Friday, 10 December 2021
God Promises A Happy Ending!
Near the end of the aliyah (Torah reading) for today, we find this verse. It contains the words of Jacob spoken upon his first meeting with Pharaoh. Genesis 47:9 Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my sojourn are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life. Moreover, the days of the years of my life have not attained the days of the years of the lives of my fathers, in the days of their sojourn." The self-description by Jacob is "few and evil." It has captured the attention of many commentators.
In transliterated Hebrew, the phrase is M'at V'Ra'im and "few and evil" is a pretty accurate translation. M'at could be translated as "little," while the evil of Ra'im could be understood as "full of toil and trouble," which is exactly what "Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament" says.
Jacob seems to have not yet recovered from the trauma of living so long with the belief that Joseph was dead. He seems to be complaining that it doesn't appear he will live as long as his father (Isaac) or grandfather (Abraham). Jacob knows he is near the end of his days on the earth, and he is lamenting the fact that he is about 40 years younger than either his father or grandfather when they died. But we see God restores everything He ever promised to Jacob, and He will do that for us too.
Jacob's history has been defined by theft and trickery. The theft was that he lied to his father, Isaac, to secure his brother's, the first born's, blessing. He spent the next 20 years running from his brother and working for his father-in-law who tricked him into much of that servitude. Then for 17 years Jacob was lied to by his own sons, so that he believed Joseph was dead. Although Joseph has been restored to him, Jacob answers Pharaoh about his age calling himself a "sojourner." The Hebrew word is M'gurai meaning "sojourning." A "Gur" is a stranger. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all strangers without a homeland.
It's not really a great fit to Jacob's situation, but it came to mind and I want to share it. Just like Jacob had a happy ending, we also have this promise from Yeshua. Matthew 19:29 Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My name's sake, will receive a hundred times as much, and will inherit eternal life. If you're feeling left out, take heart in this next verse ... Matthew 19:30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. If you need encouragement from the Lord today, be encouraged. God keeps all His promises.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,