Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Parashah Shemos / “And these are the names” Shemos/Deuteronomy 1:1 - 6:1
Ya’akov’s family has been in Egypt now for many years, but as we begin this
reading they are down to the final eighty years. Most of that time will pass by in a
flash, at least in our reading. We will settle mostly on Moses’ birth, his claiming to
be a Hebrew (for lack of better terminology), his shepherding of a flock, and his
return to lead God’s people out of captivity into the Land of Promise. As I look at
these subheadings, I cannot help but think of the latter and greater messiah, The
Messiah, Yeshua. What comparisons do we see occurring in His story as a
fully-fleshed out human being, and as the Son of the Ancient of Days?
A good portion of two of the gospels give significant details to His birth story.
It is interesting to me that in regards to Moses, the issuance of the order to kill the
male babies (Shemot 1:15 - 16) was given prior to his birth, whereas in the case
of Yeshua it was given sometime following His birth. These situations both show
me that the enemy, HaSatan, is a reactor and not an actor. He does not initiate
plans, he reacts to God’s actions. Think about the Garden of Eden, Job, and
Daniel for instances. The attempt to kill Moses is a direct result of the promise
that HaShem had given Avraham many years before. Of course this attempt
failed, but if he could not kill the messianic one prior to or at his birth, perhaps he
could do it shortly thereafter - a reaction to the failed previous action. It is also
interesting that Yeshua was taken to Egypt where the first messianic
assassination attempt failed so miserably.
Where do we see Moshe claiming to be a Hebrew? I would propose that
we can find the answer in Shemot 2:11. It reads there “...that Moses grew up
and went out to his brethren...” Now this may not have been the exact instant
that he had come to that decision, but this was the point of no return. He has
outed himself, if I may use current lingo. Where would there be a concurrence
in the life of Yeshua other than the incident recorded beginning at Luke 2:41. He
is twelve and the family has gone to Yerushalyim for Pesach. It would not be
unlikely that He has “become a man” and that He is the one that actually sacrificed
the family's offering for the feast. What more defining role can there be for a male
Jew so shortly after he has become a man?
Moshe (Moses) leaves Mitzrayim for Midian out of fear for his life. Did he
leave because even though he knew that he was the instrument God was going
to use to deliver his (Moshe’s) people, he did not know the timing? (I do know
that the people were His people above all.) Had he presumed that the time was
at hand? Well, he had 40 years of shepherding before he could say, as does
Tevya in the “Fiddler on the Roof”, “On the other hand...” Forty years Moses
spent learning how to be a shepherd of sheep, and when he returned to Egypt,
he knew how to shepherd God’s flock as well. Yeshua is recognized as a
shepherd numerous times in the Apostolic Writings as revealed in the following
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the
fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a
robber. "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.
"To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he
calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. "When he puts
forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him
because they know his voice. "And a stranger they simply will not
follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of
This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand
what those things were which He had been saying to them. Jesus
therefore said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of
the sheep. "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the
sheep did not hear them. "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me,
he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
"The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they
might have life, and might have it abundantly. "I am the good shepherd;
the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. "He who is a hireling,
and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf
coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them,
and scatters them. "He flees because he is a hireling, and is not
concerned about the sheep. "I am the good shepherd; and I know My own,
and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father;
and I lay down My life for the sheep. "And I have other sheep, which are
not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and
they shall become one flock with one shepherd. - John 10:1 - 16.
Since it is likely that the reader knows "the rest of the story," the passage above
relates very well to both Yeshua and Moshe as shepherds.
Peruse the passage found in Matthew 15:22 - 24. Yeshua is speaking with
a Canaanite woman from the district of Tyre and Sidon. She desires that He
heal her demon-possessed daughter. He did not answer her, but in speaking to
His talmidim He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”
The point here is that He was a shepherd; at the same time he did heal the
woman’s daughter because of her persistence and faith. Could that not be
compared to the mixed multitude that were permitted to travel with the Hebrews
in their departure from Egypt?
As for my last comparison, Moshe returning to lead the people out of
captivity, well, that event actually does not occur until Parashah Bo, the one
following next week’s reading, so I will let it alone for you, the reader, to
contemplate those comparisons between now and then. Shalom.