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Parashah 05 Chayei Sarah

Genesis 23:1 – 25:18

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14 (5774)

Lucrative copying not permitted.

 

 

Torah Readings:

  1. 23:1-16
  2. 23:17 – 24:9
  3. 24:10-26
  4. 24:27-52
  5. 24:53-67
  6. 25:1-11
  7. 25:12-18
  8. Maftir: 25:16-18

 

Haftarah: 1 Kings 1:1-31

Chayei Sarah

Means Sarah’s life or years of life

Comments

The First Aliyah, 23:1-16

23:1-2 “And the life of Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kiriat-Arba - the same is Chevron - in the land of Kana’an; and Avraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.”(JPS revised) – The joy at the end of chapter 22 stands in contrast to the sorrow of chapter 23. Avraham was happy that he had passed the tenth test and that he had received even more blessings from the Eternal because he had bound Yitzchak. Now the joy is turned to sorrow because Sarah dies prematurely. It is clear that Avraham was not prepared for such an early death, neither for himself nor for his wife. He had not prepared a place of burial.

Midrash literature says that Sarah died from shock when she heard about the sacrifice of Yitzchak. Avraham had not told her what God had asked him to do with Yitzchak, but only that he would take him to Shem and Ever’s Yeshiva to study. Since the Torah says that only Avraham came down from Mount Moriah, the Midrash has interpreted it as meaning that Yitzchak was sent to Shem and Ever in Yerushalayim. When Sarah heard that Yitzchak had gone away in order to be sacrificed, she left Be’er-Sheva to look for her son. When she reached Chevron she died. If that is the case, it means that Yitzchak was 37 years old when he was bound and laid on the altar.

However, if we look at the order of the Torah text, we see that Sarah’s death comes after verses 22:20-24. It says there, in the Hebrew text, “after these things”, i.e. after Yitzchak’s akedah, “binding”, Avraham received news of his brother Nachor’s family. It is true that the Torah is not necessarily always written in chronological order, (many times texts are woven into each other), but it looks like the Torah text indicates that Sarah’s death did not happen right after Yitzchak’s binding.

According to verse 21:34, Avraham lived a long time in the land of the Philistines, which, according to Rashi, means more than 25 years. According to the book of Jasher, Yitzchak was 5 years old when Yishma’el mocked him. That means that Yitzchak would be between 30 and 37 years old when he was bound. Personally I believe that Yitzchak was 33 years old at the time, since the prophetic foreshadowing must line up with the reality it projects. Since Yitzchak’s binding was a shadow of the Messiah’s death and resurrection, one can come to the logical conclusion that he was the same age as the Messiah when he willingly gave himself over to be burnt as an ascension offering. In that case Sarah died three years after Yitzchak’s akedah. Sarah went to Chevron and died there. That place represents faith in the resurrection, which we mentioned earlier. She died, then, in faith of the resurrection and will therefore be present when the Messiah Yeshua comes to reign on the earth for a thousand years.

Now we have the question: why did Sarah die prematurely? It is not easy to answer this question. Some suggest that is was because she laughed in mockery when she received the message that she would bear a son. But it seems that this sin is not great enough for which to die prematurely.

There is another suggestion[1] saying that HaShem wanted to give Avraham evil children. And since these children should not be borne of Sarah, it was better for Sarah to die so that Avraham could remarry. The descendants of these children would serve the people of Israel during the time of the Messiah. But this interpretation is very hard to accept. How could it be that HaShem would want evil children to be born?

In 1 Timothy 2:4, it is written,

“(God) who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”(MRC)

In 1 Peter 3:9b, it is written,

 “not willing for anyone to perish, but that all should reach repentance.”(MRC)

The question of Sarah’s early death, then, remains unanswered.

When the Messiah comes, he will explain everything to us.

23:3-4 “Then Avraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Chetites. He said, ‘I am an alien and a stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.’”(NIV revised) – In Shulchan Aruch[2] it is written:

“To bury the dead is a very important mitzvah (commandment). It has to be done on the same day as the death occurred, and it is forbidden to postpone the burial until the following day, except in the case of the possibility of showing greater honor for the dead. For example, in the event of certain relatives being able to attend the burial, or if the laws of the land forbid the funeral to be held the same day.”

One of the 613 commandments says that the dead must be buried on the same day that they died, according to what is written in Deuteronomy 21:23:

his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him the same day; for he who is hanged is accursed of God; that you don't defile your land which HaShem your God gives you for an inheritance.”(HNV revised)

It is also written in Genesis 3:19,

By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”(HNV)

Man must return to the earth from which he was taken. This passage teaches us that it is not good to cremate the dead. They should be buried in the ground.

“I am an alien and a stranger among you” – According to Gur Ariyeh, these two words have two different meanings, which are diametrically opposed to each other. The Hebrew word that is translated “alien” is ger[3] and the word that is translated “stranger” is toshav.[4]

According to Rashi, Avraham said that he was an alien (ger) from another land, who had not established his permanent dwelling place (nityashavti) among them. A ger is a stranger who does not have full rights and a toshav is a permanent resident who has full rights in the place where they dwell. When a person becomes a toshav he ceases to be a ger.[5]

In Ephesians 2:19 it is written:

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.”(MRC)

According to HaShems view, the gentile who has converted through Yeshua HaMashiach is no longer neither ger nor toshav in the spiritual-heavenly Israel. He has a higher position. He is a citizen in heaven together with the consecrated Jews and a member of God’s family.

23:9 “that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for the full price let him give it to me in the midst of you for a possession of a burying-place.”(JPS) – In Talmud[6] it is written that four couples were buried in this place. Adam and Chavah, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivkah, and Ya’akov and Leah. That is the reason that Chevron is also called Kiriat-Arba, which means “the Village of the Four”.

It is possible that Avraham was interested in this specific cave for the very reason that Adam was buried there. Machpelah means “doubled”.

23:13 “He spoke to `Efron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, "But if you will, please hear me. I will give the price of the field. Take it from me, and I will bury my dead there."”(HNV) – In spite of the fact that Efron freely offered, not only the cave, but also the entire field, Avraham did not want to receive it. What a contrast there is between his attitude and the attitude of those who consider that only that which is given for free is a blessing from the Eternal. Avraham did not consider Efron’s offer as a “blessing”. He was not interested in honoring his deceased wife with a grave that had not cost him anything. How much do we value man? Avraham wanted the place for the “full price” (v.9). He would not even have considered a lower price as a blessing. For our father Avraham it was a blessing to pay Efron what he asked. By doing this, no one in the future could say that the place does not belong to the children of Israel.

Our Rabbi Yeshua HaMashiach said, according to what is written in Acts 20:35b,

 “It is more blessed to give, than to receive.”(MRC)

23:15 “My lord, listen to me. What is a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver between me and you? Therefore bury your dead.”(HNV) – Four hundred shekels of silver was the equivalent of more than 50 years’ salary. According to archeological discoveries from this era, one year’s salary consisted of something from six to eight shekels.[7] It was a scandalously exaggerated price that Efron set. He wanted to take advantage of Avraham’s generosity at a time when he was weak and sensitive, while he was not in the mood to do business. How sad it is when someone takes advantage of another’s generosity in this way! What egotism!

23:16 “Avraham listened to `Efron. Avraham weighed to `Efron the silver which he had named in the audience of the children of Chet, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the current merchants' standard.”(HNV) – In the Hebrew text the name Efron is written in an incomplete way, without the letter vav. By this it is understood that this man was reduced by the Eternal on account of his greedy attitude. His pocketbook became larger, but his name became smaller. Which is worth more?

In spite of the astronomically unrighteous price, Avraham was not up to a discussion about lowering the price. His wife was worth more than that and deserved a worthy burial. In the end it had quite the opposite effect; the high price of the funeral only increased the honor of the dead!

Avraham weighed the money that Efron had asked for with coins that were used in doing business with the merchants. According to Rashi that means that they were able to be used everywhere. This means that he gave large coins that were worth 100 shekels a piece.

The Second Aliyah, 23:17 – 24:9

23:19a “After this, Avraham buried Sarah his wife…”(HNV) – Note that it does not speak of Sarah’s body as being something separate from herself. It was Sarah that was being buried. A person is not a person without a body. Therefore there has to be a resurrection in order for man to be fully saved.

Chapter 24 tells the story of Eliezer finding a wife for Avraham’s son. Based on the allegorical interpretation we can bring out the following points:

  • Avraham represents the heavenly Father, as it is written in Matthew 22:2,

“The Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king, who gave a wedding feast for his son.”(MRC)

  • The servant Eliezer, whose name means “My God is a help” represents the Spirit of the Eternal, as it is written in John 15:26, “When the Helper comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth Who goes forth from the Father, He will testify of Me.”(MRC)

  • Yitzchak represents God’s Son, as it is written in Proverbs 30:4b, “What is his name, and what is his son's name, if you know?”(HNV) And in Matthew 3:17 it is written, “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’”(NIV)

  • The remaining servants represent the angels, as it is written in Hebrews 1:14, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”(NIV)

  • Rivkah represents the bride of the Messiah, as it is written in Revelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and exult and give glory to Him, because the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”(MRC)

The heavenly Father has sent his Spirit to the earth in order to seek out and mark all those whose hearts are dedicated to him, as it is written in 2 Chronicles 16:9a,

 “For the eyes of the Eternal run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is whole toward Him.”(JPS revised)

In the same way that Eliezer witnessed of the son who had been born supernaturally, and of all the riches that his father had given him, (24:36), so the Spirit of the Eternal witnesses of the Son who was born supernaturally and who has been given all that belongs to the Father, including all power in heaven and on earth, as it is written in John 17:10a,

“All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.”(NIV)

And in Matthew 28:18,

“And Yeshua came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on Earth…’”(MRC)

Just as Rivkah was a pure virgin, the bride of the Messiah is a pure virgin, who has not spotted herself with others, as it is written in 2 Corinthians 11:2,

“I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Messiah, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.”(NIV revised)

And in Revelation 14:4-5 it is written,

“These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are chaste. These are the ones following the Lamb wherever He leads. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no falsehood was found in their mouth; they are without blemish.”(MRC)

24:9 “The servant put his hand under the thigh of Avraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.”(HNV) – Obviously that meant that he had to touch the male organ which bore the sign of the covenant.

“his master” – The Hebrew word adonav is written in plural form despite the fact that Avraham is one person. A literal translation of this text would read: “And the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Avraham…” That teaches us that wherever there is a question of complete authority, such as in this case, the lordship over a slave, (see 24:10; 39:2; Exodus 21:4-6 among others), or in a case of the Creator of the universe (Elohim), the subject is always plural in form, not to express a plurality of persons, but to reveal the complete authority. If the noun was meant to be understood as describing of several people, then the verb would also have been in plural form. In Genesis 1:1 the verb is in singular form (created), which teaches us that the word Elohim is not a reference to several persons, but to one Person with complete authority.

In other words, just as Avraham is one person, God is also one, not two or three.

The Third Aliyah, 24:10-26

24:10 “The servant took ten camels, of his master's camels, and departed, having a variety of good things of his master's with him. He arose, and went to Aram-Naharayim, to the city of Nachor.”(HNV) – The Hebrew text says that the servant took all that his master owned in his hand. This has been interpreted in the Midrash[8] as the servant taking with him a written agreement, which proved that Yitzchak was the owner of all of Avraham’s riches, so that it would not be hard for the family to send their daughter away.

I believe, however, that we ought to understand the Hebrew wording vechol-tuv, as meaning “and all the good”, which is an expression representing all of Avraham’s belongings. Since the number ten is a representative of the whole, the load of these ten camels represents all of Avraham’s riches.

The Hebrew expression beyadoh, which is translated “in his hand”, does not necessarily mean that all the riches were literally in his hand, but rather that they were under his supervision and management.

24:11 “He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.”(NIV) – Because of the way that the Torah tells this story, it seems as if this journey of 700 kilometers, which normally took 17 days, took around three hours.

24:15 “It happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rivka came out, who was born to Betu'el the son of Milkah, the wife of Nachor, Avraham's brother, with her pitcher on her shoulder.”(HNV) – The name Rivkah[9] (with the emphasis on the second syllable) means “bound”, “submitted”.

24:17 “The servant ran to meet her, and said, "Please give me a drink, a little water from your pitcher."”(HNV) – This text, and its context, is reminiscent of John 4:7 where it is written:

There came a woman of Shomron to draw water. Yeshua said to her, "Give Me a drink."”(MRC)

Based on these similar expressions we can compare these two events and draw some interesting conclusions. Just as Avraham’s servant sought a bride for his master’s son, the Servant of the Eternal sought individuals among the Samaritans who could be a part of God’s Son’s bride. That teaches us that those who are not Jews, also have the opportunity to be a part of the bride of Messiah, as it is written in Psalm 45:10-11:

“Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father's house.  The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.”(NIV)

This Psalm is read on Yom Teruah, the day of the alarm, the first day of the seventh month, see Leviticus 23:23-25. It speaks of the wedding of the king, referring to the Messiah and his bride. It is very interesting and peculiar that the bride is presented here as a non-Israelite. She is a convert! That teaches us that the majority of those who will be part of the bride of Messiah will be from a non-Jewish background. That does, of course not, exclude the Jew, but it indicates that the Jewish people will be a minority within the bride of Messiah. The largest part will consist of God fearing gentiles.

As far as I understand, not all those who are born of the Spirit, born again, will be a part of the bride of Messiah. In Yeshua’s teaching about the Messiah’s wedding it speaks of several different kinds of people: the groom, the bride, the virgins, and the other guests. All of them are not part of the bride. Among those who will be saved there will be these three categories: the guests, the virgins, and the bride. These are the three levels of believers that the Scriptures speak about. In order to come up to a higher level, one must be faithful to the Eternal obeying the commandments of the Torah, as Messiah Yeshua said in Matthew 5:19,

“Whoever then shall break one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach others to do so, he shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”(MRC)

In this text, we can see that there are three types of believers:

  1. The one who is in the Kingdom but does not keep the commandments in Moshe’s Torah – he will be called the least.

  2. The one who is in the Kingdom and keeps the commandments, without teaching them to others – he is neither called small nor great.

  3. The one who is in the Kingdom and keeps the commandments, and teaches others to live according to the Instruction Manual that was given through Moshe – he will be called great.

The way to become great and to be able to be a part of the bride has three levels, which are reflected in the three imperative verbs in Psalm, 45:10: “Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear.” These three express growth in love, dedication and obedience to the Eternal and his Torah.

The three different levels of the believers are presented this way:

The Tabernacle The Temple

The Outer Court

The Holy

The Holy of Holiest

Deut. 16:1-17

Pesach – Passover

Shavuot – Pentecost

Succot – Feast of Tabernacles

Psalm 45:9-12

The people

The honorable women

The virgins

The queen

1 John 2:12-14

Children – those who have had their sins forgiven

Youth – those who have overcome the evil one with the Word.

Fathers – those who know Him Who is from the beginning

Mark 4:13-20

Those who produce 30 fold

Those who produce 60 fold

Those who produce 100 fold

Romans 12:1-2

Those who do God’s good will

Those who do God’s pleasing will

Those who do God’s perfect will

John 14:6

Those who know the way

Those who walk in the truth

Those who live life in the Torah, intimately with the Lord

Ephesians 5:27

Without spot

Without wrinkle

Without anything that looks like a spot or wrinkle

 

The majority of the believers remain in the outer court. A large group comes into the consecrated place. But the smallest group, which represents the bride, comes into the most consecrated place, as it is written in Matthew 22:14,

“For many are called, but few are chosen."(RMC)

And in the Song of Songs 1:4b it is written,

The king has brought me into his chambers.”(HNV)

24:20-21 “She hurried, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again to the well to draw, and drew for all his camels. The man looked steadfastly at her, remaining silent, to know whether HaShem had made his journey prosperous or not.”(HNV revised) – One camel can hold approximately 200 liters (54 gallons) of water. The water pots that were used at that time held approximately 10 liters (2.5 gallons). If all 10 camels were empty, it meant that they would need 2000 liters (540 gallons) of water. This means that Rivkah would have to run between the well and the watering trough, approximately 200 times. But if the camels were half full (if you can call them that…) or have had ¾ of their water reserve left, it was still a huge effort on Rivkah’s part. In the Hebrew text it said that the servant observed her with astonishment, in Hebrew shaah.[10]

Her attitude of sacrificial love toward a foreigner made her capable of being Yitzchak’s wife. Avraham and Sarah were known for their generosity and this young woman would be a good compliment in her marriage with Yitzchak, enabling them to continue in the same way.

24:22 “It happened, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that has been translated as “half a shekel” is the word beka[11]. It comes from baká which means to “cleave”, “break apart”, “cut off”, or “invade”. The word is only found twice in all of Scripture. The other place where the word occurs is in Exodus 38: 25-28, where it is written:

The silver of those who were numbered of the congregation was one hundred talents, and one thousand seven hundred seventy-five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: a beka a head, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for everyone who passed over to those who were numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred three thousand five hundred fifty men. The one hundred talents of silver were for casting the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the veil; one hundred sockets for the one hundred talents, a talent for a socket. Of the one thousand seven hundred seventy-five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, overlaid their capitals, and made fillets for them.”(HNV)

If we compare these two texts, we will see some interesting things. The first thing that the servant gave to the future bride was a gold nose ring that weighed one beka. When the children of Israel were to be counted for the first time, everyone 20 years and older had to give one silver beka. A beka is equivalent to half a shekel. One half was given to Rivkah and the other half was given to the Eternal. The beka that was given to the bride was gold, and the beka that the bride (Rivkah’s children) gave to the Bridegroom (The Eternal) was silver. The gold was placed in the bride’s body, and the silver was placed in the tabernacle, first of all as a foundation for the sanctuary, but also among other places, as hooks on the poles of the outer court.

In Scripture there is a connection between a wife and a house. House and wife can sometimes be synonyms. In the Book of Revelation we see that the bride is identical with the New Yerushalayim, which is the house that the bride will move into, together with the Messiah, after the Messianic thousand year reign. The Messiah represents the Eternal as the Bridegroom.

In the Hebrew text in Exodus 38:26 it says beka le-gulgolet,[12] which means “one beka per head”. From the word gulgolet comes the word Golgotha[13], as it is written in John 19:17:

“They took Yeshua alongside, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull[14], which is called in Hebrew, Gulgolta.”(MRC revised)

Therefore, one could translate the expression beka le-gulgolet as “a beka for/to Golgotha”, or “one who is broken, to Golgotha”!

For what reason did each Israelite need to give a beka? It was the ransom that was required in order for a plague not to come upon them when they were being counted. That price has a connection to Golgotha, the place where Messiah ben Yosef (Yosef’s son) was sacrificed.

We can also see a connection between the ring that was given to the bride, and the ransom that was paid by the Yeshua, when he died as a ransom for many. Yeshua paid with his life in order to get a bride. The bride is released from the plague, because of the ransom that was paid. That ransom is the foundation and certain adornments of the house that they will live in, in the future. The children of Israel give only half a shekel, a beka, on earth. The other half is found in heaven. The Messiah has paid it. Without the Messiah, an Israelite is only considered half a person.

 “two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold” – Rashi says that this refers to the two stone tablets where the ten commandments were written.

The Fourth Aliyah, 24:27-52

The events at the well are told again in this aliyah. Isn’t it enough that the Torah summarizes what was said earlier? Why was so much parchment used in order to write the same thing twice?

When the Torah repeats something twice, it means that it is very important, that it is firmly determined, that it takes effect immediately, and also that it has a double fulfillment in time. It has a double projection. Something that happened will happen again. This means that when we have this repetition of the story in the text, HaShem is calling our attention to it in a special way. There is a future fulfillment of these words in a prophetically similar situation. This teaches us that the story about finding a bride has a double projection, not only in reference to the past, but also for the future. It leads us to the wedding of the Messiah and his bride, which we mentioned earlier.

In the last days, there will be people who will be part of the Messiah’s bride, who will come and give water to the Jewish people who left the land, and to the lost tribes among the gentile nations. Eliezer represents the Jewish people in this case, and the ten camels represent the ten tribes. The water is the Torah and the Spirit of the Messiah, see Deuteronomy 32:2; Ephesians 5:26, Isaiah 44:3.

We are living in a time right now when this prophecy is being fulfilled!

24:47b “I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her hands.”(HNV) – This verse is very similar to Ezekiel 16:12 where it is written,

I put a ring on your nose, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.”(HNV)

This text is also speaking about the bride, who is here called Yerushalayim.

24:50 “Then Lavan and Betu'el answered, "The thing proceeds from HaShem. We can't speak to you bad or good.’”(HNV revised) – Lavan was evil, and that is why he spoke before his father.

The Fifth Aliyah, 24:53-67

24:53 “The servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rivka. He also gave precious things to her brother and her mother.”(HNV) – This is referring to the gifts of the Spirit, see 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, which are given to the believers in order that they may know what riches are in the Messiah, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 2:12:

But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God.”(HNV)

24:57 “Then they said, ‘Let's call the girl and ask her about it.’”(NIV) – By this verse we learn that it is not permitted to marry a woman without her consent.[15]

24:58 “They called Rivka, and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" She said, "I will go."” (HNV) – The Hebrew expression shows that Rivkah had decided to go with the man in either case, even if the family did not want it. That teaches us that if we want to be part of the bride, we must be ready to go against the flow of this world. It doesn’t matter what they say, I will follow the Helper, the Spirit, who guides me to the Messiah!

24:60 “They blessed Rivka, and said to her, "Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let your seed possess the gate of those who hate them."”(HNV) – It is possible that this is the text that is the background for Yeshua’s words in Matthew 16:18 which say,

And I tell you, you are Petros, but upon this Rock I will rebuild My assembly; and the gates of Sheol shall not prevail against it.”(MRC)

24:61 “Rivka arose with her maids. They rode on the camels, and followed the man. The servant took Rivka, and went his way.”(HNV revised) – The Hebrew word that is translated “arose” is “vatakam” and it means “and (she) rose up”. So, this is talking about the bride rising up, which is referring to the resurrection from the dead and the rapture at the coming of the Messiah. In this text it says that both Rivkah and her maids rose up. That teaches us that both those who are part of the bride, and the other believers will be caught up in the air to meet the Messiah when he comes with the clouds of heaven. And in the same way that Rivkah was taken up and brought to the land of Israel, those who will be raised from the dead, and those who are transformed, will also be taken up in the air to be brought to the land of Israel, in order to be there forever with the Messiah, as it is written in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

“For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Messiah shall rise first. Then we who are alive and left remaining shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”(MRC)

The rapture will not take us further up than the air; i.e. not into space. There are no scriptural grounds for the teaching that says that we will leave earth and go up into heaven. The Scriptures say that Heaven shall come down to earth and the meek shall inherit the land, as it is written in Matthew 5:5,

“Blessed are the meek! For they shall inherit the land.”(MRC revised)

24:65 “She said to the servant, "Who is the man who is walking in the field to meet us?" The servant said, "It is my master." She took her veil, and covered herself.”(HNV) – To cover oneself with a veil is a sign of modesty, respect and submission. Therefore married women should cover a part of their heads as a sign that they are under their spouse’s authority, especially in prayer and other divine service, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 11:5-6 and 10,

“But every woman praying or prophesying, having her head unveiled, shames her head; for she is one and the same as being shaved. For if a woman does not veil herself, let her also be shorn; but if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be veiled… Because of this the woman ought to have authority upon her head, because of the angels.”(MRC)

And in verse 16 it is written,

“But if anyone is disposed to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the assemblies of God.”(MRC)

The Jewish custom is that a married woman should cover the major part of her hair when other men see her.

24:67 “Yitzchak brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rivka, and she became his wife. He loved her. Yitzchak was comforted after his mother's death.”(HNV) – The Hebrew text says literally, “And Yitzchak caused her to come into the tent, Sarah his mother…”. That can be interpreted as Rivkah now having become Sarah, in the way that she filled the empty space that was in Yitzchak after the death of his mother. It can also be understood as Rivkah coming up to the same spiritual level that her mother-in-law had been on.

Sarah’s tent represents the new Yerushalayim, which is our mother, as it is written in Galatians 4:26,

“But the Yerushalayim above is free; she is our mother.”(MRC)

And in Revelation 21:2 it is written,

“And I saw the sanctified city, the new Yerushalayim, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”(MRC revised)

Messiah’s bride will be brought into that “tent”, as it is written in Song of Songs 1:4,

Take me away with you. Let us hurry. The king has brought me into his chambers.”(HNV)

The Sixth Aliyah, 25:1-11

25:1 “And Avraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah.”(HNV revised) – Rashi says that Keturah was Hagar and that the name came from a reference to her actions being as good as incenseketoret.

We can now pose the question if it really was Hagar that Avraham took again as his wife, when it later mentions Avraham’s “concubines”, verse 6. In 1 Chronicles 1:32 it says that Keturah was Avraham’s concubine.

25:2a “She bore him… Medan, Midyan…”(HNV) – The Midianites originated from Keturah. It was Midianite merchants who walked past when Yosef was in the well, see Genesis 37:28. Medanites, another people also born of Keturah, later sold Yosef to Potifar in Egypt, see Genesis 37:36. The Midianites joined with the Moabites to hire Bil’am to curse Israel, see Numbers 25:16-18. The Midianites were therefore seriously punished by the children of Israel at the command of the Eternal, see Numbers 31. The Midianites oppressed Israel for seven years and were later defeated by Gid’on, see Judges 6-7.

25:5 “And Avraham gave all that he had unto Yitzchak.”(HNV revised) – In the same way, the Father gave everything to the Son, as it is written in John 13:3,

“Yeshua, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He came out from God, and was going back to God.”(MRC revised)

25:7-8 “Altogether, Avraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Avraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.”(NIV revised) – Avraham did not become as old as Yitzchak, 180 years old. A Midrash[16] says that Avraham died 5 years too early. The reason was that his old age should be good, see 15:15, and he was spared seeing his grandson Esav’s falling away and rebellion which happened at age 15, as it is written in Isaiah 57:1,

“The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.”(NIV)

25:9 “Yitzchak and Yishma'el, his sons, buried him in the cave of Makhpelah, in the field of `Efron, the son of Tzochar the Chittite, which is before Mamre.”(HNV) – This shows us that Yishma’el repented and that he had a good relationship with his family during his last years. This also gave Avraham a good old age. At this time Yitzchak was 75 years old and Yishma’el was 89 years old.

25:11 “It happened after the death of Avraham that God blessed Yitzchak, his son. Yitzchak lived by Be'er-Lachai-Ro'i.”(HNV revised) – Yitzchak took over his father’s assignment after his death. Now he was the same age as his father was when he left Charan, see 12:4.

Seventh Aliyah, 26:12-18

25:17 “Altogether, Yishma’el lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people.”(NIV revised) – Rashi says that the Hebrew word that is translated “breathed his last and died”, geviah,[17] is only used for righteous people. Yishma’el became, therefore, righteous before he died.


[1]       Tosafot Harosh, in Sefer R.Yehudah Hachasid’s name.

[2]       A collection of practical laws which were, for the first time, worked out by Rabbi Yoseph Caro five centuries ago and which have since been made applicable for our present day. The quote has been taken and translated from the edition that was produced for the first time in Spain year 1990 by Rabbi Abraham M. Hassan according to the Sephardic tradition, page 421.

[3]       Strong H1616 gêr  gêyr, gare, gare, From H1481; properly a guest; by implication a foreigner: - alien, sojourner, stranger.

        Strong H4181 gûr, goor, A primitive root; properly to turn aside from the road (for a lodging or any other purpose), that is, sojourn (as a guest); also to shrink, fear (as in a strange place); also to gather for hostility (as afraid): - abide, assemble, be afraid, dwell, fear, gather (together), inhabitant, remain, sojourn, stand in awe, (be) stranger, X surely.

[4]       Strong H8453 tôshâb  tôshâb, to-shawb', to-shawb', (The second form used in Kings Num 17:1); from H3427; a dweller (but not outlandish, H5237); especially (as distinguished from a native citizen (active participle of H3427) and a temporary inmate, H1616, or mere lodger, H3885) resident alien: - foreigner-inhabitant, sojourner, stranger.

Strong H3427 yâshab, yaw-shab', A primitive root; properly to sit down (specifically as judge, in ambush, in quiet); by implication to dwell, to remain; causatively to settle, to marry: -  (make to) abide (-ing), continue, (cause to, make to) dwell (-ing), ease self, endure, establish, X fail, habitation, haunt, (make to) inhabit (-ant), make to keep [house], lurking, X marry (-ing), (bring again to) place, remain, return, seat, set (-tle), (down-) sit (-down, still, -ting down, -ting [place] -uate), take, tarry.

[5]       R.Ariyeh Coffman, about Rashí in Bereshit 23:3

[6]       Sotá 13a.

[7]       Ariel & D’vorah Berkowitz, from the Swedish edition Shabbat Shalom A, 2001, #5, yearly edition 5.

[8]       Bereshit Rabbah 59:11

[9]       Strong H7259 ribqâh, rib-kaw', From an unused root probably meaning to clog by tying up the fetlock; fettering (by beauty); Ribkah, the wife of Isaac: - Rebekah.

[10]     Strong H7583 shâ'âh, shaw-aw', A primitive root (rather identical with H7582 through the idea of whirling to giddiness); to stun, that is, (intransitively) be astonished: - wonder.

[11]     Strong H1235 beqa‛, beh'-kah, From H1234; a section (half) of a shekel, that is, a beka (a weight and a coin): - bekah, half a shekel.

Strong H1234 bâqa‛, baw-kah', A primitive root; to cleave; generally to rend, break, rip or open: - make a breach, break forth (into, out, in pieces, through, up), be ready to burst, cleave (asunder), cut out, divide, hatch, rend (asunder), rip up, tear, win.

[12]     Strong H1538 gûlgôleth, gul-go'-leth, By reduplication from H1556; a skull (as round); by implication a head (in enumeration of persons): - head, every man, poll, skull.
Strong H1556 gâlal, gaw-lal', A primitive root; to roll (literally or figuratively): - commit, remove, roll (away, down, together), run down, seek occasion, trust, wallow.

[13]     Strong G1115 Golgotha, gol-goth-ah', Of Chaldee origin (compare [H1538]); the skull; Golgotha, a knoll near Jerusalem: - Golgotha.

[14]     Strong G2898 kranion, kran-ee'-on, Diminutive of a derivative of the base of G2768; a skull (“cranium”): - Calvary, skull.

[15]     Bereshit Rabbáh 60:12 and Rashi.

[16]     Bereshit Rabbáh 63:12

[17]     Strong H1478 gâva‛, gaw-vah', A primitive root; to breathe out, that is, (by implication) expire: - die, be dead, give up the ghost, perish.