I study the Torah every year using the teaching tools of Scripture. (Why?)
Today is the 1st Sabbath of the triennial Torah cycle. The Torah reading (parashah) is Bereisheet (In the beginning), Gen 1:1-2:3.
The Hebrew paragraph divisions given by the Holy Spirit, are:
Gen 1:1-5 p first day of Creation
Gen 1:6-8 p second day of Creation
Gen 1:9-13 p third day of Creation
Gen 1:14-19 p fourth day of Creation
Gen 1:20-23 p fifth day of Creation
Gen 1:24-31 p sixth day of Creation
Gen 2:1-3 p seventh day of Creation
The parashah forms its own chiastic structure:
1a) Gen 1:1, In the beginning Elohiym created the heavens and the earth;
1b) Gen 1:2, Earth was without form/ void of life + darkness on the deep + Spirit of God hovered over the waters;
1c) Gen 1:3-8 p+p, Elohiym created light and the firmament of the heavens on the first and second days;
1d) Gen 1:9-10a, Elohiym caused the dry land to appear;
central axis) Gen 1:10b, Elohiym saw that it was good;
2d) Gen 1:11 -13 p, Elohiym filled the dry land with grass + herbs + and fruit bearing trees on the third day;
2c) Gen 1:14-19 p, Elohiym filled the heavens with lights to rule over/ divide light from darkness on the fourth day;
2b) Gen 1:20-30 p+p, Elohiym filled the waters + earth with living creatures on the fifth and sixth days;
2a) Gen 2:1-3 p, Elohiym rested from His work of creation on the seventh day.
The common theme of the entire parashah, is Elohiym is our Creator. In the beginning, He created the heavens and earth. They were formless and void. He created their form and prepared them to be filled on the first, second, and half of the third days. In the middle of third day, He saw that the universe that He had made, was good, and ready to cease being void. So on the second half of the third day, and in the fifth and sixth days, He filled the universe that He had made. On the seventh day, He rested. The Sabbath has been blessed as a day of rest from Creation, from before the Fall of man.
In the beginning, GOD – He is the origin of everything else.
The Hebrew for “God” is Elohiym. Elohiym, “the true God,” Strong’s H430, is the plural of Strong’s H433, elowahh, “any god, a false god,” which is the emphatic of Strong’s H410, el, “god, god like, mighty one, hero.” El is the shortened form of Strong’s H352, ayil, “ram, capitals (of columns), noble, strong tree,” which is itself derived from the three- letter root verb, Strong’s H193 uwl, “to roll, to twist, to be strong, strength, power, preeminence, leader, belly, abdomen.”
In order to arrive at a word which can even come close to adequately describing the Being whose preeminence, greatness, might, and glory is indescribable, the word for strength, preeminence, nobility, and leadership first has to be made emphatic, then that result has to be magnified (made plural or multiplied). Thus we arrive at Elohiym.
The three- letter root of Elohiym is אוּל aleph + vav + lamed. In the ancient Hebrew pictographs, aleph is the ox head (strength, power, leader); vav is the nail or tent peg (add, secure, hook); lamed is the shepherd’s staff (teach, yoke, to, bind). The story told by this three- letter root is of the Shepherd added to the Sovereign! The shepherd leads, guides, teaches, provides for, gathers, keeps, takes care of, and guards his flock with his staff. Right away in the very first verse of Genesis, God reveals of Himself that yes, He is awesome in His creative wisdom and great might and power – but it is not arbitrary might or tyrannical power; it is intrinsically secured to the heart of the Good Shepherd!
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