Articles

Were the Jewish forefathers flawed?


David B. Goldberg, M.A.

Lately I have been pondering the failings of the Jewish forefathers.

Each week, as another few chapters of the Torah (the Pentateuch) are read in the synagogue service on Shabbat morning according to the annual cycle, Jews follow the story from Creation through the emergence of the Jewish nation. Many events are sad, some are tragic, even shameful.

And yet, God chose this nation to be the vessel to transmit His Word to the world, and the lineage through which the Messiah would come and bring world peace.

On two occasions, Abraham presses his wife Sarah to pretend to be his sister. The subterfuge is discovered and endangers both their lives. Jacob and Esau become fierce rivals. Jacob fears for his life when he learns of Esau’s return after years of absence. Joseph’s brothers sell him into certain slavery and deceive their father about the act. Judah consorts with a woman who turns out to be his daughter-in-law. In the first appearance of Moses as an adult he murders an Egyptian officer who was beating up a Hebrew.

This is disconcerting. Indeed, this is not the substance of Sunday school lessons for young children! The flaws of these primary Bible figures are not minor. They were, in fact, a microcosm of all mankind, with all its imperfections.

God’s selection of Israel and His pledges to the Patriarchs remained, forever unchanged, even when the Israelites were removed from their land. Across two millennia, the Jews became a light to the nations, transmitting the teachings of Torah, whilst persecuted, oppressed and stateless. (In the same way, though all men have a sinful nature, every Bible believer is appointed to be a messenger of His good tidings to the world.)

Today, back in their homeland in fulfillment of God’s everlasting promises, the Jewish people are thriving, though still beset by enemies on all sides. The Trump Peace Plan addresses that. Needs and challenges remain, but Israel is safe, blessed by God.

The light continues to shine upon the nations–God said all the families of the earth would be blessed by Israel (Gen. 12:3)–and you, our readers, have a vital part in this by praying for and blessing the Jewish people in their time of need.

–Ed.