The Robber and the Strong Man

Moses came like burglar breaking into a strong man's home, assaulting the homeowner, tying him up, and taking away all the homeowner's possessions.

Statue of the Pharoah, the strong man of Egypt. (Image © Bigstock)


Regular Shabbat Readings

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

Regular readings above are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the current Torah Portion Schedule for all these variations, and 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, 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.

Armed with signs and wonders, Moses did battle with Pharaoh, his magicians, and the gods of Egypt. In one passage, the magicians of Egypt concede defeat and declare, “This is the finger of God” (Exodus 8:19). Yeshua referred to the same passage to explain how He drove out evil spirits and healed the infirm: By the finger of God.

Like Moses in Egypt, the Master walked among us demonstrating miracles, signs, and wonders, driving out demons, and delivering God’s people from oppression. He told the Pharisees, “If I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20). He offered a parable to explain:

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. (Luke 11:21-22)

The parable illustrates the conflict between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of darkness. The strong man corresponds to Satan. This present world refers to his house. His possessions are people. Yeshua likened Himself to the robber. Just as a robber ties up the strong man and carries off his possessions, Yeshua bound the adversary and carried off His people. By freeing the demon possessed from the spirits that afflicted them, Yeshua robbed the strong man’s house.

In the Midrash HaGadol, a collection of Yemenite Jewish commentary on Torah, the Jewish people were fearful of inciting Pharaoh further, so they protested to Moses, "Can a slave serve two masters? We are enslaved to Pharaoh and are afraid to transgress his laws." Yeshua says, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other" (Matthew 6:24). Israel could not serve both Pharaoh and God. Neither can we serve two masters.

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18)

The parable of the strong man invokes the work of Moses in Egypt. The strong man corresponds to Pharaoh. Egypt is his house. His possessions were the children of Israel. Moses came as a robber. By the power of God, he bound Pharaoh, his magicians, and his gods and walked off with his possessions.

When the Master returns, He will come again as thief in the night to plunder the tyrant's house.

Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

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This year Torah Clubs are studying the Gospels from a Messianic Jewish perspective. Every week Club members encounter Yeshua of Nazareth in his Jewish context. Discover the historical and cultural backdrops of the gospels and be amazed as the teachings of Yeshua snap into focus and clarity. Unravel his difficult words and parables; study Jewish parallels to his teachings; and ultimately know Jesus better.



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