Toldot / Generations
Genesis 25:19-28:9
HafTorah Malachi 1:1-2:7
Brit Chadasha Romans 9:6-13

     Toldot, beginning with the genealogy of Isaac, transitions into Adonai preparing Rebekah: “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23. Chapter 25 ends with the famous story of Esau selling his birthright.
     In Chapter 26 there is a similar scenario; a generational recap with Isaac as what happened in Genesis 20 with Abraham when he was not forthright regarding Sarah, his wife. In Toldot, Isaac lies to Abimelech the King, claiming Rebekah is indeed his sister not his wife, ending with a confrontation between Abimelech and Isaac. Chapter 26 ends with Esau marrying Hittite women which makes his parents grieve.
    In Genesis 27, Jacob deceives his father into thinking that he is Esau in order to acquire the birthright.  Not only did Jacob lie about the situation and who he was, but he also lied about God.  Genesis 27:18-20 ‘So he went to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because the Lord your God brought it to me.”
     It was not God; it was Rebekah who prepared the meal. ‘So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, “Indeed I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying, ‘Bring me game and make savory food for me, that I may eat it and bless you in the presence of the Lord before my death.’ Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves. 10 Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death.” Genesis 27:6-10.
    
What are the immediate and generational consequences for lying to and about God? What are the immediate and generational consequences for Esau, who ‘despised his birthright’ and, in rebellion married exactly who his parents did not want him to marry.
     Toldot ends with a generational blessing from Isaac to his son, Jacob: ‘“May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may be an assembly of peoples; and give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and your descendants with you, that you may inherit the land in which you are a stranger, which God gave to Abraham.” Genesis 28:3-4.
     Some teach that generations are linear.  However, according to Scripture, aren’t generations circular? We either return to the ways of our forefathers, whatever that may be, or return to God.
     Generational promises are clear in Exodus 20:4-6 ‘You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.’
    Micah 7:18-19 tells us that God is loving and merciful, desiring that His children return to Him. ‘Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.’
     God tells His people to return to Him throughout Scripture.   In order to return to something we have to have been there. How can we return to a home that isn’t ours?  How can we return to a spouse that we never married?  Do we return to a path if we were never there?
      Joel 2:13 ‘And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.’
     Hosea 14:1 ‘Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.’
     Zechariah 1:3 ‘Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the Lord of hosts.’
     Nehemiah 1:9 ‘…but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’
     Job 22:23 ‘If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent…’
     Lamentations 3:40 ‘Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord.
     Hosea 6:1 ‘Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.’
     There is a beginning - always a beginning – always God. We move forward, maybe out of sync, charging our own ways, but we are always moving forward. It is when we heed, hear and listen to His voice that we know to circle back and return.  However, some moving forward circle back, but the circle is incomplete, wandering, circling back to nothingness, generation after generation, living in the dark.
     It is when we return that the promises of His ways are bestowed upon us.
     Isaiah 59:21 ‘As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”
     Psalm 112:2 ‘His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed.’
     Isaiah 44:3 ‘‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants…’
     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.’
     Galatians 3:29 ‘And if you belong to Yeshua (The Living Word, The Way, The Truth, The Life, The I AM), then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
     What is it to belong to something? Definitions and synonyms of belong are: to be the property of, to be the possession of, to be connected to, to be affiliated with, to be linked to, and to be in accord with.  The antonyms of belong are: to avoid, to disassociate with, to disagree, to disconnect, to oppose, to leave, and to differ.
     IF we return. There are no promises in the covenant unless we choose to return. It is ‘if’ we return.
     Nehemiah 1:9 ‘…but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’
     Job 22:23 “If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored; If you remove unrighteousness far from your tent…’
     Jeremiah 15:19 ‘Therefore this is what the Lord says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me…’
     Zechariah 1:3-4 ‘Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.”
     Jeremiah 4:1-2 “If you will return, O Israel,” says the Lord, “Return to Me; and if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, then you shall not be moved. And you shall swear, ‘The Lord lives,’
In truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; the nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him they shall glory.”
      Are we returning to His Ways, or are we disconnected to the Creator of the Universe? Let us all return.

 

 

 

תּוֹלְדֹת
Toldot/Generations
Genesis 25:19-28:9
HafTorah Portion Malachi 1:1-2:7
Brit Chadasha 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

     The Results of Living for Self…

     This parsha tells of the ‘stolen’ birthright. But was it stolen or rightfully taken? Here is one way of viewing this incident: Rebecca was right to do what she did and Jacob was right to concede to her wishes. She knew that it would be Jacob, not Esau, who would continue the covenant and carry on the vision of Abraham given by God into the next generations. She knew because of several incidents and because of who she was.  She was chosen by God to carry on the lineage. She was the one that displayed the extra kindness by watering the camels and also, her actions were the sign that the servant had asked for. She was also the mother, and was witness to her son’s way of living.
     She knew because she directly heard this from God before the twins were born in Genesis 25:23, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the elder will serve the younger.”
     She knew because she had watched the twins grow up. She knew that Esau was a hunter, a man of violence, and had undoubtedly heard the harm that he had done. She also witnessed him sell his birthright for a bowl of soup, and later lie to his father that it was ‘stolen’. She had watched and heard while he “…ate, drank, rose and left. So Esau despised his birthright” Genesis 25:34. No one who despises his birthright can be the trusted guardian of a covenant intended for eternity that began with Abraham.
     Third, she knew because just before the episode of the blessing we read in Genesis 26:34 that Esau married outside of the covenant and how it grieved Isaac and Rebecca: “When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath, daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebecca.” This showed Esau’s denial to comply with what the covenant required. By marrying Hittite women, he proved himself indifferent to the structure of the covenant of not marrying outside the tribe and to the wishes of his parents.  
     In all three incidents there is a direct statement: he didn’t care and was concerned only with ‘self’.
     We see this again in Genesis 27:30-40 when Esau comes before Isaac. The verses say that Isaac trembled exceedingly and that Esau let out a bitter cry. Then Esau reveals once again his true character in Genesis 27:36, ‘And Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!” And he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?”  We just read in Genesis 25:34 that Esau despised his birthright.
      Self is our inner ego, the reason why we make the decisions that we do. We live for self, we die for self, we move for self. However, when we claim to live in the covenant of God, to abide by His Torah with the filter and salvation of Yeshua, we have to die to self, which is different than die for self.
     Ephesians 4:20-24 ‘But you have not so learned Messiah, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Yeshua: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.’
     Luke 9:23 ‘And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’
     Romans 12:1-2 ‘Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.’
     1 Peter 4:1-2 ‘Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.’
     Galatians 5:24 ‘Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.’
     Romans 8:12-13 ‘So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.’
     Verses in the Brit Chadasha on ‘self’ far outnumber any verses in the Torah. What happened? Were people living according to God and His will then suddenly denied the will of God?
       We have to look at the times when God sent His Son. Judea was very corrupt; the land of Israel was under Roman rule and the Pharisees and all the spiritual leaders had become corrupt and thus corrupted the Torah. At the time of the destruction of the Temple, there were 26 factions of Jews fighting amongst themselves.  ‘Self’ had become the ruler of the people.  So, God sent His Son, the Torah incarnate, The Living Word for a reset. This was to reset the Torah within the people and to set straight the ways of God.
     Yeshua knew of the corruption how deep it went and He knew the thoughts of men.
     Matthew 22:15-22 ‘Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
18 But Yeshua perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” 21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.’
     Do we die to self? Do we live according to the Torah, the Ways of God? Or have we interpreted Scripture for our own demise?
     Kefa, in 2 Peter 3:14-18 reveals to us the dangers of twisting the writings of Rabbi Shaul (Paul) which many do to this day. ‘Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Yeshua HaMashiach.’
     We must not live as Esau did, denying the ways of God, His Covenant and living for self. But rather we must live for the glory of God, and live according to His Will – in all things.

תּוֹלְדֹת
Toldot / Offspring
Genesis 25:19-28:9    
Malachi 1:1-2:7
Romans 9:6-13

      Toldot begins with ‘This is the genealogy of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Abraham begot Isaac...’   Some translations begin with ‘this is the history’. Neither word; genealogy or history is a changeable factor. One cannot change their genealogy or change history. People try, but the facts of both remain steadfast.
    Some explain genealogy and history as linear. But looking closely we see that it is really circular. They connect.
History is a chain that drags the one link from the past and influences the link that follows. Genealogy connects the past with the present and future as each person connects with their DNA.
     Toldot is a good example of this. The first thing we learn about the relationship between Isaac and Rebeka is that Isaac is 40 years old when he married Rebecca. Genesis 25:21 tells us that Rebeka is actually barren. Isaac  pleads with the Lord for his wife Rebeka to have a child. A common thread is that Sara was barren and now her niece Rebeka is also barren and Jacob’s wife Rachel will also barren? What is the common link between these women, the mothers of the nation of Israel?  What is the history of these women? What is the DNA that links them?
     The history of Esau and Jacob continues. Esau was a cunning hunter; Jacob is called a dweller in the tents of learning. The two have been at odds since birth, as Rebeka experiences a difficult pregnancy as the children struggle inside of her. God tells her that there are two nations in her womb and the younger will prevail over the elder. Throughout their lives this prophecy is fulfilled up to the time of death; the consequence of the thoughts, speech and actions of Esau was to forego his birthright. Much later at the burial of Jacob, Esau has his head cut off while trying to prevent the burial of the patriarch Jacob in Machpalah. Thus, Esau lies at the feet of Jacob, as the elder will serve the younger.
     However, Jacob does not leave this world unscathed. The trickery of Genesis 27:19 seemed to haunt him during his life. In Genesis 29:26 Laban tricks his son-in-law, Jacob, giving him Leah instead of Rachel, Laban states, “It is not done in our place, to give the younger before the first born.”
     The pattern of the deceiver being deceived continues. After Joseph is put into the pit and then sold, Jacob’s other sons take his garment of many colors and dip it in goat’s blood, convincing their father that Joseph had been devoured. This is truly an extraordinary pattern. As a young man, Jacob deceived his elderly father into blessing him while wearing a goatskin in Genesis 27:16. Now, as an elderly father, he, himself, is deceived by his sons, who used goat’s blood to convince him of the death of Joseph. Genesis 37:31, 32.    
     What is the history and what is the legacy that we leave?
Psalms 112:2 ‘His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed.’
Proverbs 3:35 ‘The wise will inherit honor, but fools display dishonor.’
Proverbs 22:1 ‘A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.’
Psalm 78:6 ‘That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children…’
Deuteronomy 6:1-3 ‘Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ‘“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.’
     The legacy that we impart on our children and the people that knew us must be that of The Father. If we impart the words of The Father, we impart truth.

 

 

 

תּוֹלְדֹת
Toldot / Generations
Genesis 25:19-28:9

     Toldot opens with clear communication between Elohim and Rebecca regarding the twins and her confusion: ‘But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.23 And the Lord said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:19-23. God is quite clear how the life of the two twins will evolve and He shares this information with Rebecca.
      At the birth, Esau is indeed born first:
So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. 25 And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob.’  Scripture also states that Isaac loved Esau and Rebecca loved Jacob.
     Scripture never reveals that Rebecca ever went to Isaac with the prophecy from God when she was pregnant. It is also remarkable, that even after God’s prophecy and clarity to her during her pregnancy, she still lacked the faith and found it necessary to switch the identities of the two sons to receive the blessing at the old age of Isaac.
    What were the consequences of this deceit? Isaac, old and blind, felt betrayed by Jacob. He “trembled violently” when he realized what had happened, and said to Esau, “Your brother came deceitfully.” Esau likewise felt betrayed and felt such violent hatred toward Jacob that he vowed to kill him, forever instituting this life of hate for generations to come. Rebecca sent Jacob away to hide from his brother, and in doing so deprived herself from the company of the son she loved. As for Jacob, the consequences of the deceit lasted a lifetime, resulting in strife between his wives, and between his children. “Few and evil have been the days of my life,” he said as an old man to Pharaoh.  Lives and generations scarred by one act which was not even necessary in the first place.
     Rebecca was the immediate next generation from Abraham, her father in law. She knew him personally and in that relationship would have been aware of the trials and tribulations that Abraham endured.  She would have been aware of the immense amount of faith that he had during his life with God.
     Why then, would she not have learned from him and had the same faith? Especially since God spoke to her personally regarding her sons and the lives they would live.  What caused her doubt? What caused her fear?
      When we doubt God, we are likened to a double-minded and a very forgetful person.
     James 1:5-8 ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.’
     James 1:22-23 ‘Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.…’
     When we doubt the Word and are determined to go our own way, we will experience these results:

  • Confusion – Can you imagine taking the time and effort to disguise a grown son by using goat hair?
  • Conflict – At the first thought of her scheme, Rebecca began the conflict that would plague her family.
  • Cost – At a great cost, she deceived her husband.
  • Loss – She lost the time with her son, and possibly the affection of her husband.
  • Pain – Her decision inflicted pain upon all four.
  • Disaster – A vow to kill followed the brothers until death and beyond.
  • Consequences – Are to this day…

     Life is to be lived under the guidance of the very Word of God, trusting Him in the decisions that we are to make. Faith, obedience and trust are coequal where one without the other suffers incompleteness. Faith without obedience and trust is simply faith in our own decisions without the guidance of God.  Obedience without faith and trust is rote and a life without emotion and love. Trust without faith and obedience is an empty trust in an entity that is foreign to us.
    Faith: Hebrews 11:8 ‘By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.’
    Obedience: Genesis 26:5 ‘… because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
    Trust: Romans 4:3 ‘For what does the Scripture say? (Genesis 15:6) “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 

    May you be blessed as you study parsha Toldot. Baruch HaShem~ Rabbi Jay Howard