Parashat Va’eira (And I Appeared)
Shemot (Exodus) 6:2–9:35
This week, we begin to read about the ten wonders that God demonstrated in Egypt. As I was reading the parasha, I noticed one very important word in Hebrew that is often mistranslated, which appears in verse 23 (פְדֻת) “pedut”:
Now the LORD said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, as he comes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of insects on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of insects, and also the ground on which they dwell. But on that day, I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of insects will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land. And I will put a division (פְדֻת) between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall occur.’”
Exodus 8:20-23 (8:16-19 in the Hebrew Bible)
It is clear that God was setting apart the children of Israel from the Egyptians. This is extraordinary, in my opinion, and we shouldn't take it for granted. For Israel, this meant that they would be unharmed from all the chaos taking place around them; it would be a clear indication that God was supernaturally protecting them. For the Egyptians, it meant that they would see the difference between the power of the living God and their god.
God set apart Israel from Egypt so that everyone would know that He alone is God Almighty, the living God. We now come to the word I mentioned earlier, פְדֻת, “pedut” which most English translations of the Scriptures translate as “division”. However, a more accurate translation of this word would be “redemption”. Essentially, God demonstrates His redemption of the children of Israel through showing how they are different from or separated from the people of Egypt (Pharaoh’s people). Another interesting possible meaning of this word is “ransom” or to “cash a bond”. We could also understand that God is ransoming Israel from the slavery & bondage of Israel from the Egyptians.
This is an amazing picture for us as believers, as God has indeed released us from the bondage of sin, through the amazing redemptive work of Yeshua. This redemption cost us nothing, but that does not mean it came without a great price! Let's not forget that Yeshua gave us everything in order that we might be made one in Him, giving us the privilege to be called sons and daughters of the King.
Did you know? — Lone Soldier
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