Wow… loved this portion.  For such a small portion, there were so many important pieces in this one!

Studying Torah Portion Yitro

Exodus 18:11 (So) now I know: yes, YHVH is greater than all gods- yes, in just that matter in which they were presumptuous against them!
Exodus 18:12 Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law, took an offering-up and slaughter- animals for God, and Aharon and all the elders of Israel came to eat bread with Moshe’s father-in-law, before the presence of God.

We start this portion with Moshe and his father-in-law Yitro.  The verses above really are intriguing.  To me, it implies that Yitro is just NOW understanding about YHWH and that He is greater than all gods.  If that is the case, then, when the chapter starts with

Exodus 18:1 Now Yitro, the priest of Midyan, Moshe’s father-in-law, heard about all that God had done for Moshe and for Israel his people, that YHVH had brought Israel out of Egypt.

what was Yitro a priest of?  Did Moshe marry outside of the tribes?  Is Tzippora from the Nations and not only that but the daughter of a priest of the Nations?  If she is, she has certainly been grafted in and is keeping Torah, which is evidenced several chapters back when SHE circumcised their son instead of Moshe:

Exodus 4:25 Tzippora took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, she touched it to his legs and said: Indeed, a bridegroom of blood are you to me!

There are only three mentions of Tzippora in scripture. None shed much light on this topic. However, another clue for me is in this verse:

Exodus 18:12 Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law, took an offering-up and slaughter- animals for God, and Aharon and all the elders of Israel came to eat bread with Moshe’s father-in-law, before the presence of God.

We have to understand the covenant relationships of the eastern world to understand my premise here.  In the ancient middle east (and in modern times too), a contract (or covenant) is sealed with a meal.  We have seen this several times in scripture already. This is a whole study in and of itself.  Search and study Suzerain covenants to really understand the depth of what I am referring to. Rico Cortes has a fantastic study on the Suzerain covenant.  You can find him at Wisdom in Torah.  Here is another article on covenant.  Covenant is a very important concept to learn about… so please take some time with it!  Anyway, here we see Yitro making an oath (with the sacrifice) and then sealing it with a meal. Which really makes believe he was not a believer before this point.

In this next section of the portion, we see Abba ready to give Torah (the instructions) to the people of Israel.  What I found interesting is that we know that the instructions had already been provided throughout scripture. We don’t know how much.  But we have been told over and over about others that obeyed His instructions:

We know Noah obeyed…

Genesis 6:22 Noah did it, according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
Genesis 7:1 YHVH said to Noah: Come, you and all your household, into the Ark! For you I have seen as righteous before me in this generation.
Genesis 7:2 From all (ritually) pure animals you are to take seven and seven (each), a male and his mate, and from all the animals that are not pure, two (each), a male and his mate,
Genesis 7:3 and also from the fowl of the heavens, seven and seven (each), male and female, to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

If there were no instructions, how did Noah know what was clean (pure) and unclean (impure)?  By the way, did you notice that Noah was told to take SEVEN pair of CLEAN animals in the ark?  Did you know this?

We also know that Abraham obeyed Abba’s commands:

Genesis 26:4 I will make your seed many, like the stars of the heavens, and to your seed I will give all these lands; all the nations of the earth shall enjoy blessing through your seed-
Genesis 26:5 in consequence of Avraham’s hearkening to my voice and keeping my charge: my commandments, my laws, and my  instructions.

Finally, we see Moshe instructing the people of Israel who apparently had forgotten the instructions while in Egypt…

Exodus 18:15 Moshe said to his father-in-law: When the people comes to me to inquire of God,
Exodus 18:16 -when it has some legal-matter, it comes to me- I judge between a man and his fellow and make known God’s laws and his instructions.

In Chapter 19 we have Abba choosing Israel as His special treasure.

Exodus 19:5 So now, if you will hearken, yes, hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be to me a special-treasure from among all peoples. Indeed, all the earth is mine,
Exodus 19:6 but you, you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. These are the words that you are to speak to the Children of Israel.

Notice the IF in the verses.  If / Then is throughout scripture.  It is an agreement, a contract, a covenant.  We both have roles and responsibilities in the Kingdom of Heaven.

In Chapter 20, we have the giving of the Torah. Read this and study it.  Don’t just rush pass this section.  There is more here than meets the eye.  Notice in Chapter 21 God is still giving the Torah (instructions).  We will cover that in next weeks’ portion.  But I wanted to point out that it did not end here.

There is so much more to cover in this portion, but it will have to wait until next year.  Today has been a trying day in my home and I need to spend some time just praying and seeking wisdom and shalom.

I pray this study was a blessing to you. Until next shabbat.