Parashat B’shalach (When Pharaoh sent out) Exodus 13:17-17:16


Haftarah: Judges 4:4-5:31

Tu Bishvat

In this week’s Torah portion one of the main themes is salvation. In order to celebrate this salvation over the Egyptians which occurred when Pharaoh and his armies were drowned in the sea, Moses sung a song. Within this song one reads the words,

May terror* and fear fall upon them with the greatness of Your Arm, may they be like a stone…” Exodus 15:16

This verse is very Messianic. The phrase “Your Arm” is a well known expression which relates to the Messiah. The origin of the word “arm” comes from one of the Hebrew words which relates to a descendant. The expression “Seed of Abraham” is of course a reference to Yeshua (See Galatians 3:16) and the word “Seed” here, is derived from the same Hebrew word which was translated “Arm”. It is also interesting to note that this word, in the form in which it is found in this verse, also relates to a sacrifice.

In the verse from our Torah reading, Moses is beseeching HaShem for the same terror and fear, which certainly consumed the Egyptians when they saw the waters closing in on them immediately prior to their death, also to be upon the Canaanites, Edomites and the Moabites when the Children of Israel enter the Land.

It is interesting that that the verb in this verse “fall” which relates to the “terror and fear falling upon” those peoples (Canaanites, Edomites, and Moabites) is in the feminine singular, when the verb is in reference to two things, terror and fear and one noun is feminine (terror) and the other is masculine (fear). Normally this would demand that the verb be in the masculine plural. So why is it in the feminine singular? The answer is to emphasize the first noun אימתה. This noun is not only feminine, but has a possessive pronoun attached to it.

*When I translated the verse earlier in this article, I rendered it as most other major translations. However these translations fail to recognize that the word אימתה is literally a contraction of two Hebrew words, האימה שלה.  This should be properly translated “her fear“. One can see why English translations would fail to render it as,

May her terror and fear fall upon them with the greatness of Your Arm, may they be like a stone…”

Who is the “her” as in “her terror“? The fact that the word “arm” is a feminine noun means that the only answer can be the terror of HaShem’s Arm, i.e. the Messiah. What this verse is communicating is that it is only when people perceive the awesome power of HaShem’s salvation wrought through Messiah Yeshua that they will submit to the will of G-d. In other words, those who stand in opposition to the Jewish people entering and settling in Israel (all of it including Judea, Samaria and Gaza) apparently do not have a proper respect for the awesome power of Messiah Yeshua, the Arm of our L-rd.

Shabbat Shalom

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