VaYechi / And He Lived
HafTorah Portion 1 Kings 2:1-12
Brit Chadasha 1 Peter 1:3-9
Jacob/Israel wishes to be buried with the fathers and not in Egypt. Instead of ordering his son to do so, he kindly prompts the question; ‘if I have found favor… ‘When the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Now if I have found favor in your sight, please put your hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me. Please do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” Genesis 47:29-30. Finding favor was a common request in the Scriptures.
Psalm 90:17 ‘Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!’
Psalm 5:12 ‘For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.’
Psalm 30:5 ‘For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.’
Genesis 6:8 ‘But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.’
Proverbs 3:1-4 ‘My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.’
Luke 2:52 ‘And Yeshua increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.’
Proverbs 18:22 ‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.’
Genesis 39:4 ‘So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.’
Genesis 18:3 ‘And said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.’
Proverbs 3:3-4 ‘Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.’
Psalm 106:4 ‘Remember me, O Lord, when You show favor to your people; help me when You save them…’
Esther 5:2 ‘And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.’
Luke 1:30 ‘And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’
Also, in that verse, Genesis 47:29-30, another request is made by Jacob/Israel; that his son would place his hand under the thigh. This bequest is also found earlier in Genesis 24:2-9 when Abraham requests that his servant place his hand under his thigh. Why is this so important?
Thigh is often used in place of the body’s generative parts — the loins. The majority of translations state “under my thigh” however some translations word it as: “between my thighs”. It is true that a reference to this body part, the actual upper part of the leg, is sometimes simply physical. The thigh (the literal thigh) was chosen as a sacrificial portion of animals, now is often eaten as food and as Genesis 32:25 references regarded as the seat of procreation, the source of offspring. The “hollow of the thigh” is the hip socket or groin and is therefore associated with life.
“ It was during the patriarchal period in the Bible that oaths were taken by placing a hand under the reproductive organ, or “thigh” as stated in scripture. “The English terms ‘testify’ and ‘testes’ witness a similar relation.” This action may represent the calling of one’s descendants as witnesses of the oath. ‘According to Rashi, based on the Midrash Rabbah, it does not mean literally the thigh; it means the Milah (organ of circumcision). The reason is because one who takes an oath must hold in his hand a sacred object, such as a scroll of the Torah or phylacteries. And the circumcision was his (Abraham’s) first commandment and came to him through suffering. And it was beloved to him. And (therefore) he chose it (as the object upon which to take the oath).” (Yeshiva.co)
Another vital concept is found in Genesis 48:15-16; the prayer of the nations, ‘And he blessed Joseph, and said: “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day, 16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them, And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
The Hebrew is ‘Vay dgoo la rove b’kerev ha’aretz; may they grow as a multitude of fish in the midst of the earth.’ Only in the Hebrew do we see the word ‘fish’ ‘dag’. The translators dropped this word, thus eliminating the ability for us to remez when Yeshua spoke about fish and nets in Mathew 4:18-20 ‘And Yeshua, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.’ His disciples were aware of the meaning when Yeshua spoke this.
The ‘sea’ is a metaphor for the nations, and the prayer was that the Name be upon the people and let them grow into a multitude of fish within the earth. Yeshua states to His disciples to cast their nets into the ‘sea’, into the multitudes of people and proclaim the Good News, the Besora. We see this in Revelation 17:15-17 where the sea, a body of water, symbolizes "peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues: ‘Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.’
This parsha teaches us that favor is real, not just grace upon grace according to our own perceptions of His favor. This parsha teaches us that vows and promises are serious, and were made conditional to a covenant. Have we made vows to God and stepped away or out of His covenant? This parsha teaches us that His people are like that of the fish in the sea, and we are to speak life and blessings to the schools foo fish, the teaming multitudes of the lost sheep of the House of Israel that are scattered upon the earth.
May you be blessed and find favor from Elohim as you study Vayechi.
Chazak! Chazak! V’nitchazek! Be Strong! Be Strong! And May We Be Strengthened!
Vayechi / And He Lived
HafTorah 1 Kings 2:1-12
Brit Chadasha 1 Peter 1:3-9
The blessing of Ephraim and Manaessh takes place in Genesis 48. Joseph brings his two boys to his father situating them in correlation to the blessing. But Jacob/Israel switches his hands and then proceeds in a blessing for Joseph. ‘
Genesis48:12-16 says: ‘And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. 14 Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 And he blessed Joseph, and said: “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day, 16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
Other translations actually use fish: Genesis 48:16 ‘…May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land." Fish in Hebrew is ‘d-a-g’ and this translation uses the Hebrew words ‘the fish’: וְיִדְגּ֥וּ
English translators dropped the word ‘fish’ losing the remez that Yeshua spoke and taught,. Being Hebrews, Peter and Andrew recognized this in Matthew 4:19 knowing what contained in the Torah in the blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh. This is why they immediately left their nets and followed Yeshua,
The last sentence is a link to the statements that Yeshua makes in several places in the Brit Chadash. Fish is referenced to people, as multitudes. In John 21 He tells his disciples to cast their net to the right side of the boat, whereupon their nets were too heavy to pull in. In Matthew 4:19 He tells His disciples He will make them fishers of men דַּייָּג (fishermen) alluding to catching fish/men. In Matthew 14:13-21 He feeds 5,000 people with two fish. He also alludes to the dispersed one, the multitudes.
The phrase “Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth” can then be better translated as “Let them increase like fish in the land”. These are metaphors as in the seas represent the nations, the dry land represents Israel and the fish in the seas represent people in the nations.
This refers to the Exile when the lands of others will be filled with his scattered descendants as we see in Hosea 7:8: ‘Ephraim shall be mingled among the nations.’ This shows that the Ten Tribes would be scattered among the nations and yet Jacob’s/Israel’s blessing was not in vain for “they will return to God”.
What does this say to us now? We are called to be ready to speak life to the fish and the teaming multitudes of the lost sheep of the House of Israel that are scattered on the midst of the earth. Baruch HaShem!