Prophet Pearls #16 – Beshalach (Judges 4:4-5:31)

Prophet Pearls Beshalach, Judges 4:4-5:31, devorah, israel, judges, torah portion, deborah, barak, jael, prophet, haftarah, jezreel valley, sisera, yehovah, yhvhIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Judges 4:4-5:31, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss how although not a “military commander” like the other judges, Deborah coolly commands the military in this portion’s reading and then writes a lovely song about it to boot. We learn the context of her years as a judge and prophetess and how her administration fits into the life cycle of ancient Israel. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #15 – Bo (Jeremiah 46:13-28)

Prophet Pearls Bo, Jeremiah 46:13-28, egypt, jeremiah, torah portion, prophet, nations, yehovah, yhvh, haftarah, nehemia gordon, keith johnson, parsha, boIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Bo (Jeremiah 46:13-28) Jeremiah, the prophet to the nations, foretells another “smiting” for Egypt—providing the connection to the Torah portion where the Lord, with a strong hand, brought his people out of Egypt. This time though, the smiting is at the hand of the Babylonians—a fact that provides another glimpse into the ways and means of Yehovah. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #14 – Vaeira (Ezekiel 28:25-29:21)

Prophet Pearls Vaeira, Ezekiel, Yehovah, vaeira, Egypt, Exodus, haftarah, ingathering of exiles, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, Pharaoh, prophets, tsemachThis episode of Prophet Pearls, (Ezekiel 28:25-29:21), reveals Yehovah as maestro—orchestrating kings, nations and events to further the day when the house of Israel, and all mankind, will know who he is. Ezekiel’s prophecy that a revelation of God would result from the ingathering can be witnessed today. However, not all who see believe, and Nehemia Gordon draws an ominous parallel between Pharaoh claiming the Nile as his own and those who boast about modern-day Israel without giving credit to Yehovah. Continue reading

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, preceptIn this episode of Prophet PearlsShemot (Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23), Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the theme of exile and restoration as this Prophet’s portion corresponds to the turning point in the Egyptian exile when the midwives were told to commit 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)

King David's dying charge to Solomon - Prophet Pearls Vayechi (1 Kings 2:1-12)In this episode of Prophet PearlsVayechi (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 Nehemia 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)

Prophet Pearls Vayigash, Ezekiel, Aliyah, tel abib, tel aviv, haftarah, vayigash, Ingathering, Israel, judah, josephus, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, northern kingdom, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, prophets, rabbi akiva, rabbi eliezer, return of exiles, salvation in tanakh, two sticks unitedIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Vayigash (Ezekiel 37:15-28)Nehemia Gordon and Keith 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)In this week's Prophet PearlsMikeitz (1 Kings 3:15-4:1), Nehemia Gordon and Keith 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)In this week's episode of Prophet Pearls, Vayeishev (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? Nehemia 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 YehovahIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Vayishlach (Obadiah 1:1-21), the single-chapter vision of Obadiah, Nehemia Gordon and Keith 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 (Vayeitzei) Hosea 12:12-14:9In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Vayetizei (Hosea 12:12-14:9), with the ear of the fluent, Nehemia 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