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Parashat Re'eh - Haftarah
Sharmon Davidson Detail

God's Abiding Comfort

Further thoughts on Haftarah Re'eh

by John J. Parsons

The weekly haftarah portion (reading from the Prophets) is usually connected with the weekly Torah portion. However, beginning from the 17th of Tammuz until the end of the Jewish year, the connection changes. First three haftarot of rebuke are read during the "Three Weeks of Sorrow" (between the 17th of Tammuz and Tish'ah B'Av), and then seven haftarot of comfort (Shiva D'Nechemta) follow until the end of the year (i.e., until Rosh Hashanah). These seven selections from the prophets foretell the restoration of the Jewish people to their land (the ingathering of the exiles), the future redemption of Israel, and the coming of the Messianic Era.

The haftarah for Parashat Re'eh is the third of the seven "haftarot of comfort." It begins:

    "O afflicted and storm-tossed one, and not comforted,
    Behold, I will set your stones in fair colors,
    and lay your foundations with sapphires" (Isa. 54:11).

Nearly all of the Jewish commentators relate this promise of coming comfort to Jerusalem. The Targum Yonatan says, "the walls about which the nations of the world said that you would never be comforted, the LORD says, "I will lay its foundation with diamonds."

The LORD our God will fulfill the promise of the New Covenant to given to ethnic Israel, the Jewish people: "All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great will be the peace of your children" (Isa. 54:13). In the coming Millennial Kingdom, Israel shall dwell securely, free from oppression. Unlike Nebuchadnezzar who was commissioned to bring judgment from the LORD, the enemies of Israel (Gog/Magog) will have no divine sanction and therefore be utterly defeated before the appearance of Yeshua the Mashiach. "No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD" (Isa. 54:17).

The LORD then invited the Jews to drink freely from the waters of life. "Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant (בְּרִית עוֹלָם), my steadfast, sure love for David (Isa. 55:3; Luke 1:68-75; Acts 13:34). Radak understands this to refer to the time of the Messiah, when the everlasting kindness (chesed) that the LORD showed to David will be revealed in the greater Son of David. The Messiah is the witness (עֵד) to the peoples, a leader (נָגִיד) and commander for the peoples (Isa. 55:4). He will cause the nations of the earth that survived the Great Tribulation to come to Zion because of the glory God has bestowed upon the Jewish people (Isa. 55:5).


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