Torah Pearls #14 – Vaeira (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

This episode of The Original Torah Pearls is on the Torah portion of Vaeira (Exodus 6:2-9:35). At face value, the first sentence of Vaeira appears to contradict other Scripture but several common-sense explanations clear things up. We learn why Moses’ lineage was important—particularly to the original audience—and that his “why me?” attitude was a sign of greatness. Gordon reveals a key verse for understanding the month of Aviv and the significance of its place on the Hebrew calendar. He also reads a poetic passage from the Portion that contains God’s name and where the rhyme of the divine is evident. As the trio examines each plague, Gordon translates the three Hebrew words for what was done to Pharaoh’s heart. Johnson speculates if the livestock taken to a place of shelter—a “migdal-oz”—hints at the mixed multitude and wonders if any Egyptians took shelter in the wondrous redemption to be found in Goshen.

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Transcript

Torah Pearls – Vaeira (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

You are listening to The Original Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson, and Jono Vandor. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Nehemia: Oh Heavenly Father, Yehovah, please “ga’leh ey’nenu venabita nifla’ot m’toratecha.” Uncover our eyes that we may see the wonderful hidden things of your Torah. Amen.

Jono: G'day to everybody listening wherever you may be around the world, and thank you for your company. It's time for Pearls from the Torah Portion with Keith Johnson in North Carolina and Nehemia Gordon in Jerusalem. Gentlemen, welcome back.

Keith: Boy, this is getting fun Jono.

Jono: My friend, I look forward to it every single week. I really, really do. And I'm so excited because this Torah portion is jam packed with action, absolutely jam packed. Today we are in Vaeira, Exodus 6:2-9:35, quite to the end of Chapter 9. And it begins like this.

Keith, let me kick off and kick it to you. Verse 2 says, “And God spoke to Moses and said to him, ‘I am Yehovah. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but my name Yehovah was not known to them.’” How do we understand that?

Keith: This is really something that caught my attention. Nehemia and I talked about this before, and with a lot of what I call people that were kind of study partners. Because we did a deal with our book His Hallowed Name Revealed Again, where we sent out copies to people to have them read it before it ever became public.

About 500 people, literally around the world, were reading this study version, and one of the things that came up was this particular verse because it says, wait a minute, how can this be? Let me just read it in my NIV, if that would be okay.

It says, “And God says unto Moses, ‘I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.’” We could stop right there and just say, “By my name, the LORD.” If you're reading in an NIV version or a regular English version, you're supposed to stop there and say, “By my name, The LORD.” So, his name is “The LORD,” according to the NIV.

I think if I were to ask Nehemia an obvious question, and he would say, “It's just obvious. I'm reading in Hebrew.” Nehemia, take a look at Genesis 6:2. What does it actually say in Hebrew? And act as though we don't know anything. We're just innocent English readers that are reading this. Just pretend like everybody isn't reading it just the way it is. And don't make any assumptions. How does it actually read?

Nehemia: “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as,” or “through,” it could be translated, or “in El Shaddai,” and “El Shaddai” they translate usually as “God Almighty.” El definitely means God, but also implies might and strength. “And my name Yehovah I did not make known to them,” could be one translation.

Before we actually get to the meaning of this verse, because, definitely the common understanding of this, even the common Jewish understanding of it, is that before this God didn't reveal his name to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And actually, Josephus, makes the comment that when God revealed his name to Moses, that was a name that was never known to the forefathers. I want to first quote some verses and show that that can't actually be what it means.

Sherlock Holmes used to say that if you rule out all the possibilities, then the only thing left is what may otherwise seem unlikely. And I'm probably misquoting that, but I'm paraphrasing it.

Here's a verse, Genesis 15:7. God is speaking to Abraham and he says, “I am Yehovah who took you out of Ur Casdim,” or “Ur of the Chaldees.” So, God is saying to Abraham, “I am Yehovah.” So, there's really no question that Abraham knew The Name.

This is in Genesis 28:13. This is when God is speaking to Jacob in the dream of Jacob's ladder. It says, “Behold, Yehovah was standing upon it. And he said, ‘I am Yehovah, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac, etc.’” So, he says “I am Yehovah,” both to Abraham and to Jacob.

So what does it mean, “I did not make my name Yehovah known to them?” He's obviously not trying to say that He never said to them, “I am Yehovah,” because he clearly did say that to Abraham and to Jacob. So, what does it therefore mean?

There are a number of different possibilities. There’s one possibility that the King James Version brings. A lot of times we'll put down the King James Version because it's not the best translation, but sometimes it'll come up with a good explanation.

What the King James Version does is, it poses it as a rhetorical question. And therefore, it would be read, “And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai, and did I not make my name Yehovah known to them?” Or something to the effect of that, which is definitely a possible way of reading the verse. There's really no reason not to read the verse that way.

Here's one of the really interesting things about biblical Hebrew. Very often the difference between a statement and a question really comes down to a matter of interpretation, really a matter of how you understand it in the context. Here's how the King James actually translates it.

Jono: That's interesting because, I've got in front of me, I'm holding a New King James, and that possibility doesn't appear in the text. What I have is an asterisk next to “LORD” in capitals. And I look down the page in the study part where the asterisk is, and it says, “Hebrew.” It's got the Tetragrammaton. “Traditionally Jehovah,” it says.

And then you go down to the study note and it says, “The patriarchs had known God Almighty. It is not that they had never heard the name Yahweh, but they had not known God in an intimate way.” And, “The patriarchs knew a great deal about God, but had not experienced his goodness in many ways. They had not had the revelation that was granted Moses unto this day.”

Nehemia: And that's definitely a possible interpretation. In other words, the interpretation the new King James is suggesting is that when God said, “I didn't make my name Yehovah known to them,” what He means is in an intimate sense, in the way that Adam knew Eve. Not literally the same way. But "to know," in Hebrew, implies an intimate sense.

For example, Isaiah will talk repeatedly about how our objective is to “know Yehovah.” That doesn't mean to know who he is, it means to have this intimate relationship with him. But that's another possible interpretation. One interpretation is that it's knowing in an intimate way. Another way is a rhetorical question. And here's how the King James translates it, “And I appeared unto Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob by the name God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah, was I not known to them?”

Look at the difference between an English rhetorical question and the statement. If you read it, “But by my name Jehovah I was not known to them,” that's a statement. If you read it, “By my name Jehovah, was I not known to them?” In other words, all you did was, you switched the order of the words “was” and “I” in English and you turned it into a rhetorical question, and that's the difference in English.

In Hebrew, you could read it both ways without changing anything. The only thing you would change is your intonation, and the intonation doesn't appear in the text. There's a very wise bible commentator back in the 20th century, a brilliant Israeli woman named Nechama Leibowitz, who's considered by many people the greatest bible commentator of the 20th century.

Nechama Leibowitz said that anybody who says that they don't interpret the bible doesn't know what they're talking about, because any reading of the bible is an interpretation. I believe that. I agree with that 100%, by the way.

She gave the example of the 10 commandments. In the 10 commandments it says, “You shall not murder. You shall not steal. You shall not kill.” And she said, “In Hebrew you can legitimately read that ‘Lo Tirtzach? Lo Tignov?’”

By the intonation you're implying that it's a rhetorical question. “You won't murder? Of course you'll murder. You won't steal? Of course you'll steal.” I didn't come up with this. This was Nechama Leibowitz.

Basically what she was saying is that it's naive to say we don't interpret the bible. The objective is to interpret it according to its language and its context using common sense. But every reading of the bible is by definition, an interpretation, just based on how you read it. So really this verse, Exodus 6:3, can legitimately be a rhetorical question. To me that's the simplest explanation.

Keith: I would like to just throw something out, because I did something Jono. And if it's okay, and I appreciate everybody that's letting us wade through these waters, one of the things that we've been doing recently is trying to find people who are really interested in this topic, the idea of being able to go out and proclaim God's name.

One of the things I did when I went through this section, is I slowed down. And again, Nehemia, please let me say this, what I’ve always appreciated about Nehemia in our studies is that we had to slow down a lot. We had to be like Moses, to slow down.

So one of the things I did when I looked at this verse, I said, “Here are these traditional possibilities. Here's the issue of whether it could be a rhetorical question. Is there any clue within the actual Hebrew?”

One of the things I did is, I just happened to check the actual verb there. The verb is “Noda’ati.” And so what I did is, I checked where that verb was actually used. And I found something interesting I just want to throw out to you all. It's used four times in this exact form. In other words, just this way. And the way that it's used is in Ezekiel 20:9, Ezekiel 35:11...

Nehemia: I was going to bring that. It's right in my screen here. But go ahead. Bevakasha.

Keith: I'm going to stay as the Methodist reading the NIV. Ladies and gentlemen, I just don't know. The NIV just says, “I do not make myself known.” Nehemia Gordon, let me ask you, what do you think?

What's so fun about it is that, when I am reading it in English, it really was something that made me stop. I just wanted to find out where this word was actually used.

And so, these particular verses, Ezekiel 20:9, Ezekiel 35:11, and Ezekiel 38:23, seem to have this idea that when he's acting for his namesake, that it meant something more. For example, “I acted for the sake of my name that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, among whom they lived and in whose sight I made myself known,” it says, “to them by bringing them out of the land of Egypt.”

So the idea that he made himself known and then there was this action. And this action was not an action for the individual, it was the action for the nation. It was something that would be seen by more than one person. It was something that would be seen by the entire community.

And it seems, as we go to these other verses, the idea of Him making Himself known is something where, He didn't make Himself known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in this collective state, the way that He did it. But individually, He did make Himself known, and we have verses where they call upon the name Yehovah or Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey.

What is interesting about when it's first shown here in Exodus chapter 6, it's like he's setting it up, saying, “What I'm about to do, there's not going to be any question. When I make myself known, everybody's going to see it. When I make myself known it's going to be something beyond just you, Moses. It's going to be for the entire nation.”

And then of course these four other verses. That was just what I did as I looked at the verb and I thought, “Wow, could that be?” And I learned that particular little process from the man who says, “It's obvious in the Hebrew.” That was my thought, but Nehemia, please add something to that.

Nehemia: It's a great observation. You really took the correct approach, which is to say we have this difficult verse that obviously can't mean, “I wasn't known to them,” because that doesn't fit what we read over in Genesis.

Moses knew three chapters earlier, so what's going on here? So what you did is, you said, “Let's look at this verb.” And the verb is “Noda’ati,” which is the “nif’al” verb of “yada,” which means “to know.” Which, by the way, could mean, “I was known,” or, “I made myself known.” And so, “I was not known,” or, “I did not make myself known,” are two legitimate translations of it.

What you did is you look for other places where it appeared, and it happens to be that one of the other places it appears speaks about His name, and that's Ezekiel 20:9. It's very clear from Ezekiel 20:9, in the context, that God's name being made known here has to do with him performing these, what I can maybe call, big miracles.

We have all kinds of miracles in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but we don't really have anything on the magnitude of splitting of the Red Sea, or the plague of the frogs, or the blood. We don't have those kind of, what you might call bombastic miracles, big things that are kind of impressive. You have little small miracles and things like that.

I think that's in the context of what he's trying to say here. That to reveal himself as El Shaddai is the way he revealed himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. El Shaddai, you could translate the El, obviously it means God, but also mighty one, and Shaddai, it's disputed the exact origin of the word. Some people say it's from the word Shed, which actually means spirit. And others say it's from Shad which means breast. I tend to go with the spirit, because I don't know what God has to do with breasts.

The translation of El Shaddai, according to that, would be “Great mighty spirit.” He reveals himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as a great mighty spirit. He protected them, the spirit who protects them. That's what he did to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

But this Yehovah, the one who was, is, and will be, and Yehovah implies a might, a strength that He didn't reveal himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as. They may have known His name and He may have proclaimed His name to them, but the full force and might of that name, that he only made known in the time of Moses through the great miracles he wrought in Egypt.

Jono: So He manifests that name in the Exodus

Nehemia: Manifests the power of that name I would say is, essentially, what happens in the story of the Exodus of Egypt. And that's what he's saying over in Ezekiel as well.

Keith: Can I leave the farm, Jono, with one more thing? One of the reasons why this is such a big deal and why I'd been so excited about learning, first the information about the name, and then a little inspiration about the name, and then some revelation about the name, and wanting others to get a chance to do the same, is, it's a picture of what's going to happen in the future.

He's going to “noda’ati, noda’ati, noda’ati.” He’s going to make Himself known through His name again. It says in Ezekiel 38:23, "I will magnify myself, sanctify myself, and make myself known in the sight of many nations. And they will know that I am Yehovah."

One of the things that I've been so excited about is, once you get a chance to interact with this information, and you get a look at why this is important, in scripture we find out that this is something he's going to do again, just like He made His name known in Exodus chapter 6. He says, “I'm about to make myself known,” and He made himself known. It wasn't just for the people of Israel, it was for the Egyptians and now, for every other nation.

He's going to do that again, and that's the thing that I get excited about, is that this act is not going to be just for the individual. This act is going to be for the nations. Why not begin now to understand the importance of His name, the significance of His name?

Look, the pronunciation, people argue back and forth. But if you know what His name is, understand it, what it means, and you call Him something else, so be it. But know the power of His name and what it is, what this name means and the significance of it.

Anyway, I hope that people will take advantage of learning this information and trying to get it, because it really is that important.

Jono: Nehemia, did you have something else to add to that?

Nehemia: Yeah, also that Sherlock Holmes quote. It says “Eliminate all other factors or possibilities, and the one which remains must be the truth, however unlikely.” I think that's what we've done here. We said, okay, we've eliminated the possibility that it means that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob didn't know his name because, clearly, they knew his name.

And so, whatever other possibilities remain, one of those must be the truth. Just to go quickly back to the 10 commandments example, I hope nobody thought that I was saying that the 10 commandments are saying that we're allowed to murder, commit adultery, and steal. On the contrary, it's obvious to anybody with common sense that “Thou shall not murder” is a commandment and not a rhetorical question. But that application of the common sense is an interpretation. And it happens to be one that's a common sense and a logical interpretation.

That's the same sort of interpretation that we should employ whenever we read any text, especially in the bible. Don't come up with, “Thou shalt not murder? Of course, thou shall murder.” That's an idiotic interpretation. The objective is to come up with one that makes sense, that uses logic, and fits into the language in context.

Jono: The next five verses, let me just read the first five, because I really, really like this. It says, “I've also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage in which they were strangers. And I have also heard the groanings of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage. And I have remembered my covenant. Therefore, say to the children of Israel, I am Yehovah. I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will rescue you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great judgments. I will take you as my people. And I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am Yehovah, your Elohim, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as a heritage. I am Yehovah. So, Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel, but they did not heed Moses because of an anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.”

I love just that whole passage there, “I will, I will, I will, I am Yehovah.” And really, doesn't it say, doesn't it set the stage? I'm going to do this. And man, it's going to be good. So just strap yourself in.

Keith: And you know Jono, it's funny, while you were reading that I wanted to put you behind a good old-fashioned Methodist pulpit where there's some fire, because you were preaching that. That's just classic. The classic example, I will, I will, I will.

But that next line is what jumps off the page, because the next line is not unlike what a lot of people deal with even today. It says this, “He told them, He will, He will, He will.” And it says, “but they.” Why did they not listen? And it says in my NIV, it was because they were discouraged and because of their bondage.

In other words, the external circumstances of difficulty made them forget, or even not be interested, in a sense, of not being able to even believe it. Because they're saying, what he's saying he will do is so opposite of my present experience, I can't buy in.

There are a lot of people that are in that situation today. There are people that are in personal situations. They're so discouraged and they're under such bondage, when they read these words, “I will, I will, I will,” they're like, “But I can't. I can't believe that because my situation is too difficult.”

What's powerful about this story is, He doesn't just say it, he actually does it. And eventually their eyes began to open, their hearts began to soften, their minds began to get changed. And guess what happens? Their feet get to walking. They experience the fact that he makes Himself known. I really, really think that's powerful! He says it even before they believe it, and then he does it, and then they catch up to him.

Jono: That's right, regardless of their belief.

Keith: Exactly. That's who He is.

Jono: Amen. “Moses spoke before Yehovah saying, ‘The children of Israel have not heeded me.’” Nehemia, “How shall Pharaoh heed me for I am with uncircumcised lips?”

Keith: Faltering lips, it says to me.

Jono: You've got faltering lips? I've got uncircumcised lips. What do you have in the Hebrew?

Nehemia: It literally says, “uncircumcised of lips.” What he means by that is, he doesn't speak well. We've established that before, that he was apparently a stutterer.

Jono: It's an interesting way to put it, right?

Nehemia: Uncircumcised, in a literal sense, means that there's a covering, covering something over. And uncircumcised lips means that there's something on his lips that's preventing him from speaking properly.

Jono: Let me just jump out of here for a second. That takes me to Isaiah chapter 6. “Woe is me. I'm a man of unclean lips.” And then the angel takes some coal from the altar and touches his lips. Is that a similar sort of thing?

Nehemia: Yeah, absolutely. This is a common theme of the prophets, that when God calls them to ministry, they kvetch and they say, “I can't do this. Why me? Why are you choosing me?”

This is a repeated theme of the prophets. It starts with Moses. I just mentioned last time, the parable of Jotham. I think that's what comes to mind for me. The parable of Jotham, which is that the person who is eager to go out and be the leader is probably not the person who should be the leader.

What we see is, the great leaders of Israel were people who were hesitant, who didn't want it. Who, when God called them to do it, said, “Can't you choose somebody else? Why does it have to be me?” Eventually though, they responded to the call and said, “Okay, I'm willing to do it.”

Jono: So this is really just makers of some of these excuses, and trying to get out of “Why did I come and look at the burning bush?” And he goes, “If only I had walked by and I don’t have to see this sign.”

Nehemia: Stupid sheep, I had to take them in that direction.

Jono: Here we are, of course. He’s in neck deep, and he’s not about to leave the commands and instructions that Yehovah has given him to do.

Here we are in verse 14, all the way to verse 27. We're looking at the heads of the fathers’ houses, all of the names and families. We can go through that. I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't go through that. But let me just highlight one name in particular that I really liked, and it was in verse 19, Mushi. Mushi is a winner! Is Mushi still a name that is used in Israel?

Nehemia: I've never met anybody named Mushi in modern times.

Jono: You haven't met a Mushi?

Nehemia: I've never met a Mushi. But the question for me really is, why do we have these names all of a sudden? Why all of a sudden, verse 13 all the way to verse 25, are we inundated with these names? It doesn't give us the entire family history. It starts with Reuben, and then it gives us the second son, which is Simeon. Then it gives us the third son, Levi. And it doesn't go on to the fourth son.

If you look at a similar list that appears in other places in the bible, in the Torah, it goes all the way through all 12 sons. Like, for example, we had a list like that in Genesis. Why all of a sudden here, does it stop with Levi? I think the answer is in verse 26. It's telling us, “Who are Aaron and Moses? Who had the gall to say to God ‘I am of uncircumcised lips. How is Pharaoh going to speak to me?’”

It's giving us his family history. Up until now we know very little about Moses. Just that he was some kind of Levi descended from Amram, who didn't really tell us exactly who he was. And now it's giving us the whole lineage. “This is Reuben, Simeon, and Levi. And he's from Levi. Here's his lineage of who he is.”

Then we have a really interesting thing in verse 30. It's almost an identical word for word repetition of verse 12. And what we have there is, this is a stylistic feature in biblical Hebrew, that when you insert what's called a parenthetic statement, in other words basically in parenthesis. In modern times we literally could put something in a footnote or we can make it in parenthesis.

In the bible they had no way of doing that. So, the way they did it is they would repeat the last thing they said before the parenthesis began. And so, verses 10-12 are repeated in verses 29-30, almost word for word. That's because everything between those two sections, verses 13 through 28, is a parenthetic statement to tell us who are Aaron and Moses? Who are these people who had the gall to say this to God, and what is the context in which they said it?

The context in which they said it, for those who weren't paying attention, is that they were standing before Pharaoh after God had commanded them to speak to the Pharaoh. And he's saying, I'm of uncircumcised lips, which is kind of incredible because God had called him for this mission, him personally. He's a direct descendant of Levi, who's one of the premier sons of Jacob. And so how is he saying this to God, I'm of uncircumcised lips?

But the important thing to focus on is that we have a parenthetic statement here. That'll appear a lot of times in the bible, and be misinterpreted by people who don't identify that sort of thing, and will say, “Well, here is a second time that Moses came and stood before pharaoh. Twice he said to him, I'm of uncircumcised lips.” He said it once in verse 12 and once in verse 30.

Well, no. That's simply the way that the bible inserts something in parenthesis by going back to the last thing it said before the parentheses began. The scholars call that “resumptive repetition.” “Resumptive repetition” means that when you resume back to the main line of the story, you do it by repeating the last thing.

Jono: If I was explaining something to you in a conversation, and then while I was making my point I stopped and said, “By the way... Mushi. Anyway, as I was saying...”

Nehemia: Exactly. Except the bible doesn't open it with “by the way,” and it doesn't say, “as I was saying.” That's what confuses people. And it doesn't have that opening on the close like we do in English. But you're supposed to realize, it's repeating what it said before. Now we're going back to the main story. And that was just a parenthetic thought that was in parentheses or a footnote.

Jono: There we are. Brilliant.

Keith: One thing we do Jono, and I mentioned this before, is that when I was younger, and I first read the bible, I'd see these lists of names and I would just jump over the names. I'm like, “I don't need to know those names. I can't even pronounce those names. What does that got to do with anything?”

There are little things that jump off of these names. My favorite name is actually in verse 21. It says the sons of, excuse me, I can barely read anymore. I don't have my little glasses. These are from Aaron and Moses. The last name there Nehemia, what does it say in Hebrew, the sons of Esau were?

Nehemia: Korach, Nefeg, and Zichri.

Keith: Zichri is my favorite name.

Nehemia: Okay, go on. Preach it.

Keith: No, I'm not going to preach it. I'm just telling that...

Nehemia: Come on, I’m excited now. Georgia is looking at me like, "What is wrong with you."

Jono: Come on Keith.

Keith: When that name jumps off the page, look, can I beat my drum? When I see that name, I'm reminded of Exodus 3:15. Why am I reminded of Exodus 3:15? It's obvious in the Hebrew. Everyone should jump off the page when they see Zichri.

But we've got a Hebrew expert here. Nehemia, why are you excited, as a Hebrew reader, when you see Zichri, and why would you think I'd be excited?

Nehemia: Zichri is exactly what God says to Moses about his name. He says, “This is my name forever. This is ‘Zichri’ for every generation.” And “Zichri” means my mention, or my memory. And really it means both.

When Yitz’har named his son Zichri it was like, I gave the two other boys names that will be unique to them. But this son, this is the son that carries on my memory. This is the son who carries on my name. This is Zichri.

Keith: This is powerful Jono. That's why, again, back to the name.

Jono: There it is. There's another one.

Nehemia: You're such a one-track mind, Keith.

Keith: I'm sorry guys, it's exciting. You're going to make yourself known, we might as well know some information. Anyway, go ahead.

Jono: So, we’ve got Mushi, we’ve got Zichri. And down in verse 25 we have Phineas, if I pronounced that correctly.

Nehemia: Pinchas.

Jono: Is this the same that we hear about a little later?

Nehemia: He's the grandson of Aaron. It's giving us the context. This is who we're dealing with. And it kind of almost sounds comical to me that it's telling us who Aaron and Moses are. Everybody knows who Aaron and Moses are. But remember that when this was first being revealed and spoken to the Israelites, they needed a context.

Who are these guys showing up to us, and told us that the God of our forefathers spoke to us? Who is this Aaron and Moses? Who are these guys? And so, it's giving us the context of what their lineage is, who they are, what their connection is to Jacob, who is the bearer of the covenant, of the promise. And that's the context of who they are. This guy who was raised in the house of Pharaoh as an Egyptian prince, who is this guy and what's his connection to us? That's what this is about.

Jono: And so, it resumes in verse 30. We're going to chapter 7. And basically, God says, listen, just do what you're told. And in verse 3, Yehovah says, “I will harden Pharaoh's heart.”

Keith, coming from the tradition that you and I were brought up in, how are we to understand that now? I will harden Pharaoh's heart? That Pharaoh doesn't have a choice in the matter?

Keith: It's interesting. What I remember when I was first reading this, this just confused me. I'm like, “What do you mean? Poor Pharaoh. Why would you harden his heart?”

Of course, he's saying now what he's going to do. Later in the story, when we get to it, I guess I can talk about it more. But what's really powerful about it now in reading all of the Tanakh is that he's able to do what he wants. The heart of the king is the pathway. He chooses what's going to happen and how it's going to happen. But this is the powerful picture of what he's able to do.

He's saying, “Look, I can actually go to the heart of a man, who doesn't even want to acknowledge My Name, and do this thing.”

And being Moses when you hear that, I'm like, “Wow, you're amazing. I see you're the fire in the bush and this, but what are you going to do? How are you going to do this?” He says, “Listen, I'm going to harden his heart.” That's another one of those ‘jump off the page’ deals, so I appreciate you slowing down there.

Jono: Verse 4,But Pharaoh will not heed you so that I may lay my hand on Egypt and bring my armies, and my people, and the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am Yehovah when I stretched my hand on Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”

And so, it turns out that Moses and Aaron, a couple of blokes in their 80's, and Aaron's three years older, and then Yehovah spoke to Moses and said, here we go. This is the first, sort of a showdown, when you stand in front of Pharaoh and he does his thing, and you do your thing. And he says, I'm not going to let you go. Throw your rod down and it will become the serpent, verse 11.

“The Pharaoh also called the wisemen and the sorcerers.” So, the magicians of Egypt, “They also did in like manner with their enchantments.” How are we to understand that? Isn't it really? Because what are the options?

Nehemia: Well, there are two options. One is that they actually had supernatural powers, which maybe were demonic or whatever, and they actually performed these things. Or they used sleight of hand. Those are the two options. And I know that within the Jewish tradition both opinions are expressed. For example, Maimonides was a strong proponent of saying that all magic is just ‘sleight of hand’ and there's no real power to it. And then other Jewish scholars have said, “No, very clearly they were able to do it.”

And you know what, both of those are possibilities. To me it doesn't really make a difference. Either way, magic is something that we're supposed to stay away from and is forbidden to perform. That’s Deuteronomy 18, we'll get to that, I guess.

Keith: I want to stop for one second, and then I want you guys to help me with this. It's almost like there's this build up. “Here's what's going to happen. And you're going to do this. And you're going to do that.” And then it actually happens, and it's almost like a letdown. Because you know how we have the most famous statement, “Let my people go.”

My question is, and you don't even need to edit it out if I'm wrong here, is that it says, “Moses and Aaron did just as Yehovah commanded them.” And then it says, “Yehovah said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Pharaoh says to you, ‘perform a miracle.’”

So, this is where I want to stop for a second. He says, when Pharaoh says this to you, “perform a miracle,” here's what I want you to do. And then in verse 10 it says, “Moses and Aaron went to the Pharaoh and did just as Yehovah commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials and it became a snake.”

If I can use Jono's statement, am I to understand here that he tells them what's going to happen? And then basically there's a transition. They end up in front of Pharaoh? Is it assumed that Pharaoh did say, “Perform a miracle,” and then it's showing us what they did? Am I catching that right?

Jono: It seems like Pharaoh is saying, “I can see you claim to be here on behalf of a deity. Validate what you're saying.”

Nehemia: Come on. We want to see the miracle.

Jono: Show us the miracle. And then we're like, “Show them the miracle. Throw down your staff, and take that Pharaoh!” But then his magicians did the same.

Keith: But then my question for you two is this. Is this the first interaction that Moses has with Pharaoh? Please confirm it, Sherlock.

Nehemia: So, in chapter 5 he does have an interaction with him. It opens up chapter 5, “Afterwards Moses and Aaron came, and he said to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says Yehovah, the God of Israel, let my people go.’”

Keith: Nehemia, Sherlock, has found it. So, in chapter 5 he says this, and then we have two whole chapters, whatever you want to call it, however long a period of time that comes to. And then he says he's going to ask for a miracle. Why? Because the first time he comes and he says, “I don't know Yehovah.” And he thinks about it for a while. “Okay. If this is, quote unquote, ‘some one of your gods,’ let me see him do something.”

And why I think that it's important, and this is just my little deal here, why I think it's important that they were able to do the same thing, whether it was sleight of hand or actually they had the ability to, who knows. He's meeting Pharaoh where Pharaoh is. He knows Pharaoh's first thing is, “If this is a God, we've got all sorts of signs and wonders.”

Nehemia: Where did he go and have this showdown with Pharaoh in verse 14? It's kind of interesting. It says, “Behold, he's going out to the water.” So Pharaoh is coming out to the Nile, which the Egyptians worship, and that's where Moses chooses to confront him; on his home turf, standing with his leg soaking in his god. That's where Moses is going to challenge him.

Keith: And that's why I think it's interesting that they do these first few, and we're going to get to it in a second. But these first few are kind of like, “This is what we can do. We can do this.” He doesn't say, “I'm going to start way up here. I'm going to start right where you are. I'm still going to harden your heart and let you know that I am Yehovah, but I'm going to start right where you are, right where you're at, your water, right where you're thinking that you're worshiping your god, that's where I'm going to begin to reveal just who I am.” It's a pretty powerful progression, is what I was trying to get to.

Nehemia: One of the really interesting things about these miracles and these signs, you're asking, does the magic really have power? And I guess we don't know about the ancient Egyptians. What we do know is that in the ancient Greek world you had priests of various temples that would perform all kinds of miracles, signs, and wonders, and we actually have a book that has survived, by one of the Greek engineers, who describes how a lot of these things were done. He's not writing this to expose them, he's writing this for temple priests to learn how to employ these tricks to convince the people that the gods were real and had power.

For example, one of the things they would do is, when you approach the entrance of the Greek temples, the doors would open up. Anybody who's been to a supermarket isn't impressed with that, but the ancient Greeks were very impressed by that. That was the sign that the gods were real, the doors have opened up for us.

One of the more famous signs is, when they would approach the... it's actually one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, according to the Herodotus list, the Statue of Zeus at Olympus. When you would approach that statue, they would hear this rumbling like thunder.

Later on, the Christian scholars heard about this and they were making fun of the Greeks because there were still people who believed in this. And they said, “Yeah, rumbles like thunder because there's rats inside and they've eaten the inside,” which is ivory.

But one of the things that the Greeks used to say back to the Christians, and the Jews, is they say, “You believe in this invisible god of yours, but we go to the temples of Zeus and we see the miracles. You're believing in this invisible god that you can't touch, you can't see, and you can't perceive. Whereas we go to our temples and we see the miracles happen, we see healings, we see the blind seeing and the lame walking.”

They would actually make fun of the Jews and the Christians about this for believing in what they call the invisible god. A lot of this, I think looking back, is obviously what we would call sleight of hand and trickery. In fact, in India to this day they use this type of sleight of hand and trickery. There’re actually society-like organizations in India whose sole purpose is to expose how the priests of their temples take advantage of the common folk and trick them to believing in their gods by using simple things that you could find in any magic store in the US. In the US it's done for fun. In the ancient pagan world and in modern India to this day it was done to keep the people under control, to get the people into spiritual bondage. Can I get an amen, Johnson?

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Let me just add that obviously it's not just India. We see it going on in the States in Evangelical Christianity.

Alright, leave the wheelchair on the stage, we’re in verse 17. “Thus says Yehovah, by this you shall know that I am Yehovah. Behold, I will strike the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that are in the river shall die. The river shall stink, and the Egyptian shall loath to drink the water of the river.”

And so, he does this, and it all turns to blood. This reminds me of a conversation that Joe Dumond and I had. So, do you think it actually turned to blood, or did it turn the color of the blood?

Nehemia: I think it actually turned to blood. And I have no problem believing that. I know that the movie The Ten Commandments brings the modern secular explanation that, “Oh no, there was mud that was washed down. It was red mud and it made the water muddy red.” But it doesn't say that. And I really don't see any reason not to believe that it was actually blood.

It also talks about how all the ponds and all the channels were also made blood. I don't know if that would necessarily happen if... What are we saying, that God is also a practical joker?

Jono: There was a newspaper article we were commenting on. There’s a type of bacteria which is not uncommon here, actually. I often see it when the rain scarce in ponds around here, when the oxygen is depleted that certain bacteria takes over and renders the water absolutely useless and it turns red.

It's an interesting thing but in any case, “Blood, and,” verse 22, “the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments. And Pharaoh's heart grew hard and he did not heed them as Yehovah had said. And Pharaoh turned and went to his house, neither was his heart moved by this. So, all the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink.”

That's kind of interesting. If the rivers turned to blood, the ponds have turned to blood, it seems like they can kind of dig around. The water in the ground, perhaps, was accessible.

Nehemia: The groundwater seems to have been protected, I guess.

Jono: Interesting.

Keith: This is a foreshadowing. If you just dig a little deeper, even when the water turns to blood you can get the fresh water.

Jono: There it is. Spoken like a true Methodist. Alright, the next one. “Go and see Pharaoh and say unto him, thus says Yehovah, let my people go that they may serve me. But if you refuse to let them go behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs.”

Keith: Jono, I just want to ask a question. Nehemia, a traditional reading, you having grown up in an orthodox family, obviously this story is told all the time, am I right? You've heard of the story of the Exodus on a regular basis. What was your understanding of why there were plagues? Just even from your earliest understanding, what was your understanding of why there were plagues? Before you get into all the historical, what was the simple understanding of why there would be these plagues?

Nehemia: God had to show how mighty he was, and he was doing this at the Pharaoh's expense.

Keith: When you say at the Pharaoh's expense, what do you mean by that?

Nehemia: What I mean is, if the Pharaoh was a normal, rational human being after the plague of blood he would have said, “These Israelites aren't worth it.” And if not that, then after the second plague or the third plague. And why did he hold out 10 plagues? Because God hardened his heart, and God wanted to show how powerful he was. And like I said, did at the Pharaoh's expense. He hardened his heart, set him up for the great fall. And you know what? Pharaoh deserved it because Pharaoh had been so evil by enslaving the Hebrews for all those years.

Keith: Nehemia, so that's your understanding when you're three and you're still in ‘Baby X’ mode? Nehemia, you understand at three. As you've gone through studying, and all these things, what do you think the significance is of these specific plagues? I know we're going to talk about the plagues, but why these, why the frogs? Why the water? What's your understanding of why he picked these particular places to make himself known?

Nehemia: I don't know. That's a good question. Do you have an answer for that?

Keith: I'm trying to hand you a softball. You're telling me you're not going to hit this out of the park?

Jono: Keith, what I've heard, and Nehemia, perhaps you can tell me if this is correct, but I have heard that each of these attack a specific Egyptian deity. Is that true? I've heard blood and they worship the Nile, and so on and so forth. What's your view then?

Nehemia: And then later in Exodus, I believe it's maybe 11 or 12, he actually explicitly says that he's going to carry out judgment upon the gods of Egypt. And that is expressed through the slaughtering of the sheep. So, it's possible that they worship all these different things.

I don't know that that's necessarily the reason. I read the story about the frogs and it's almost comical. I always thought that. It sounds comical. There's an infestation of frogs? Really? And Pharaoh must have heard this and laughed. And then when he experienced it, he's like, “This ain't no joke. This is for real.”

Keith: The reason I'm bringing this up, guys, is because I believe that this is still... and again, I'm looking forward to and what I'm seeing now, is that these things that maybe whether they were worshipped, or maybe they were put in a place that they shouldn't be. What is the first thing he says, “Anochi Yehovah Eloheicha. You shall have no other gods in my presence, in my face, before me.” Whatever we want to use.

It's like a picture. Look, I'm going to show you people. And this is what's so powerful as we go through the story. I'm going to show you. You are in Egypt and you see all these things that are going on? Are they not symbols, and who's a god, and all these things, this is a god, and that's a god. It's like he goes right down the list. Right down the list, “I'm going to show you that this is no power, this is no power, this is no power.” And all these things were a judgment against the gods of the land.

But the reason I think that's so significant is He's showing what he said in the beginning, “I am Yehovah. I will, I will, I will.” And he does it through action. And again, these go back to Him making Himself known. He's making Himself known in the presence of the Israelites and the Egyptians.

To this day it's one of the most well-known stories in all of the bible, what God did in Egypt. It's a picture, and I believe it's a picture for what's he's going to do when he comes back and goes right down the list here in the world today with all these false things that set themselves up against him, and when He's going to just knock them down one a time a time, He'll make himself known again. That's my preaching, I stand by it, and I ain't taking it back!

Jono: And looking forward to that day. Verse 3, “So the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly which will go up and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your bed.” Can you imagine it? “Into your houses”, and this is the one that really creeps me out, “the servants, the people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls.”

Keith: There's going to be no room to hide from this.

Jono: Verse 7, “And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and they brought up frogs.” Can you imagine that? “We could do that too.” I guess you could do it. Stop, stop, stop. We have enough frogs.

Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Entreat the Lord, entreat Yehovah that he may take away the frogs from my people, and I will let you go, that they may sacrifice to Yehovah.” And he begins saying that he will, and then he doesn't, and then round and round we go. He doesn't keep to his word.

The third plague, oh my goodness.

Nehemia: Before we get to the third plague, it's really interesting, verses 5 and 6, because Moses says to Pharaoh, “Hitpa’er Alai,” “let me show off,” roughly translated. “When should I stop the frogs from coming?”

And what does Pharaoh say in verse 6? He says “Tomorrow.” Tomorrow? What do you mean? How about now? And I think that Pharaoh just didn't have the faith yet. He didn't believe that Moses really had this power, or that the God of Israel was really that powerful.

“I know it takes time. My priests, when they needed to perform a miracle, they need time to prepare. Okay, tomorrow.” And if Pharaoh had really understood who he was dealing with he would've said, “This second make them stop. Now.”

Jono: Verse 13, “Yehovah did, according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out, out of the houses, out of the courtyards, out of the fields. And they gathered them together in heaps.” Oh my goodness. “And the land stank of the rotting frog corpse. Yehovah said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, stretch out your rod and strike the dust of the land so that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.’”

Keith: The NIV doesn't say lice.

Jono: What have you got?

Keith: It says gnats.

Jono: What's the difference between lice and gnats?

Keith: Are you kidding me?

Jono: Tell me about it.

Keith: Up in Minnesota, where I'm originally from, boy, when gnats come, it's not like lice, where you can actually see it. “This kid's got lice in his hair,” little maggots, or whatever you want to call them.

What the problem with gnats is, when they start flying and they start moving, if you ever played baseball out in in the baseball field and the gnats come, sometimes it's even happened in Major League Baseball, where there'll be an infestation and gnats that will come on a baseball game. And they'll take their hats and they'll just try to hit them. And there's no hitting, there's no stopping, these gnats are everywhere. There's no controlling a gnat.

I don't know what the Hebrew word is. Maybe the Hebrew word gives us a different picture. But the idea, when I read this, is these little teeny, small things that when they come there's like millions of them. They can come and there's just no controlling them. What does it say there, Nehemia?

Nehemia: Well it's “kinim,” or “kinam,” and it can be translated as lice or gnats. Some of the scholars say it's lice and some say it's gnats. This is actually a really interesting issue. I grew up talking about these plagues in the Passover Seder, and one of the earliest things is just reciting them in Hebrew. And there were little pictures in the children's Passover Haggadah that I had.

The next plague that we have is we have the plague of ‘Arov,’ and maybe I should wait until we get to that, but I know that that's usually translated... actually, how is yours translated in verse 17?

Jono: In verse 17, before I get there let me just get this straight because I've never actually...I don't believe I've experienced gnats before, and I just want to wrap my brain around this. Keith, what do gnats do? Do they go up your nose? They bite you? What do they do?

Keith: No. All they do is they just fly around your head, and run into your face, and come into your nose, and to your mouth, and to your eyes.

Nehemia: I think, in verse 14, the fact that it says it's on man and animal implies that we are dealing with lice. But the fact is it's very difficult to know. What's significant is in verse 15 the magicians say, “Maybe we can reproduce this, but this is obviously God. This is the finger of God. This isn't trickery or sleight of hand. We only need to be shown a third time.”

Keith: What are you talking about, the magician said maybe we can reproduce this? It says here in my NIV... No, not whether, it's what it's says.

Nehemia: Of course, in verse 14 it says that the Egyptians were unable to reproduce this. They tried to produce gnats and “ve’lo yacholu,” and they were not able to. The gnats or lice were on man and animal, etc. And they realized this is God because they weren't able to do it with their trickery.

Jono: There it is. And it says the “finger of God.”

Nehemia: And I'm sticking by that story.

Jono: “The magician said to Pharaoh, this is the finger of God, but Pharaoh’s heart grew hard.” The next one, what I've got is a swarm of flies. There's something I can relate to, fellows. We have flies here in Aussieland for sure. We're no fan of the blowies.

Nehemia: In Hebrew the word is Arov. I grew up reciting this story over in the Passover Haggadah. Every Passover evening during the Seder. And we would dip our finger in wine, and we would recite the name of each of the plagues, “Dam, Tzefardea, Kinim, Arov…”

And when I was a child there were pictures in our Haggadah. And the pictures showed that Arov was wild beasts. That's what the translation said, wild beasts. And why would it mean wild beasts? Because Arov literally means “a mix.” So, it would be a mix of different types of “lions and tigers and bears, oh my.”

And basically, the interpretation of understanding it as flies simply means that it's a mixed bag of different types of flies. There's mosquitoes, and there's Tsetse flies, and all kinds of different flies, and they're infesting.

And really, how do we know which one it is? The fact is, we don't. And it's possible that it was either a mixed bag of flies or a mixed bag of wild animals. Both of those are definite possibilities.

Jono: Interesting. It's time of year, in summer we've got mossies, mosquitos. Oh man, I hate them.

Keith: I want to ask one question guys. Jono, is it my understanding, and this may be a connection Nehemia, I don't know if it is or not, the idea that first the gnats really were sort of lice type, and then they became flies? You know how this idea that you have these... I'm asking a question.

You've got all of these lice or whatever this word is that's used. How does it happen down in Australia? How does a fly become a fly?

Jono: You've got the maggot. And that takes me back to the big piles of rotting frog.

Keith: Exactly. I'm just bringing this up. So, you have all of these gnats, these lice, or whatever this word is. It says they were not able to do it.

But then it doesn't even give room. It just says, “Go up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the water and say to him, ‘This is what Yehovah says. Let my people go so that they will worship me. And if you do not let you go, I will send swarms of flies on your officials, on your people, on your houses. The houses of the Egyptians would be full of them.’”

I'm just looking back at the progression. You're down in the water. You got this stinky red. Then all of a sudden, you've got these frogs, and then you've got these...

Jono: It's rapidly becoming a disgusting place to be.

Keith: It's a disgusting place to be.

Jono: The thing that I really like about this is verse 22, “And in that day.” Because I imagine, in comes Moses, and he's obviously got the insect repellent on and all the flies are repelled from him. He doesn't have flies around him. He comes in and he says, “Have you had enough of this?” And says in verse 22, “And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell. And no swarms of flies shall be there in order that you may know that I am Yehovah in the midst of the land. I will make a difference between my people and your people.” There it is. We don't understand that, up until now, the Israelites have experienced all of the previous plagues.

Nehemia: That's what it sounds like.

Keith: He says I will deal differently now, pertaining to flies. I'm going to deal differently. If I'm there I'm like, “Wow, good.”

Jono: Yeah, sure. But Keith, why do you think the Israelites would be subject to the flies, the lice, the frogs, the water? What would be the purpose of that?

Keith: I'm not sure. All I know is this, when I read this particular verse, when I hear about him dealing differently, I'm immediately pushed forward into the story. And because he's getting ready to set this up. “Here's what I'm going to do with my people. Here's what I'm going to do to your people. Here's what I'm going to do with my people who listen to me. Here's what I'm going to do with my people who don't.”

We're moving towards this idea of this most major sign that's coming. But I'm not quite sure about the before, I just know that now I'm starting to...

Jono: It's interesting though, isn't it, right?

Nehemia: Can I ask you to read again verse 23 in your English?

Jono: Verse 23, it says, and I put an asterisk here which is always interesting, “I will make a difference between my people and your people. Tomorrow this time shall be.” And the asterisk says literally, “Sets a ransom.”

Nehemia: So the Hebrew word there is “p’dut.” I would translate it as a redemption. “I will place a redemption between my people and between your people.” And that redemption is what protected the Israelites from these plagues. He established a redemption for them, and not for the Egyptians.

Keith: What was the redemption Nehemia?

Nehemia: That they wouldn't be subject to those plagues.

Keith: They were redeemed from those plagues. Where's the sign of the redemption?

Nehemia: The sign of the redemption is if they're not hit by the plagues.

Keith: This is important.

Nehemia: The same exact word appears in Psalm 111:9. It says, “He has sent redemption,” same exact word, p'dut, “to His people. He has commanded His covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name.”

Jono: Amen. That was a Torah Pearl.

Nehemia: Then Isaiah 50:2 has the same exact word. And this is a beautiful passage here in Isaiah 50. It says, “Why, when I came, was there no man? When I called was none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem?” The same word there “p’dut.” “Or have I no power to deliver? Indeed, with my rebuke I dry up the sea. I make the rivers a wilderness. Their fish stink because there is no water and die of thirst.” And this is alluding back to the story of the Exodus.

Keith: Let me be radical guys. And I hope those that are listening are still with us. Here we have an example. This is a perfect example where, what would normally happen from my tradition is, they would say to me, there is no redemption unless there's blood. So the sign of the blood that we get to put over the doorposts, ends up being the first time for redemption.

Here we have redemption in this verse before there's any blood. I think this is a really significant thing, that the creator of the universe says, and I think the English translators had a bit of a problem here. Because if they would've just put it the way that you just read it, Nehemia, then people would slow down and say, “Wait a minute. God can't do that.”

Do you understand, from my tradition? My tradition, they'd say, “No, God can't do that. There can't be that. Until we get to the lamb being slaughtered and the blood part, then there was real redemption.” No, let's go right here at this verse. Let's slow down. Let's see what the verse says, and let's let that sit on our table here, that we have eat from, this buffet of Torah Pearls that we're looking at.

This Torah Pearl that you just shared is really significant. Because what it's saying is... Please translate it in English. Give the number of the verse, and translate it just the way you just read it regarding redemption.

Nehemia: Verse 23 in Hebrew says, “And I will place redemption between my people and between your people, for tomorrow there will be this sign.”

Keith: Wait. It's not, “I will at the time of the Passover,” it’s, “I will tomorrow.” You mean the next day? Before there's any blood, I'm going to actually do this?

Nehemia: And the sign of the redemption is that the Israelite people were not affected by these plagues.

Keith: Back in my days what I'd have to do is go into the seminary library and try to find some way to theologically make this work, rather than let it...

Nehemia: But maybe, Pastor Johnson, this is a foreshadowing. When the plagues of the future...

Keith: No, it says tomorrow. I'm telling you what it says.

Nehemia: How does it apply for the final tomorrow? What's the foreshadowing here? Come on. When the plagues come in the future the sign of the redemption will be those who are not stricken by the plague that will come.

Keith: What He's able to do then He's able to do now. What He was able to do then is, He said, “I'm going to place a redemption.” And you know what? He can place that redemption now. He can do what He wants to do when He wants to do it, where He wants to do it, with whoever He wants to do it, or without whatever He wants to do it. Let's move on.

Jono: I'm very, very glad that we've dealt with that. “Thick swarms of flies came to the house of Pharaoh, in his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt. The land was corrupted because of the swarm of flies. Pharaoh had called for Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Go sacrifice.’” This is interesting because he's saying, “Go up and do what you want to do.” And it seems like it's a daytrip. But Moses says, “It is not right to do so, for we would be sacrificing the abomination of the Egyptians to Yehovah, our Elohim. If we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? We have to go three days' journey.”

Nehemia, the abomination of the Egyptians, are we just talking about sacrificing sheep? What are we talking about?

Nehemia: Yeah, absolutely. We've heard about this earlier in Genesis, that they can't even eat at the same table as shepherds, because the shepherds are an abomination. They slaughter the sheep which the Egyptians worship.

And Moses at this point already knew that God was going to require a sacrifice. And he had said that. He said, “The sign that I'm really speaking to you is that you'll come to this mountain and you'll worship here.”

Moses understood that that worship was going be the slaughtering of sheep. And he realized if he slaughtered sheep amongst the Egyptians, the Egyptians will not tolerate that. They'll kill all the Israelites.

On the other hand, you have to wonder if this is not an excuse to some extent. Let's say Pharaoh had said, “You can go out in the desert for three days. I expect you back.” Would they have come back? And I think the answer's obvious, they wouldn't have come back.

Jono: Probably not. Because he goes on to say, well fine, whatever, he's got flies all over, they're getting in his mouth as he's talking. There's Moses, looking super cool, no flies on him. And he says, “You head off into the wilderness, just don't go very far.” By the way, “intercede for me” it says in verse 29.

Keith: I think what's interesting about this, and again, this is one of these things that when I'm reading through this it slows me down a little bit.

And again, when I read this one little thing when it says that Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer to Yehovah our God would be the detestable. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, we must take a three-day journey.”

Did Yehovah tell Moses to tell him that? We have examples where Yehovah will tell one of the people, “Hey Samuel, don't tell them what you're actually doing. Tell them it's something else.” There had been those kinds of situations in scripture. We don't see that here.

Is this Moses simply saying, “Whatever I’ve got to do to get my people out of here I'm going to get them out of here, and I'll tell them it's a three-day journey and that's the deal.” Or is that really what the intention was? Obviously that's not the intention, to go out for a three-day journey. It's to leave.

Nehemia: It may have actually been a three-day journey, meaning that that may have been a true statement. The question is, how far is the real Mt. Sinai from Egypt? Maybe it is three-days, who's to say? It sounds about right from the biblical account. The question is, what would they have done after this?

And this is the hypothetical situation. If Pharaoh had let them go and they went out and sacrificed at Mt. Sinai, would they have then returned to Egypt? Obviously not. But that never happens, so that's hypothetical.

Jono: Fair enough. The next one, we're in chapter 9, and it is a disease on the livestock, as far as I understand here. “Thus says Yehovah, God of the Hebrews, let my people go so they may serve me. If you refuse to let them go and still hold them, behold the hand of Yehovah will be on your cattle of the field, and your horses, your donkeys, your camels, the oxen, on the sheep. And a very severe pestilence,” is what it says. “And Yehovah will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt.”

Keith: Nehemia please, Torah Pearl, would you tell us whether or not “make a distinction” is the same as the earlier “make a distinction.”

Nehemia: So, “ve’hifla Yehovah ben mikneh Israel u'ven mikne Mitzraim.” And that's the word that actually means to separate, to make a distinction.

Keith: Aha. This is the Torah Pearl ladies and gentlemen.

Jono: Very interesting.

Keith: Slow down. Wait, are you telling me Nehemia that this...maybe I'm overstating the obvious. So are you telling me that this “make a distinction” is different than the “other make a distinction?” Is that what you're saying?

Nehemia: Right. And actually, that's the same word that we had had in Exodus 8:18 where he says, “But on that day I will set apart the region of Goshen, where my people dwell.” Where was the verse where we had the redemption?

Jono: That's Exodus 23. And now incidentally, I'll just say I know... I know that it's...

Nehemia: Hold on a second. In the Hebrew, because Hebrew has different verse numbers, in Exodus 8:22 it has the same word as it has here in Exodus 9:4. The King James has, “And I will severe in that day the land of Goshen.” That's a different word from the word redemption, which it has in the following verse, Exodus 8:23. So there's the separation and then there's the redemption.

Jono: Yeah. And so I was just going to mention, I know it's a different word because there's no asterisk here in verse 4. And don't we need to be suspicious of the dreaded asterisk?

Keith: Well, no. Nehemia, you mean to say there's no asterisk there in the Hebrew?

Nehemia: No, the Hebrew does not.

Jono: Usually in my experience at least, the asterisk in the new King James is just a little hint saying...

Keith: I want to state something to people that are listening. I want to do something for all the people that are listening to the Keith Johnson show with guests Nehemia Gordon and Jono Vandor. I'm just kidding.

Those that are listening, I want you not to be discouraged when we do this exercise. And we set out to do this. Jono's in Australia in the summer. Keith is in North Carolina, in the beautiful... I don't know what the weather is. It's beautiful and blue. Nehemia is over in Israel. I'm not sure what the weather is there. But at the same time, we have three different translations that we're working with, and access to more than that.

And one of the things I want people not to be discouraged about, is that when you have a reading in your English bible, whether it's the NIV, the New King James versions, whatever it is that you're reading from, what we've always done, and Nehemia, I think this has been a really powerful thing that we've done, we've always taken these English translations as another tool, or as another witness, something that we can use to balance against what we have.

And guess what, this issue of translation, it is an art would you agree? As you going through Hebrew...

Nehemia: It's not an...

Keith: Nehemia, I'm doing my speech now.

Nehemia: You asked me a question.

Keith: Okay, but if I ask a question sometimes, you'll answer it for five minutes and then I will...

Nehemia: It's a rhetorical question, shall we not murder? Shall we not steal?

Keith: No. But I want people to be encouraged that one of the things you do is, when we get to this Pearls from the Torah, have two or three translations in front of you. That's exactly what we're doing. We're trying to get people to be able to take a look at what's there, transition, look at parallels, etc.

Be encouraged. Everybody didn't have the chance, that Nehemia's had, to be completely... It's a powerful experience to see what's happened in terms of the Hebrew bible, and how, Nehemia, you're able to go through it like we read through it through the English. But there are benefits to having more than one translation, and that's exactly what we're doing. So, don't be discouraged, be encouraged.

Jono: You're right. That's one of the things I love about you Keith, is so you're so diplomatic.

Nehemia: Keith is diplomatic? One more Torah Pearl in verse 3 in the Hebrew, Exodus 9:3. I'm going to toss this softball to Keith. Keith, it says there in the Hebrew, “Behold the hand of Yehovah.” And then in Hebrew it says... actually, read me what you got there in English, in verse 3.

Keith: The NIV says, “The hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field, on your horses, on your donkeys, your camels, and on your cattle, and sheep, and goats.”

Nehemia: Okay. So it says “will bring.” Let's have it translated here. What it literally says in Hebrew is, “Behold, the hand of Yehovah,” hoya bemiknecha. Can you comment on that? “Hoya” literally means, it will be, or it will happen. “The hand of Yehovah will happen on your cattle that are in the field.” Is there a significance of that word?

Keith: When I think about that word, I wish I was sitting here reading it just like you. We might have revival music right now. They might get behind the organ and I could start talking about He was, He is, He shall be.

When you read that in Hebrew it's like a reminder of who He is. He is, He was, He shall be. When you say, “The hand of Yehovah,” “hoya,” is that what it says?

Nehemia: What I'm getting that there is this is the present tense word “to be” in the feminine form “hoya,” and it rhymes with the name Yehovah. And I don't think that's an accident, because this is an unusual word to have used here. It could've used lots of other words. It could've used the word that it used in the NIV, to bring, “lehavi.” “Tavi,” it would have said. “Mevi’ah,” or something like that.

But they used the word “hoya,” which really is an unusual word for this context. I think it’s to create this rhyming with God's name. And aren't there some other examples that we have of that, Johnson?

Keith: There are other examples.

Nehemia: Come on. You saw this scroll flying. Share it with the people already. It's a Torah Pearl.

Keith: It is a Torah Pearl. You'll have to open it up for me Nehemia, if you would, if everyone would take a break. And I'll ask Nehemia to read this, and I'm going to have him read it with a traditional pronunciation of the name that we find in many of the Messianic movements. Nehemia, would you open up Ezekiel 1:3.

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: Hold on. Before you read it, can you have Jono read it first in English?

Jono: Yeah, I've got it here, 1:3. In the New King James, at least, it says...

Keith: Before you do that Jono, one second. Short background everybody. I have this scroll flying over my head. This is why we're reading on this phone right now.

This dream I had was a scroll flying over my head. A lady said to me, “If you could, tell me where this scroll opens up.” And I said Ezekiel 1:3. The scroll comes down. It opens up to that spot. It took me about two years to actually want to study, in Hebrew, what Ezekiel 1:3 says. And when I saw it, it just was very powerful.

So, first English, then Nehemia, and then we'll go back to why this is so significant.

Jono: “The Word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest.”

Nehemia: That's enough. What it says in Hebrew, the first four words are, and I'm going to use the traditional Messianic pronunciation, even though I'm a Karaite, I'm not Messianic. “Hayo Haya d’var Yahweh.” Which literally means, “There surely was the word of Yahweh,” and it says, “to Ezekiel, the son of Buzi, the priest,” etc.

But if you read it in the way it's preserved in the earliest, most vocalized Hebrew manuscripts it's “Hayo Haya d’var Yehovah,” and that rhymes. The reason that that's significant is that it is totally unnecessary to have said “Hayo Haya.”

It would have normally said, and normally would say often, “vayehi,” “and it came to pass the word of Yehovah to Ezekiel.” Why did it say here, “Hayo Haya d’var Yehovah?” There's clearly something poetic being created here, some poetic style that's being expressed.

And this poetic style is very obvious to me, reading it in Hebrew, that we're dealing here with a rhyme of the creator's name. Say, “Hayo.” Say, “Haya d’var Yehovah.” What we have there is the two syllables, the Oh and Ah, “Hayo Haya d’var Yehovah.” That's beautiful poetry in Hebrew. And clearly, we're dealing here with something that's built on a poetry that matches the name Yehovah. It doesn't work with Yahweh or Yahuah, or other forms of the name like that.

And the interesting thing about our verse in Exodus 9:3, remember, I said it was an unusual word to use here? Not only is it an unusual word here, the present tense form of the verb “to be,” it's actually one of only three times in the entire bible, and it's the only time in the bible where it appears in the feminine. The other two are “hoveh,” in the masculine. And this is the only time it appears in the feminine. Of course, in Hebrew it's feminine, because the word “hand” in Hebrew is a feminine noun, and so it gets a feminine verb.

But “Hineh yad Yehovah Hoya,” that is rhyming. That is poetry, and it doesn't work with Yahweh. “Hineh yad Yahweh Hoya.” It doesn't really do it, does it?

Keith: And I want to say to people, it wouldn't be fair for us simply to tell you this without giving you the access to the information. And I'm telling you right now, Nehemia, you have done a phenomenal job of giving what I call the boundaries around the idea of understanding the significance of the name grammatically.

And we added one chapter into the book, His Hallowed Name Revealed Again, where people can actually learn why the issue Yahweh is such troubling issue regarding the way that the language is actually used and how we come to the name Yehovah.

And I know there are people that would say, "You guys got to stop saying that because “hovah” means disaster." They don't understand those grammatical issues. One of the things that I did in this book, His Hallowed Name Revealed Again, is what I had learned from Nehemia regarding the grammatical boundaries around the issue of the name. I placed that in the book in a chapter, chapter 8, where people can actually look and learn this information. It's not overwhelming for you. It's not too difficult for you.

You don't have to go to the Hebrew University to understand it completely. But what you can know is that the information is based on the grammatical information that we have that gives us the understanding of why you hear Nehemia, Keith, and the great Jono from Australia saying Yehovah.

It's not that we had some revelation where God revealed his name. We're actually looking at the manuscripts, pulling that information out and applying it, and not making fun of those that would call Him something else. But when it comes to the actual Hebrew grammar, it's important to understand there are language rules, and there are ways that language works.

Here's an example, Nehemia, that you did. I'm glad we slowed down, where you're showing this beautiful poetic statement here in Exodus chapter 9, which most people wouldn't even see if we didn't have the access to that information. So, I want to tell you thanks for that.

Jono: And it just seems strange that we have to go from that to boils. But the sixth plague is boils, and it just gets worse and worse doesn't it? It just gets more disgusting.

So, “the boils break out in sores on man and beast.” Any beast that didn't die from lice, but what are we talking about? Cats, and dogs, and rats...

Nehemia: The dogs were exempt. Georgia, of course you’re exempt!

Keith: Question Nehemia, are these the same boils that were upon Job? Is it the same word?

Nehemia: That's a good question. Let me go and have a look.

Keith: Nehemia, while you're looking for that, it's interesting because what we have in transition here is that we have things that are happening outside of the human experiences. This happened, there are flies, there are gnats, there's blood in the water, etc. But am I fair in saying that when we get to the issue of boils this thing becomes real personal?

Nehemia: The word here is “shchin,” which is the same exact word that appears in the story of Job. We're probably dealing here with something, might be something like small pox. Or it might just be, sometimes they translate this as hemorrhoids.

Keith: But either way, whatever it is, it's actually physically... I'm not saying that these other things didn't affect them physically, but this now has become real personal. And so, when it says... And this was just something that is in their flesh.

I want to ask a question, and I hope I'm not diverting too much here. Nehemia, you're going to have to really put on your technology hat. I want to ask this question. Do you find a different word for, “But Yehovah had hardened Pharaoh's heart,” in verse 12, versus the other times that he had hardened his heart?

And this was something I had looked at some time in the past, and I don't have it in front of me. But the hardening of the heart, the word that he uses for the hardening of the heart, is it the same exact word, or are there not two different words that he uses for hardening of the heart?

Nehemia: Well, there's actually three. One we saw is “lehakshot.” He says “akshe et lev Paraoh.” It's from the word, hard. There's “h’chbid,” or “kaved,” which means heart heavy. And the other is “chizek,” he strengthened his heart.

Keith: And which one do we have in verse 12 here?

Nehemia: Verse 12 is “vayechazek.” “And he strengthened the heart of Pharaoh,” literally. And what that means, he strengthened his heart is, these things are literally going to happen to you, and the Hebrew expression is your heart will melt. You're going to get all weak in the knees and like, “Oh man, I can't deal with this.”

And instead, God strengthened Pharaoh's heart, and Pharaoh was, “I'm just not going to listen to this.”

Jono: That is interesting. So, they didn't give in even with the boils.

Nehemia: Exactly.

Jono: That is really interesting.

Nehemia: That's why I wanted to stop here, because I get this image like, I'm not saying these different words, the significance of these words, but when I read these words, for me, at my level of understanding, when I read the word in verse 12 that he hardened his heart, I just get this in my mind because I see other times this word is used, and what the image is of this word.

It's like grabbing a hold of Pharaoh and saying, “I ain't going to let you let your knees get weak. I'm not going to let you say... Get out of the way Pharaoh. You're going to stand through this. I'm going to strengthen you, Pharaoh.”

Jono: That's exactly what it's saying, isn't it? Because the verse before it says, “And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils.” The boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. But Yehovah strengthens the heart. Amen.

This is the last one that we read about in this Torah portion, and it is the hail. Wasn't that an awesome scene in the movie, when it starts flying in the air, this fiery lava type hails? You reckon that was a little bit like that?

Keith: He says this, “I will send the worst hail storm.” I'm reading out of the nearly inspired version. Verse 18, “Therefore, at this time tomorrow, I will send the worst hail storm that has ever fallen on Egypt from the day it was founded until now.” It's a pretty bad hail storm.

Jono: That's some serious stuff. It takes me back to about 10 years ago. We had a hail storm here in Sydney that was spectacular. I've never seen anything like it since.

The hail balls were the size of cricket balls, maybe like a baseball if you like, that size. And it went through tin roofs, corrugated iron roofs, it tore through it. It absolutely destroyed cars. It crushed cars. And there was carnage everywhere. It was just one of the most spectacular things. I imagined perhaps that these hail stones even destroyed trees. It was carnage all over the place.

Nehemia: This is worse than Texas hail. That's how bad this was.

Keith: I want to say this guys, and let's take a minute to unpack this for those that are listening. I know that they'll enjoy this.

I see something really significant in the plague of hail. What I see is where it's the first time he says, “Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every man and animal that has not been brought in and still is out in the field. The officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of Yehovah hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. But those who ignored the word of Yehovah left their slaves and livestock in the field.”

And I wondered, Nehemia and Jono, if these are some of the officials who actually said, “We fear the word of Yehovah.” I wonder if, when the night time came, and the Exodus came, if they didn't sneak in amongst the group. “Listen, we're going with these people out of here.”

Nehemia: That's part of the mixed multitude.

Keith: Are these guys the ones that are saying, “You know what, enough is enough. We heard the word of Yehovah.” And what I think is significant about this, is that Yehovah says, “I've done all these things. Now I'm going to give you a chance. If you listen to my word, I'll bring some deliverance to you too.”

And here we have the Egyptian officials listening to the word of Yehovah, and then responding to His word. I think that's pretty significant.

Jono: Is it fair to say that at least they took part in that separation?

Keith: They heard the word and they responded.

Jono: They took part in the separation that was made.

Nehemia: Can I throw out a Torah Pearl for verse 19?

Jono: Please.

Nehemia: Can you read from your translation?

Jono: “Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the fields, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home, they shall die.”

Nehemia: That actually skipped a word. Keith, can you translate it or paraphrase it, I guess? Can you read your nearly inspired version?

Keith: “Give an order now to bring your last stock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the...”

Nehemia: Okay, stop there. Place of shelter. What it says in Hebrew is actually a verb. The verb is “ha’ez,” and "ha'ez” means, bring it to an “oz.” A “Migdal oz.”

Jono: Where have we heard that before?

Keith: Nehemia, the people don't understand. Tell them why you're so excited about this?

Nehemia: There's a verse in Proverbs. It says the name of Yehovah is “a Migdal oz,” which literally means a strong tower, and therefore it's a place of shelter. “The name of Yehovah is a strong tower. The righteous runs into it and is safe.”

And here it's saying, and now, send an “ha’ez,” bring into a shelter, bring it to the place of “oz,” your livestock that is in the field, etc. It's come in to the “oz,” come into the strong tower of Yehovah's name, and you won't have to worry about that hail.

Jono: That's Proverbs 18:10. “The name of Yehovah is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and are safe.” That is brilliant. That's a Torah Pearl if ever there was.

I'll tell you what, we've gone a little bit over time, haven't we? But that's no big deal. Obviously, the hail comes down. It's mixed with fire, which perhaps I'm kind of thinking is maybe lightning. But in any case, whatever it was...

Nehemia: Or maybe we're dealing with a bunch of comets that are breaking up in the atmosphere. Because that would be hail with fire, a comet maybe.

Jono: “In the land Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.” This is interesting. In verse 27, Pharaoh soon called for Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have seen the sign. And Yehovah is righteous and my people and I are wicked.”

Keith: Come on, repent Pharaoh.

Jono: He's starting to crack.

Keith: And he says, “Pray to Yehovah, for we have had enough thunder.” I think it's interesting, he tells them to pray. He says, “Pray to Yehovah, we've had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go. You don't have to stay any longer.”

Jono: So Moses said to him, “As soon as I've gone out of the city I will spread out my hands to Yehovah. The thunder will cease and there will be no more...” I like that he just walks out of the city. He's got no umbrella or anything. The hail's not going to hit him. “You may know that the earth is Yehovah's.”

Keith: We have to stop. Nehemia, I'm going to put you on the spot here. This is significant because the next verse, in verse 31, you’ve got to tell us why this verse is important, Nehemia. Verse 31, please tell us why this is significant. Please.

Nehemia: It says there, “The flax and the barley were smitten, because the barley was ‘Aviv’ and the flax was ‘Giv’ol.’” These are Hebrew agricultural terms.

This is important because later on in Deuteronomy 16, it gives a commandment to observe or keep the month of the Aviv. If you don't know ancient biblical Hebrew you don't know what that means. Some people think that Aviv is the name of the month.

It turns out that Aviv is actually this agricultural term that describes the barley as it's beginning to enter into that month.

This is one of our key verses for reconstructing the meaning of that ancient Hebrew word, the word Aviv. Which is important even for the Hebrew speakers, because in modern Hebrew, Aviv has taken on a new meaning, which is the meaning “spring.”

You can actually look at the dictionary that chronicles the history of the Hebrew language. You can see that that shift took place around the 14th century. Everything before that, all the Jewish or Hebrew sources always use the word Aviv in the sense of this agricultural stage of ripening.

Then, around the 14th century, when there were Jews in Europe, because Israel doesn't actually have a spring to speak of, but when they were in Europe, and they're dealing with spring in Northern Europe, they had to come up with a word for it and they adopted this word.

That's important because the biblical calendar is basically the beginning of the year. The beginning of the solar cycle is governed by the ripening of the barley, which ripens when the earth reaches a certain stage in it's going around the sun. That's significant for the biblical calendar.

Keith: Let me say here, and if I can Jono, there are some people that would not read this particular verse. They would not think that this verse is important or anything about the earth, regarding the issue of the Aviv is important.

And so, what they do is they'll come up with all sorts of other plans for how they determine when the month of the Aviv is, or what I should say is the calendar, without even referring to this particular part of scripture or the idea of the land letting us know the times, the seasons, the days, and the years.

I think it's kind of interesting. And as we get to chapter 12 is where this is going to be really interesting. I think that's the next thing that we do. Where we connect chapter 12 back to this, Nehemia. Get your Aviv hat on, if you can.

Jono: We'll be going into more detail in regards to...

Nehemia: I hate to interrupt but I think we're actually already into the next Torah portion. This one actually ends in verse 25.

Jono: No, 35, I've got.

Nehemia: Are you sure about that?

Keith: I've got 35 here.

Nehemia: I could be wrong. One second.

Keith: The reason I thought this was so significant, though, was because we are going to get into this next section. And one of the things that's so powerful, Jono, is just the little small things. How would we ever understand the month of the Aviv unless we were to understand exactly the progression of how this took place?

So I think this is really fascinating that we're going to not only learn as we're going through the portions, we're going to learn about how God determined time. And that's just pretty exciting for me.

Nehemia: And this is also important because it's giving the time frame context. Because later on, in Exodus 23 and Exodus 34, it's going to tell us to keep the Passover in the time of the Aviv, because in that time they went out of Egypt. And that’s the time when the barley was Aviv.

Keith: So, looking up in the heavens and determining when times are based on the zodiac signs. That wasn't what Moses did back then. That's not what the people did back then. And even if you do it right, right now, you're coming up with a completely different system to figure out time.

If you want to be biblical about it, you probably have to understand what the bible says about time, and it's pretty obvious that it has something.

Nehemia: That's one of your three T's isn't its Johnson? Time, Torah, and Tetragrammaton.

Keith: Yes. Time, Torah, and also Tetragrammaton, at times. So, we're going to get into some God's time.

Jono: Looking forward to that. And we're going to be going to some detail in the next Torah portion. But here it is. It closes with this Pharaoh. He had sinned more, he and his servants.

“So, the heart of Pharaoh was hard, neither would he let the children of Israel…”

Nehemia: Whoa. Verse 34, how does yours read at the end of the verse about the hardening there? What does that say?

Jono: Let me read 34. “Pharaoh saw that the rain of hail, the thunder had ceased. He sinned yet more, and he hardened his heart.”

Nehemia: He hardened his own heart. God doesn't have to harden his heart anymore. He's hardening his own heart.

Jono: He's doing it himself, which is interesting, isn't it? And he wouldn't let them go. Next is a pronounced, Bo.

Keith: I'd like to take no responsibility for the different time changes. It's almost midnight for Jono. Nehemia has had three glasses of coffee, so he's on a high. I'm just waking up folks. So just bear with us here.

Jono: It's one in the morning here Keith.

Thank you Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson for coming back on to Pearls from the Torah portion. I enjoyed this thoroughly. Every time you guys are on it is just marvelous and I know that the listeners enjoyed.

And Nehemia said next week we're in Bo. Exodus 10 verse 1, to 13 verse 16. And until then, dear listener, be blessed to be set apart by the truth of our Father's word. Shalom.

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28 thoughts on “Torah Pearls #14 – Vaeira (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

  1. Can’t figure why el sh’dai is not plainly rendered as the el of sufficiency. The goldilox elohim; not too much, not too little, “just right”. all my resources afirm “dai” as meaning sufficiency, or enough. what am I missing here?

  2. Were sheep indeed considered sacred by the Egyptians? Or would they have been offended by a sacrifice in the same way the Jews were offended by the Greeks sacrificing pigs during the time of the Maccabeans?

  3. You can’t see the connection between one of the names of God, and the word “breast”? It’s obvious! Isa 40:11 he carries the lambs close to his heart. He wants an intimate relationship with us, isn’t that what you do with someone who is intimate with you, hold them close to you, to your heart? It’s a sign of intimacy, to hold someone close to you. He loves us that much.

  4. hmm, well, ok…HUGE problem with something Keith said in this one 🙁 There is a BIG “theological difference” between “redeeming people from harm” (plagues) and “redeeming them from sin.” “Blood” is 100% required for the redemption from sin, no ifs ands or buts. That is clear in both the Tanakh and the Brit Hadasha. Further, the “redemption from bondage” absolutely required “the shedding of blood.” So, just because YHVH can sovereignly choose to “spare” (redeem in this sense) someone (or a group of people) from some negative influence/action, it is not “honest” to carry that over to mean He will “redeem from sin” without “the blood”, which is HIS prescribed method for “cleansing” from sin. Perhaps I misunderstood (and forgive the knee-jerk reaction if so), but it sure seemed to me that Keith was making that implication–trying to make the text say that, when it does not lead to that conclusion (nor did it play out that way in context) at all. shalom

    • Question.”Why did john the baptist tell folks to come be baptised to take away their sins?And why did Yeshau get baptised because he had no sin?
      Ezekiel chapter 18 says no man can die for anothers sins.”What l see we must Tesuvah which means more than repent it means come back and receive ‘a one on one personal relation with Father and be obedient to his laws commandments and his statues.
      Paul claims we need to be baptised in Christ, which to me would be
      idol worship.Their is only one true creator YeHoVaH and to think l was a Jehovahs witness! Now l follow my Father only.

      • trish, the only reason I can see the option of one dying in place of a repentant sinner is if the volunteer victim was actually the executor of the creation, and thus had authority to assume responsibility for the sins of the repentant one. Immersion in itself has no power, but is merely a public affirmation of our willingness to accept the just deserts of our own sins.Yahshua accepted immersion to affirm his willingness to die in place of anyone who truly repents. Being immersed in Yahshua affirms both of the above.

        It is likely that not since the antediluvian times has anyone followed the father only. We all today follow the instructions left by the prophets, of which of course Yahshua was one. Which stream of Yahwism you profess is far less important than the integrity with which you fulfill it.

    • Describing Greek beliefs in Hebrew by no means makes it genuine. Don’t study here a little, there a little, read in context. I am positive you read the new testament before you did the Hebrew scriptures. Your “UNDERSTANDING” comes from Rome not Israel.

  5. Around 1:05 Kieth sugggests using multiple translations when reading the Bible. The Bible Gateway app is free and has lots of different translations available; it even has the ability to read 2 translations side by side.

    What I find even more enlightening is reading from an interlinear Bible like: http://biblehub.com/interlinear/ and often refer to this when Nehemiah is breaking down a particular Hebrew word.

    • In 9:34, Pharaoh hardened his own heart – in the sense of making it stubborn and uncooperative. In 9:35, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened – in the sense of strengthening it, giving it courage to keep going. I don’t know enough, though, to identify whether YHVH strengthened Pharaoh’s heart this time in v35, or whether Pharaoh strengthened his own heart – it appears passive. “It was strengthened”. That implies that it happened to him, not that he did it. Nehemia??

      • Exodus 10 1 ADONAI said to Moshe, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have made him and his servants hardhearted, so that I can demonstrate these signs of mine among them, 2 so that you can tell your son and grandson about what I did to Egypt and about my signs that I demonstrated among them, and so that you will all know that I am ADONAI יְהֹוָה.” Sometimes you have to read a little further into the text to get the rest of the story.

  6. Great discussion on Ex 8:23 about the distinction of Hebrew about ‘division’ and ‘redemption’ PDT of Israel by the sign of the plagues. Thought you might like to see the translation of the Geneva Bible (1775) on this. 8:22 But the land of Goshen, where my people are, will I cause to be *wonderful in that day, (Margin * or I will separate) … v23 And I will make a deliverance of my people from thy people. … Just shows that the Old Geneva Bible was more accurate in some places than the KJV and the later modern versions. Any comment on the ‘wonderful’?

  7. Nehemia, I found it fascinating what you said in this teaching regarding the construct of the parenthetical statement in Shemot 6:14-27. Are there any other examples of this in the Tanak?

  8. It was a great discussion and perhaps the best discussion of many recordings …. and especially the discussion discussion on Exodus 6.3. Looking at 6.4 there is an “also” in English translations. If this is supported by the Hebrew, an “also” supports the idea of a prior, related action in the prior verse. ..i.e. supporting the “did I not…” reading of 6.3. True?

  9. The magician were not able to make lice appear because what Moses did, at YHVH’s command was a repetition of creation. YHVH make creatures from the dust. Lice appeared from the dust. Here there is separation of the real deal from the counterfeit. Indeed all will know that the earth is YHVH for He is the creator of heaven and earth by the appearance of this plague…

  10. Noticed an interesting connection between Ex.9:31 and Deut 16:1
    KJV- And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. EAR= Strong’s #24 abiyb; meaning to be tender, green; ie. a young ear of grain; hence the name of the month Abib.

    Showing us, the reader, what time of year this event originally took place. The instructions given in Deut 16:1 insure that the Passover memorial would be kept at that same time of year. Thus proving the significance of the stage of ripening of barley in determining the beginning of months as in Deut 16:1 and keeping the ‘moed’ of Yehovah according to His clock not according to man-made calendars.

  11. I would like to know the name or publisher of the dictionary mentioned towards the end of this download, the dictionary Nehemia said shows the history of hebrew word meanings, and how/when they have changed. Thank you if you can provide it.
    A note on the previous section – the Haftorah of Shemot – perhaps Yehovah was saying He does not smite the enemies of Israel, once He is taking vengeance, with the same manner of death with which those enemies killed His people. Just a thought. Jeremiah 51 seems like a rather unusual smiting, of vengeance, maybe only to me.

  12. I should qualify my statement: there is debate around the requirement that a rhetorical question be punctuated with a question mark, but I’m unaware of the grammatical stance of using a full stop being used in the KJV of the Bible. I guess it’s possible, but it feels like a stretch. It seems clear to me that the KJV is making a statement, just like all the other English translations. But to your point, we all interpret when we read. 🙂

  13. KJV doesn’t present Ex 6:3 as a rhetorical question – it takes more than just word order in English to determine question vs statement. You need a question mark to indicate a question. There is no question mark in the KJV.

    I absolutely LOVE these lessons, so grateful to you all for doing this. Please keep it up!

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