Parashat Chayei Sara - November 11th

חיי שרה Chayei Sarah


Genesis 23.1—25.18

Parashat Chayei Sarah includes a long description of Abraham’s efforts to ensure that the promised seed, which will ultimately lead to the Messiah, will come through the proper line. God has told Abraham that the promise will be through his son Isaac. Now perhaps the very man who would have inherited Abraham’s wealth if Isaac had not been born, that same man is sent to find a wife for his master’s son. We may learn from this that it is not only the male line that is important in God’s eyes but also the line of the mother. Under no circumstances does Abraham want his son’s wife to come from the pagan nations around him.

The haftarah, 1 Kings 1.1-31, reinforces this idea. King David had many sons. From David’s line would come the Messiah, but God had determined which of those sons would carry the messianic seed forward. When Adonijah tries to take the kingship that God intended for Solomon, God oversees the situation to ensure that the line will continue with Solomon.

While this parashah ends at Genesis 25.18, the very next verses that open the following parashah continue this theme of the continuity of the messianic seed through the son of God’s choice. It is interesting to note that at a time of history when the most normal thing was for the line to pass through the first born son, this never happens in the case of the patriarchs. It is the second sons of Abraham and Isaac and the fourth son of Jacob who will carry the promised Messiah.

The journey of the servant to find a wife for Isaac in chapter 24 has often been compared to the work of the Holy Spirit preparing a bride for the Messiah.




Genesis 23.3-4: “Abraham rose up from before his dead, and said to the Hittites, ‘I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.’”

Abraham calls himself “a stranger and a sojourner” (ger toshav), even though he has been in the land for 62 years, more than half of his life. This illustrates the principle, expanded in Hebrews 11-13, that the people of God have no permanent place in this world. Even though Abraham was living in the land promised by God, he saw himself as a stranger, temporary. The Hittites themselves were newly come into the land, so Abraham’s statement has even more significance: he relates to them as if they are permanent there (and scripture calls them “the people of the land,” Genesis 23.12), but he himself is not at home there.




Haftarah: 1 Kings 1.1-31

The haftarah, about the attempted coup of Adonijah and the intervention of Bathsheba and Nathan on behalf of Solomon, is an affirmation of the line through which the Messiah will come. It reflects 2 Samuel 7.12-14, the promise to David, and narrows it down to go through Solomon. This is similar to the parashah, where there is also a specific line through which the promise will be fulfilled. This is seen in chapter 24 and in the beginning of the next parashah, 25.19ff.


Shabbat Shalom!

All material copyright © 2017, unless stated otherwise for specific material