Day 5: Vayishlach/Genesis 35:13-36:19
Immediately following YHVH officially changing Yacov’s name to Israel, Torah narrates the arrival of Rachel’s second and final son. What was just the start of a new life soon became a dark day for all of Israel. Because of Rachel’s desire to take her father’s household idols, she became a warning to all generations. Not only did she succumb to Yacov’s vow that whoever had Laban’s idols would not live, but she reminds all of Israel of the price for disobedience—specifically relating to idols and graven images. This was not a coincidence in timing. Just prior to leaving for Bethel, YHVH reproved Israel by commanding that all the false elohim be removed from his household. Torah is not clear on who gave up any idols or where any may have been; yet, it could be that this was the specific time in which YHVH finally revealed Rachel’s sin in stealing Laban’s idols.
For Rachel, her sin found her. Through possibly years of waiting, Rachel ended up paying severely for her rebellion. Perhaps she had paid little by being either barren or slow to have children in contrast to her sister. At what should have been one of the most joyful events in her life, she dies, even as she leaves a reminder of her guilt and conviction by naming her second son. Rachel longed to be the wife that produced the sons for Yacov’s posterity. With only one son, Joseph, Rachel had felt very short-changed in life. On the eve of giving Israel another patriarch, she departs from the earth in deepest sorrow. Her sorrow reverberates in the naming of her second son—Ben-oni, or son of sorrow/pain. To be sure, this was a sad time for Yacov, Yoseph, and even her maid, Bilhah, as well as her sons.
The love of Yacov’s life was dead.
On this saddest of days, Yacov determined to remember the joy Rachel had brought to his life. Instead of calling his new son a sorrow, he renamed him Benyamin meaning son of my right hand. The significance of this new name went from a commemorative name of sadness to one that would be an emissary and the legislative had of Yacov. As the youngest of twelve sons, Benyamin would not be a big player in all the activities of the other eleven sons, except to be held as ransom by Yoseph when staging his appearance to his family. Late in that narrative, the least of all the sons of Israel received five times the amount of food, silver, and garments than all his brothers. We see Benjamin’s importance rising as he, as the least, not only became wealthy but was depended upon by Yacov for emotional strength and was esteemed.
In the history of humanity, YHVH created Adam who sinned and fell short of the Creator’s glory. As one, and not just a solitary man, humanity would suffer the same fate, bearing Adam’s sin as their own. There should be no doubt that the Creator grieves for His children to return to Him and be one with Him. What sadness YHVH must have felt to watch His beloved and first choice bride die right before His own eyes. Any seed yielded from that defiled seed would be born with a sin nature, unless He intervened with His own DNA. With the giving of His own Son, YHVH brought forth, out of sadness, His joy and First Fruits of all living. YHVH, Himself, bore His right arm as His Son that delivered man from sin, being the second Adam, but the first to rise from the dead for eternal life. What has observed as centuries of sadness became joy as YHVH received those that would call upon Yeshua’s name as their salvation. His Right Hand, the hand of legislature and representation, is the Hand of Righteousness that has made sinners into righteous kings and priests.
We, as the called-out ones and Covenant keepers, are to be found in Messiah, the son of YHVH, His Right Hand. Our portion is better than the nations and we are preferred by YHVH as His children of promise. Like Benyamin was cherished by YHVH and was preferred by Yoseph, we have such an inheritance that we have not lack as we represent our King and His eternal Kingdom.
The sorrow of yesteryear, the pain in travail, and the times we felt abandoned are no more as YHVH calls us His joy and His delight.
Dwell upon Psalm 126:4-6, “Restore our captivity, O YHVH, as the streams in the South. Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”