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.
“He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11 NASB)
” ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.’ ” (Mark 6:4 NASB)
The ancient saying “familiarity breeds contempt”1 could easily sum up how Yosef‘s brothers treated him in his early years and how many leaders of Yisra’el treated Yeshua. The prophetic parallels between Yosef and Yeshua the Mashiakh sharpen further in this week’s Torah section, ויגש Vayigash (“he approached,” Genesis 44:18–47:27).
In it, the brothers’ contempt turns to fear when they realize their plots against Yosef have put them at his mercy. It’s also a picture of the Day of the LORD, when Yisra’el then the world must confess, “Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the LORD” (Psalm 118:26; Matthew 23:39; Luke 13:35).
Have you ever felt like God has abandoned you? Or at least forgotten about what you’re going through? It would have been easy for Yosef to think so. He’d been languishing in prison for a crime he didn’t commit for at least two years. The second installment of the account of Yosef (see part 1) is in this week’s Torah section, מקץ Miketz (“from the end,” Gen. 41:1–44:17). We see “that dreamer” go from victim of justice to vice president of the mighty empire of Mitzraim, and the prophecy pointing forward to Yeshua the Mashiakh gets fleshed out.
God prepared two self-centered “brats” — Yosef (Joseph) and Yehudah (Judah) — and their descendants to become the saviors of their families. Yosef was a tattle-tale and a bit of a braggart, but Yehudah was willing to throw weaker, younger people to the wolves, either figuratively or literally to obtain a higher status in his society. God really cares about how you treat other people, especially those who are weaker and less fortunate. In the Torah reading וישב Vayeshev (Genesis 37–40), we learn from Yosef and Yehudah their life lessons the hard way.
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.
Aesop’s ancient saying “familiarity breeds contempt” could easily sum up how Yosef’s brothers treated him in his early years and how many leaders of Yisra’el treated Yeshua. The prophetic parallels between Yosef and Yeshua the Mashiakh sharpen further in the Torah section ויגש Vayigash (“he approached”).
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.