Studies in Torah

Parashat Vayechi (ויחי): Genesis 47:28–50:26

We’ve been mining the account of the life of Yosef in Mitzraim over the past three weeks (see the sections Vayeshev, Miketz and Vayigash) to see foreshadowings of the coming Mashiakh.

These shadows grow even more defined in this week’s Torah portion, ויחי Vayechi (“he lived,” Gen. 47:28–50:26). In this fourth and last section on Yosef‘s life, we see parallels between pharaoh, Yosef and Ya’akov, and the Father, the Son and the people called Yisra’el.

The traditional haftarah reading for Vayechi is 1st Kings 2:1–12.

The following are notes and recordings of studies by Hallel Fellowship teachers on passages in Vayechi.

Genesis 47–48

Yosef presents his family to Pharaoh, receives double blessing via Ephraim and Manasseh

We read more about how the land of Egypt survived the seven-year famine thanks to God’s revelation to Yosef and his stewardship of Pharaoh’s land. Later, Ya’akov gives Yosef his double portion of the blessing vicariously through his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Ya’akov moves to Goshen; Yosef takes control via the famine; Yisra’el blesses Ephraim & Manasseh

Ya’akov blessed pharaoh of Mitzraim upon arrival there. Ya’akov blessed the sons of Yosef, Ephraim and Manasseh, as if they were his own elder sons. As we have noticed in past studies of the account of Yosef in Genesis, there are parallels between the roles of pharaoh, Yosef and Yisra’el, f.k.a. Ya’akov, and those of the Father, the Son and a people called Yisra’el.

Genesis 49

Messianic connection between pharaoh and Yosef

Messianic figures in the Bible aren’t one-to-one representations of the Messiah, but the messianic figures of the pharaoh of Mitzraim and Yosef do give us a glimpse of the relationship between the Father and the Messiah.

Blessings for Yisrael’s sons: Reuben, Shimon, Levi, Yehudah

Many people who read Genesis 49 believe that the prophesies Israel gave to his 12 sons were only about their or their immediate descendants. This is not the case. These prophesies encompass our prophetic future and those of our descendants all the way to the end of time. Today’s talk focuses on the prophesies given to Israel’s first four sons, culminating with his fourth son, Yehudah. All 4 of these sons were sons of Leah, the daughter of Laban as well, which gives us an additional insight as well.

The blessings Yisra’el, f.k.a. Ya’akov, gave his sons in Genesis 49 seem cryptic, because events are described that didn’t happen in the sons’ lives. Then we notice that these are prophecies for the end of history and about the Messiah. In this part of the study, covering Gen. 49:1–12, we encounter the messianic name Shiloh.

Blessings for Yisrael’s sons: Reuben, Zebulun, Issachar

More than just a list of names, these blessings from Ya’akov/Yisra’el are prophesies that will be fulfilled in the last days and give us insight into the mission of the Messiah. For Issachar, it’s a blessing rather than a curse.

Blessings for the 12 sons of Yisra’el: Zebulun through Ben-Yamin

Some Christians think references to “the latter days” in the Bible refer to the coming of Messiah, destruction of Babylon and messianic reign. Some connect the blessings for each of the 12 sons in Genesis 49 to particular nation groups that are supposed to exist at the end of time. When I read the chapter, I see Ya’akov only addressing his 12 sons, who would become the 12 tribes of Yisra’el, in their “end times,” not in those of some modern nation.

Blessings for Yisrael’s sons: Dan, Gad, Naphtali, Asher, Joseph, Benjamin

We finish this chapter discussing the prophesies related to Dan, Naphtali, Asher, Yosef and Ben Yamin. If we look at these prophesies as only relevant to the sons of Ya’akov, we are missing out on the messianic significance of every one of these prophesies.

Blessings for Yisrael’s sons: Ben-Yamin and Yosef; Ya’akov dies

We read the prophesies of the last days given to Joseph and Benjamin by Israel, their father. He also gives the final instructions for his burial. He wanted to be buried with his father and grandfather.

Genesis 50

Yisra’el pleads with Yosef to forgive his brothers

After the death of Yisra’el, fka Ya’akov, 10 of his dozen sons approached Yosef with a message from their father: Don’t seek revenge for selling him as a slave. Yosef lived out the “second greatest commandment” in his response, showing he trusted God’s plan that had violently separated him from his family and landed him in prison for a few years.

Yosef does not take revenge after his father dies

Two patriarchs die in this chapter. It starts with the death of Yisra’el (Ya’akov) and ends with the death of Yosef. When the brothers realized the depths of Yosef‘s love and forgiveness they make a vow to him, which their descendants fulfilled 200 years later.

Haftarah: 1st Kings 2:1–12

Solomon replaces David as king

At the end of 1st Kings 1, David ensured Solomon’s succession to the throne and strictly speaking, David is no longer the king because there can only be one king on the throne at a time. Here, David charges Solomon with several pieces of advice to try to ensure Solomon’s success and long reign.

Two accounts reveal anti-Messiah

Taking a closer look at 1st Kings 2, we see a pattern of The Adversary (haSatan) and anti-Messiah revealed by two men in Scripture who lead parallel lives more than 1,000 years apart.

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