Prophet Pearls #13 – Shemot (Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23)

Jewish exiles returning to the Land of Israel ,Prophet Pearls Shemot, Isaiah, exile, redemption, restoration, haftarah, prophets, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, proof texting, shemot, shofar, tanakh, preceptThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Shemot covering Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23. The theme of exile and restoration in this Prophet’s portion corresponds to the turning point in the Egyptian exile when the midwives were told to murder, the Israelites were told to make bricks without straw and Moses was told, “Now you will see what I will do.” Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #12 – Vayechi (1 Kings 2:1-12)

Prophet Pearls Vayechi, 1 Kings, david, solomon, torah, vayechi, haftarah, hexateuch, Keith Johnson, meod, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, prophets, prophets portionThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayechi covering 1 Kings 2:1-12. King David nears death and gives final instructions to Solomon in this portion that parallels the blessings Jacob gave to his sons. David’s “command” to Solomon to “be a man” and to “keep” the “Torah” yields strand after strand of pearls as Gordon teaches on these key words—their  first usage, roots, forms, and the versatile ways in which they are used (and connected) throughout the Tanakh. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #11 – Vayigash (Ezekiel 37:15-28)

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This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayigash, covering Ezekiel 37:15-28. Gordon and Johnson set the stage by describing the pivotal time in the history of Israel and Judah when Ezekiel lived and prophesied. They also share the life-changing encounters they've each had with the writings of this prophet. Word studies include:“son of man,” “join,” the plural of “one,” “settlements,” and the rare context of “save” in this Portion. At center stage are the ten lost tribes of Israel. We learn what Josephus knew about the tribes, as well as the opposing views of Rabbis Akiva and Eliezer regarding their ingathering. Proving one of the rabbis in error, Gordon recounts the day he was driving a tractor on an Israeli kibbutz and witnessed a convoy of Ethiopians traversing the highway—fulfilling Ezekiel’s prophecy as they made Aliyah. Gordon and Johnson close with a prayer that light be shed on all 12 tribes, and that the day soon comes when there is one nation, one temple, and one king. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #10 – Mikeitz (1 Kings 3:15-4:1)

Prophet Pearls Mikeitz (1 Kings 3:15-4:1)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Mikeitz, covering 1 Kings 3:15-4:1. Gordon and Johnson provide context, past and present, for the quintessential wisdom-of-Solomon story where a birth mother is determined faster than you can say DNA. “Deeply stirred” like the mother in the story, Johnson compares the fight-at-any-cost spirit to the battles for the Land today—where a two-baby solution is still no solution. To have a clearer understanding of the gift of divine wisdom, Gordon compares the Chronicles version of Solomon’s dream with this Portion’s account. We learn the divisions of knowledge in the Tanakh and in what section the writings of Solomon appear. We learn the main function of the ancient kings of Israel and that you don’t have to be perfect for Yehovah to call you friend. Gordon closes with a prayer that God’s chosen son, the Messiah King of Israel, soon will bring an end to fighting—peace to Israel and the world. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #9 – Vayeishev (Amos 2:6-3:8)

Prophet Pearls Vayeishev (Amos 2:6-3:8)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayeishev, covering Amos 2:6-3:8. With seven rhetorical questions and a very straight stick, the shepherd prophet draws an unwavering line between cause and effect. Amos’s rebuke of those who “sell the righteous for silver” provides the connection to the Torah portion. But could the sins of Joseph’s older brothers have reaped a 20th century whirlwind? Gordon explains this controversial theory related to ancestral sin. Gordon and Johnson also take a look at Amos’s question of two people walking together. An accurate translation of “agreed” confirms the value of common ground while a faulty translation leads to rampant denominationalism. With cause and effect so tightly woven, we’re reminded that it is a sobering calling to minister the counsel of Adonai Yehovah to the world. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #8 – Vayishlach (Obadiah 1:1-21)

The Edomite City of Petra, Prophet Pearls Vayishlach, Obadiah, day of the lord, edom, edomites, haftarah, Keith Johnson, measure for measure, mount zion, negev, nehemia gordon, obadiah, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, petra, Temple Mount, Tetragrammaton, Vayishlach, yom YehovahThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayishlach, covering Obadiah 1:1-21. To the single-chapter vision of Obadiah, Gordon and Johnson bring volumes of insight. We learn how the eschatological views of preterism, historicism and futurism apply to this Portion. We also learn that Obadiah’s identity has been determined by a rabbinical method of interpretation known as “make-it-up.”  Word studies include:  “hamas,” “Sepharad,”  “yom Yehovah,” “Edom,” “measure for measure,” and “drinking from the cup.” While we are warned by the sins of Edom, we are encouraged by Gordon’s eye-witness account of prophecy fulfilled in the Negev. And we look forward to the day when saviors ascend Mount Zion and the kingdom is Yehovah’s. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #7 – Vayeitzei (Hosea 12:12-14:9)

Prophet Pearls VayeitzeiThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayeitzei, covering Hosea 12:12-14:9. With the ear of the fluent, Gordon informs us of the unique structures and forms of Hebrew used in the northern kingdom, and by its only prophet whose book has survived—Hosea. We learn of Hosea’s penchant for transient imagery, his “Jewish mother” tendencies, and his eight-step prayer. Word studies include: “the shepherd,” “the Leviathan,” “Ephraim,” “sheol,” “moshia,” “kissing calves,” “heal,” and the faulty connection between “bulls” and “fruit.” We also learn that while God prefers mercy over sacrifice, there is one thing for which he shows none. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #6 – Toldot (Malachi 1:1-2:7)

Prophet Pearls Toldot, Malachi, toldot, altarpiece, angel, messenger, haftarah, Keith Johnson, Kohen, Name of God, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, Priests, prophets, Temple Mount, Tetragrammaton, YehovahThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Toldot, covering Malachi 1:1-2:7. If context is key, Gordon and Johnson have opened the door. We learn the exact historical context of Malachi’s message, a specific event at Sinai to which he referred, and the current events on the Temple Mount that prove the Prophet’s words to be as relevant as ever. Gordon tracks down a lost root to clarify the job description of a “messenger” and sets the record straight on “Levites,” “priests” and “cohanim.”  Regarding Malachi’s prophecy, “my name is great among the nations,” Gordon tells of Icelanders and Filipinos who have gathered themselves with Yehovah and encourages listeners to be ready to do likewise. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #5 – Chayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31)

Solomon Crowned KingThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Chayei Sarah, covering 1 Kings 1:1-31. With clues from Gordon and Johnson, the ancient story of King David’s old age and the ensuing struggle for succession seem as modern as any HBO political drama. The portion opens with a brow-raising account of a woman “warming” the king. But which provides the best explanation—eisegesis or exegesis study methods? The word play between “Adonijah” and “Adonai” provides a virtual romp through the portion, and we learn how Amnon-Absalom-Adonijah and Solomon fit the Hebrew thought pattern of “three and four.” Gordon explains why it’s a big deal to swear by Yehovah as well as why it was dangerous to live in an ancient culture and claim to be a king. Pearls aplenty, but it’s hard to top the one little word that Bathsheba adds when proclaiming l’chaim to King David—“olam.” Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #4 – Vayeira (2 Kings 4:1-37)

Elisha and the Shunnamite's Son by Timothy Welchel, Prophet Pearls Vayeira, 2 Kings 4:1-37, elisha, elijah, keith johnson, nehemia gordon, parsha, prophet, tanakh, resurrection, Shunnamite, yehovah, yhvh, yhwhThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayeira covering 2 Kings 4:1-4:37. The miracles of Elisha yield fascinating pearls as Gordon and Johnson discuss the similarities and differences of Elisha’s and Elijah’s stories, the measure of spirit that Elisha really asked for, whether the Shunammite was full of faith or just evasive—and why her travels on Shabbat present problems for both rabbis and Karaites. Gordon looks at other instances of resurrection in the Tanakh and gives chapter and verse explaining how the books of the Tanakh are grouped according to three fields of knowledge. We also learn that whether the prophets are considered “classical” or “literary,” these guys completely expected to be kept in the loop. Continue reading