Richard Agee

Genesis 42, part 3: Yosef foreshadows ‘Savior of the World’

Richard AgeeWe’ve already explored how Yosef’s life parallels that of Yeshua the Messiah. In part 3 of this study of Genesis 42 [see parts 1 and 2], we explore the another parallel in the ancient Egyptian name of Yosef (Joseph) and in the three days of imprisonment of his brothers.

We’ve talked about the Yosef’s name from Pharaoh, צָפְנַת־פַּעְנֵחַ Tsaphenath Paneach (Strong’s lexicon No. H6847). Jerome (A.D. 347–420), who translated the Bible into Latin, speculated that the name means “savior of the world.” Egyptologist Georg Steindorff (1861–1951) surmised that the name means “the god speaks; he lives.”

When the brothers, minus Ben-Yamin (Benjamin), showed up in Egypt they all bowed to Yosef which mimicked his dream from many years before that had annoyed them so much. Yosef and brothers went back and forth as to whether they were spies or “honest men.” 

Only Yehudah (Judah), Shimon (Simeon) and Levi knew that Yosef was sold into slavery; therefore, he most likely was still alive. Reuben was not a part of the plot to kill or sell him into slavery. Reuben implored them not to hurt Yosef and he was ignored and in Reuben’s eyes, their current distress came upon them because of their bloodguilt over Yosef.

Yosef threw all of them in jail for three days and some of the truth began to come out. They didn’t know that Yosef was overhearing their conversations and that he understood every word. Yosef found out that most of his brothers thought he was dead and this stirred up great emotion in him to the point of tears and he had to hide himself for a while to let his emotions out. After three days, he decided to give his brothers life instead of death. 

Yosef put two and two together: his prior dream and the brothers current courtesy towards him and realized that God had sent him to Egypt for a reason. He had forgiven them but he still wanted to test them out and he wanted to see ben-Yamin (Benjamin) and keeping Shimon captive was the only way to do it. 

We should not be surprised that Yosef, even in his Egyptian identity, knew about אֱלֹהִים ’Elohim as אֵל שַׁדַּי ’El Shaddai — literally, God Who Causes Destruction — and acknowledged the existence of the true God. The name ’Elohim is an acknowledgement of God’s strength. 

There is nothing greater than God yet He hides Himself from us. We don’t see the Creator, we see His works.

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.


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