Torah Portion: Genesis 41:1-44:17
Haftarah: Zech. 2:14-4:7 special reading for Sabbath during Hanukah
New Testament: Mat. 12:39, 17:22-23, Mat. 20: 18-19, Luke 10:2, 11:30, 13:32,
We ended abruptly last week with Joseph in prison, the cupbearer had forgotten him, and the sages surmised that God added two more years to his time in jail because he looked to the cupbearer for help instead of continuing to trust in God. But, perhaps, circumstances were not yet ripe for Joseph’s reappearance.
In the twinkling of an eye, in this week’s lesson everything will suddenly change. By the almighty hand of El Shaddai, thirty-year-old Joseph will suddenly ascend to the throne of the world’s most powerful kingdom, thereby foreshadowing Messiah’s sudden future return to the throne of David in Jerusalem. The word miketz means “at the end;” therefore we will be on high alert for other hints and pictures of end-of-days events. One of the most important aspects of the Torah’s portrayal of Joseph’s life is to paint these “third day” pictures. The shadows of the Messiah are not lost on the sages of Israel; but, today’s lesson will demonstrate clearly why Jews have, for the most part, rejected Christianity’s Jesus of Nazareth.
According to the Stone Chumash, Jacob is by this time 120 years old and Isaac is 180. Isaac mostly likely died without knowing Joseph’s end. Again, this week we have to imagine how difficult every day must have been for Joseph’s brothers in the face of the ever-present grief of their father and grandfather. The GREAT LIE was always before them. But, we praise God that the Holy Spirit still broods over the darkness and the Restorer is about to intervene. Our story begins with Pharaoh being troubled by dreams.
Two years after Pharaoh “lifted up the head” of the cupbearer and restored him to his position, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke. And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind. And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. (41:1-7).
The alarmed Pharaoh called his wisest men and magicians; but, none could interpret these troubling dreams (41:8). This problem, however, jarred the memory of the cupbearer.
He said to Pharaoh, “When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation. A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. And as he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged. Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh ” (41:8-14).
It is critical to understand that Joseph was outwardly transformed into an Egyptian. He emerged from prison without a beard and may well have shaved his entire body according to the customs of that day in Egypt. Due to high temperatures Egyptian men wore little clothing, quite the opposite of the modest Hebrews. From all appearances, Joseph was an Egyptian.
This foreshadows artists’ renderings of Yeshua with decidedly “gentile” features, some even with blond hair and blue eyes. But, even more important, followers of Yeshua have, in ignorance, “painted” Him as one who has done away with His Father’s commandments, and have therefore rendered Him completely unrecognizable to the Jewish people, whose prophets foretold of a Messiah who would come to teach His Father’s Torah.
“And many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3 and Micah 4:2)
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him” (Deut. 18:18, see also Acts 3:22, 7:37).
Upon learning why he had been summoned, Joseph answered, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (41:15-16). Though he may not look like a Hebrew, Joseph’s words reveal his Hebrew identity. God will get the glory. Yeshua, likewise, made it very clear throughout His ministry that He came to only speak the words of His Father and do the work of He who sent Him. (John 5:23, 8:28, 12:50, 14:10)
He answered Pharaoh: “God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about” (41:28-32).
Joseph spoke confidently to the world’s most powerful leader. Recall Yeshua at age twelve confidently conversing with the teachers in the Temple. (Luke 2:46) “ And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.”
Joseph boldly offers counsel to Pharaoh:
Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.” (41:33-36)
Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph’s answer that he apparently called an emergency meeting of his cabinet to discuss Joseph’s suggestion, which resulted in unanimous agreement.
This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God? Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” (41:37-40)
Joseph’s rise to power depicts Yeshua’s coronation when the whole earth will be informed that He is the Son of God. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Yeshua is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and, indeed, we will all order ourselves as He commands, for we are told that Yeshua will rule with a “rod of iron” (Ps. 2:9, Rev. 2:27,12:5, 19:15).
And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” (41:39-44)
We studied the meaning of the signet ring last week. This week we see that all power and authority was given to Joseph and we recall Yeshua’s words: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Mat. 28:18). When Judah gave his signet to Tamar, he symbolically passed his power and authority to her offspring, the Messiah.
In addition to dominion over Pharaoh’s kingdom, Joseph was given a new name and a bride.
And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On ( 41:45).
Zaphenath-paneah means “revealer of secrets” according to the Stone Chumash and other translations. Interestingly, Brown, Driver, Briggs Lexicon defines it as “treasury of the glorious rest,” which seems remarkably similar to Isaiah’s designation, “Prince of Peace.” The root of Zaphenath, according to Abiram Publications may be sapan which means to hide or store up. In verb form it means to hide things or persons in order to protect them. Certainly, all of this can apply to our Savior. Several other sources attribute the name to mean “the god who speaks and lives,” an interesting allusion to the resurrected “Word made flesh.”
Joseph’s bride was the daughter of the priest of the sungod, Ra. She was raised in the city of “On,” which is also Heliopolis [literally “city of the sun”]. Yeshua’s bride would unwittingly practice elements of sun worship, i.e. Sun-day worship and the celebration of His birth on the birthday of the sun god. (Curious about when Yeshua was born ? Click here)
Did Messiah also have a name change? The angel Gabriel surely spoke to Mary in her native tongue. He instructed Mary to name her son “Savior” which in Hebrew is Yeshua. A marginal reading in the King James Version says “literally ‘saviour,'” It was the King James translators who re-named Him.
According to Wikipedia, “The proper name Jesus /ˈdʒiːzəs/ used in the English language originates from the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous), a rendition of the Hebrew Yeshua (ישוע)…” (Interestingly, there is no “J” sound in the Hebrew language. Thus, Jeremiah, for example, is really Yeremiyahu and Jacob is Yaacob. The name Jesus originated in 1611.)
So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt.( 41:45-46) When Yeshua was 30 years old he began his ministry, having gone out of His Father’s house in Heaven to walk among men.
During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured (41:47-49).
The phrase “sand of the sea” brings to mind God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would be as the “stars of the sky and the sand of the sea.” Therefore, the Torah relates Joseph’s grain to Abraham’s descendants, a great harvest, prophetically speaking. Yeshua anticipated this harvest. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2).
The Fall Feasts of the LORD are all prophetic of Yeshua’s return and the ultimate harvest when the angels will re-gather God’s called and chosen from the ends of the earth. A multitude that “no man can number” (Rev. 7:9) will attend the feast of Tabernacles following Yeshua’s return, therefore fulfilling this prophecy of “the sand of the sea” (see Zech. 14:16).
A Mixed Multitude
Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction” (41:50-52).
Last week we were struck by the grammatical oddity that could be translated, “Joseph ARE the offspring of Jacob.” This week, the Torah twice emphasizes that Joseph’s children are the offspring of the priest of the sun god. Therefore, we should not wonder that the tribe of Ephraim would be the one who would lead the Ten Tribes into the idolatry that continues to invade Christian worship practices today.
That Joseph gave the boys Hebrew names, rather than Egyptian, hints that, eventually, they will return to the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Manasseh means “causing to forget.” First, Joseph gave glory to God for blessing him so abundantly that he could forget his years of pain and suffering and come to the conclusion that God meant it all for good. Second, even though these boys will be adopted by Jacob and have full tribal status, they will soon forget the covenant that God made with Abraham and the promises and responsibility that accompany it.
Ephraim means “double fruitfulness.” Joseph will not only reign over Egypt in a time of double fruitfulness, he is doubly blessed with the birth of two sons, likely twins, who will also be doubly blessed wherever they will sojourn in the earth. The full extent of that blessing will be discussed in an upcoming lesson; but, though they will be ultimately scattered over the whole earth, and “lost” so far as their identity is concerned, our Father in Heaven, at just the right time, will pour living water upon their descendants and raise them up to be followers of Yeshua. These are the “sons of God” once called “lo ami,” or “not My people,” which we discussed last week.
The story of the Samaritan women at Jacob’s well in Shechem (also called Sychar) is an excellent example of this harvest (John 4:4-6). The Samaritans were a mixed race thanks to Assyrian intermarriage with the remnant of the scattered House of Israel (2 Kings 17:21-34). To the House of Judah, this mixed multitude were despised “dogs” because of their idolatry and unclean practices.
But, as He did in the days of the Exodus when the “mixed multitude” (Ex. 12:38) by grace through faith painted the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and left Egypt along with the children of Israel, and were thereby grafted into the children of Israel, Yeshua cast His net in Samaria. The woman at the well was in a situation as hopeless as that of Tamar’s, which we studied last week. Hearing the glorious offer of yibbum, she left her water pot [her busy-ness] and RAN to proclaim the good news to her entire village, of which, “many believed”! Yeshua’s net overflowed, even as Peter’s (John 21)!
The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.” (41:53-55)
Notice that when the people came to the end of their resources and their ideas, they were ready to listen. My dear children, this is the reason you have come into the kingdom! For such a time as this you have been called and chosen and your eyes and ears have been opened! Another worldwide catastrophe will occur; and when it does, people will run to and fro frantically looking for answers. And in that day, the offspring of Joseph, in the body of Ephraim, the redeemed House of Israel, will have the bread of life, Yeshua, who meets all of our needs! And we will have the Word of Life to offer to the famished.
But, I must caution you, dear children, “what He says to you, do!” Remember, Yeshua only speaks the words of the Father (John 14:10,24). When He says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15, 15:10), He is quoting Ex. 20:6, Deut. 5:10).
So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth. When Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.” (41:56-42:2)
Note that famine affects both righteous and unrighteous. In spite of their great faith and faithfulness to the Covenant, famine came to Abraham and Sarah. Famine came to Isaac and Rebekah. And, now famine has come to Jacob and his offspring. Beloved, it will most certainly come to us or our descendants if the LORD tarries. Notice, that the righteous are not raptured out of the famine, nor do the righteous receive manna from Heaven in the midst of it. Action, springing out of faith, was required for the sons of Jacob then and now. They must humble themselves as “little children” and sh’ma, hear and obey.
As we have previously discussed, Abraham went to Egypt and Sarah was abducted so that they would foreshadow their descendants’ exodus from Egypt. Just as Abraham and Sarah came out with great wealth, so did their offspring.
Isaac, however, was specifically instructed NOT to go to Egypt during the famine of his day. He was told, instead, to dwell in the Promised Land, specifically in the region occupied by the Philistines near modern Gaza. There Abimelech would try to steal Rebekah and his servants would stop up all of the wells that Abraham had dug.
We have concluded in previous lessons that Abraham uncovered the wells of Torah, and Isaac had to do the same for himself. And, so it is for Abraham’s seed, whom we are (Gal. 3:29). The result of Isaac’s obedience to establish a residence in the occupied territory is that Isaac “sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants” (Gen. 26:12-14).
This foreshadows the harvest that is coming and that is even now occurring in the Arab nations where it is reported weekly that Yeshua is appearing in dreams and visions to the famine-humbled offspring of Ishmael and Esau. The main point is, when famine comes, God has a plan to preserve His people. We must listen very carefully to hear His voice.
So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might happen to him. Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. (42:3-5)
Egypt pictures the world’s system. To get to Egypt from Canaan, one must literally travel south. Like when Judah descended to Timnah last week, this descent pictures the spiritual tumble that the Ten Tribes will take later in history when Jeroboam leads them into idolatry.
Now Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. (42:6-9)
In Joseph’s dream eleven brothers bowed down to him. But, only ten of them now bowed before their “Egyptian” brother. Joseph had to contrive a plot that would result in Benjamin’s presence.
And he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land.” They said to him, “No, my lord, your servants have come to buy food. We are all sons of one man. We are honest men. Your servants have never been spies.” He said to them, “No, it is the nakedness of the land that you have come to see.” And they said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more.” But Joseph said to them, “It is as I said to you. You are spies. (42:10-14)
The sages speculate that the ten brothers entered Egypt by ten separate gates to see if they could find any trace of Joseph. According to this view, by accusing them of being spies, Joseph intimidated them into abandoning any further efforts to trace their lost brother, lest they be informed of the Hebrew slave that now occupied the throne. Joseph’s seeming harshness would turn all of their attention to Benjamin.
By this you shall be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. Or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.” And he put them all together in custody for three days. On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, and bring your youngest brother to me. So your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they did so” (Gen 42:15-21).
This last phrase, “and they did so” begs investigation. According to Brown, Driver, Briggs Lexicon, the word translated here as “so” means, to be right, to be honest, correct, and true. Here the text foreshadows the repenting that the brothers are about to do and, as well, what we are seeing in our day. Significant numbers worldwide are confessing their sin of abandoning the Ketubah (Marriage Covenant), the Ten Commandments, and are trying to learn what they (we) must do to be honest, right, correct, and true as Yeshua’s Bride.
Note the reference to three days. The “third day” is quickly approaching since Messiah Yeshua was raised from the dead and ascended to Heaven. According to Hosea, this is the day we will be raised up.
“Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him” (Hosea 6:1-2).
The Dam is About to Break
The Great Lie can no longer be hidden.
Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.” And Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood” (42:21-22).
The firstborn’s confession was not lost on Joseph who perfectly understood their Hebrew conversation and by this time could barely contain his emotions.
They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. Then he turned away from them and wept. And he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes (421:23-24).
Seeing their brother being bound and carried away must have been exceedingly frightful. The sages postulate that Simeon is the one who threw Joseph into the pit. But, perhaps, there is something deeper.
Simeon’s name in Hebrew is Shimon, which, means hearing or heard. Simon was so named because Leah said, “the LORD has heard…” But, the root of his name is sh’ma, which, in the imperative means to hear and to respond with obedience. It is to listen with the objective of absolute obedience.
As one teacher put it some years ago, to fully sh’ma, pictures a runner at the start of an Olympic game, waiting for the gunshot, toe at starting line, mind, body, and soul fully alert and prepared to use all that is within him and all that he has learned during his years of training to fulfill his goal to win the race.
This by the way, is what Yeshua meant when He said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Mat. 5:17). Yeshua would not only keep every commandment, He would utilize the commandments to rescue His Bride, as we saw last week.
In binding and carrying off Simeon, Joseph is giving us a startling picture of the future captivity of Jacob’s offspring because they refused to sh’ma, or hear AND obey. Joseph’s tears foreshadow Yahweh’s pain when, forced by their rebellion, He “turned away from” the House of Israel and they became “not a people” (Deut. 32:21, Isa. 7:8, 1 Peter 2:10). But, the good news is that this verse also foreshadows His ministry, for “he returned to them and spoke to them.” Yes, He came with the offer of yibbum! (For a heart-warming story of yibbum in modern times, click here.)
Interestingly, the Sh’ma, the watchword of the Jewish people, is quoted several times a day by the faithful, followed by the V’ahavta. These words, beloved, are the essence of the Torah:
“Shema Israel, the LORD our God is One God. Blessed be His glorious Sovereignty forever. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut. 6:4-9). He who hath ears, let him sh’ma!
A Matter of the Heart
Joseph purposed to reveal the heart of his brothers.
And Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to replace every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them. Then they loaded their donkeys with their grain and departed. And as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money in the mouth of his sack. He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back; here it is in the mouth of my sack!” At this their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?” (42:25-28).
The brothers were terrorized by their guilty hearts. Joseph’s ruse would either bring them to the end of themselves and cause them to repent, or else, it would cause them to abandon Simeon (hearing) altogether and run elsewhere to seek food.
When the brothers arrived back in Canaan, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack.
And when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid. And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has come against me.” (42:35-36)
Reuben offered to return for Simeon; but Jacob refused, unable to bear the thought of losing another son. In an upcoming lesson, when blessing his sons prior to his death, Jacob will say that Reuben is “as unstable as water” (49:4). My dear children, the same can be said of some in our day, who are “carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14), “tossed to and fro.”
The only thing that will cause us to be “stable” is to be as the Bereans of Paul’s day, who “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so (Acts 17:10-11). The only way we can recognize the counterfeit is to examine truth DAILY.
It must be noted that the Torah and the prophets were the only SCRIPTURES to which any of the people in New Testament times had access. The writings of the apostles were not published until at least seventy years after Yeshua’s death. [For a list of all of the usages of the words Scripture and Scriptures, as well as the verses to which they refer or quote, please see my article here: ]
Jacob’s grief was newly inflamed by Simeon’s absence; but, there was nothing the brothers could do. Joseph would not receive them without Benjamin. Ultimately, the famine forced their return.
Now the famine was severe in the land. And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.‘ If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. But if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you’“ (43:1-5).
The repeated phrase emphasizes the prophetic message. Messiah will not return until Judah and Ephraim are reunited. At that time they will together battle the enemies of Israel as the prophets declare.
“And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head” (Hosea 1:11a). The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the LORD has spoken” (Obad. 1:18).“For behold, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the earth. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.’ In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the LORD who does this” (Amos 9:9-12).
Judah Steps Up
And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice” (43:8-10).
This is the first time we hear from Judah since his departure from the family to Timnah, where, as we studied last week, he married and fathered three sons, two of whom were so evil that the LORD killed them. Judah’s encounter with Tamar portrayed Yeshua as the brother who fulfilled the law of yibbum to raise up seed for His brother Ephraim by interaction with someone who appeared to be a harlot. Today, Christianity is viewed by the Jewish faithful as a harlot because it participates in pagan practices. This is the biggest reason the Jewish people have, for the most part, rejected “Jesus.” His followers have stripped the Hebrew Rabbi of His true identity and practice.
Having buried two sons and his wife, Judah is now most assuredly “acquainted with grief,” as Isaiah describes Messiah (53:3). The Torah is silent as to what occurred between father and son when Judah returned from Timnah; but, there is no doubt that Judah returned a humbled man and that his relationship with his father was completely restored. Likewise, we have no record of the rejoicing of the reunion of Father and Son after Yeshua’s ascension. We are told that Yeshua, “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8) and “after making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3).
The sojourn at Timnah [“a portion, weighed out”] prepared Judah to be the agent who would accompany Benjamin to meet Joseph. Benjamin, prophetically speaking, is the last-born sons of Jacob, resurrected from the Ten Tribes who were scattered, ALONG WITH their former-gentile companions. What is totally amazing is that during the Feast of Sukkot 2015, a full-page advertisement, sponsored by a small contingent of Orthodox Jews, appeared in Israel’s newspapers, entitled, There Can Be No Israel Without Joseph, (click here to view)and calling for the return of the Ten Tribes. The very same week that the ad appeared, various nations participated in the annual Parade of Nations in Jerusalem (click here for video), astoundingly, including people from several nations who marched under the banner of Ephraim.
Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” (43:11-14)
Jacob’s solemn words remind us of Esther’s, “If I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16). As he did when he wrestled with the angel at Jabbok, Jacob has again reached the end of his own strength and surrenders himself and his children into God’s hands. And, just as he did by preparing a practical gift for Esau in the face of Esau’s 400 men, Jacob instructs Judah to take the best that he has to offer to Joseph, along with twice the amount needed to repay the money they had found in their sacks.
So the men took this present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin. They arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys.” So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the door of the house, and said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food. And when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it again with us, and we have brought other money down with us to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks. He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money” (43:15-23).
The eleven brothers have at last arrived. After all these years, Joseph’s dream is finally about to materialize. Note the grace with which he handles the situation. He arranges to bring his brothers into his own home where he could receive their confession privately. Notice also, there is no indication that he has blabbed to the Egyptians about the wrong treatment he received at the hands of his brothers. Oh, beloved, if we could only learn from this! Joseph’s instruction to his steward, “slaughter an animal and make ready” is an allusion to the father of the prodigal son who told his steward, “bring the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry”(Luke 15:23)
Picturing the Holy Spirit, Joseph’s servant comforted the brothers and assured them their debt had been paid and that it was he who had given them treasure in their sacks. Immediately we think of the spiritual gifts that we have received; but, the word translated as “treasure” carries the connotation of “secret,” as well. My children, we are the recipients of things that have been hidden for thousands of years, that even the prophets “longed to see” (Mat. 13:17). The “servant” also return Simeon [hearing] to them! It is the Ruach HaKodesh who has quickened our ears that we might hear and receive “treasure”! (43:23).
Look at the grace poured out! On both trips the family was given all the grain they could carry and in both cases of their money was returned to them. “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55:1). Grace is receiving the Word of Life, the Unleavened Bread. But, what if the family had taken back the grain and not ground it into bread? Grace is the receipt of the Word of God; but, it is our responsibility to break it down, chew it, meditate on it, and absorb it until it becomes part of us.
And when the man had brought the men into Joseph’s house and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, they prepared the present for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there (43:24).
The servant, picturing the Holy Spirit, brings the brothers into the House of Joseph, representing the Kingdom of God. The brothers washed their feet, meaning that they saw their “walk” was in need of being cleansed.
When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. (43:26)
Joseph appeared. The eleven presented their gifts and bowed down to him. Beloved, I have to tell you that tears are streaming down my face as I write these precious words and contemplate their significance. We will present gifts to Yeshua at His appearing! And the “gift” that we will present is Benjamin! It is the ones left behind that we have gone after!
And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive? They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out. And controlling himself he said, “Serve the food” (43:26-28).
They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one another in amazement. Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him. (43:32-34)
But, there remained something yet to be accomplished. Joseph had to know his brothers’ hearts toward Benjamin. Had the brothers’ jealousy toward Joseph been redirected to Benjamin?
Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him (44:1-2).
Concerning this cup or goblet, the sages teach that it was part of the ruse. When the brothers were being seated, the sages say that Joseph peered into the cup, pretending to arrange the seating order by its magical powers. This, the sages suppose, was designed to make the brothers fear Joseph all the more. They would think: if he could set us in order by birth, what else might he be able to learn from the cup?
As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. They had gone only a short distance from the city. Now Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? Is it not from this that my lord drinks, and by this that he practices divination? You have done evil in doing this.'” When he overtook them, he spoke to them these words. They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing! Behold, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants” (44:3-9).
Jacob had spoken these almost identical words when accused of stealing Laban’s idols (Gen. 31:32); and, Rachel, who was the culprit (31:19), indeed died early. Here, Joseph moves to counteract the curse the brothers unwittingly enact by saying that the one with whom the cup was found should “not die” but be his servant. This reminds us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not [die] but have everlasting life” and, therefore, become His servant forever.
Joseph answered, “Let it be as you say: he who is found with it shall be my servant, and the rest of you shall be innocent. Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. And he searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city. When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell before him to the ground. Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that a man like me can indeed practice divination?” And Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also in whose hand the cup has been found.” But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the man in whose hand the cup was found shall be my servant. But as for you, go up in peace to your father.” (44:10-17)
True Cupbearer Revealed
Let us join Yeshua now on the night of His great travail as he wrestles with His Father in the garden of Gethsemane.
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44)
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Mat. 26:39)
Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Mat. 26:42)
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. (Luke 22:43)
So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. (Mat. 26:44)
Yeshua is the ultimate Cupbearer. His bride, Israel, played the harlot with the gods of the nations and the cup was full of our iniquities. For the love of His Bride, Yeshua accepted the cup and drank it to its dregs so that we could be washed in His blood and receive garments of fine linen. Glory to the Lamb who was slain!
Road to Emmaeus
Three days later, Yeshua appeared to two of His disciples. For Luke’s fascinating account read Luke 24:13 ff summarized below.
Yeshua drew near to his disciples on the road to Emmaeus and asked them why they were so sad.
One of them answered, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know what happened to Jesus of Nazareth… how our chief priests and rulers crucified him?.
“We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.
“Some of our women went to the tomb early this morning and they did not find his body. They said they had seen angels who said that he was alive; but we have not seen Him.”
He answered:”O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
The parallels that we have studied today were certainly included in what Yeshua interpreted to His disciples that day. Are we ready to explain to our brothers, whose eyes cannot recognize Him, everything that Moses and the Prophets had to say about Him? We who can see these things are truly the most blessed people who have ever lived on the planet!
Until next week, shalom!