Exodus 6:2 – 9:35; Haftara: Ezekiel 28:25–29:21
Abstract of the commentary by Michael Schneider, Jerusalem:
This week’s Torah portion shows us how the children of Israel first began experiencing freedom from slavery as the LORD began making Himself known to them. God had a plan to deliver his people, first, by bringing them out of Egypt and redeeming them and then taking them as His people (v.6–7). This is also the way He saves people from the bondage of sin.
- Sabbath Song: Adon Olam
Aaron, Moses’ brother, became his mouth, speaking in his place even though God commanded Moses to speak to Pharaoh. But all this shows is that it’s a waste of time to try and argue with God because His plans will always be accomplished.
God wanted to show His power in the battle between God and man as he did with Pharaoh and showed all of Egypt (the world) His ‘great judgments’ (7:4). He works the same today, showing the nations His work of restoring and returning His people back to their Land – even in much greater dimensions, according to the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 23:7–8.
There’s a story of a minister who was preaching in northern Alaska about the ‘Return of the Jews.’ More than 5,000, including Eskimos trekked through the arctic ice to hear of God’s mighty work in our time.
The world watched and was amazed. The birth of the State of Israel became the greatest miracle of the century!
In Ezekiel, the prophets says, “When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations… They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God” (28:25-26).
We first read about seven of the 10 plagues before deliverance from Egypt, in an ascending order of distress. They began by striking nature first, then the animals, followed by man.
It is remarkable that during the plagues, the children of Israel were set apart. They didn’t suffer as plagues rained down on Egypt (8:22). In spite of the blood, they were able to drink clean water and received light in the land of Goshen, despite the darkness. God, also, takes care of His children in today’s dark world.
However, before God plagued Egypt, He always hardened Pharaoh’s heart. As Moses demanded, “Let my people go, so that they will serve Me!” These words threatened Pharaoh as felt he’d lose his power.
This is why the first part of the command is easier with an emphasis on ‘Let my people go!’ The second part, ‘So that they will serve Me!’ is harder to follow and is why those of us who are stubborn will fail.
God did His part in delivering His people, now it’s our turn to have a change of heart.