"Joseph, Overseer of Pharaoh's Granaries" by Sir Lawrence Ima-Tadema, 1874

Genesis 41:1-44:17: Yitzkhak’s and Yosef’s extended passion play

Yitzkhak was a messianic figure, showing us that Mashiakh was supposed to die and that Mashiakh’s death will bring freedom. Yosef is the new Messianic figure who shows us that Mashiakh will rule and reign after He dies and is released from death.

To get an idea of how old our major players are in Torah section מקץ Miketz (“from the end,” Genesis 41:1–44:17), Yosef is about 30; Ya’akov, 120; and Yitzkhak, about 180. Yitzkhak is near death at the time Yosef becomes prime minister of Mitzraim. Also ponder the fact that Yitzkhak is dying just as Yosef is coming into the height of his power.

Yitzkhak was a sacrificial offering, as a consequence, he was confined to the land of Israel. When Yitzkhak died, the LORD accepted the offering and that is when Yosef was ready to be released from prison to step up to the Messianic role.

This is proof that the Mashiakh had to be offered as a sacrifice, die and be resurrected before He reigns over the people of the LORD on earth.

“Now a Hebrew youth was with us there, a servant of the captain of the bodyguard, and we related them to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us. To each one he interpreted according to his own dream.” (Genesis 41:12 NASB)

When the cupbearer introduces Yosef to the Pharaoh, he points out three things about Yosef that emphasizes Yosef’s lowly status in Mitzraimian society. Yosef is a youth, a servant/slave and a Hebrew/foreigner. Yet Yosef impresses Pharaoh so much with his gift of dream interpretation and prophesy that he promotes Yosef to second in command of the entire kingdom of Mitzraim.

“So Pharaoh said to Yosef, ‘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.’ Pharaoh said to Yosef, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Mitzraim.’ Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Yosef’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck. He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ And he set him over all the land of Mitzraim. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Yosef, ‘Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Mitzraim.’” (Genesis 41:39–44 NASB)

The only thing Pharaoh denies Yosef is the throne itself, everything else is in Yosef’s control. Pharaoh also gives Yosef a name and a wife, which are the duties of a father Pharaoh performs for Yosef. Every father in ancient times had the following gifts to bestow on their sons:   a name, a job and a wife. Pharaoh did them all.

“Then Pharaoh named Yosef Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as his wife. And Yosef went forth over the land of Mitzraim.” (Genesis 41:45 NASB)

Yosef’s name, Zaphenath-paneah, means “one who reveals hidden things.” Yosef had two sons: Manasseh and Ephraim. Their names mean “to forget” and “to be fruitful.” This ties into Yosef’s task as Pharaoh’s right-hand man, who was primarily appointment to collect food and prepare Mitzraim for famine.

Shadows of Romans 11

Yosef plays a messianic role over and over again through his life. Mashiakh “forgets” Ya’akov/Yehudah’s house, his brothers who rejected Him. He became fruitful and multiplied among the Mitzraimians, a foreign people. The Gentiles who accepted Mashiakh grew, Yehudah’s house, who rejected Mashiakh, did not grow. The first-century Jews who believed in Mashiakh Yeshua were absorbed into the Gentile believers. These acts of forgetting and fruitfulness are both part of Mashiakh’s timeline. Yehudah’s house has to come back to Mashiakh, just as Ya’akov and his family came back to Yosef after years of separation.

The LORD is helping His Gentile people understand that He never changes. He did not throw away His people or His commandments. Jews are coming to realize that Yeshua is their Mashiakh and that Mashiakh had to die and experience resurrection before Mashiakh could rule the world as they long for him to do.

“Yosef remembered the dreams which he had about them….” (Genesis 42:9 NASB)

When Yosef realized one brother was missing, he first puts the 10 brothers in prison for three days. Why did Yosef do that? The three days in prison is a sign of the Mashiakh. Yosef is forcing his brothers to experience a small taste of being wrongfully imprisoned. They experienced what Yosef experienced and what Mashiakh will experience. Yosef is not doing this for the sake of revenge. If Yosef had wanted revenge, he would have made all of them rot in jail for 12 years. Yosef wants them understand a little taste of what they did to him and what it means to be a messianic figure.

This ties into the cup that Yosef puts into Ben Yamin’s knapsack later.

They were freed three days later, and Yosef says why he released them.

“Now Yosef said to them on the third day, “Do this and live, for I fear God: if you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in your prison; but as for the rest of you, go, carry grain for the famine of your households, and bring your youngest brother to me, so your words may be verified, and you will not die.” And they did so.” (Genesis 42:18–20 NASB)

The brothers heard Yosef say that he feared and believed in the LORD and if you obey the Mashiakh’s instruction, you will have life.

Later when they return to Canaan, Reuben and Yehudah both know that Ben Yamin must return to Mitzraim with them if they are to have any hope of getting more food out of Mitzraim, but Yehudah and Reuben appeal to Ya’akov in different ways and we will see which brother Ya’akov trusts to take care of Ben Yamin.

“Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, ‘You may put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you; put him in my care, and I will return him to you.’ ” (Genesis 42:37 NASB)

“Yehudah said to his father Israel, ‘Send the lad with me and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, we as well as you and our little ones. I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever.’ ” (Genesis 43:8–9 NASB)

Yehudah showed Ya’akov that he has grown in wisdom since Yosef was sent away, while Reuben hasn’t. Even though Reuben is older than Yehudah, Yehudah is actually more mature and wise than Reuben.

“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” (1Peter 2:18–21 NASB)

The House of Ya’akov/Yehudah is suffering what Yosef experienced on a smaller scale. The 10 brothers had to follow in Yosef’s footsteps. They had been falsely accused as spies and went to jail for three days for it. They suffered it patiently, and if we are to follow Mashiakh, we are also to suffer patiently when falsely accused.

“WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (1Peter 2:22–25 NASB)

Yosef is now the shepherd of the House of Ya’akov/Yehudah. They got their money and more food as a result of their patient suffering.

Yosef the pagan?

“Then he commanded his house steward, saying, ‘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. Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his money for the grain.’ And he did as Yosef had told him. As soon as it was light, the men were sent away, they with their donkeys. They had just gone out of the city, and were not far off, when Yosef said to his house steward, ‘Up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? ‘Is not this the one from which my lord drinks and which he indeed uses for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.’’” (Genesis 44:1–5 NASB)

What is divination? It means to take something from the LORD and bringing it down to earth and making it comprehensible to man.

Remember that Yeshua prayed to the LORD several times, “Take this cup from me, if it is your will.” This cup was a difficult cup for Yeshua to take. The cup that Yosef had placed in Ben Yamin’s bag, was a cup that one would use to drink wine. The brothers had eaten a meal of bread and wine. The cup was with them and returned to the Mashiakh. In a sense, all of the sons of Ya’akov experienced a Passover meal. They have lived and experienced what Mashiakh would later experience. A heavenly truth was brought to earth by their experience and their story was written for us to know who Mashiakh is. They had to accept the Mashiakh’s bread and cup.

Foreshadowing Pesakh

“So they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Mitzraimians who ate with him by themselves, because the Mitzraimians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Mitzraimians.” (Genesis 43:32 NASB)

Why were free Mitzraimians forbidden to eat a meal with Hebrews or foreigners? One part of the answer is that in Mitzraimian law, once you were a slave or a criminal, in a sense, you were always a slave or a criminal, at least socially. Even if one was pardoned by Pharaoh.

Also Mitzraimian society did not accept foreigners, they were a very xenophobic culture. Non-Mitzraimians were the lower classes of their society. Mitzraimians also looked down on nomads and shepherds, which included Yosef’s family.

This meal, as a symbol of Pesakh, shows us that the LORD meant for the House of Ya’akov/Yehudah and the House of the Gentiles/Yosef were to be separate peoples but both will live under the rule of Mashiakh.

Summary: Tammy.

Banner image: Sir Lawrence lma-Tadema (Dutch/British, 1836–1912), “Joseph, Overseer of Pharaoh’s Granaries,” Oil on panel, Wikipedia Commons, 1874.

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