Ebionite Davar Torah: Wayyishlah
Shemayah Phillips

4Jacobsent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in Seir, the open countryof Edom,5with these instructions, ‘Say this to my lord Esau,“Here is the message of your servant Jacob: I have been staying with Labanand have been delayed there until now,6 and I own oxen, beastsof burden and flocks, and men and women slaves. I send news of this tomy lord in the hope of winning your favour.” ’ 7The messengersreturned to Jacob and told him, ‘We went to your brother Esau, and he isalready on his way to meet you; there are four hundred men with him.’8Jacobwas greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people with him, andthe flocks and cattle, into two camps, 9thinking, ‘If Esau comesto one of the camps and attacks it, the remaining camp may be able to escape.’10Jacobsaid, ‘God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, Yahweh whotold me, “Go back to your native land and I will be good to you,”11Iam unworthy of all the faithful love and constancy you have shown yourservant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, and now I havegrown into two camps.12I implore you, save me from my brotherEsau’s clutches, for I am afraid that he may come and attack me, mothersand children alike.13Yet it was you who said, “I shall be verygood to you, and make your descendants like the sand of the sea, whichis too numerous to count.” ’14Then Jacob passed that night there.>From what he had with him he chose a gift for his brother Esau:15two hundred she–goats and twenty he–goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams,16thirtycamels in milk with their calves, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty femaledonkeys and ten male.17He put them in the charge of his servants,in separate droves, and told his servants, ‘Go ahead of me, leaving a spacebetween each drove and the next.’18 He gave the leading man thisorder: ‘When my brother Esau meets you and asks, “Whose man are you? Whereare you going? Whose are those animals that you are driving?”19youwill answer, “Your servant Jacob’s. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau.And Jacob himself is just behind us.” ’20He gave the same orderto the second and the third, and to all who were following the droves.‘That is what you must say to Esau when you find him.21And youmust add, “Your servant Jacob himself is just behind us.” ’ For he thought,‘If I conciliate him by sending a gift in advance, perhaps he will be wellinclined towards me when I face him.’22The gift went ahead ofhim, but he himself spent that night in the camp.

Ya`aqov had been chosen by Elohim, obtained the birthright, his mother had worked Yahweh's willby wresting the blessing from her husband. Yahweh had given favor to Ya`aqov at Bet-El. But Ya`aqov was immature, perhaps spoiled, and even at Bet-Elhis comprehension of Yahweh seems to have been little more than primitiveawe. Slowly he begins to understand Yahweh as a material benefactor inH aran.

Ya`aqov starts to return to his ownland after seeking his fortune where his brother `Esaw waited. At first it looks like the proverbial "high school reunion" motive. Ya`aqov wouldwow `Esaw with his new found wealth and show brother how well he had donefor himself. Perhaps `Esaw would see how blessed he was and concede thatYa`aqov was truly the one meant to have the blessing. We get mixed signalsthat Ya`aqov was both afraid of seeing his brother again indicated by hissending of buffer groups if `Esaw should exhibit hostility. But also hewas trying to impress, yet placate `Esaw with all of these "gifts." Hewould walk in proud. But it is all gesturing.What is the reason he staysbehind alone? He is worried, and afraid. He knows that even with his wealthand new found status, other than that promised to him in the future byYahweh, may not save him from the hands of his brother. We all know thatthe more you have, the more you can lose, especially where there is noright or wrong.

If we are able to rely on absolutes, standards by settling at what is righteous or evil behaviour, then we can find security and peace against the unknown and the unpredictableness ofthe world. Avraham and his sons were learning these absolutes of Yahweh'sPurpose. But would `Esaw recognize and acknowledge what Yahweh wanted?Did Ya`aqov? He was indeed true to his name, an opportunist.

There is a little difference betweenan opportunist and a victimizer. A victimizer will take advantage, takeopportunity to place himself above others to manipulate them, and the oneswho support him and his ego are devalued as humans. The victimizer uses them in the same way a farmer uses his livestock. But humans are not livestock who exist for the agrandizement of the few. Where there is an absence ofYahweh's Purpose we are left to opportunists /victimizers.

Taking and receiving the opportunity had treated well. But perhaps he realized that `Esaw could take the advantage now also.

23Thatsame night he got up and, taking his two wives, his two slave–girls andhis eleven children, crossed the ford of the Jabbok.24After he had taken them across the stream, he sent all his possessions over too. 25AndJacob was left alone. Then someone wrestled with him until daybreak 26who,seeing that he could not master him, struck him on the hip socket, andJacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him.27 He said,‘Let me go, for day is breaking.’ Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you gounless you bless me.’28The other said, ‘What is your name?’‘Jacob,’ he replied.29 He said, ‘No longer are you to be calledJacob, but Israel since you have shown your strength against God and menand have prevailed.’ 30Then Jacob asked, ‘Please tell me yourname.’ He replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ With that, he blessed himthere. 31Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen Godface to face,’ he said, ‘and have survived.’32The sun rose ashe passed Peniel, limping from his hip.33That is why to thisday the Israelites do not eat the thigh sinew which is at the hip socket:because he had struck Jacob at the hip socket on the thigh sinew.

33Looking up,Jacob saw Esau coming and with him four hundred men. He then divided the children between Leah, Rachel and the two slave–girls.2He putthe slave–girls and their children in front, with Leah and her children following, and Rachel and Joseph behind.3He himself went ahead of them and bowed to the ground seven times, until he reached his brother. 4ButEsau ran to meet him, took him in his arms, threw himself on his neck andwept as he kissed him.5Then looking up he saw the women andchildren. ‘Who are these with you?’ he asked. Jacob answered, ‘The childrenwhom God has bestowed on your servant.’6 The slave–girls thencame up with their children, and they all bowed low.7Then Leahtoo came up with her children, and they all bowed low. Finally Rachel andJoseph came up and bowed low.8Esau asked, ‘What was the purposeof that whole camp I just met?’ ‘To win my lord’s favour,’ he replied.9‘Brother, I have plenty,’ Esau answered, ‘keep what is yours.’ 10Jacobprotested, ‘No, if I have won your favour, please accept the gift I offer,for in fact I have come into your presence as into the presence of God,since you have received me kindly.11So accept the gift I havebrought for you, since God has been generous to me and I have all I need.’And he urged him, and Esau accepted.

Ya`aqov is set upon by aman. Who was this man wrestled with Ya`aqov all night? We are not told, and so we
speculate. Some say it was a messengerof `Esaw sent to accost Ya`aqov. Some would have us believe it was YahwehHimself. Christians would have think it was their mystery "man-god" whofills in for every mysterious unnamed character in the Bible. I believe Ya`aqov came to grips with himself in a violent psychological episode. Yahweh makes no qualms about announcing himself elsewere, but this person will not name themselves. I say he did not name himself because it wasactually Ya`aqov. It is not impossible that it was a messenger of Yahweh.

But what happened is of importance.After Ya`aqov came to an understanding, and in fact becomes a new personbecause of it, he lets the man go. Before this incident Ya`qov's life revolvesaround opportunism and even his name reflects this nature. In his strugglehe comes to understand that there is a purpose for his life other thanhimself. And to signify that he becomes Yisra'el --he who struggles and overcomes with El, not against Him or in spite of Him. Then he can indeed let the man, Ya`aqov, go.

His pride procession with his worldlywealth has been replaced with a limp. The man who once succeeded by grabbingthe heel of another wrenching the situation to his on favor now walks onhis own leg wrenched out of place. He learns humility, and he understands teshuvah is the proper purpose of his return.

Ya`aqov had gotten by with a gooddeal, and had received favor from Yahweh. Why be sorry for anything? Thatis the primitive, immature understanding of some faiths. A true Yahwist doesn't cut a wide swath and never look behind while proclaiming what "God has done for me"!  What a waste of a god. The true Yahwist knows heis responsible for the actions of their life, and the balance has to berestored. Ya`aqov had wronged his brother, and as a Yahwist he now realizedthe importance of making amends. He who had been an opportunist began tounderstand that for every opportunist there is a victim. Ya`aqov was nolonger Ya`aqov and no matter who he had wrestled with, this psychologicalchange had come to his consciousness. And Ya`aqov did "see" Elohim at Penu'el.

Ya`aqov says, 'to see your face islike seeing the face of Elohim . . .' Was this exaggeration, a "kissing up"? If Ya`aqov was struggling mighty struggles with himself, as I believe, remember that `Esaw was indeed his twin brother! But it was that Ya`aqovdid see this reunion as a manifestation of Elohim's Purpose; he saw itworking its way before him. `Esaw was no longer an adverary to best andtake advantage of like he was some brutish animal. He now saw instead theface of his own brother not dissimilar and perhaps a mirror image of hisown face. He realized that his brother was wronged, and was to submittedto with honor due him as a brother and not an opportunity. This is theonly way we see Yahweh that we look at life according to His Purpose andact accordingly. And this is the difference in seeing between Yahwistsand those who must objectify Him into a piece of stone, wood, or fleshfashioned by primitive imagination. He is not a thing that we can see asa source of advantage or income. If we struggle through life with El'sPurpose always in sight, and this will be illustrated again and again byscripture, we see Yahweh's face everywhere, and we realize that there arecan be no winners or losers to our satisfaction, no victimizers and victimized.We want everyone to receive blessing and opportunity as children of Yahweh.

Some people might find it strangeto hear me talk of "brotherhood" and everyone as children of Yahweh. Iam admittedly critical of non-Yahwistic religion to say the least. Butit is just the subject of this passage that explains it, the ongoing relationship between two types of brothers we see elsewhere in scripture. There is nodenying that all men are brothers, belonging to Yahweh. But their understandingof life can be so very different that it is necessary for one to avoidand resist the other.

When there is no commonality of understandingYahweh's purpose, one will become the opportunist, the victimizer. Whenthere is no understanding of Yahweh's purpose, we are left to a world ofdogs and acting as dogs ourselves. In the world of dogs, the victimizers become the alpha dog and by taking every ungodly opportunity they are free to manipulate not only history but society through a religion that recognizes the ascendance of dogs as righteous. They have won a struggle against Yahweh and sit at the throats of any who do not acknowledge them.

Without Ya`aqov's new sight of Yahwehand an opportunity of `Esaw's anger to be put aside, the stroy would bea different one indeed. It would have been a godless story in which Ya`aqov could continue to manipulate the brutish `Esaw or `Esaw could have wipedout Ya`aqov and his household. The winner would have been declared therighteous, the one favored of Yahweh in the manner Christianity seeks towipe out Israel to elevate itself as the alpha dog.

Was the ideal situation reached herebetween brothers? Probably not. `Esaw had not been enlightened by Yahwehas had Ya`aqov, and Ya`aqov is still living and struggling through hisown life with the help of Elohim.

12Esausaid, ‘Let us break camp and move off; I shall go beside you.’13ButJacob replied, ‘As my lord knows, the children are weak, and the sheepand cows which have calved make it hard for me. If they are driven toohard, even for one day, the whole drove will die. 14May it pleasemy lord to go on ahead of his servant. For my part, I shall move at a slowerpace, to suit the flock I am driving and the children, until I join mylord in Seir.’15Esau then said, ‘At least let me leave you someof the people who are with me.’ ‘What for?’ Jacob asked. ‘Please indulgeme, my lord!’16 So that day Esau turned back towards Seir,17butJacob made his way to Succoth, where he built himself a house and madeshelters for his livestock; that is why the place was given the name ofSuccoth.

There would be an unequaldevelopment of faith between the brothers, and even though Ya`aqov recognizesthe ties between them and honors him, he also realizes that it would bebetter to not yoke themselves together. We have to realize that although we have brothers, we may be at dfferent stages of development and to mingle would hinder that growth. `Esaw was still unstable and unpredictable, and while perhaps Ya`aqov had been the opportunist by wit, `Esaw had the power to take the advantage forcibly if Ya`aqov, now Yisra'el, left himself inthe hands of `Esaw. `Esaw who was also associated as 'Edom, the red, signifying not just red earth, and redness of `Esaw, but also violence if not blood ,came to be a code word for the Romans who would adopt Paulism and extend it throughout the world by bloodshed.

Christians today are indeed `Esaw/'Edomwho while indeed may be brothers of Yisra'el are the opportunists tryingto wrest the birthright from Yisra'el. They are still brutish and in development,not yet Yahwistic, and without absolutes making them semi-pagan and unpredictable.For our own good, while we may consider them brothers, we must separateour camps because they are dangerous among us. We cannot be sure what theywill do next. We cannot leave ourselves and what we hold dear in the handsof 'Edom.


18Jacobarrived safely at the town of Shechem in Canaanite territory, on his returnfrom Paddan–Aram. He encamped opposite the town19 and for onehundred pieces of silver he bought from the sons of Hamor father of Shechemthe piece of land on which he had pitched his tent.20 There heerected an altar which he called ‘El, God of Israel’.

34Dinah,who was Jacob’s daughter by Leah, went out to visit some of the women ofthat region.2Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, headman of theregion, saw her, seized her and forced her to sleep with him. 3Hewas captivated by Dinah daughter of Jacob; he fell in love with the girland tried to win her heart.4Accordingly Shechem said to hisfather Hamor, ‘Get me this girl; I want to marry her.’ 5Meanwhile,Jacob had heard how his daughter Dinah had been dishonoured, but sincehis sons were out in the countryside with his livestock, Jacob said nothinguntil they came back.

6Hamorfather of Shechem was visiting Jacob to discuss the matter with him,7whenJacob’s sons returned from the countryside and heard the news; the menwere outraged and infuriated that Shechem had insulted Israel by sleepingwith Jacob’s daughter—a thing totally unacceptable. 8Hamor reasonedwith them as follows, ‘My son Shechem’s heart is set on your daughter.Please allow her to marry him.9Intermarry with us; give us yourdaughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10We can livetogether, and the country will be open to you, for you to live in, andmove about in, and acquire holdings.’11Then Shechem addressedthe girl’s father and brothers, ‘Grant me this favour, and I will giveyou whatever you ask.12Demand as high a bride–price from meas you please, and I will pay as much as you ask. Only let me marry thegirl.’13Jacob’s sons gave Shechem and his father Hamor a craftyanswer, speaking as they did because he had dishonoured their sister Dinah.14‘Wecannot do this,’ they said to them. ‘To give our sister to an uncircumcisedman would be a disgrace for us.15We can agree only on one condition:that you become like us by circumcising all your males.16Thenwe will give you our daughters, taking yours for ourselves; and we willstay with you to make one nation.17But if you will not agreeto our terms about being circumcised, we shall take our daughter and go.’18 Hamorand Shechem son of Hamor were pleased with what they heard.19 Theyoung man did not hesitate about doing this, for he was deeply in love with Jacob’s daughter. Moreover he was the most respected member of hisentire family.20Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate oftheir town and spoke to their fellow–townsmen as follows,21 ‘Thesemen are friendly; let them settle in the region and move about freely init; there is plenty of room here for them; we shall marry their daughtersand give our daughters to them.22But these men will agree tosettle with us and become a single nation only on this condition: thatall our males be circumcised like them.23Will not the livestockthey own, all their animals, become ours? Then let us give our assent tothis, so that they can settle with us.’24All the citizens ofthe town agreed to the proposal made by Hamor and his son Shechem, andall the males were circumcised.

Continuing in the same parallelwith the developments of Yahwism and Christianity, we see the mistakesof dialogue, pseudo-semitophiles, intermarriage and compromise.

First the gentile Shekem sees Dinahthe daughter of the God of Israel and being without absolutes other thanhis own desire and the ability to take the advantage, he wants her andin the absence of right he rapes her. Christianity wanted Isra'el and soit raped Israel, forcing itself upon her. For hundreds of years Christianity has tried to use force or seduction to convert Jews to the religion of'Edom. Israel has struggled to remain a virgin to Yahweh, while Christianityhas held a knife to her throat with sweet lies and violent threats withthe only option being mistreatment and death for those who will not spreadtheir legs to receive the seed gentile religion.

Just as Shekem told himself he lovedDinah and wanted her to cherish, Christianity today would tell us thatwhat they do is out of love. Shekem's father and Yisra'el/Ya`aqov becomethe Jewish and Christian proponents of dialogue looking at the points ofcommonality and benefit of such a union.

And here the mistake is made by bothparties making a compromise. Circumcision becomes the requirement of theunion of the two peoples. This overlooks two things: the hostility of "obtaining"Dinah, the virgin of Yisra'el, and also that circumcision is just a signof Yahwism, not Yahwism complete itself.

Hamor and Yisra'el meant well. Butdid they foresee the joining of two peoples on just a physical basis? Todaywe have people who now "love" Israel and the Jewish people. To some itmeans to convert Israel out their love for them and the belief they aresaving them from invented terrors. To others in addition to this, they love Israel so much that they play act as Israel singing Jewish songs,using Jewish words and rituals to worship Jesus of Nazareth. Others still,both Christians and Jews, reduce Yahwism to its most basic premises inorder to maintain a commonality for dialogue and compromise and they seekthe end of hostility between Jews and Christians. We usually associatesuch activities with intellectual clergymen, academics, and modern enlightenedpeople. But we will see this also among those of us who have daily relationshipswith gentiles.

Whether it is a co-worker or a loverwe want to look over the sticking points between our faiths and not gethung up on details. We make compromises.

Some would say that Dinah's brotherswere ruthless and conniving by killing those men of the town who had undergonecircumcision---who had made a dialogue and compromise. But perhaps theyare prophets. Sooner or later the details, the differences will come up,and the points of faith can no longer be trivialized. The points of faithare the faith and not trivial. If they continue to be overlooked and putunder a basket, the faith itself will be seriously altered and subsequently cease to exist. Compromises are never permanent. Something will alwaysbe killed. Either the faith will die or the points of difference will notbe able to remain suppressed and they will re-emerge, causing fighting,hurt and hate. They will return in a marriage to destroy it. They willreturn among friends or family to embarrass us and cause ill feelings.They will burst out between peoples to incite religious struggles. Andall the past that the compromises tried to amend will return to haunt theperpetrators.

25Nowon the third day, when the men were still in pain, Jacob’s two sons Simeonand Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and advanced unopposedagainst the town and slaughtered all the males.26 They killedHamor and his son Shechem with the sword, removed Dinah from Shechem’s house and came away.27When Jacob’s other sons came on the slain,they pillaged the town in reprisal for the dishonouring of their sister. 28Theyseized their flocks, cattle, donkeys, everything else in the town and inthe countryside,29and all their possessions. They took all theirchildren and wives captive and looted everything to be found in the houses.30Jacobsaid to Simeon and Levi, ‘You have done me an ill turn by bringing me intobad odour with the people of the region, the Canaanites and the Perizzites.I have few men, whereas they will unite against me to defeat me and destroyme and my family.’31They retorted, ‘Should our sister be treatedlike a whore?’

There are only three waysto deal with religious difference. You must like Yisrael and the Jews separateyourselves. Or the two parties must fully become one or the otherreligion and people. Otherwise, there will be hostility if not the goalof total destruction of one or the other religion. The other option isnot one at all because it is temporary, and that is to lie to ourselves that we can coexist without conflict.

Dinah's brothers for whatever personalagenda, chose the third option to simply not deal with the aspects of alwaysbeing reminded of the rape and possibility of an incomplete joining ofpeoples---by killing all the men.

Shabbat Shalom,

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