Parashah 10: Mikketz (At the end)

Parashah 10: Genesis 41:1-44:17

“At the end of two years, Pharaoh had a dream …” (Genesis 41:1).

Two years after Joseph interprets the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker, Pharaoh has two dreams.  One dream is about the Nile River,  lean cows eating fat cows and remaining lean.  The other is about seven ears of corn, full and ripe and seven thin ears and blasted by the east wind.

The seven fat cows came out of the Nile River, which was the lifeline of Egypt.  Because Egypt has virtually no rainfall throughout the entire year, it relies on the yearly flooding of the Nile to provide water for crops. The dream also included the Egyptian gods: Osiris and Isis.  The god Osiris, who was represented by a bull, was the god of the Nile.  The goddess Isis was represented by a cow.  She was the goddess-queen who was worshiped as having the power over life and death. She was prayed to as a divine source of fertility and wisdom. Seeing his gods, the Nile, the bull and the cow, as he did in the dream, made Pharaoh’s spirit distraught.  He calls for his magicians, but no one in his court can interpret the dreams in such as way that he is satisfied with the meaning.

Then he is told about a Hebrew, a servant of the captain of the guard, who interpreted the dreams of the baker and cupbearer accurately.  Normally the Egyptians would not have had anything to do with a Hebrew, but Pharaoh was so distraught he had no other option except to bring a Hebrew slave into his presence.  Such an act speaks volumes about how deeply his spirit was agitated.

By this time, Joseph is 30 years old.  He has spent 13 years in Egypt as a slave, a servant and now a prisoner.   He has waited for this moment for years not realizing those years were a preparation.  Since numbers are significant in Scripture, it would seem there should be something to the 13 years Joseph spent in Egypt. The numerical value of ahavah or love is 13 and so is echad or unity.  The number 13 also represents for cleansing and purifying. 

Joseph washed and dressed for his meeting with Pharaoh, his work of purification.   I have been told numerous times in my life that Elohim doesn’t care how we dress when we go to church.  I referred this person to Matthew 22 and the King’s wedding feast.  There is one person who arrives dressed in the wrong clothes, foreign clothes,  and is removed from the banquet. There is  protocol when meeting with a king, and Pharaoh is no different.  Joseph prepares to meet Pharaoh because his physical appearance is his first testimony.  It shows his respect for Pharaoh as he has a great task at hand.

He has not only been prepared in a physical sense,  but also in a spiritual sense.  He has matured since the days of his youthful dreams when he antagonized his family by calling attention to his own self-righteous superiority.  After years of being humbled through slavery, false accusations and prison, he realizes Elohim’s faithfulness to protect him and keep him alive in his worst case life scenarios. He has been prepared to win the confidence and respect of a heathen king and court by giving full credit to the Elohim of Isra’el.  He acts with the utmost courtesy and restraint, and directs all his praise to Elohim.

Once he hears Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph explains that his dreams mean there will be seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine.   The famine will be so severe that the time of abundance will be forgotten.    The fact that both of his dreams have the same interpretation is a ‘witness of two’ indicating the matter has been fixed by Elohim and cannot be changed.

Others in Pharaoh’s court had tried to interpret the dreams, but they could not resolve the problem of lean and fat cows and full and dried ears of corn occurring simultaneously.  It was a paradox.  It was only the Spirit of God that could  quench the distraught ‘spirit of Pharaoh’ and bring him shalom (peace) and Joseph’s interpretation satisfied Pharaoh’s longing for wise interpretation.

Not only did Joseph interpret the dreams, but he offered advice on how to manage the years of abundance and the years of famine.  Because he was able to interpret and offer a solution to the problem,  Pharaoh saw something different in Joseph than his magicians and exclaimed,

“Can we find anyone else like him?  The Spirit of God lives in him!”  “The Spirit of God [Elohim] lives in him” (Genesis 41:38).

In Egypt, the winds generally blow from north to south, but a southeast wind blows from the deserts of Arabia.  It is called a khamsin and has disastrous effects upon plants because it is hot and dry.  It also brings with it small dust particles which are harmful to humans if they inhale it so most people stay in their homes during this time.  Khamsin means 50 in Arabic and generally the winds last about 50 days.  Whatever happened in the days of Joseph, this wind which lasted seven years or came in 50-day intervals over seven years rendered everything living in Egypt dead. 

The number 50 in Hebrew is the letter noon.  The Hebrew Word Picture for this letter is a ‘fish’ and means to ‘bring life.’   Even though there a deadly eastern wind coming to destroy Egypt, life is being offered to Egypt and ultimately the children of Isra’el,  through a Hebrew savior named Joseph.

A Wise Man

“Look for a man discreet and wise to put in charge of the land of Egypt.  Appoint supervisors over the land to receive a twenty percent tax on the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.  They should gather all the food produced during these good years coming up and set aside grain under the supervision of Pharaoh to be used for food in the cities, and they should store it.  This will be the land’s food supply for the seven years of famine that will come over the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish as a result of the famine (Genesis 41:33-36).

Joseph is in no way looking for the position that he suggested to Pharaoh.  He was an Egyptian prisoner who had been nothing more than a slave.  He was not trained for such authority, he had no experience with that kind of responsibility,  and he was still only a young man.  What he didn’t realize as he spoke prophetically was that Elohim had prepared him and Pharaoh for this exact moment in time.  Joseph had been faithful in the little things of which he had been put in charge, now he would be put in charge of many things.

“His master said to him, ‘Excellent! You are a good and trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with a small amount, so I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and join in your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:23)

Joseph is given the Pharaoh’s signet ring, a sign of his importance and closeness to the king.  The signet ring is evidence to everyone in Egypt and surrounding countries that Joseph had the highest authority in all the land except for Pharaoh and could be worn a finger or on a chain around the neck.  Joseph is also given a gold chain.  He is clothed in fine linen symbolic of his new status in the land and he rides in the second best chariot.  All the people in Egypt ‘bow down’ whenever he passes by.    He is also given a new name: an Egyptian name Tzafanat-Pa’neach that would allow him to be more accepted in the Egyptian court and among the Egyptian people.  There are many interpretations of his new name from ‘one who reveals mysteries’ to ‘the savior of the world,’ but the most accepted is ‘the god speaks and he lives.’

Joseph is given Osnat or Asenath for his wife.  Her name means ‘peril or misfortune.’  She is the daughter of Poti-Fera priest of On.  Poti-fera means “he whom Ra has given.”  Obviously, he was a priest of the god Ra, one of the premier gods of Egypt.

Joseph would not have chosen to marry a pagan woman, but as the highest ranking official in Egypt next to Pharaoh, he is given no choice.  El Shaddai honored this marriage by allowing the first two children of Joseph to receive inheritance with the sons of Isra’el.  El Shaddai blessed Joseph’s marriage his offspring and his offspring became an important part of the history of Isra’el.

Elohim also used this marriage to strengthen Joseph’s new position as a national leader. The city of On was also known as Heliopolis, The City of the Sun.  It was the center of worship of the sun god Ra and was located 10 miles northeast of modern-day Cairo. The high priest in On held the title ‘Greatest of Seers.’  When Joseph married into this family, he joined the social class belonging only to national leaders.  This marriage arrangement was another step to show Pharaoh’s confidence that Joseph was a “seer,” or prophet of the highest caliber.


Joseph was never part of a kingly lineage like Judah nor was he ever given the option of choosing long life or riches like Solomon. Instead, his path of life was determined by his brothers according to the plan of Elohim. He was given a wise and understanding heart and rendered justice in Egypt like no other leader.   He was given great honor in the king’s court and posterity through his two sons: Ephraim and Manasseh.   Solomon’s sons divided the kingdom of Isra’el and as of today, it is still a divided kingdom. Yeshua like Joseph, who was rejected by his brothers, who is wise and understanding and renders justice righteously, whose father is King David, will restore the divided Kingdom.

Two sons were born to Joseph before the famine arrived.  From their names, it would seem that Joseph had been honest with Asenath about his past, his family and his Elohim.   It is even probable that she became a believer in the El Shaddai of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for Elohim does not desire that his people be unequally yoked.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Manasseh (Causing to Forget) or M’nasheh מנשה – mem, noon, shin, hey

behold, the life that overcomes chaos

Ephraim (Fruit) or Efrayim – אפריםalef, peh, resh, yod, mem

the source of strength is the head, the finished work of chaos

The Testing of the Brothers

During the years of abundance so much sheber (grain) was collected, quantities like the sand of seashore that Joseph stopped counting the amount.  Then, after seven years of abundance, a famine covered the whole earth. 

Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt and his family needed grain so “the sons of Isra’el” were sent by their father to Egypt to buy grain along with all the other nations affected by the famine.  By using the name Isra’el in the passage, this journey to buy grain becomes a spiritual journey from which the sons of Isra’el learn the message of the redemption through repentance, forgiveness, and restoration.

Joseph knows his brothers immediately, but they don’t recognize him.  He is dressed in the robes of an Egyptian leader and wields great authority.  He has an Egyptian name and he speaks to them through an interpreter.   They bow before him and he remembers his dream of the haystacks bowing down.  The prophetic dream comes to pass nearly 23 years later in a foreign country.   He tells them he believes they are spies and sends them to prison.  For three days the topic of conversation becomes what they did to their brother and the never-ending guilt.  Joseph detains Simeon while he sends his frightened brothers home for Benjamin.  He also returns the money they brought in their grain bags.   This event confuses Joseph’s brothers, but causes them to face their need to repent for their actions many years ago.  The circumcision of their hearts begins.

When they need to return for more grain, Judah tells his father, “The man expressly warned us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you” (Genesis 43:3).  Judah knows that his father still grieves the loss of Joseph and fears losing his youngest son too.

Judah makes a promise to Isra’el, “Send the boy with me; and we will make preparations and leave; so that we may stay alive and not die, both we and you, and also our little ones.  I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me responsible.  If I fail to bring him to you and present him to your face, let me bear the blame forever” (Genesis 43:8-9).

Judah, the man who had lost his sons to death, the man who had twins with his daughter-in-law Tamar, guarantees the safety of Benjamin and the sons of Isra’el return to Egypt.  Joseph sees Benjamin and is so emotionally overwhelmed that he goes to his bedroom to weep.

The brothers are fearful inside Joseph’s house. They have no idea what this Egyptian leader wants with them and their two decades of guilt consumes them.   Joseph’s servant tries to comfort them,  “Stop worrying.  Don’t be afraid.  Your God and the God of your father put treasure in your packs.  As for your money – I was the one who received it” (Genesis 43:23).

How interesting it is that the servant speaks of the Elohim of their father!  How would an Egyptian servant know about their El Shaddai?  Joseph had already told them when he set them free from prison “he feared Elohim,” and now this servant is telling Joseph’s brothers is to put their faith in “the Elohim of their father.” 

With these events, it becomes apparent that Joseph may have been Jacob’s favored son because of his love for his Elohim, while his brothers were much less spiritually inclined men.  Also, the years in Egypt had been a time of testing of Joseph, a time of spiritual growth and refining.  His brothers had not been put to the tests that Joseph had and therefore, had not grown spiritually.  They remained stuck with their guilty consciences.

When Joseph returns to the room, the brothers have a noon meal with him. The firstborn, Reuben sits in the place of honor and the youngest, Benjamin, in the last place.  The brothers are amazed that this powerful man of Egypt knows their birth order.  Still, none of them consider that this Egyptian man could be their brother.  The whole idea seems preposterous as that last time they saw him, he was a slave!

When they leave to return to Canaan, Joseph tests his brothers a second time.  All of their money is returned to the grain bags along with Joseph’s silver goblet hidden in Benjamin’s bag.  This cup would have been a ‘cup of divination’ or a way to divine spirits.  According to Deuteronomy 18:10-12, divination is an unacceptable practice among Elohim’s people.  Did Joseph actually divine things from a cup?  No, he did not.

Joseph had a very personal relationship with the Elohim of Isra’el who communicated with him through dreams, thus he obviously had the Spirit of Elohim with him.  The man who had interpreted Pharaoh’s dream through the Spirit of God and given the second highest place of honor in Egypt did not need to divine information from other gods.  This cup was part of the religious culture in which he lived.  The information that Joseph uses with his brothers is believed to be  ‘divined knowledge,’ but came from firsthand experience from their shunned brother, not some supernatural other worldly ‘cup of divination.’  Joseph uses the cup to frighten and convict his brothers who knew of ‘divining cups’ and would believe that this great Egyptian leader has so much authority he could see right through them and accuse them of the guilt they had put them in spiritual bondage.

Soon after they left the city, Joseph sends his manager to find them and accuse them of stealing the goblet.  When they are found with the silver cup, they tear their clothes in mourning.   They are very much aware of what will happen to their father if they do not return with their youngest brother.  Judah and his brothers return to the city to return the divining cup and try to explain the problem.   Joseph says the consequences for stealing the cup was to make Benjamin a slave.

Yeshua is Tested

“Then the Spirit led Yeshua up into the wilderness to be tempted by the Adversary.  After Yeshua had fasted forty days and nights, he was hungry.  The Tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, order these stones to become bread.’

“But he answered, “The Tanakh says, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of Adonai.’”

“Then the Adversary took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the Temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “jump! For the Tanakh says, ‘He will order his angels to be responsible for you. . . . They will support you with their hands, so that you will not hurt your feet on the stones.’

“Yeshua replied to him, “But it also says, ‘Do not put Adonai your God to the test.’

“Once more, the Adversary took him up to the summit of a very high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in all their glory, 9 and said to him, “All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.’

“Away with you, Satan!” Yeshua told him, ‘For the Tanakh says, ‘Worship Adonai your God, and serve only him.’

“Then the Adversary let him alone, and angels came and took care of him” (Matthew 4:-11).

Haftarah (Readings from the Prophets)

1 Kings 3:10-14 

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

Acts 7:9-16

Midrash Mikketz: Signet Rings

Signet rings are the symbol of authority and divine choice (Haggai 2:23).   Judah, Pharaoh of Egypt, and King Xerxes (book of Esther) had signet rings and gave them away.  Discuss how signet rings have affected Elohim’s eternal plan for Isra’e

©2013 Tent Stake Ministries

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