Today is the 14th Sabbath of the annual Torah cycle: parashah (Torah portion) Va’eira / YHVH Appeared, Exo 6:2-9:35. Read Exodus 6:2-9:35 at Bible Gateway.
I have outlined this week’s Torah portion according to their strong and weak paragraph divisions (s for stumah – weak – and p for p’tuchah – strong; see the teaching tools of Scripture).
Exo 6:2-9 p YHVH to reveal the meaning of His name by redeeming Israel from Egypt
Exo 6:10-12 p Speak to Pharaoh + How shall he heed me?
Exo 6:13 s YHVH commanded both Israel and Pharaoh through Moses and Aaron
Exo 6:14-28 s Moses and Aaron the seed of Levi
Exo 6:29-30 p I am YHVH
Exo 7:1-7 p Introduction to the plagues
Exo 7:8-13 s The sign of the rod becoming a serpent
Exo 7:14-18 s The warning that the river will become blood
Exo 7:18-25 p First plague of the river becoming blood + magicians did also
Exo 7:26-8:11 s Second plague of frogs + magicians did also
Exo 8:12-15 s Third plague of lice + magicians could not do also
Exo 8:16-28 p Fourth plague of flies + no flies in Goshen
Exo 9:1-7 p Fifth plague on livestock + no plague in Goshen
Exo 9:8-12 s Sixth plague of boils + no plague in Goshen
Exo 9:13-21 p The warning of the seventh plague of hail
Exo 9:22-35 p The seventh plague of hail + no hail in Goshen
Exo 6:2-9:35 theme: God confirms His covenant + He plagues Egypt
I am working on the chiastic structure for this parashah. Because the parashah ends in the middle of the plagues, which continue in the next parashah, it is not as obvious. The first strong paragraph of this section forms an interesting chiastic structure by itself:
Exo 4:27-6:9 s+p
1a) Exo 4:27-6:1 (s), Pharaoh did not heed Moses;
1b) Exo 6:2a, God spoke to Moses;
1c) Exo 6:2b, “I am YHVH;”
1d) Exo 6:3-4, My covenant is with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give them the Land;
1e) Exo 6:5, I have heard the groaning of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage;
1f) Exo 6:6, “I am YHVH” + I will bring you out, rescue you, and redeem you;
central axis) Exo 6:7a, “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God;”
2f) Exo 6:7b, Then you shall know that I am YHVH who brings you out;
2e) Exo 6:7c, From under the burdens of the Egyptians;
2d) Exo 6:8a, I will bring you into the Land I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;
2c) Exo 6:8b, “I am YHVH;”
2b) Exo 6:9a, Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel;
2a) Exo 6:9b (p), The children of Israel did not heed Moses.
The next thing that happens, is Moses starts to show Pharaoh the power of God in signs, wonders, and plagues, to the end of the parashah. The 1a element of the chiastic structure, is the strong paragraph from last week’s parashah about Pharaoh increasing the burden and bondage on the children of Israel in response to YHVH’s demand to let the children of Israel go.
So: Egypt plagues Israel. (The world plagues the church. The enemy plagues the saints. Circumstances of trouble plague you or me). In the middle of that hard bondage, God sends His Messenger, Messiah (Moses is a type of Messiah) with the Word of God, of deliverance, of rescue, of redemption, of bringing about all His promises for goodness and benevolence. “He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions,” (Psa 107:20).
You know, we might be tempted to not believe Him when He tells us while we are in the middle of our trials or our persecutions, how He is going to rescue us and make it all better, just as Israel did not believe because of their hard bondage. But the next thing that happens: God plagues Egypt. (He plagues the world, the enemy, and circumstances of trouble) so that we are delivered from our hard and cruel bondage.
YHVH shows the world and the enemy that He is YHVH our God and He has taken us for His people, by delivering His people from the hard and cruel bondage of the world, the enemy, and the circumstances of trouble of this fallen creation. He still accomplishes His deliverance, even when His people cannot believe Him because of the cruelty of their bondage!
Look up, for your redemption draweth nigh!