a wife after which we are introduced to the house of Lavan. Rivka agrees to come to Canaan and become a part of Abraham’s house and then we find the context of our verse. Then Abraham dies, this is a pivotal point in the Torah as the Son of Promise now takes up the reigns of the Covenant and continues Avraham’s journey.
אֵֽשֶׁת־ יְהוּדָ֑ה וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם יְהוּדָ֗ה וַיַּ֜עַל
Now after a considerable time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and when the time of mourning was ended (was comforted), Judah went up to his sheep shearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
-In the very next verse Tamar is alerted that Yehudah will be going her way and she sits at the road having removed her widows garb exchanging it for that of a Harlot and Yehudah end’s up going into her. The result of this union is offspring which are of the line of the Son of Promise-Yeshua HaMashiac.
וַיִּנָּ֖חֶם יְהוָ֑ה עַל
And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
-This verse is post Golden calf, most Moshe’s intercession on their behalf. It was at this time that Moshe recall’s the promise that Yitzack was to fulfill- the Abrahamic Covenant of which we are all a part and Moshe rejects the opportunity for God to ‘start from scratch’ with him. Then Levi would have been central and Messiah Yeshua’s line would not have prevailed. Pivotal.)
2 Sh’muel 24:16
יְרֽוּשָׁלִַם֮ לְשַׁחֲתָהּ֒ וַיִּנָּ֤חֶם יְהוָה֙ אֶל
15 So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. 16 When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, “It is enough! Now relax your hand!” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
– This passage comes after the census David takes which angers God and David chooses the Sword of the Lord as punishment. After which David ends up purchasing the Threshing Floor which is the site of the future Temple Mount. Again, Pivotal moment.)
1 Chronicles 21:15
רָאָ֤ה יְהוָה֙ וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם עַל־ הָֽרָעָ֔ה
15 And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw and was sorry over the calamity, and said to the destroying angel, “It is enough; now relax your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 Then David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, covered with sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 David said to God, “Is it not I who commanded to count the people? Indeed, I am the one who has sinned and done very wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done? O Lord my God, please let Your hand be against me and my father’s household, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.”
פְּנֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם יְהוָ֔ה אֶל
2 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the Lord’s house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word! 3 Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.’אוּלַ֣י יִשְׁמְע֔וּ וְיָשֻׁ֕בוּ אִ֖ישׁ מִדַּרְכֹּ֣ו הָרָעָ֑ה וְנִחַמְתִּ֣י אֶל־הָרָעָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֤י חֹשֵׁב֙ לַעֲשֹׂ֣ות לָהֶ֔ם מִפְּנֵ֖י רֹ֥עַ מַעַלְלֵיהֶֽם 4 And you will say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, 5 to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened; 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh, and this city I will make a curse to all the nations of the earth.”’”
-It is at this point the officials and the people surround Jeremiah in the Temple and declare he is to be sentenced to death.
12 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and to all the people, saying, “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. 13 Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will change His mind יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם וְיִנָּחֵ֣ם יְהוָ֔ה אֶל about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you. 14 But as for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as is good and right in your sight.
-Yirmeyahu’s words are received in that the people decide not to put him to death at this point. Still, some of the elders of the people raise a rebuttal siting several cases where prophets who prophesied with the Word of the Lord against Jerusalem were indeed slain and the Lord hadn’t brought about the city’s destruction.
19 Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, and the Lord changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But we are committing a great evil against ourselves.”
מִדַּרְכָּ֣ם הָרָעָ֑ה וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם הָאֱלֹהִ֗ים עַל
9“Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish. ” מִֽי־יֹודֵ֣עַ יָשׁ֔וּב וְנִחַ֖ם הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים וְשָׁ֛ב מֵחֲרֹ֥ון אַפֹּ֖ו וְלֹ֥א נֹאבֵֽד 10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.
-Yonah is commanded by Hashem to go warn the people of Ninevah (the Capital city of the ruling Assyrian Empire), a people who had forcibly enslaved and dragged into captivity many of his own people, perhaps friends or even family. This is one reason Yonah runs from his appointed task. Still, Hashem desires for all men to come to repentance and for a short time the repentance of Ninveh (in entirety from man to beast) is genuine, and accepted by God.
I think this concept is one of the most challenging we can look at from our finite human vision. We know God is perfect, we know He is omniscient, we know He doesn’t change. So how can it be that He ‘repents’! Let’s look at the word Nacham in it’s Torah contexts (once again there is a relatively small amount of occurrences) :
#5162 Nacham (v) נָחַם- to lament, to grieve, to pity, to repent, to comfort oneself, to be revenged, to take vengeance, to comfort, to be comforted.
Ber. 5:29 Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will give us rest יְנַחֲמֵנוּ from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the LORD has cursed.”
Ber. 6:6 The LORD was sorry וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
Ber. 6:7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry נִחַמְתִּי that I have made them.”
Ber. 24:67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted וַיִּנָּחֵם after his mother’s death.
Ber. 27:42 Now when the words of her elder son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she sent and called her younger son Jacob, and said to him, “Behold your brother Esau is consoling מִתְנַחֵם himself concerning you by planning to kill you.
(Discuss context and suggest appropriate definition application.)
Ber. 37:35 Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort לְנַחֲמֹו him, but he refused to be comforted לְהִתְנַחֵם. And he said, “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.” So his father wept for him. (Discuss context and suggest appropriate definition application.)
Ber. 38:12 Now after a considerable time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and when the time of mourning וַיִּנָּחֶם was ended, Judah went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
(Read Ber. 50: 14- 22) 21 “So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted וַיְנַחֵם them and spoke kindly to them.
Shemot 13:17 Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, “The people might change their minds יִנָּחֵם when they see war, and return to Egypt.”
Exo 32:12 “Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind וְהִנָּחֵם about doing harm to Your people.
Shemot 32:14 So the LORD changed His mind וַיִּנָּחֶם about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
Bem. 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent וְיִתְנֶחָם ; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Dev. 32:36 “For the LORD will vindicate His people, And will have compassion יִתְנֶחָם on His servants, when He sees that their strength is gone, and there is none remaining, bond or free.
THIS IS INCREDIBLE! We’ve followed the original ‘phrase’ וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם vayyinacḥem “and he was sorry” throughout pivotal portions of the Tanakh and then traced נָחַם Nacham through the Torah. We’re looking to find out what does it possibly mean for God to repent or be “sorry” and what do we see: We found Nacham in the same verses vayyinacḥem, where they differ tells a story!!
1) Ber. 5:29 introduces us to a man (Noach) who will rectify the exile from the garden (and failure of Cain to be restorer) in that it is stated he will console the generation from the pain of a cursed earth….
Bereshit 4; 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Bereshit 4; 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. 11 Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.”
And yet, was Lamech accurate in his prediction? He didn’t restore the generation but he was a central figure in the potential refuge for the generation. Only….no one chose to join him. The flood was decreed, exacted & It was 8 people who entered the ark/ Teivah & 8 who left. Still it was the GRACE that Noach found with God that allowed for re-creation.
2) Ber. 27:42 shows us text in which another brother has declared his intention to intentionally murder his brother. He seemingly eagerly waits for his father’s death after which he will pursue Ya’acov and end him, thus ending the Abrahamic destiny. [Indeed, Esav proved no potential or will to walk in covenant with Hashem, being light to nations, guarding His Torah or keeping His commandments & showing them how to be Kadosh L’Adonai.] Ya’acov’s mother warns him he must leave for Esav’s vengeance was a very real threat. This is the threshold at which Ya’acov sets forth into a journey which will eventually lead him to multiple wives, jealousy which would extend through generations & into Egypt where he finally makes his return to the dust.
3) In Bereshit 37:35 we find Ya’acov beyond consolation due to the terrible realization that we may overcome the sins of our past but we are often bound to reap their consequences for years and years onward. Ya’acov has lost Yoseph deceived by a garment as he had once done, he is told that wild beasts have devoured the son of the loved wife- the one whom he believed would pursue the Abrahamic destiny. A covering he hid behind – deception he imposed upon his own father to gain the bechor blessing was similarly worn by Leah whose father Laban reminded him “this is not how it is done, to give the younger before the firstborn.” She would ever be longing for the position of first in Ya’acov’s life. Strife bred within the household was evident among the children as Ya’acov blatantly (even if with founded reason) favors Yoseph. The jealousy is so powerful, stalking at the door, ever toward the brothers… that they deliberate and find the capability to murder their brother. Yet exile instead is the result and Yoseph is enslaved in Egypt.
Bereshit 4; 3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” 8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
Yasher 1; 16 And unto Cain and his offering the Lord did not turn, and he did not incline to it, for he had brought from the inferior fruit of the ground before the Lord, and Cain was jealous against his brother Abel on account of this, and he sought a pretext to slay him.
17 And in some time after, Cain and Abel his brother, went one day into the field to do their work; and they were both in the field, Cain tilling and ploughing his ground, and Abel feeding his flock; and the flock passed that part which Cain had ploughed in the ground, and it sorely grieved Cain on this account.
18 And Cain approached his brother Abel in anger, and he said unto him, What is there between me and thee, that thou comest to dwell and bring thy flock to feed in my land?
19 And Abel answered his brother Cain and said unto him, What is there between me and thee, that thou shalt eat the flesh of my flock and clothe thyself with their wool?
20 And now therefore, put off the wool of my sheep with which thou hast clothed thyself, and recompense me for their fruit and flesh which thou hast eaten, and when thou shalt have done this, I will then go from thy land as thou hast said?
21 And Cain said to his brother Abel, Surely if I slay thee this day, who will require thy blood from me?
22 And Abel answered Cain, saying, Surely God who has made us in the earth, he will avenge my cause, and he will require my blood from thee shouldst thou slay me, for the Lord is the judge and arbiter, and it is he who will requite man according to his evil, and the wicked man according to the wickedness that he may do upon earth.
23 And now, if thou shouldst slay me here, surely God knoweth thy secret views, and will judge thee for the evil which thou didst declare to do unto me this day.
24 And when Cain heard the words which Abel his brother had spoken, behold the anger of Cain was kindled against his brother Abel for declaring this thing.
25 And Cain hastened and rose up, and took the iron part of his ploughing instrument, with which he suddenly smote his brother and he slew him, and Cain spilt the blood of his brother Abel upon the earth, and the blood of Abel streamed upon the earth before the flock.
26 And after this Cain repented having slain his brother, and he was sadly grieved, and he wept over him and it vexed him exceedingly.
27 And Cain rose up and dug a hole in the field, wherein he put his brother’s body, and he turned the dust over it.
Bereshit 37; 4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms….18 When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death. 19 They said to one another, “ Here comes this dreamer! 20 Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, ‘A wild beast devoured him.’ Then let us see what will become of his dreams!”23 So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him; 24 and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood?
4) Bereshit 50; 21 Is a flash forward and Yoseph having passed test after test and enduring trial after trial is enabled by Hashem to rise to the heights of power in this foreign land of exile. He indeed has found success as the destined descendant of Avraham and maintained the capability to bear light to the nations, upholding Torah values even in a place of paganism and idolatry. Eventually his own brothers seek his salvation due to the continued reality of the cursed ground hearkening back to the fall of man and even the first manslaughter once again. Again a covered identity allows for a saga of drama and suspense to culminate in a true teshuvah within Yehudah, the betrayer and the relationship between the brothers is repaired. But though there is forgiveness found the consequences are a reality and the brothers have fear that their savior may not be so benevolent once their father is no longer in the picture. They conceived that perhaps Joseph would be waiting as Esav once had for that day of the death of the father for vengeance to be served. And again we see that Yoseph has accomplished a tikun for what years ago drove his father from his homeland and family comfort. A grudge he does not hold and he assures his brother, he does see the bigger picture and he does “bring God into things”. Furthermore, he has brought comfort to the land by using its produce and storing it then sharing it and preserving more than just himself and his household in an ark of salvation, Yoseph’s capability
in the role of comforter and son of promise is full and evident.
Bereshit 27; 41 So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
Bereshit 50; 5 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
5) That last verse can extend into the life of Moshe. The Pharaoh who rose and chose to put aside everything God Almighty had done through Yoseph in the entire land of Egypt turned the Nile into a vessel of death a tomb for countless Hebrew baby boys. God’s providence made those waters salvation for a little boy who found grace in the sight of Pharaoh’s own daughter. Everything that came before was leading to this point at which God would take His people out of Mitzrayim. Not just a place, but a state of mind. He took them all out calling them as equals, a whole family, a unit, His Firstborn son. When He did this, as a Father, He knew that He could not take them from the point of being tender, weaken, assimilated, slaves directly into the Promised Land. He knew they needed to experience a journey which would ultimately take forty years until ‘they’ were ready to continue their role as sons of promise & uphold the Abrahamic destiny.
Shemot 4; 21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.”’”
6) Now the rub! Shemot 32:12, we find Moshe pleading on behalf of the people. The ultimate proof that the Great King was correct to wait and allow his children to grow up before handing them the kingdom. Even after His demolition of each and every central Egyptian pagan deity through plague after plague and wonder after wonder, again waterways becoming a channel for deliverance, and provision in a barren wasteland the people sin and choose to cling to what they know, what they can see and touch, something that makes sense to them in the state they are in. And Moshe pleads for them. Intercede’s for them. So why does it seem in the simple reading of :
“And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people” …that God changed somehow? Because in Shemot 32:12 we can see in fact God is being the Father to His servant Moshe, Father to His Son Israel and having mercy. He is responding to Moshe’s request- immediately : “Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
God RESPONDS to us. He is moved by our groaning. He calls us out of impossible situations and He has stated the reasons for His deliverance. ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me!’
7) To Avraham it was said, “ Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Ber. 12;1-3) This too is our charge, to be a blessing to this world. To shine the light of Torah into the darkest places and be resilient no matter the circumstances because we ARE blessed by Him.
No God is not a man that He should lie. He states what His intentions are for us unto our captors whomever they may be, to our enemy- the destroyer who always seeks our death and exile from God. God responds: ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me!’ And He is considerate of our pleas- prayers- requests. Yes it is in accord with the will of our Father to take the cursing of the enemy and turn it into a blessing before our very eyes! Read it as if it is (as it is) for you!
“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? “Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it. “He has not observed misfortune in Jacob; Nor has He seen trouble in Israel; The Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. “God brings them out of Egypt, He is for them like the horns of the wild ox. “For there is no omen against Jacob, Nor is there any divination against Israel;
At the proper time it shall be said to Jacob and to Israel, what God has done! Bem. 23;19-23
8) The 8th and final difference between the occurrence of vayinachem and nacham …. certainly does speak of something beyond. In the context of one of the closing chapters of the Torah and an Eternal command to teach the Song of Moshe (which will be sung as/along with the Song of the Lamb Rev. 15) to progeny in Hashem forever, we find ideas from the garden and the fall of man (serpent) as well as the reality of vengeance being unto the Lord alone (not a brother toward a brother), the grace awaiting the servants of Hashem (as Noah found, and all His sons at the height of ordeal, when their own strength is spent), and the truth that God does not change and what He says will be done. Yeshua will reveal himself to his brothers, and He will comfort them. He will have mercy on His nation Israel and avenge the spilled blood of the saints in his name. Verse seems to 43 speaks of a future time when the people and the land will be atoned for by God. This hearkens us back to the flood, and an earth where all flesh had become corrupted and filled with chamas- violence.
Devarim 32; 33“Their wine is the venom of serpents, and the deadly poison of cobras. 34 ‘Is it not laid up in store with Me, sealed up in My treasuries? 35 ‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near, and the impending things are hastening upon them.’ 36 “For the Lord will vindicate His people, and will have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their strength is gone, and there is none remaining, bond or free. 37 “And He will say, ‘Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge? 38 ‘Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your hiding place! 39 ‘See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand. 40 ‘Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, as I live forever, 41 If I sharpen My flashing sword, and My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, and I will repay those who hate Me. 42 ‘I will make My arrows drunk with blood, and My sword will devour flesh, with the blood of the slain and the captives,
From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.’ 43 “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance on His adversaries, and will atone for His land and His people.”
Yes before the flood we saw our Creator, who looked upon all He had given and seen that it was beyond repair. The depth of the depravity was such that even the earth itself was suffering. God was grieving. He was lamenting and perhaps the floodwaters were like His tears. The depravity had ‘broken the heart’ of the Father and yet He had mercy. He took pity on the one man who walked in His ways and from that man all peoples would be preserved. When it seem’s that God has Nacham it is not that He changes or is fallible that He should be sorry or repent, it is proof that although we serve the One God Who causes death and brings life and has all power and authority and beyond our finite understanding….His Nacham is not evidence of an incongruence within scripture or to the given Nature of God, it is proof that He responds to humanity on a very deep level. He has pity and compassion and is willing to sheath His sword and dry up the flood waters or split a sea or keep near and dear to Him a Nation He promised would be His bride despite their infidelity. There is always far reaching repercussion and consequences for sin. Yes, today we can be very thankful that God is willing to turn from the calamity that a depraved race has warranted. Teivah- Ark also means a “word”: a word is a vessel that sails the airwaves between my mouth and your ear, bearing a cargo of meaning and strength. Today, we should be encouraged to make the pleas and supplications as intercessors on behalf of our families, communities, Nation, and the world. And rest in the Promise that He has provided an ‘Ark’ for us as the waters rise once more it is His Torah, His word. Today we can be very thankful for Nacham נָחַם and the knowledge that God will comfort us when things get to the height of chaos and all our strength is spent. He will comfort us with our Salvation- Yeshua.
John 16;17 Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. 21 Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. 21 In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.…” 31 Yeshua answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Eternal life, is now. It starts now. If we believe that God is with us, all the time, that He doesn’t leave us- ever. Even when were cleaning the floor, or swabbing our ears, taking out the litter, does He leave us for a minute and return? No. He is with us all the time. If we can appreciate the value of a King who will go into the trenches with us, the floods, the exiles, the losses, the pain, the worst pain…He was with you always, He never left… you want God? God is here. Is there a Higher Level than to be in the Holy of Holies with Hashem? Close your eyes, concentrate, open your heart and pray. You’re there. Shabbat Shalom!
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