Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #49: Ki Tetze (When you go out) D’varim (Deuteronomy) 21:10-25-19
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 54:1-10
B’rit Chadashah: Mark 12:18-27
D’varim, 25:17: Remember what Amalek did to you on the way, when you were leaving Egypt. That he happened upon you on the way, and he killed among you all the weaklings at your rear, when you were faint and exhausted, and he did not fear G-d.
This week’s parashah presents what should present a sobering thought to believers and unbelievers, especially considering the educational and social paradigm of contemporary society.
One of the meanings for the word ‘korcha” means cold and heat. The example I will use today goes like this: When we boil water to cook something and we notice the water is boiling, we place something in the water. Immediately, the water is cooled and we must wait for it to boil again. The Parsha ends with the exhortation to remember Amalek’s heinous deed of attacking the Israelites in the desert, and to commit to wiping out this evil nation. The Torah stresses that Amalek ‘happened upon’ the people. The Amalekites were and are a people who view the world and its events without any regard for a Higher Power. This may be equated with secular humanism of today. The non- Israelites worshipped false gods but they believed in the idea of a power guiding a nation. Accordingly, they believed in the ‘G-d of the Jews’ and paid heed to His protection of the Israelites. Amalek, in contrast believed in no force, therefore they attributed all of the wondrous events of the Exodus to chance. Accordingly, they could ignore all the signs and attack Israel without fear of any Divine retribution.
Amalek viewed everything as being a result of happenstance, therefore, they attributed even the greatest miracles to chance. Consequently, they remained totally cold and unmoved by all the events of the Exodus. Their brazen disregard for the great miracles that took place also served to weaken the fear of the other nations by placing an element of doubt as to whether these events were merely the result of chance.
We have seen that the root of Amalek’s evil was their belief in the randomness of events and the accompanying total rejection of a Higher Being. This caused them to react ‘coldly’ to everything that they witnessed, and even to cause other nations to ‘cool down’ their fear of the Israelites (all true believers defined by Yahshua in John Chapter 14 and the Sevenfold Witness in the book of Revelation. This attitude is something that is unique to Amalek amongst all the nations, and in a certain sense, poses more of a danger to Torah observance than the idolatrous beliefs of the other nations. It causes true believers to lose their sense of wonder about the miracles that surround them, and to even subconsciously attribute them to chance. Moreover, it prevents a person from learning from events around him, making him immune to the lessons that G-d sends him.
After they are defeated by the Israelites at Rephadim, God promises unending judgement on Amalek in Exodus 17:
14 Then the L-rd said to Moshe,” Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Y’hoshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 1: And Moshe built an altar and called the name of it, The L-rd Is My Banner, 16 saying ‘A hand upon the throne of the L-rd! The L-rd will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
The reason for the judgement and the form of the judgement are given in slightly more detail in Deuteronomy 25:
17“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, 18how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. 19Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.
The Amalekites were never friends of Israel. In Numbers, they violently opposed Israel’s entrance into Canaan. In Judges, they are mentioned several times as Israel’s tormentors. If there was a positive quality to their lives, it was consistency. They were never anything but cruel and cowardly people, were always at odds with Israel, and were never shown mercy from G-d. If in your reading of the Bible the Amalekites show up, you now may already know that they will abuse some innocent, helpless victim and that, in the end, G-d will destroy them.
Balaam mentioned Amalek as “first of the nations”, adding that “his latter end shall be that he perish forever” (Num.24:20). “First of the nations” refers to the fact that the Amalekites were the first of the nations to oppose Israel after their exodus from Egypt. Balaam’s dreadful prophecy of the Amalekites’ gloomy end echoes God’s promise that He would “put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” (Ex.17:16).
Another element which colors every story in which Amalekites are involved is that by the end of the account, the Amalekites involved are either dead or in a ruinous condition. The faithfulness of G-d to His promise in Exodus to fight against Amalek throughout all generations is witnessed by every generation of Israelites, even to the latest book, Esther.
The secret of understanding a primary message of the book of Esther is to know that an “Agagite” is an Amalekite. When this is understood, Mordecai’s refusal to bow the knee to Haman the Agagite appears in a brighter light. His unwillingness to bow does not indicate in Mordecai a stubborn, proud spirit; rather, it is an indication of Mordecai’s faithfulness to G-d’s attitude toward Amalekites. Mordecai would not bow to an Amalekite because of his faith in God. And it is possible as well that, Haman being an Amalekite, Mordecai might even have feared G-d’s wrath upon himself if he had bowed to him. It is evidence of Mordecai’s great faith in G-d’s word that he would risk his life by refusing to bow before an Amalekite, even if the Amalekite had become a man of great political power. Mordecai trusted the power of G-d’s curse to be of greater effect than Haman’s favor in the eyes of the Persian king. The story of Esther instructs us about the faithfulness of G-d, because it is the very latest book written in the Old Testament, while G-d promised to war with Amalek in one of the earliest books, Exodus. Thus, from near the beginning of Old Testament history to the very end, we see and will continue to see G-d fulfilling His promises to Israel
According to the Book of Genesis and 1 Chronicles, Amalek was the son of Eliphaz and the concubine Timna. Timna was a Horite and sister of Lotan. Amalek appears in the genealogy of Esau (Gen. 36:12; 1 Chr. 1:36) who was the chief of an Edomite tribe (Gen. 36:16). Amalek is described as the “chief of Amalek” in Genesis 36:16, in which it is surmised that he ruled a clan or territory named after him. In the chant of Balaam at Numbers, 24:20, Amalek was called the ‘first of the nations’, attesting to high antiquity. This information provides us a way to transition to the B’rit Chadashah to see how G-d will fulfill His promise to completely destroy Amalek.
The complete destruction of Amalek/Esau/Edom is also foretold by some of the Prophets such as Isaiah 34:1-17; Jeremiah 49:7-22; Obadiah, and Malachi 1:1-4. Please read these to enhance your understanding of this teaching. The point is that Amalek lives today and is a growing threat to G-d’s people. This is anti-Semitism and antinomianism. We may understand this concept by examining the meaning of Esau’s name.
Genesis 25:27-29 helps us to zero in on what Esau treasured. Each of these short sentences tells us how much Esau treasured hunting. When a person is known to be skillful in some area, it can be assumed that he spent large amounts of time and energy honing his craft. That Isaac loved to eat the results of Esau’s hunts validated the younger man in his love of hunting. Finally, when a man wearies himself by doing a task with all of his might, it points to where his interests lie—what he loves doing.
The Interlinear Bible renders Genesis 25;27 as, “And Esau became a man knowing hunting, a man of the field.” “Field” is sadeh, translated as “country,” “field,” “ground,” “land,” or “soil.” Vine’s comments, “This word often represents the ‘open field’ where the animals roam wild.” This verse could be read, “Esau was . . . a man of the wild,” indicating where he felt most comfortable. He treasured his time out in the wild, and he had dedicated his life to pursuing the chase. By treasuring this “wild” existence over his birthright, Esau displayed how irresponsible he was toward it.
Would we want to bequeath our wealth to a child who was not preparing himself to govern it? It would be similar to the Prodigal Son taking his inheritance and squandering it (Luke 15:11-13)). He, like Esau, was not disciplined and trained to govern it. If most of Esau’s time was spent out in the wild, how would he have been able to tackle the responsibilities of governing flocks and herds, gold and silver, male and female servants, donkeys and camels, as well as being his family’s head and leader?
Perhaps he should have stayed in the camp like Jacob so he would not have lost the vision of a wonderful time to come contained in his inheritance. Jacob obviously valued it, although he obtained it by trickery and deceit. He also showed himself capable of governing it, as he seemed to know plenty about managing flocks and herds, as Genesis 29-30 bear out. Laban prospered greatly from Jacob’s expertise, and Jacob then prospered himself.
In Genesis 25:29, Esau came in from the field “weary.” Some versions render it “faint.” Esau came home in this condition and did his thinking and reasoning in this weakened state. Instead of reasoning with his head, he let his stomach decide.
His flesh was doing all the “thinking,” as we see in his response to Jacob’s opening offer: “And Esau said, ‘Behold I am going to die; and what good is this birthright to me?'” (verse 32). Was he really so famished that he was going to die? Would he have said this had he been more involved with his inheritance and working with it?
If he had taken just a moment to think about his inheritance and what was involved, he would never have made such a rash decision. This could not have been the only food in the camp of a very wealthy man like Isaac; it was merely the first food he came to. Esau, the favorite of his father, could easily have gone to his father and told him what Jacob had tried to do and received food to satisfy his hunger. But he did not want to wait—he wanted immediate gratification of his fleshly desires. He thought he had to have it right away.
It is worthwhile to note that Esau sold his birthright when he came in from hunting and had his blessing stolen from him when he went out to hunt (Genesis 27:5).). He lost his entire inheritance while doing what he liked to do the most—being out in the wilderness hunting. While there is nothing wrong with hunting, there is a lesson in Esau’s single-minded pursuit of his physical desires. This is the core of Amalek /Edom/Esau’s personality and goals in life; to satisfy the animal drives within; to focus on anything other than the things of G-d; buying and selling on Shabbat; not taking time to study G-d’s Torah; believing that a focus on singing, dancing, and socializing at a religious institution without any valid biblical teaching is acceptable to G-d, etc. Hatred for those who testify to the validity of G-d’s Torah and the joy it can bring, and a focus on fleshly desires over G-d typify the majority of people in our world today. This is why it will not be difficult for the Adversary to usher in the One World Order. He has many followers and is gaining more by the day.
Nevertheless, believers (true Israelites) can take comfort in the prophecies previously mentioned. G-d will destroy Amalek, Esau/Edom when He returns (Rev. 18, 19:1-2;22:10-11;18-19).
Until then, let us not be still or remain quiet, for Zion’s sake until her righteousness shines out like the dawn and her salvation burns like a flaming torch (Isaiah 62:1).
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-10
This haftarah is the fifth of seven “Haftarot of Consolation.” Forsaken Jerusalem is compared to a barren woman who grieves as she is bereft of children while watching other nations fawn over their broods, while she remains barren and empty. But G-d enjoins her to rejoice, for the time will soon come when the Jewish nation will return to the Land, be restored, and proliferate beyond her wildest dreams. Isaiah assures the people that G-d has not forsaken them, even though He has momentarily hidden His face from them. He will gather them from their exile with mercy and will not miss one kernel. The haftarah compares the final Redemption to the pact G-d made with Noach. Just as He promised Noach there would never be another flood to cover the entire earth, He (G-d) will never rekindle anger toward Israel. Is it not interesting that the matriarchs were barren before G-d intervened to bless their wombs? Not at all. The lesson to them and us is that G-d holds the key to life, creation, sustenance, and restoration; all of which applies to the nation/children of Israel (Ps. 113:9; Isaiah 54:1).
B’rit Chadashah: Mark 12:18-27
Then some Tz’dukim came to him (Yahshua). They are the ones who say there is no such thing as resurrection, so they put to him a sh’eilah: ‘Rabbi, Moshe wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and have children to preserve the man’s family line. There were seven brothers. The first one took a wife, and when he died, he left no children. Then the second one took her and died without leaving children, and the third likewise, and none of the seven left children. Last of all, the woman also died. In the Resurrection, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as a wife.”
“Yahshua said to them, ‘Isn’t this the reason that you go astray? Because you are ignorant of both the Tanakh and of the power of G-d? For when people rise from the dead, neither men nor women marry- they are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, haven’t you read in the book of Moshe, in the passage about the bush, has G-d said to him, ‘I am the G-d of Avraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob?’ He is G-d not of the dead, but of the living! You are going far astray!”
This passage reminds us that no longer will marriage, gender, or ethnicity be an issue in the Resurrection. This applies to us regardless of whether we are resurrected to heaven or for hell. Our souls are a form of energy above and beyond the physical world and understanding of it. The focus of the saved will be to serve YHVH/Yahshua; the focus of the damned will be eternal torment.
Similar to the woman taken captive by the Israelite, we have a choice for now; remain in our pagan world with all the rituals and traditions, or remove our superficial covering and examine our inner selves in isolation from all that is familiar to us, including our past religious teaching if it is inconsistent with G-d’s Torah. The woman had 30 days to consider her life and mourn for her family, separating herself from her reality. The man had 30 days to observe the woman as an appropriate mate. We have no idea how long we have to t’shuva (repent and turn) to the G-d of the living and allow him to prepare us as an acceptable bride for His Son. Let us take advantage of every day and submit ourselves for a total makeover to the Father of the Groom who can make us new and cloth us with the clean, white linen garments of repentance in preparation for the great wedding (Rev. 19:8).
Rabbi Tamah Davis