Deliverance from Bondage

Are you in bondage? Just as the Almighty delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, He can deliver you from the bonds that hold you fast.

(Photo: Bigstock/Gracel)

Va'era

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Va'era (וארא | I appeared)
  • Torah: Exodus 6:2-9:35
  • Haftarah: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
  • Gospel: Luke 11:14-22

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Exodus 6:14 | The Genealogy of Moses and Aaron
    • Exodus 6:28 | Moses and Aaron Obey God's Commands
    • Exodus 7:8 | Aaron's Miraculous Rod
    • Exodus 7:14 The First Plague: | Water Turned to Blood
    • Exodus 8:1 The Second Plague: | Frogs
    • Exodus 8:16 The Third Plague: | Gnats
    • Exodus 8:20 The Fourth Plague: | Flies
    • Exodus 9:1 The Fifth Plague: | Livestock Diseased
    • Exodus 9:8 The Sixth Plague: | Boils
    • Exodus 9:13 The Seventh Plague: | Thunder and Hail
  • Prophets
    • Eze 28:25 | Future Blessing for Israel
    • Eze 29:1 | Proclamation against Egypt
    • Eze 29:17 | Babylonia Will Plunder Egypt

Portion Summary

The second reading from the book of Exodus and fourteenth reading from the Torah is named Va'era (וארא), which means "And I appeared." The title comes from the first words of the second verse of the reading, which says, "And I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty" (Exodus 6:3). The portion begins with four expressions of redemption whereby God promises to bring Israel out of the Egyptian bondage. The narrative progresses to tell the story of the first seven of the ten plagues that God unleashed on Egypt.


It is one thing to be burdened. It is even worse to be in bondage. A man might carry his own burden willingly, but it is far more difficult to carry it under the compulsion of another. The LORD told Moses that, in addition to taking Israel out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, He was going to deliver them from bondage.

There are many different types of bondages. Some might find themselves taken into literal bondage, like the Jewish and Sabbatarian communities during World War II or the persecuted Christians in Sudan and other troubled areas today. Others might find themselves in self-made bondages. It is easy to give oneself up to financial bondage with things like a high mortgage or other deep debts. We fall into the bondage of our appetites and find ourselves ruthlessly lorded over by addictive behaviors like chemical abuse (drugs, alcohol, nicotine) or even the sins of gluttony and sexual immorality. A person unable to exercise self-control over his own behavior is a person in bondage.

For example, a man says he is going to quit smoking. The cigarettes are expensive and he knows they are bad for his health. He tells everyone he is quitting and he tosses his cigarettes into the garbage. A few hours later, he is digging through the trash, looking for his cigarettes. He is in bondage to his addiction.

When a person is in bondage, he is unable to liberate himself. He needs someone on the outside to deliver him from the bondage. That is why people who struggle with addictions find their best success when they turn to counseling, support groups, and other systems of accountability. It takes someone outside the situation to intervene.

God is able to intervene and release us from the various bondages that shackle us. Through faith in Yeshua, our chains can fall away.
On the night of the Passover seder meal, the people at the table follow a traditional liturgy for the occasion. The Passover seder liturgy is called the haggadah (הגדה), a word that means “telling.” It is called “telling” because the liturgy is written to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. Much of the liturgy is sung aloud by everyone at the table. One of the popular songs, “Avadim Hayinu,” expresses the joy to be found in deliverance from bondage:

We were slaves in Egypt,
We were slaves.
Now we are all free men,
We are free men!

Through faith in Yeshua, we have all been set free from slavery to sin. Yeshua teaches that everyone who sins is enslaved by it, but He is able to set us free from its bonds:

Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)

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