“Then Y’hudah approached Yosef and said, ‘Please my lord! Let your servant say something to you privately; and don’t be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself’” (Genesis 44:18).
Judah pleads for Benjamin’s life and the life of his father who will die if Benjamin is not returned. Judah intercedes as the ‘redeemer’ for Benjamin as well as for all the brothers, Isra’el. Judah is the tribal lineage of Messiah Yeshua who came not only to become the intercessor for Isra’el, but also the nations. Located in the tribal land of Benjamin is the city of Elohim, Jerusalem, the place of of Elohim’s name and His Temple.
“But because he [Yeshua] lives forever, his position as cohen does not pass on to someone else; and consequently, he is totally able to deliver those who approach God through him; since he is alive forever and thus forever able to intercede on their behalf. This is the kind of cohen gadol [high priest] that meets our need — holy, without evil, without stain, set apart from sinners and raised higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:24-26).
Joseph tests his brothers several times to find out if they had repented of their sin against him and to know what was in their hearts. He comes to believe that they deeply love their father and know that if he loses his youngest son, it will kill him. They want to protect their youngest brother as well as their “gray haired” father (Proverbs 20:29). As they have walked their spiritual journey to and from Egypt, they have been convicted and challenged as brothers.
“At last Yosef could no longer control his feelings in front of his attendants and cried, ‘Get everybody away from me!’ So no one else was with him when Yosef revealed to his brothers who he was. He wept aloud, and the Egyptians heard, and Pharaoh’s household heard. Yosef said to his brothers, ‘I am Yosef! Is it true that my father is still alive?’ His brothers couldn’t answer him, they were so dumbfounded at seeing him. Yosef said to his brothers, ‘Please! Come closer.’ And they came closer. He said, ‘I am Yosef, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t be sad that you sold me into slavery here or angry at yourselves, because it was God who sent me ahead of you to preserve life. The famine has been over the land for the last two years, and for yet another five years there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you will have descendants on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance’” (Genesis 45:1-7).
Joseph cannot contain himself any longer. His grief from years of being a foreigner in an unfamiliar culture finally releases. His heartache from being separated from those he loved is finally over. He weeps. He weeps so loud that the Egyptians hear him, along with everyone in Pharaoh’s house.
The Hebrew words for “he wept loudly” are vyiten et qolow. Within that phrase is the little word et, את , the alef and the tav that represents Yeshua. In the midst of Jacob’s weeping is Yeshua. Salvation comes to Joseph and his brothers; Yeshua restores the Tribes of Isra’el.
Joseph’s brothers are dumbfounded. In the phrase, “They were troubled at his presence,” the Hebrew word ‘troubled’ comes from bahal and means ‘dismayed.’ According to the Talmud: “When Rabbi El’azar would read this verse, he would weep: ‘If the rebuke of flesh and blood is thus, how much more so the rebuke of the Holy One, blessed be He!’”
Joseph tells everyone to leave, except his brothers. He asks them to “Come closer.” A few verses later he says, “Here! Your own eyes see and the eyes of your brother Benjamin that it is my own mouth speaking to you” (Genesis 45:12). Rashi, suggests that the brothers needed further proof that Joseph was truly their brother so he draws them closer to reveal his heritage. “Your own eyes see [my glory] and that I am your brother for I am circumcised as you are and, furthermore, “That my mouth speaks to you” in the Holy Language [Hebrew].”
Joseph embraces Benjamin and weeps. He weeps on his other brothers, and they talk with one another. Joseph tells his brothers to return home. They are to bring their father, their wives, and their children to live in the land of Egypt. Their spiritual journey continues as they follow the instructions of a brother they “did not recognize.” They are delivered from their past sin through the forgiveness of Joseph. As they obey his instructions, they set in motion a great family reunion.
It would be a monumental project moving a nation of people from one place to another, especially for an old man like Jacob. Elohim’s chosen people would need special attention. Joseph understood this and sent wagons to escort his father’s family to their new homeland.
The wagons and the animals pulling them would be proof to Jacob that Joseph was alive and waiting for him in a distant land. The Torah gives an instruction for an atonement when someone is found murdered in a field with no murder suspect. A heifer is to be taken to a vadi where its neck is broken. The leaders nearest to where the victim was found were to wash their hands as a statement that the blood was not shed by their hands nor did they know who shed the blood (Deuteronomy 1:1-9). With living animals pulling the wagons, Rashi suggests that Jacob immediately understood that his son had not been murdered because the animals were alive. He also suggests that the wagon was a sign to Jacob, as this was the instruction Joseph was learning when he left home to find his brothers.
Joseph gives each brother a new set of clothes. This is his way of honoring his brothers and showing them they are truly forgiven. The long-sleeved robe that many years before had fractured their relationship could be put in the past. The brothers also receive a new status in Egypt as they are the family of the second man in authority over Egypt!
Joseph gives Benjamin 7 ½ pounds of silver and five sets of new clothes. Five is the number of grace or favor. Joseph shows Benjamin special favor, his younger brother from his mother, Rachel. Seven is the number of completion while eight is the number of new beginnings. Seven and half suggests that the brothers are halfway between the completion of the last 23 years of struggle and a new beginning. They still have one journey to complete –– telling their father everything that they did to Joseph so many years ago.
Joseph sends ten donkeys loaded with Egypt’s finest produce and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and food for the return journey. The number ten speaks of divine perfection, power, and protection. By sending ten male and ten female donkeys, Joseph is reminding his brothers, and eventually showing his father, that what happened in the past had divine purpose and prophetic vision for Isra’el.
Still aware of their sibling rivalry, Joseph doesn’t completely trust them and sends them back to their father with a warning: “Don’t quarrel among yourselves while you’re traveling” (Genesis 45:24).
Elohim knew that Jacob would hesitate to move his family to a pagan land even if his son was alive. He may doubt that Joseph is the same young man who disappeared 23 years earlier, the young man with whom he had a deep spiritual connection. For over two decades, Joseph had lived in the Egyptian court and became the second highest ranking official in Egypt with all of its perks in the Egyptian hierarchy. He may not only have taken on an Egyptian lifestyle, but perhaps chose to serve their gods, forgetting his Hebrew roots. I believe the wagon sent a second message:
“Do not fear, father. I am still your son, Yosef. I have withstood the influence of Egypt. I rule the people in their culture, but it does not rule me. The world I once knew, that world of Avraham, Yitz’ak and you, my father, is still alive and exists within my household. I have confronted the problems and challenges of Egypt, yet I was able to assimilate my world, the world of my youth, into Egypt. This land which is opposed to all that I was taught in my youth, all the morals, beliefs and ideals that you instilled in me, has not affected me. Father, do not fear! I am still Yosef your son.”
The Foreign Jesus
Because Joseph dressed like an Egyptian, talked like an Egyptian, and lived like an Egyptian in an Egyptian palace, his brothers do not recognize him. Though it was important for him to have an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife to assimilate into the culture, it was not who he really was. He was still a Hebrew, the son of Jacob, who maintained his faith in the Elohim of his father. He named his children, Manasseh and Ephraim, with his former life still held in his heart. He did not, at any time, embrace the gods of Egypt, even with a wife whose father was a high priest for the sun god Ra.
Pharaoh had seen the power of Elohim living in Joseph, and the wisdom that allowed his country to be protected from the torment of the famine. Joseph is sometimes called ‘Joseph the Righteous’ because of his great faith in Elohim and his ability to live as a Hebrew among the Egyptians without compromising or assimilating his walk of faith.
Today, many Jewish people do not recognize their own Messiah because he has been clothed in the garments of other gods and goddesses. False religious traditions from Egypt, Greece, and Rome have assimilated not only culturally into Christianity, but also spiritually with a pagan worship system of idolatry. These traditions embrace false gods and goddesses like Ishtar (Easter), Saturn (Christmas), and Ra (the day of Sun) who cannot deliver from sin and guilt, nor have the power to bring forth repentance, forgiveness, and purification from sin.
Jewish people who observe the teachings of Greek Jesus have no desire for him. They know that many of the commands given to them by Elohim were forever, to be obeyed throughout their generations. When they see the holy Sabbath has been forsaken for Sunday or those who claim to love Elohim eat all manner of ‘unclean’ foods, they shy away from learning about their own Messiah. The Shema, the foundation of all Jewish prayer and faith, speaks about Elohim being echad (one). When they hear about the trinity dividing Elohim into three separate parts and worshiped individually, they turn away from all things Christian. They are waiting for the Messiah, but because anti-semitic doctrines have removed Biblically Jewish traditions from the faith, they do not recognize him. They do not see the Elohim of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Sha’ul says the Jewish mind is veiled because they don’t know Messiah Yeshua, but they can’t know him through the people, language, and the culture in which he is now presented (2 Corinthians 3:14-15). The prophet Jeremiah promised a new covenant for the House of Judah and the House of Isra’el, but its provisions have been hijacked by gentiles and transformed into a religion that is foreign, and not palatable, to the brothers and sisters of Yeshua. Even using the name Jesus Christ makes them think that the leader of Christianity has a first and last name, a name and a religion that has nothing to do with them.
The Jewish Messiah
The Jewish Messiah taught Torah and that nothing in it would end until there is a new heaven and earth (Matthew 5:17-18). He is the prophetic vision of the Feasts of Elohim found in Leviticus 23. He instituted the new covenant promised by Jeremiah at Pesach (Passover), he was buried on Matzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread), rose from the dead on HaBikkurim (Feast of Firstfruits). His Father poured out His Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) on Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) ten days after Yeshua ascended into heaven. Yeshua will return as King of Kings on Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets), judge the nation of Isra’el on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), set up his Millennial Kingdom on Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), and will rule and reign from Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) for one thousand years. Yeshua never changed the Shabbat (Sabbath), but taught that he is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5). He never ate ‘unclean’ foods nor did he teach that his Father’s dietary instructions had changed. He told the Jewish people at Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication) that he and his Father are echad. His Hebrew name, the name which is above all other names and means ‘salvation,’ was known before the foundation of the world and was given to Joseph ––Yeshua.
He is Alive!
“‘Yosef is still alive! He is ruler over the whole land of Egypt!’ He [Ya’akov] was stunned at the news; he couldn’t believe them. It was only when he saw the wagons which Yosef had sent to carry him that the spirit of Ya’akov their father revived” (Genesis 45:26-27).
When first hearing the news that Joseph was alive and a great ruler over Egypt, Jacob’s heart is filled with disbelief and shock. He has been a doubter, especially when it came to his sons’ integrity: “He couldn’t believe them.” Only after seeing the wagons, wagons that can only be sent by the Pharaoh himself, does his ‘spirit revive.’ The Hebrew word for ‘spirit’ in this verse is ruach, the same word used for the Spirit of Elohim. In order for a spirit to revive, it must have be dead. When Jacob was shown the bloodied coat, he immediately believed his beloved son to be dead. Hearing the news that his son was alive jolted his soul and it began living again, pumping spiritual life through his body.
Hebrew Word Pictures
Revive or chayah – חיה – chet, yod, hey
– protect the finished work, behold
The history of Jacob began with “when Joseph was seventeen,” but there is no mention of him again until there is a famine and he hears there is grain in Egypt. As Jacob, he sends his sons down to Egypt for food. When the men return to their father, he is still referred to as Jacob. When Benjamin is taken to Egypt, Jacob’s spirit further succumbs believing evil will happen to his youngest son.
In the Targum Onkelos, the word ‘prophecy’ is added to the phrase “the spirit [of prophecy] of Jacob their father revived” putting an interesting allusion to the passage. Because Jacob had been in deep mourning for 23 years, he had no joy and lacked the ‘spirit of prophecy.’ When his spirit revives, the Divine Presence of Elohim returns. He is filled with joy and the ‘spirit of prophecy’ returns to Isra’el.
Joy and prophecy are connected several times in Scripture (1 Samuel 10:5-6, 16:15-23, 2 Kings 3:14-18). It is believed that a prophetic message can only be received when received with joy. Nothing awakens and feeds the human soul more than the joy intrinsic to music. According to rabbinical literature, it was the gentle music of Serach, Jacob’s granddaughter, that enabled Jacob to receive the incredible news that Joseph was still alive. As Asher’s daughter played the lyre and sang, the music opened Jacob’s grieving heart allowing it to feel joy again –– reviving his spirit. To be a woman mentioned in a genealogy means that Serach’s life held great importance, and this may be the reason (Genesis 46:17).
Hebrew Word Pictures
Serah or Serach – שרח – shin, resh, chet
– consuming the highest authority, protect
Jacob has a prophetic vision at Be’er Sheva and Elohim tells him not to be afraid to go to Egypt. It is in Egypt that Elohim will make him into a great nation. With the anticipation of reuniting with Joseph and the continuing promises of Elohim, he loads the wagons and travels to Egypt with his sons, grandsons, daughters, granddaughters, and all his descendants.
Isra’el Enters Egypt
“Yosef then sent for his father Ya‘akov and all his relatives, seventy-five people” (Acts 7:14).
A small nation of 70 people enters Egypt, though the book of Acts records 75. There are two views as to why there is this discrepancy. The first view is that Hebrew letters are used as numerals and could be interpreted different ways. The second view is that the sons of Manasseh and Ephraim, who Jacob accepted as his own sons, were counted as part of the nation of Isra’el along with Joseph and his wife (1 Chronicles 7:14-21).
Because Reuben and Simeon lost their leadership roles in the family due to sinful behavior, Judah is sent ahead of the caravan to guide the group into the land of Goshen (Drawing Near). Judah, the brother who wanted to sell Joseph into slavery, now guides the Tribes of Isra’el taking them from famine in Canaan into a fruitful land in Egypt. He has been given the scepter and draws the nation towards the Promised Land.
“He presented himself to him, fell on him and wept on his neck for a long time” (Genesis 46:29).
Joseph prepares his chariots and heads to Goshen to meet his father. The Hebrew word for ‘presented’ is vayera and actually means ‘appeared.’ This word is generally used for the sudden appearance of angels or Elohim. To Jacob, his son ‘appeared’ to him as the glory of Adonai. Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher, believed that a son in this culture would never fall on his elderly father out of respect, and postulated that Jacob was the subject of the verb ‘to fall’ and thus it was Jacob who fell on Joseph, the one who appeared to him as the glory of El Shaddai.
Isra’el says to Joseph, “Now I can die, because I have seen your face and seen that you are still alive” (Genesis 46:30). These words are similar to what the prophet Simeon says when he sees Yeshua in the Temple on the day of his redemption, “Now, Adonai, according to your word, your servant is at peace as you let him go; for I have seen with my own eyes your yeshuah [salvation]” (Luke 2:29-30).
Isra’el, like his grandfather Abraham, had put his hope in the resurrection of the dead. Just as Abraham symbolically received Isaac ‘back from the dead,’ Jacob receives his beloved Joseph ‘back from the dead’ (Hebrews 11:17-19).
Joseph presents five of his brothers to Pharaoh who asks their profession. They respond that they are shepherds –– which is an abhorrent occupation to Egyptians. All of Joseph’s brothers were shepherds, and probably excellent at animal husbandry like their father, so Pharaoh allows Joseph’s family to live in Goshen. Pharaoh has such high respect for Joseph that he even shows favor to his brothers by putting them in charge of his own livestock.
Joseph also presents his father to Pharaoh. Jacob blesses Pharaoh as he enters the king’s presence; Pharaoh is humbled. He asks his age and Jacob replies that his pilgrimage on the earth has been 130 years, less than his father and grandfather, and very difficult (Genesis 47:10). Perhaps knowing Joseph and seeing his wisdom and faithfulness to Elohim, Pharaoh understands that it came from the greatest patriarch alive at this time. Before Jacob leaves Pharaoh’s presence, he blesses the greatest, most powerful king of the world a second time (Hebrews 7:7).
The content of Jacob’s blessing is not written, but perhaps it was a blessing for taking care of his son and now, his family. Isaiah 19:23-25 says that in the day of Elohim, along with Isra’el and Assyria, Egypt will be blessed by Elohim and called His people. Perhaps, with his spirit of prophecy, Isra’el speaks a prophetic word over Pharaoh and Egypt. By blessing the king twice, the blessing is established by Elohim.
Isra’el has been brought out of Canaan and the family is reunited in Goshen. Isra’el lives in Egypt 17 years. His sons acquire possessions, are productive, and their numbers multiply greatly. But, the famine continues. It becomes so severe that money is collected for grain until there is no money; livestock is traded until there is no livestock; land is relinquished until everything in Egypt is owned by Pharaoh. The people are reduced to servitude –– city by city. They are given seed to plant and from the crops 20 percent is returned to Pharaoh. This is how Egypt survived the famine and grows into a great nation following the famine.
Yeshua, His Hebrew Name
“Here is how the birth of Yeshua the Messiah took place. When his mother Miryam was engaged to Yosef, before they were married, she was found to be pregnant from the Ruach haKodesh. Her husband-to-be, Yosef, was a man who did what was right; so he made plans to break the engagement quietly, rather than put her to public shame. But while he was thinking about this, an angel of Adonai appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Yosef, son of David, do not be afraid to take Miryam home with you as your wife; for what has been conceived in her is from the Ruach haKodesh. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means ‘Adonai saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins’” (Matthew 1:18-24).
“Seeing Yeshua from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him and screamed at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Yeshua, Son of God Ha‘Elyon? I implore you in God’s name! Don’t torture me!’ For Yeshua had already begun saying to him, ‘Unclean spirit, come out of this man!’” (Mark 5:6-8)
“On the eighth day, when it was time for his b’rit-milah [circumcision], he was given the name Yeshua, which is what the angel had called him before his conception” (Luke 2:21).
“Therefore God raised him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name; that in honor of the name given Yeshua, every knee will bow — in heaven, on earth and under the earth — and every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai — to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has cupped the wind in the palms of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!” (Proverbs 30:4)
Hebrew Word Pictures
Yeshua (Salvation) – ישוע – yod, shin, vav, ayin
– the finished work consumes the binding, understand
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