KEITH JOHNSON & Nehemia Gordon – Pearls from the Torah Portion – Vayechi – Genesis 47:28-50:26

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* Both the intro & outro tracks are by Jono’s little sister, Kate Plummer, from her second album “The Leftover Sea“. The Truth2U theme song is entitled “Crosswoods” & the outro music is entitled “The Leftover Sea”. It is a beautiful instrumental CD from a very talented guitarist and is available from Truth2U

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  1. Diane Dornberger says

    You might want to correct the caption that says “pearls FORM”??
    I may be the only one who would notice though.

    Blessings and Shalom!

  2. Barby says


  3. Geoffrey Arnold says

    Hi Jono, Nehemia ,Keith ,thank-you for your time and effort.
    I greatly enjoy listening.
    am Israel chai
    shalom from Titirangi
    West Auckland
    New Zealand
    Geoff LeNeve Arnold


    לֹא תִשָּׂא אֶת שֵׁם יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לַשָּׁוְא כִּי לֹא יְנַקֶּה יְהֹוָה אֵת אֲשֶׁר יִשָּׂא אֶת שְׁמוֹ לַשָּׁוְא: שמות, כ:ז

    You shall not take the name of Yəhôvâh your Ĕlôhîym in the Hebrew לַשָּׁוְא (la’shavə~ for falsehood swearing falsely); for Yəhôvâh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in (la’shavə~): Exodus, 20:7

    the Hebrew לַשָּׁוְא (la’shavə~). … An example of using Ĕlôhîym’s name Yəhôvâh “la’shavə~” (for falsehood is swearing falsely). … That this commandment applied to swearing falsely is elaborated in Philo’s
    “You shall not lift (or bear) the name of Yəhôvâh your Ĕlôhîym for falsehood.”

    The “in vain” of the A.V. and many other English translations is derived from the Hebrew לַשָּׁוְא (la’və~). However, the essence of the meaning of shavə~ is simply falsehood or deceit.

    For example, in Exodus 23:1, the Hebrew שֵׁמַע שָׁוְא (Sheima’a Sha’və~ ) is translated as “false report.”

    An example of using Ĕlôhîym’s name “la’shavə~” (for falsehood) is swearing falsely. That is, you would say something like, “I sweay by Heaven (a pseudonym or circumlocution for the name of Ĕlôhîym) that I did not do such-and-such…” when in fact you are lying. You get the point.

    That this commandment applied to swearing falsely is elaborated in Philo’s “The Decalogue,” §84-87.

  5. Warren B says

    Excellent lesson on the blessings of Joseph and his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.
    You quoted Genesis 49:22 that “Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall”
    And verse 26: “The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.”

    The “spring” by the well could be the Torah.
    The “wall” could be the ocean that stopped further expansion of these blessings On Ephraim especially, until Columbus in 1492. The tribes of Israel (lost tribes) moved into Europe and England and eventually to America. Joseph’s blessings followed westward expansion in America to the “everlasting hills” which are the Rocky Mountains, which begin in Alaska and continue all the way down to the tip of Argentina.
    Thanks again for your weekly lessons. I want my family members to join in and listen too.

  6. tamara says

    Thanks for explaining why Joseph’s sons received the blessing, and not Joseph.

  7. Chris & Sandra says

    We’re loving it!

    When Nehemiah prays we raise our hands in faith and receive the blessing !!! Thank you sooooo Much!!!!!

    Re Swearing..shouldn’t we let our Yes be Yes and our no be no? and not swear at all?

    The Daniels Family
    Birmingham England

  8. Stephen Houston says

    I noticed that Keith Johnson & Nehemia Gordon during the study of בְּרֵאשִׁית Bəreishiyt that they skipped over a key covenant term חֶסֶד khesed
    Since חֶסֶד (khesed) is the key word for covenant relationships
    Covenant loyalty living up to a covenantal responsibility
    חֶסֶד khesed = Greek ἐλεήμων eleēmōn ἐλεέω eleeō χάρις charis
    1 Peter 5:12 Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I consider him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true חֶסֶד khesed of Ĕlôhîym. Stand firm in it! חֶסֶד khesed = χάρις charis

    חֶסֶד khesed “devotion as you have done with the dead and with me.” The noun חֶסֶד khesed, “devotion”) is a key thematic term in the book of Ruth (see 2:20; 3:10). חֶסֶד “is not merely an attitude or an emotion; it is an emotion that leads to an activity beneficial to the recipient”; an act of חֶסֶד is “a beneficent action performed, in the context of a deep and enduring commitment between two parties, by one who is able to render assistance to the needy party who in the circumstances is unable to help him – or herself” (The Word khesed in the Hebrew Bible [JSOTSup], 267). HALOT 336-37 s.v. II חֶסֶד defines the word as “loyalty” or “faithfulness.” Other appropriate glosses might be “commitment” and “devotion.”

    Khesed meant living up to a covenantal responsibility, so my Bible professors taught me to translate khesed as “covenant loyalty
    Only Yəhôvâh has been perfectly faithful to the terms of His covenants. His steadfast, covenant love and loyalty to His people (or khesed in the Hebrew) His fidelity, and it is khesed that Ĕlôhîym bestows upon Joseph in (Gen. 39:21). Such faithfulness is often spoken of in Scripture.

    David calls upon the Almighty to be true to His khesed (covenant love and loyalty) and rescue him from his enemies (Ps. 143:12).

    Khesed has a much deeper meaning than this, though! In relation to Yiśərā’ēl and the Hebrew people, khesed denotes Ĕlôhîym’s steadfast, loyal covenant love for His chosen people.

    Jeremiah 31:3 reads, “Yəhôvâh hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with LOVINGKINDNESS (KHESED) have I drawn thee.” The Tanakh, or the Hebrew Scriptures (The Jerusalem Bible published in Jerusalem in 1969), translates Jeremiah 31:3 as follows: “. . . I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore I HAVE REMAINED TRUE to thee.” – KHESED – Ĕlôhîym’s loyal, steadfast, covenant love to His people!

    Psalm 89:28 states, “My (KHESED) will I keep for him (David) for evermore, and my COVENANT shall stand fast with him.” Verse 33 states that Ĕlôhîym will not “utterly take” His” (KHESED)” from David. Verse 34 says that Ĕlôhîym will not break His covenant with David.

    Isaiah 55:3 says, “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an EVERLASTING COVENANT with you, even the sure KHESED of David.”

    Psalm 98:3 states, “He hath remembered His (KHESED) and His truth toward the house of Yiśərā’ēl; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our Ĕlôhîym.” Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “salvation” is “Yeshu’at,” directly related to “Yeshua,” ’ Hebrew name.

    Isaiah 54:10 says, “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my (KHESED) shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my shalom be removed, saith Yəhôvâh, who hath mercy on thee.” The Jerusalem Bible beautifully translates “kindness” as “faithful love.”

    Yəhôvâh’s faithful covenant love to His chosen people is shown most dramatically in the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 31. In verse 31 (verse 30 in some Jewish translations), the prophet begins talking about a New Covenant that Yəhôvâh would make one day with His people. “Behold, the days come, saith Yəhôvâh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Yiśərā’ēl , and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which, my covenant, they broke, although I was an husband unto them, saith Yəhôvâh; But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Yiśərā’ēl : After those days, saith Yəhôvâh, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their Ĕlôhîym, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yəhôvâh; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Yəhôvâh, for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” – Jeremiah 31:31-34.

    In the Brit Ha’Chadashah, or New Covenant, we read the following in Hebrews 9:15: “And for this cause he is the mediator of the covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the (covenant), they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

    “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” – The Hebrew Scriptures, Isaiah 53:12.

    Covenant loyalty living up to a covenantal responsibility

    Khesed (covenant loyalty, faithfulness) faithful and loyal

    Hebrew: חֶסֶד khesed, meaning “faithfulness born out of a sense of caring and commitment”)

    Notzer chesed la-alafim,” we must understand and commit …
    נצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים
    Chesed is the deeply committed love that goes to any lengths to express itself within a blood covenant relationship. Yet, to say that chesed simply means “covenant love” does not capture the depth of the Hebrew for us because covenant relationships are not celebrated in modern, western culture.

    Khesed means loyal devotion, faithful love, and steadfast

    The Hebrew noun khesed or chesed (חסד) is the Hebrew word for “kindness. … Embodies “chesed” (חסד) is known as a “chasid” (khasid, חסיד), one who is faithful to the death… In English it means something like “loving covenant obligation. …

    חֶסֶד — verb, “to bring shame” 1x
    חֶסֶד — noun, “shame”, “abuse” 2x
    חֶסֶד — noun, “loyalty”, “faithfulness”, “proof of mercy” 249x
    חסד — adj, “loyal” 2x
    חסד — verb, “to act as a חָסִיד “to be loyal” 2x
    חֶסֶד (khesed)
    This noun is literally the action of bowing the head in respect to another.

    Since חֶסֶד (khesed) is the key word for covenant relationships, the word related to the covenant between Yiśərā’ēl and Ĕlôhîym, a better translation of khesed is “faithfulness
    Khesed the key word for covenant relationships
    I like to translate the word khesed as “commitment” since hesed is what brings the two parties together in a committed relationship. This is the reason that in many commentaries the word khesed is translated as “covenant love.”

    Refers to a human attitude in which the people forsake their commitment to Ĕlôhîym when they place their trust in idols. This was the complaint of Hosea when he wrote: “Hear the word of Yəhôvâh, you Israelites! For Yəhôvâh has a covenant lawsuit against the people of Yiśərā’ēl. For there is neither faithfulness nor loyalty (khesed) in the land, nor do they acknowledge Ĕlôhîym” (Hosea 4:1).

    So, understanding the word Khesed to refer to loyalty towards Ĕlôhîym, I think that Jonah 2:9 should be translated as follows: “Those who worship worthless idols forsake their commitment [to Yəhôvâh].

  9. LaurieJo says

    Ephrayim is to become “the fullness of the Gentiles.” (The blessing passed down from Abraham). Ephrayim was scattered to the four corners of the earth, but in the last days, Yahudah received the blessing of the BRANCH. YHWH will return Ephyrayim, and reunited them with Yahudah, into “one stick” “one scepter,” with one king over us all. Although Ephrayim enjoined themselves to the Gentiles quickly under the reign of Yeroboam, and was punished 390 years times 7, YHWH has kept track of their wanderings and knows where Ephrayim is. We must be coming into that time, because I am Ephrayim. After hearing Nehemiah’s blessing I now realize why I love him so much! I know there are 12 tribes. We have a duty therefore to bring the name YHWH to the Gentiles where we have been scattered. Not only did we receive a blessing but we also have a responsibility. Thanks again for a wonderful study, and joyfull this was finally put out there and not skimmed over like most teachers do!

  10. LaurieJo says

    Sorry for inserting a comment in the wrong place, between commas. Hopefully you get my point. 🙂

  11. LaurieJo says

    Hey Warren B. The “wall” is the Torah. We left the Torah, but not forever.

  12. Dafydd says

    Thanks Nehemia, Keith & Jono for these weekly portions. It’s unfortunate that time does not permit a more in depth study of the promises to the individual tribes, for example to also look at the tribal symbols and their meanings.
    Nehemia mentioned for example that Zebulon was to be associated with international trade through the promise to Zebulon that he would dwell by the shores of the sea. The tribal symbol of Zebulon is a sailing ship which of course symbolises international trade.
    Zebulon moved to the Netherlands, where they were known historically as the Sabulingoi (the Goi – people, nation of Sabulon – Zebulon). Their nation is literally on the shores of the sea as a large portion of their land is reclaimed from the North Sea by a series of dykes. They also formed the words first multinational trading corporation, the Dutch East India Company, and their port of Rotterdam, the busiest port in Europe, if not the world, is certainly the “haven for ships” mentioned in Genesis 49:13 (see

  13. Rob Lotz says

    Thank you Jono. Your voice is like a friend to me in my home. A welcome and warming presence bringing the truth of Torah to all the listeners.
    Please be blessed by YHWH and be filled with His joy and peace.
    Keep up the good work. Looking forward to many more presentations.
    Shalom from Kentucky!

  14. Dafydd says

    A comment if I may on the meaning of Genesis 49:17 (Dan shall be a snake by the way),
    I understand, from Orthodox Jewish commentaries, that this strange passage indicates that Dan shall leave a mark of his passage, as a snake crossing a dusty path will leave a clear sign of his passing that way.
    Historically this has been borne out as the northern half of Dan was relocated to the northern shores of the Black (Euxine) Sea, and there they renamed all the major rivers after Dan. These rivers are now known as the Dnieper, the Don, the Dniester, and the Danube.
    The Danish Vikings also left their mark in England, Scotland and Ireland with place names starting with Don, Dun and Dan which are costal cities, towns and rivers where Danelaw held sway.
    The southern half of Dan which remained in Gaza and had ongoing problems with the Philistines (some things never change) avoided the Assyrian exile as they moved to their North African (Carthage), Iberia (Gibraltar and Cadiz) and other Mediterranean colonies. This segment of Dan eventually migrated to Hibernia where they are known as the Tuatha de Danann, Iberia and Hibernia are named after Eber or Heber, a grandfather of Abraham, and the root word for Hebrew.
    I could say more, but I’m “dun-raven” on this topic.
    Steven Collins ( has some interesting things to say about half-Dan in Carthage here about half-way through-

  15. Karaite says

    Ecclesiates Chapter 12 is a favorite of mine.
    In verse 7 (read the whole chapter) it says, ” And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns unto God who gave it.” I believe that my families spirits went to Elohim and that their bodies went to the grave.” What God does with the spirit I have no idea. He is the one who gave it so that is perfect.

  16. Chuck says

    When you make someone swear, aren’t you saying that you don’t trust them to do what they say? Isn’t it an insult?

  17. deborah says

    beautiful guitar music at the end Jono is that your sister? How can we order her cd?

  18. jono vandor says

    G’day Deb, I’ll bring one with me to Israel for you in March 😉

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