Thursday, November 1, 2012

Torah Portion Vayera: The Eight Miraculous Mothers

Genesis 18:1 – 22:24; II Kings 4:1-37; Matthew 7-8

In this portion we find the story of the birth of Isaac to Sarah and Abraham.

Genesis 21:1-7 NKJV 1 And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him-whom Sarah bore to him-Isaac. 4 Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 And Sarah said, "God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me." 7 She also said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age."

Sarah is the first of eight woman in the Bible often referred to as mothers, who were once barren and whom God had later opened their wombs and caused them to miraculously conceive a child.  The number eight, in the Bible, represents new beginnings and reflects the Hebrew concept of cycles.  There are seven days in a week, but the eighth day is the beginning of a new week; a new beginning.  

In the next generation, Rebekah became Isaac’s wife, but she was barren as well

Genesis 25:20-21 NKJV 20 Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian. 21 Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

Then we have Isaac’s son Jacob who was tricked by Laban into taking his eldest daughter Leah as his wife when all along Jacob desired to have Rachel.

Genesis 29:21-25 NKJV 21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her." 22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place and made a feast. 23 Now it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. 24 And Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid. 25 So it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?"

Even though Leah was not loved by Jacob, the LORD opened her womb and she conceived.

Genesis 29:31-32 NKJV 31 When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32 So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, "The LORD has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me."

In this passage we see that Rachel is also barren whom Jacob took as a wife in return for serving Laban another seven years.

Genesis 29:26-28 NKJV 26 And Laban said, "It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 "Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years." 28 Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week. So he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife also.

Rachel remained barren for quite some time but eventually God opened her womb and she gave birth to Joseph.

Genesis 30:25a NKJV  And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph…

Next we come across a man by the name of Manoah whose wife was barren.  Again the LORD opened her womb and she conceived a son.

Judges 13:2-3 NKJV 2 Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.

This son is none other than Samson.  It is interesting to note that the name of the mother of Samson is not recorded in scripture.  She is, in a way, hidden from us.  Her son Samson’s name means sunlight, but the source of “sunlight” is hidden.

#8123.  Shimshown,  shim-shone' from #8121; sunlight; Shimshon, an Israelite:--Samson.  #8121 shemesh,  sheh'-mesh from an unused root meaning to be brilliant; the sun.

The next barren woman we find in the Bible is Hannah

1 Samuel 1:5-6 NKJV 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the LORD had closed her womb. 6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb.

Year by year Hannah called out to God for the gift of a son.

1 Samuel 1:7-21 NKJV 7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. 8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?" 9 So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the LORD. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head."

Hannah made a vow and the LORD opened her womb and she conceived a son; a special son in Samuel.

The next time we see the mention of a barren woman is in the Gospels with Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias the priest and cousin of Mary the mother of Yeshua.

Luke 1:5-7 NKJV 5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

Again the LORD opened the womb of Elizabeth and she conceived a son whose name was Yochanan or John.

Luke 1:23-24 NKJV 23 And so it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. 24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months…

Yochanan is the seventh son to be born to a previously barren woman, and as such represents Spiritual Perfection and a complete cycle.  Just as the seventh day is the culmination of the week and being the Sabbath, brings a promise of rest, refreshment and renewal, so too the son of Elizabeth and Zacharias would be destined to point to rest, refreshment and renewal in the eighth Son to be born of a barren woman.  But in this case, it would be a different kind of barren, a virgin, and a different kind of son, the Son of God!  Mary, Elizabeth’s first cousin, who is betrothed to a man named Joseph from Nazareth, comes to Elisabeth’s home to reveal the news of her pregnancy.

Luke 1:26-33 NKJV 26 Now in the sixth month (of Elizabeth’s pregnancy) the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. (Hebrew = Yeshua) 32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."

Yeshua is the light from God, the promised messiah, born of a virgin, a son of David, bringing to mankind a new beginning.  He is the light of the world, hidden from view in his first coming because of spiritual darkness and man’s separation from God.   Elizabeth’s son Yochanan reveals Yeshua as the Son of God to a darkened world.  In the seventh millennium, Yeshua will permanently occupy the Throne of David in Jerusalem and be a light for all nations to see. After this, the prophet Isaiah and John in Revelation record a new beginning for creation and mankind where Yeshua is the only light necessary.

Isaiah 65:17-18 NKJV 17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy.

Revelation 21:1-2, 23 NKJV 1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband… 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.

Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

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