Studies in Torah

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

Yosef played the messianic role consistently through his life. God is the one in control of Yosef’s life, not Yehudah. Yeshua the Mashiakh wasn’t even born, yet we read all about Him in Yosef’s life. When Yeshua told the elders that all of the Scripture is a testimony of Him, this is just one of the stories Yeshua is referencing in his rebuke of the willfully unbelieving Pharisees.

“Now Ya’akov lived in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan. These are the records of the generations of Ya’akov.” (Genesis 37:1–2 NASB)

Ya’akov had tried to settle down in the Promised Land. He bought land in Shechem. He wanted to stay in one place. He didn’t want to be a traveler and a nomad, but “thanks” to Simeon and Levi killing all the Shechemites, the family had to move on.

We are travelers, not settlers, too. This earth is not ours.

The land of Canaan itself was a good land in and of itself but the people were utterly evil.

Yosef is a favored son of Ya’akov and one of the first things we learn about Yosef is that he had “brought an evil report” of his brothers. Yeshua had also brought an “evil report” about the Pharisees and Saducees to God, including calling them “brood of vipers,” “hypocrites,” “whitewashed tombs. The Pharisees were supposed to be in charge of God’s flock and they were not doing a good job.

Yosef’s brothers were taking care of Ya’akov’s flocks not their own and they were not doing a good job.

Ya’akov favored Yosef, was that wrong? No.

God favors Mashiakh saying He was “well pleased” with Him, is that wrong? No.

We know based on these stories that Ya’akov was a good judge of character to favor Yosef over the other brothers just as God favors Mashiakh because His character is superior to ours.

The brothers were jealous of Yosef, the pharisees were jealous of Mashiakh.

“Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, ‘Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.’ He related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, ‘What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?’” (Genesis 37:9–10 NASB)

Did Ya’akov ever bow to Yosef in his life? No. Did Rakhel ever bow down to Yosef in her life? No. Ya’akov was the one who interpreted this dream. His interpretation was correct but it was not fulfilled in their lifetimes. Ya’akov does acknowledge Pharaoh but not Yosef. It will happen later, though when every mother, every father, every child will bow to the Mashiakh in the Messianic Age.

“Then he said to him, “Go now and see about the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock, and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.” (Genesis 37:14 NASB)

Ya’akov knew that Yosef was not well-liked. God knew the Mashiakh was not well liked. If this is so, why did Ya’akov send Yosef to them? Yosef was the only one Ya’akov trusted to be his emissary to his brothers.

Yosef did not bring back false reports, but his brothers didn’t appreciate Ya’akov learning of all the bad things they did. It is natural to want to hide what we do wrong.

God sent the Mashiakh to take control of the flock. Ya’akov put a nice coat on Yosef to put Yosef in charge of all the brothers. This corresponds with all of Yosef’s dreams. When Yosef “died” all his hopes that Yosef would be his successor “died” with him.

Ya’akov was a dreamer too, literally. He understood and interpreted dreams. This gift attaches Yosef and Ya’akov to each other.

Ya’akov interpreted Yosef‘s dream a little too literally, however. Ya’akov assumed that Yosef‘s dream was about a time in the future when Ya’akov, Rachel and the other brothers literally bowing down to Yosef. This never happens in Yosef‘s lifetime. It would be very hard for Rachel to bow down to Yosef since she is long dead.

Ya’akov also never bows down to Yosef. Ya’akov does acknowledge Pharaoh as his superior but never Yosef. This dream is a dream for the future, the distant future.

Recall the vision of the woman in the Book of Revelation with the moon under her feet and the stars over her head? That is the only indication of the interoperation of Yosef‘s dream and what the symbols of Yosef‘s dream really mean.

The whole world will bow down to Yeshua the Mashiakh, even His mother Mary, His grandparents Abraham, Isaac and Ya’akov will all bow down to the Mashiakh one day. They will bow down to their descendant, the Mashiakh, who is also their elder, who pre-existed before the creation of the world.

Why did Ya’akov send Yosef to check on the other sons? Didn’t he know that his other sons did not like Yosef very much? Of course he knew. Did God have any idea that the people would not like Mashiakh? Yes. Both Ya’akov and God knew that the story was not going to go very well.

If Ya’akov knew his sons didn’t like Yosef, why did he send him? Why did God send Mashiakh, even though He knew that the people would hate Mashiakh enough to kill Him? What was the reason they were sent?

Both Yosef and Mashiakh were sent on a mission to send a message to correct, to call them to return, to repent.

Both Yosef and Mashiakh brought back “evil” reports to their father, not evil in the sense they were wrong, but “evil” in the sense that they were both reporting back to the father the evil things they were witnessing. They were reporting the truth but it was a very inconvenient truth.

Ya’akov was planning to put Yosef in charge of his entire household. When Yosef “died” all of Ya’akov‘s dreams of putting Yosef in charge died.

Ya’akov thought the sons were in Shechem, that is where he sent Yosef to look for them but when Yosef got there, they were no where to be found. God intended for His flock to travel to one place, to live in one way.

The people in charge of God’s flock were not leading them to where God wanted them to go, just as Ya’akov‘s sons did not lead his flocks to where he wanted them to graze. Ya’akov wanted them to be in Shechem but they were not there. They were in Dotham instead, which is where Yosef “died.”

The flock did not travel where God/Ya’akov had told them to go. God wants His flock to be lead to everlasting life. Instead of going to a living place, they were sent to a place of death.

Reuben had intended to save Yosef’s life. He did not have authority to overrule his brother’s plans, even though he was the oldest brother. The other brothers, Yehudah, in particular, are in charge here.

Reuben is playing a prophet’s role in this story. The prophets did not have the authority to enforce God’s commands. It was the people’s job to enforce God’s commands.

The brothers half-heartedly listened to Reuben’s plea not to kill Yosef. They also did not disclose to Reuben what actually happened to Yosef.

Israel does not hear the prophets of God just as Yehudah refused to hear Reuben’s counsel. Yehudah got money out of it, which Amos rails against later. Yehudah gets payback twice for his poor treatment of Yosef.

Yehudah descends from his brothers

Let’s jump to Yehudah’s first payback for his treatment of Yosef in Genesis 38.

Yehudah separates himself from his brothers even though he was the dominant brother. We don’t why, but that was his business. It is his daughter-in-law Tamar who changes his world.

When Yehudah sold his brother Yosef into death/slavery is no different than when Yeshua was sold into death. Yehudah is humiliated publicly in a couple of different ways.

We know that Er was evil, but we don’t know exactly why he was evil or why God killed him. Onan was also evil but we know his evil. His evil is known to us. We are told that Onan spilled his seed because he wanted to inherit a larger portion of Yehudah’s stuff. Onan didn’t want his son with Tamar to inherit the double portion of Yehudah’s estate in Er’s name. With Er gone, Onan would have stood to inherit two-thirds of Yehudah’s estate. But if Onan had given Tamar had a son in Er’s name, that son would have inherited half of Yehudah’s estate and Onan would have only received a quarter of Yehudah’s estate.

Yehudah loses his two oldest sons and his wife in this chapter.

Why was Tamar more ‘righteous’ than Yehudah?

When Yehudah refuses to allow Tamar to marry his son Shelah, Tamar took matters into her own hands. How could Tamar be more righteous than Yehudah in this story? What kind of person would think this?

The Book of Amos gives us a big clue as to why Tamar is more righteous than Yehudah. Yehudah sold his “righteous” brother Yosef for money and he consorted with his dead son’s wife.

“Thus says the LORD, ‘For three transgressions of Israel and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for money And the needy for a pair of sandals. These who pant after the very dust of the earth on the head of the helpless Also turn aside the way of the humble; And a man and his father resort to the same girl In order to profane My holy name.  ‘On garments taken as pledges they stretch out beside every altar, And in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined.” (Amos 2:6–8 NASB)

Yehudah had no intention to returning the “righteous” Yosef to his father, disregarding the word of the “prophet” Reuben. The fact that Yehudah did not literally kill Yosef doesn’t mean much. Allowing someone to be kidnapped is the same as death.

God is not railing against the woman (Tamar) in this verse but the men (Yehudah, Er, and Onan). Tamar’s words are a slap in the face and a public reckoning for Yehudah’s treatment of Yosef.

“It was while she was being brought out that she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “I am with child by the man to whom these things belong.” And she said, “Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?” Yehudah recognized them, and said, “She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not have relations with her again.” (Genesis 38:25–26 NASB)

Tamar repeats the exact same question that Yehudah and his brothers asked Ya’akov when they brought Yosef‘s blood stained cloak to him.

“So they took Yosef’s tunic, and slaughtered a male goat and dipped the tunic in the blood; and they sent the varicolored tunic and brought it to their father and said, “We found this; please examine it to see whether it is your son’s tunic or not.”” (Genesis 37:31–32 NASB)

These words from Tamar are a slap in the face to Yehudah. Yehudah’s sin against Tamar now public and later, his sin against Yosef will be made public to his father, too.

Tamar gives birth to twins: Perez and Zerah. The first born, Zerah, did not inherit the Promise: the royal line of David, the Mashiakh‘s line. Perez, the second son did. Yet, Zerah is the son of the red hand.

Right hand of Ya’akov, right hand of Potiphar

Ulster red hand
The flag of Northern Ireland/Ulster with the red hand framed by a Star of David.

Now, let’s go back to Yosef.

Yosef was initially elevated to Ya’akov’s right hand. Then he’s sold to Potiphar and becomes his right hand. Then Yosef will be come the jailer’s right hand and then eventually the Pharaoh’s right hand. There’s a pattern here. Yosef is very trustworthy just as Mashiakh is trustworthy in spite of his circumstances and who surrounds him.

Potiphar is referred to as a “captain of the bodyguard” in English translations but it is more accurately translated as the “chief butcher” or the chief of Pharaoh’s kitchen, including the animals slaughtered for food. The jailer is also referred to in English as a “captain of the bodyguard.” But he is a “chief butcher” in the sense of being an executioner of prisoners. Yosef becomes the right hand man of both.

Yosef succeeded where Yehudah failed

Now that we know how Yehudah deals with a “harlot,” we will see how Yosef deals with a harlot.

Yosef was not deceived by Potiphar’s wife. Her goal was self-pleasure and corruption. The truth always come out. He was smart enough not to be interested in Potiphar’s wife.

But Potiphar’s wife makes up lies about Yosef to get him thrown in jail, just as people made up lies about Mashiakh to get him thrown in jail (and then killed).

When Yosef was falsely accused, he did not speak for himself, just Mashiakh did not speak for himself in the Sanhedrin. Everyone in Potiphar household knew Yosef was innocent but if he had told the truth about his wife, Potiphar would not have responded well. If a slave were to accuse a noblewoman of being a liar, that would not end well.

Potiphar’s wife “playing the harlot” helped move Yosef to a better position.  She was very corrupt as humanity in general is very corrupt. God brought Mashiakh to the earth to save the corrupt world.

Yosef was sent to prison but the prison didn’t hold him. Mashiakh was sent to “prison” but it didn’t hold him, either.

Then the wine-bearer and the baker (bread-bearer) show up with their dreams which both have three items. One is lifted up to life and back to his position, the other is lifted up to death.

The wine-bearer forgets Yosef/Mashiakh for two years. I believe this matches with the 2,000 or so years that Mashiakh has not yet fully come to His kingdom.

Now, I want to go back to Amos, because there is more in this haftarah reading we need to understand about what God thought of how Yehudah treated Yosef and Tamar.

Yehudah is publicly humiliated in the process both times. When Mashiakh returns to the Earth to take His throne, it will be the tribe of Yehudah who will bear the most humiliation. They have called him a fraud, they have called him all sorts of evil names. God forgives and restores but there’s correction and judgement first.

Everyone will bow down to the Mashiakh, even Yehudah.

“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” (Revelation 12:1–6 NASB)

God is the one in control of all things, not Yehudah. Mashiakh wasn’t born, yet we read all about Him in Yosef’s life.

The woman is Israel as a whole. They are the reason the Mashiakh was born. God prepares a place for them. It was all pre-set. They don’t go to heaven, they go to a prepared place. In Ya’akov’s time, the “prepared place” was Egypt.

The martyr Stephen said that the other patriarchs were “envious” of Yosef (Acts 7:9). Mashiakh is the older brother by right, and we need to accept that just as Yehudah needed to accept Yosef’s supremacy. It’s hard to accept humiliation. The question is how we deal with it. You have to watch your emotions, thoughts and accusations.

Speaker: Daniel. Summary: Tammy. 


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