Studies in Torah

Parashat Vayeshev (וישב): Genesis 37:1–40:23

The accounts of Yosef‘s “coat of many colors” or “Technicolor Dreamcoat” and his standing strong amid adversity and oppression in Mitzraim are popular among children and adults. But a scandalous aside in this week’s Torah portion, וישב Vayeshev (“he settled,” Gen. 37:1–40:23), involving his brother Yehudah may not reach many children’s ears. Yet both Yosef and Yehudah provide important “calling cards” for Mashiakh Yeshua.

The traditional haftarah (parallel passage) for Vayeshev is Amos 2:6-3:8.

Companion readings from the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) from MessianicJudaism.net (also has through-the-Bible readings):

  • Acts 7:9-16 [specifically, vv. 9-10] (Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern)
  • Matthew 1:1-6, 16-25 (Parashiot From the Torah and Haftarah by Jeffrey E. Feinbe of Flame Foundation)

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

Vayeshev discussions

Genesis 37–40: What’s your legacy in the Kingdom of God?

Genesis 37:1–40:23: All Yosef’s life’s indeed a stage for Mashiakh

Genesis 37

Yosef dreams, his brothers boil then sell him to toil

The sibling rivalry between Yosef (Joseph) and Leah’s sons, fueled by his dreams that they and even their parents would bow to him, came to a tragic climax as they seized him then sold him to a caravan headed to Mitsraim (Egypt). Yet God remained on control.

Yosef gets two dreams, a royal coat, sold into slavery

This account of Yosef’s dreams and being sold by his brothers into slavery in Mitsraim (Egypt) is the foundation for the teaching through the rest of Genesis and even the Torah. The life of Yeshua the Messiah on Earth paralleled that of Yosef (Joseph).

Genesis 38

Yehudah, Tamar and the prophetic twins Perets and Zerah

This chapter about a scandalous encounter between Yehudah (Judah) and his daughter-in-law Tamar seems out of place in the account of Yosef’s slavery in Mitsraim (Egypt). Yet the twins in this chapter — Perets (Perez) and Zerah — share a link to Messiah with Yosef (Joseph).

Salacious story of Yehudah and Tamar points to coming glory of the Messiah

This isn’t a Bible passage one might want to read to young children, but it is recorded for a profound reason. It gives us another insight into the character of Yehudah (Judah), and the symbols point to King David and the Messiah.

Genesis 39-40

Dreams with a vision, a mission

What do the dreams by Pharaoh’s baker and wine taster on the coming famine and the interpretations delivered by Yosef (Joseph) that catapulted him to to authority in Mitsraim (Egypt) tell Yosef? What would they tell Messiah Yeshua, the antitype to Yosef’s type?

Yosef resists wife of Potiphar and interprets three-days-related dreams of cup-bearer and baker of Pharaoh

The Lord was clearly with Yosef (Joseph) in Potiphar’s house, yet Yosef was framed for jilting an adulterous wife. And the Lord was with Yosef in the prison he was thrown into, interpreting two dreams about the future of the pharaoh’s jailed wine server and baker. The symbols of wine and bread there point to the future life of Yeshua the Messiah.

Haftarah: Amos 2:6-3:8

Amos starts calling out Israel’s social injustice

In Amos 2, the prophet is warning the people of Israel that although the nations around them have committed heinous sins but Israel’s sins are even worse. Israel could easily see the failures of the nations but they could not see their own failures. Amos is trying to take the veil off their eyes. He wants Israel to look inward at themselves.

To whom much is given, much is required

The descendants of Israel, North and South, inherited the covenant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at Mt. Sinai hundreds of years before. Yet, instead of living in that covenant, the children of Israel preferred to imitate the practices of the nations around and actually surpassed the surrounding nations around in their iniquity. This is why God judges the entire family of Israel much more severely than He punishes the other nations. This is the prophet’s warning in Amos 3.


Recent posts in Torah