This 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.
"For the ways of Yehovah are straight; the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them." Hosea 14:9
The Original Torah Pearls - Vayeitzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3)
The image above is of a straight and narrow path in the Judean Desert. This common sight was used as a metaphor by many of the prophets such as: "For the ways of Yehovah are straight; the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them." Hosea 14:9. This particular path is in Nachal Perat, near Anatot, the home of the prophet Jeremiah. The prophet visited this river valley in Jeremiah 13:1-11 and used this type of path as a metaphor:
"They shall come with weeping, and with supplication will I guide them. I will lead them to streams of water, by a straight path where they will not stumble. For I am a Father to Israel, Ephraim is My first-born." Jeremiah 31:9
This type of narrow path also inspired the commandment not to turn from the way of God to the right or to the left. If you turn to the left you hit a wall and if your turn to the right you fall into the abyss, as in the verse:
"Be careful, then, to do as Yehovah your God has commanded you. Do not turn aside to the right or to the left." Deut. 5:29.
Photo by Nehemia Gordon.