Miketz (At the End) – Genesis 41:1-44:17, I Kings 3:15-4:1
In some years, this prophetic portion coincides with Chanukah in which case the reading is Zechariah 2:13–4:7. This year (2020), Chanukah concluded before Shabbat (parsha Miketz).
In the Torah and Haftarah portion, Pharaoh and Solomon awake, yayiykatz, from a dream. In Hebrew, a dream is chalom; spelled like shalom, but with a chet rather than a shin. Chalom, much like shalom, refers to being strengthened and restored to health. Indeed, God used the dreams of both men to impart His wisdom for proper ruling and justice, the latter given through Joseph’s interpretation. (For more on dreams click here.)
The above is an oversimplification of the relationship of the two narratives. However, the word yayiykatz caught my attention regarding current events. One of the buzz words in modern culture is being “woke.” If you haven’t researched the origin from which this term was coined, I highly suggest investigating Critical Theory (CT). This paradigm or ideology is the primary message being taught in our universities and has spread to every area of government and business, and is now replacing the Biblical worldview in some churches.
Wearing this lens distorts Biblical justice while purporting to be the epitome of justice itself. CT proposes to unify various groups and bring about equality and equity, which sounds wonderful, especially to those that have been marginalized. Yet, the whole ideology segregates people into categories based on group identity in the areas of race, class, sexuality, and gender identity. (Notice that none of these are about inward morality.) One is taught to judge a person based on the “box” in which CT places them. They are either an oppressor or one of the oppressed. This is NOT how the Bible deals with issues of judgment, justice, or equity.
Worst of all, proponents are conditioned to base truth on lived experience and feelings rather than logic, critical thinking, and facts. At its core, the worldview of CT has its own versions of original sin (they call it oppression) and morality (which is anything but godly). CT’s plan of salvation is not the shed blood of Messiah and faith in God, but activism and overthrowing power structures that oppress the aforementioned groups in various ways. They call this “social justice,” which will be dealt with below. Once one accepts the tenets of CT, and “sees” the oppression he has suffered and desires to remedy it, he is considered a “woke” person.
Biblical justice, righteous justice, is akin to “wisdom from above.” The Torah and Haftarah both use the terms discerning (navon) and wisdom (kamoka/chakham) to describe King Solomon and Joseph. This is what being AWAKE, not woke, refers to in our portion. The case of the two women in 1 Kings drives this point completely home. These two women can be likened to the dichotomy between the spirit and the flesh, the good and evil inclination, or the righteous woman and the harlot (wicked woman). If one is discerning and wise in the Biblical sense, they will allow the Word to rule or master (mashal) their thoughts, mind, and heart, not earthly social dogma. In doing so, they are awake, not woke.
James 3:13-18 (NASB) Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the
wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
I chose to quote James because not only does he teach the twelve tribes of Israel about godly wisdom and understanding (discernment), but he specifically addresses the trials of poverty and oppression experienced by the poor in his letter. (Jas. 1:9-11; 5:1-6; 2:5-6) These trials are championed by CT proponents and their solutions are diametrically opposed to James’ message. First, consider the case brought before the wise king:
1 Kings 3:16-24 (NASB) Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him. 17 The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. 18 It happened on the third day after I gave birth, that this woman also gave birth to a child, and we were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, only the two of us in the house. 19 This woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on it. 20 So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom. 21 When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead; but when I looked at him carefully in the morning, behold, he was not my son, whom I had borne.” 22 Then the other woman said, “No! For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son.” But the first woman said, “No! For the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.” Thus they spoke before the king. 23 Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead one’; and the other says, ‘No! For your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.'” 24 The king said, “Get me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king.
The king asks for a sword. It is by the Sword of the Word, righteous judgment, that he will rule in this matter. Both women are referred to as a zanah, usually a harlot. But, there are many cases where a harlot ends up proving herself to be the righteous woman. For example, consider Tamar or Rahab. This case is once again challenging one to discover which woman is which. Sometimes, we must challenge our own hearts, inclinations, motives, and desires to discover the same. James’ wisdom from above and wisdom from below teaches one the difference. (Also see the Book of Proverbs.)
I cannot help but to feel great compassion for the woman that accidently smothered her newborn in the night. What a horrible tragedy, regardless if one is wicked or righteous! Any mother that has lost a child can relate to the unbearable agony and seeming unfairness of this great loss. In desperation, such a one would do just about anything to remedy her pain. And, that’s exactly what she did. She saw an opportunity and took it. Though it was rooted in bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, pride, and lack of concern for her neighbor, she stood by her choice and ended up before the highest judge in the Land.
For onlookers, the case was not clear. Which woman did the child belong to? Who was telling the truth? How would the king rule? King Solomon, grasping his sword, proclaimed:
“Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” 1 Kings 3:25 (NASB)
That’s equity: equal outcomes. And, this decision satisfied the woman that lost the child. She felt this was justice. Why should the other woman get to enjoy raising a son when she was robbed of this pleasure? It’s not fair. If I can’t have a child, why should she have this privilege?
1 Kings 3:26 (NASB) Then the woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!“
King Solomon’s sword cut through to the heart of the matter without ever taking a swing. The woman whose child was living had great racham, tender mercies, like the womb (rechem) for her son. She was willing to give the wicked woman her son if only he could live. She was more concerned about the life of another person than for the great injustice the other woman was exercising against her. She was willing to endure jealousy, robbery, and great loss than to see her son perish. This is humility, the opposite of the arrogant spirit operating in the other woman.
That’s how Solomon’s sword divided between wisdom from above and wisdom from below. Earthy, fleshy wisdom seats SELF on the Throne. It abhors God’s sovereignty, especially in tragedy and “unfairness.” Like a toddler, it views the trials, hardships, and unfairness of life as an affront to her wellbeing and happiness. She is too immature to consider that God uses such situations as goads to grow and mature one into the image of Messiah. It’s a painful and humbling process to be sure. Being threshed like wheat against a stone “feels” bad to the flesh and to the sensibilities of the earthy man.
In a similar way, CT cannot deal with the sovereignty of God. It just doesn’t fit into their worldview. The God of the Bible would be considered the greatest oppressor of all, since He and He alone allows people to be hurt, oppressed, injured, rejected, and marginalized. Indeed, this IS the problem that most atheists have with God. They cannot fathom His goodness in this fallen, broken world. They accuse Him of being a tyrant, when in reality, it is the free will of man and sin that brings chaos, division, oppression, and evil into our world.
Consider the woman with the dead child again. Her answer to unfairness and pain was to cause another woman to suffer. In her mind, this was justice. It evened the playing field, something critical theorists champion. If I can’t have it, no one can. That is the heart of social justice today. It is saturated in covetousness, the tenth of the Ten Words (Commandments). If everyone is the same, then maybe I won’t be jealous or yearn for something they have. This is greed, which Yeshua calls the “evil eye.” (Matthew 6:19-34)
Mark 7:21-23 (NKJV) “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Matthew 20:14-16 (NKJV) Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good? 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.
Adonai desires that we wake up or be awake and sober, not woke. To be spiritually sober, one cannot mix another spirit or worldview with His truth of “it is written.” The earthly waters of man’s wisdom will never mix with the heavenly oil of the Holy Spirit. Dreams from God (and righteous justice) are restorative for every person involved, despite worldly “social” statuses. But, restoration often requires painful soul correction. It is deeply personal, not social. Righteous correction is healing and brings shalom, not condemnation. (The latter being a primary fruit of CT.)
Justice of the People
The seventh assembly in the Book of Revelation is called Laodicea. Interestingly, the name Laodicea is mentioned seven times in Scripture. If you recall, she was the most wicked of the bunch even though she bore the perfect number seven. Her completeness was in wickedness, not righteousness. And, her name only exemplifies her character. Laodicea means, “Justice of the People” or “Place of People of Common Fairness.” It is a compound of laos (people, group, tribe) and dike (justice). Dike was the goddess of avenging justice in Greek mythology. She is often called “Lady Justice.”
Dike judged “based on socially enforced norms and conventional rules, human justice.” This is easily compared to “wisdom from below.” She is often depicted as a young woman holding a balance scale, while her Roman counterpart is also blindfolded, figuring impartiality in justice. The irony is that Yeshua called the Laodicean’s blind and in need of eye salve. Apparently, the social justice they championed was anything but righteous justice.
Revelation 3:14-22 (NASB) To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
The pride of the Laodiceans is so thick that it is easy to choke on it. Perhaps, that is why Yeshua says He will vomit them from His mouth. Imagine an entire community that believes their justice for the people has made them ALL wealthy, rich, and in need of nothing. Perhaps, they redistributed all their wealth equally or based the shares upon one’s social identity. They smugly believe that they have solved the world’s great injustices – all those things that are visible on the outside. (Cutting the baby in half is never the right answer!)
Over and over again, Yeshua is concerned about the inner man, not the outside of the cup or outward appearances or social groups/identities. The latter focus makes one wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, like Dike. Jewish wisdom stresses that those who respect God should not show partiality toward people – for any reason. Literally, this means not to, “accept the face of people.” Outward appearances and identities are wisdom from below, earthy of man, not God.
The refined gold, white garments, and eye salve cannot be purchased with worldly goods or morals. They are spiritual, and very costly to the ego and flesh nature. They involve great self-sacrifice. In the natural, earthy realm James and godly wisdom challenges one to endure tests and trials of the flesh, hardships, and even sufferings, because we CAN trust in the sovereignty and goodness of Adonai. He promises great rewards for overcoming this “momentary affliction.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NASB) For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
In James’ day, the zealots and revolutionaries promoted a paradigm of violent retaliation, which they claimed to be religious and wise, but James urged the poor and oppressed to respond by waiting on God. (James 5:7-11) Godly wisdom isn’t violent or threatening or riotous. (Acts 19:21-41) It doesn’t lash out or slay with words or deeds.
At the end, miketz, despite their debauchery and hypocrisy, Yeshua loves the Laodiceans. He reminds them that He rebukes, corrects, admonishes, and educates/disciplines those whom He loves. By repenting of their false sense of justice, there is great reward. For those that overcome, there is a place at His table and on His Throne. Suffering isn’t a message that anyone’s flesh wants to hear, but it is the very thing that produces oil for one’s lamp.
While we should certainly stand in the gap for the marginalized people of the earth, feed the poor, tend to the sick, and champion liberty for all captives, we must ensure that bitterness over injustices hasn’t mingled or leavened our dough. (Pro. 31:8-9) Fruit reveals the seed, and the tree. The seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Don’t fall for the false gospel of CT. Man’s problem isn’t oppression; it’s SIN. The tree of knowledge of good and evil offered hidden “wisdom” that Chavah (Eve) thought she was lacking. The fruit was “pleasing to her eyes.” CT offers to enlighten and open one’s eyes by viewing the world through the lens of the oppressor or the oppressed. It allows one to relish in their judgment of other people and justify their hatred. Once you partake of the fruit, you become “woke” – just like Adam and Chavah.
Genesis 3:7 (NASB) Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
Like Laodicea, their wokeness only revealed that they were naked. The wisdom the tree offered was earthy, natural, demonic. The first Adam (man and woman) tried to make their own coverings of sown fig leaves. They basically covered themselves in the leaves of the tree of wisdom from below. In other words, they trusted it more than God. Hence, their fear of Him in the next few verses.
The Torah of Adonai is called a “tree of life” and its parchment sections are called leaves. When one covers their person with its wisdom, it produces clean, white linen garments of righteousness. In the Book of Revelation, it is THIS tree whose leaves will bring healing to the nations. God’s Way is the Only Way. His Truth is the only thing that will lead one to Life, Restoration, and Wholeness. No wisdom of man, no matter how clever or cunning, can do that. Look at the fruit – seeing some good doesn’t mean that there isn’t also evil present. Do not be deceived.
Meanwhile, when faced with a decision in righteous justice, ask yourself, “Which woman am I? What am I fighting for? Am I speaking and fighting from a place of pain and loss? Will me receiving the justice I think I deserve cause an injustice for someone else?” Don’t cut the baby in half.
James 4:1-12 (NASB) What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil (diablos – false accuser/slanderer) and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. 11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
 Thayer Definition: Laodicea = “justice of the people.” 1) a city of Phrygia, situated on the river Lycus not far from Colosse. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 66 A.D. and rebuilt by Marcus Aurelius. It was the seat of the Christian church. Part of Speech: noun proper locative. A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from a compound of G2992 and G1349
More on Laodicea: https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Laodicea.html#.X90WoC2cZN0 “Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott’s A Greek-English Lexicon lists what appears to be a variant or at least a related term: Λαοδικος (laodikos), meaning tried by the people.” Indeed, people love to be the judge. May we NOT be like Laodicea.