Beresheet (Genesis) 41:1-44:17
As we continue with our study of the connection between the story of Joseph and of our Messiah, I want to remind you some closing remarks from last week’s blog, Parashat Vayeishev (And he dwelt). I wrote that the comparison between Joseph and Yeshua “…is a very rich subject, full of so many parallels… especially when we look at the similarities between Joseph’s suffering and the Jewish concept of “Moshi’ach Ben Yosef” (Messiah Son of Joseph), which Yeshua fulfilled in His first coming.”
The Suffering Servant
I want to first address the concept of the “suffering servant” because it is a uniquely Jewish concept that helps us understand the person of Yeshua more clearly, especially in regards to His role as Messiah. In ancient Jewish tradition, there is a well-known theological concept that Messiah would have two roles: suffering servant and triumphant king. This would be fulfilled as “Moshi’ach Ben Yosef” (Messiah Son of Joseph) and “Moshi’ach Ben David” (Messiah Son of David).
When we look at Joseph’s life, it is clear that he suffered extreme injustice by his brothers and Potiphar’s wife. From the age of 17 until his early 30s, Joseph was in a constant state of suffering: he was thrown into the pit, sold into slavery, stripped of his honored status as the chosen and beloved son, falsely accused, forgotten, etc. These are some of the undeniable similarities between Joseph and Messiah Yeshua; Yeshua also suffered similar circumstances when He began His ministry on earth!
The idea that the Messiah would suffer is actually prophetic. The prophet Isaiah wrote perhaps the most well known prophecy that spoke of this:
“He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” Isaiah 53:3-6
I want to point out some other similarities between Joseph and Yeshua that we find in this week’s Scripture portion.
Joseph kept his mouth shut
Although Joseph suffered greatly, and was falsely accused, you never find one indication that he complained or cursed God for his troubles. Joseph knew his God, and I believe that Joseph also remembered the dreams God gave him (which were in effect promises). As a result, he fully submitted himself to the will of God.
Our Messiah also did the same; He never defended Himself, never said a word about the false accusations against Him, which was in order to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 53: “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7.
It is all about God
This week, we read about Pharaoh’s dreams, and the way Joseph interpreted those dreams. In the text, we find two key verses that show us Joseph’s heart with regard to God:
“Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give an answer that will bring peace to Pharaoh.”” Genesis 41:16
“This it is the word that I have spoken to Pharaoh: what God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do.” Genesis 41:28
Joseph knew that God alone would give the answers to Pharaoh, that He alone knows the future, and that only God could bring peace to Pharaoh’s troubled heart. He gave glory to God in every situation, and never took the credit for himself.
Yeshua always deferred to the Father, and even taught us to pray to the Father. He also made it clear that the Father was above everything when He was talking to His disciples about the end times: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Matthew 24:36.
The Appointed Place
“ Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom there is the spirit of God?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. “You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen, and put the gold necklace around his neck.”
Egypt was considered the greatest kingdom of those ancient times; Pharaoh was the supreme king, and was considered by many to be a god. Joseph was appointed as Pharaoh’s right hand person, so that all authority was given to him; only Pharaoh was greater than he! What an amazing picture that reflects the reality of our Messiah, who after His suffering and rejection, ascended to the right hand of the Father…all authority is now in His hands, and only the Father is greater than He.
“Now Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went through all the land of Egypt. ” Genesis 41:46
Joseph entered his new position when he was thirty years old. It is not a coincidence that we learn something specifically about Messiah Yeshua’s age in the book of Luke: “And when He began His ministry, Yeshua Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli. ” Luke 3:23 Just like Joseph, our Messiah was 30 years old when He began His new role on earth, stepping into the full calling of ministry.
Chapter 42 hints of the brothers’ “blindness” and not being able to recognize their brother, Joseph. I will talk about in my next blog entry, but the important point here is that while Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. (Genesis 42:8) In the same way, Yeshua our Messiah knows his brothers (the sons of Israel) but they still do not recognize Him, until God’s perfect time when their eyes will be opened!
In our text, there is a very important and vital part that takes place before Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers, and that is their confession:
“Then they said to one another, “Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us.” ” Genesis 42:21
The above confession was to one another when the brothers acknowledged their big mistake… But an even bigger confession occurs when they say, “So Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose possession the cup has been found.”” Genesis 44:16
Both, verses speak of a moment of confession, an acknowledgment of the wrong that the brothers did, which reminds me of what the prophet Hosea wrote,
“I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” Hosea 5:15
These are amazing words, which our Messiah Himself repeated in a different way when He said …
““O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! “For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’”” Matthew 23:37-39
Let’s take the time this week to pray together for the day when Israel will recognize Yeshua as Messiah! Next week, I will conclude this study, as we focus more on this glorious day!
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel, December 13, 2017, and reposted with permission.