Shabbat shalom friends! Stormy and unseasonably warm for this winter day in Tennessee but it makes for a cozy Bible studying day! 😊
In this week’s Torah portion of Va’yishlach (Gen 32:3 – 36:43) we have a profound Hebrew phenomenon that happens as Jacob is about to see Esau again after 20 years of being up in Syria working for Laban, his uncle. Remember how Esau had pledged to kill Jacob before he left. Well, Jacob is now returning to Canaan with his big family and countless animal and is genuinely scared of what Esau will do to them all.
The verse we are looking at today is Gen 32:22, which reads (with our Aleph Tav reinserted):
We are going to hone in tightly on the part that says, “and crossed over אֵת ford of Jabbok.” Things are about to get very deep as we “cross over”!
Firstly, let me explain that the Hebrew word for “crossing over” is “Eber” – “עבר”, which is the root word for “Hebrew”. Let that sink in a minute.
Let’s look closely at “and crossed over אֵת ford of Jabbok” in the Hebrew. Keep a sharp eye out for “עבר”.
Let’s break down our root word of עבר:
So when we “cross over” we have knowledge of, or can see, the highest person in our family. Who is the highest person in our family? Our Father. But the stand-alone Alef Tav (אֵת) in this verse, at this point, insinuates that Jacob also saw/ has knowledge of Yeshua who is also the highest person in our family!
Two verses later is when a Man shows up and wrestles with Jacob all night! Do you think that is a coincidence? Do we know who that “Man” is? 😉
If, at this point, your head hasn’t exploded, let’s break down Jacob’s (Ya’akov’s) name like we broke down “ever”-עבר.
Notice in these two breakdowns that “ever”-עבר and “Ya’akov”-יעקב share two of the same letters: ayin-ע and vet-ב.
The letters that are different are koof-ק, which means “least” and resh-ר, which means “highest”. Two opposite ideas. (And Ya’akov has the added yod-י meaning “to work”) BUT, after Jacob (Ya’akov) wrestles with the “Man” and “crosses over-עבר” the “ford-מעבר” Ya’akov’s name is changed to Israel (which means – “Prince of El”)!
After he wrestles with Yeshua-אֵת, and crossed over, he went from being the least in the household to being the highest and a prince of El! He is officially a Hebrew!
Can you believe so much meaning is jam packed into just 4 little Hebrew words?!
The below screenshot is an excerpt from the Strong’s entry for “ford”. Notice the root word – עבר.
Below is a screenshot of an excerpt from the Strong’s entry for the root of the Hebrew word for “and he crossed over”-ויעבר. It is already a primitive root.
Below is the screenshot of the Strong’s entry for Jacob/Ya’akov.
There is a lot to soak up from these words. May this short witness of Yeshua be a blessing to you.