Posts Tagged ‘Joseph’

Parashah 54: V’zot (This is the blessing)

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

“This is the blessing that Moshe, the man of God, spoke over the people of Isra’el before his death” (Deuteronomy 33:1).

This final parashah of the annual Torah cycle is always read on Simchat Torah. The blessing of Moshe was not only for his generation, but for all generations to come.

“Adonai came from Sinai; from Se‘ir he dawned on his people, shone forth from Mount Pa’ran; and with him were myriads of holy ones; at his right hand was a fiery law for them”
(Deuteronomy 33:2).

The myriads of holy ones at the right hand of Adonai are the saints. These men and women have been justified by the blood of Messiah and have been made holy through the Word of Truth (John 17:17).

‘Saints’ or ‘holy ones’ are living persons, not dead, contrary to some ideologies. Sha’ul writes to the Corinthians calling them ‘saints,’ those “who have been set-apart by Yeshua the Messiah and called to be God’s holy people” (1 Corinthians 1:2).  Saints will one day judge the world and receive a glorious inheritance (1 Corinthians 6:2, Ephesians 1:18).  Saints are to love one another, and their prayers rise to Elohim like incense (Colossians 1:4, Revelation 5:8, 8:3-4).  Yeshua will be glorified through the saints (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

At Adonai’s right hand was a ‘fiery law’ which is Yeshua as the living Torah. ‘Fire’ symbolizes the divinity, the glory, and the holiness of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. His holiness was in the burning bush and his glory was the pillar of fire. Fire as His Ruach came down on the Temple at Solomon’s coronation, and on Shavuot, tongues of fire rested on the heads of Messianic Jews in Jerusalem. Sodom and Gomorrah were judged by fire, and the refiner’s fire melts away dross and leaving the purity of gold (Malachi 3:1-2).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Fiery Law or esh-dath – אש דת – alef, shin –– dalet, tav
– first strength consumes –– pathway sign

“Your word is refined to complete purity, and your servant loves it” (Psalm 119:140).

Being refined by Torah will perfect and leads us into a pure and holy walk with Elohim. Torah is the ‘double-edged sword’ that pierces our heart, transforms us, and guides us in our daily relationship with Adonai.

There is no difference between a holy one from a Tribe of Isra’el and a saint from one of the nations. Torah is an inheritance for the community of Isra’el that includes those who join the community through faith in Yeshua. Moshe’s blessing continues with the holy ones sitting at the feet of ‘I Am’ and receiving His instructions. 

“Then a king arose in Yeshurun when the leaders of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Isra’el together” (Deuteronomy 33:5).

Moshe uses the poetic term Yeshurun a second time. In the Septuagint, it is translated ‘the beloved one’ and refers to the people of Isra’el, the land of Isra’el, and the children of Jacob who became Isra’el.  There are two different possibilities for the Hebrew root of Yeshurun.  One is yashar which means ‘to be upright’. The other is from the word shir or ‘song’ alluding to the great rejoicing that will occur when the Messiah unites the Tribes of Isra’el.

Moshe Blesses the Tribes

Judah (Y’hudah)
“Hear, Adonai, the cry of Y’hudah! Bring him in to his people, let his own hands defend him; but you, help him against his enemies” (Deuteronomy 33:7).
Judah has always fought to stay alive from men like Haman, nations like Syria, and genocides like the Inquisitions, Crusades and Nazis. As the other tribes are scattered throughout the world, Judah remained Judah, the Jews.   Though it appears they fight their enemies with their own hands, Adonai always intervenes in order to keep His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the recent conflicts with Gaza and the Palestinians, many in the Israeli Defense Force spoke of miraculous events that could only be attributed to HaShem.

“Let your tumim and urim be with your pious one, whom you tested at Massah, with whom you struggled at M’rivah Spring. Of his father and mother he said, ‘I don’t know them’; he didn’t acknowledge his brothers or children. For he observed your word, and he kept your covenant. They will teach Ya‘akov your rulings, Isra’el your Torah. They will set incense before you and whole burnt offerings on your altar. Adonai, bless his possessions, accept the work he does; but crush his enemies hip and thigh; may those who hate him rise no more” (Deuteronomy 33:8-11).

The word ‘pious’ in Hebrew is chasid and means ‘godly one.’ The contemporary Orthodox movement known as ‘Hasidic’ came out of Russia in the Eighteenth Century and spread through Europe and into the western nations. Hasidic Jews are recognized by their long beards, dark suits, and payos or side curls that hang down on the sides of their faces. Their lifestyle gives the appearance that they are deeply spiritual because they adhere to strict religious practices and keep themselves separate from the rest of the world.

The Levites are called ‘pious’ because they were willing to keep Adonai’s covenant even when it meant killing members of their own family. Because of the faithfulness of the Levites, they would teach Torah to Isra’el. Though they would have enemies, their enemies would be crushed at the ‘hip and thigh’ and rise no more.

Yeshua brings division into families in Isra’el. There is a cost to following him, just as there was a cost for the Levites. Those Jews who choose to follow him will be and are rejected by their families (Matthew 10:34-38, Luke 14:25-32).

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, his mother, his wife, his children, his brothers and his sisters, yes, and his own life besides, he cannot be my talmid [disciple]” (Luke 14:26).

Benjamin (Benyamin)
“Adonai’s beloved lives securely. He protects him day after day. He lives between his shoulders”
(Deuteronomy 33:12).

‘Beloved’ is the endearment that describes the bride in Song of Songs, an allusion to the Bride of Messiah. According to this blessing, the ‘beloved’ is protected day after day and lives securely in Adonai.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Beloved or yadid – ידיד – yod, dalet, yod, dalet
– finished work pathway, finished work pathway

Loved or ahav – אהוב – alef, hey, vav, bet
– first strength revealed binding the family

Joseph (Yosef)
“May Adonai bless his land with the best from the sky, for the dew, and for what comes from the deep beneath, with the best of what the sun makes grow, with the best of what comes up each month, with the best from the mountains of old, with the best from the eternal hills, with the best from the earth and all that fills it, and the favor of him who lived in the [burning] bush. May blessing come on the head of Yosef, on the brow of the prince among his brothers. His firstborn bull — glory is his; his horns are those of a wild ox; With them he will gore the peoples, all of them, to the ends of the earth. These are the myriads of Efrayim; these are the thousands of M’nasheh” (Deuteronomy 33:13-17).

Joseph is the prince among his brothers. Ephraim and Manasseh have become a multitude of nations and are his glory. He is blessed with the best of everything from the sky, the dew, the deep; the best of what the sun makes grow, the best of the mountains, the earth and the eternal hills.  He is blessed with the favor of ‘him who lived in the burning bush’: the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. Joseph received the favor of personally knowing Yeshua through His character, His presence, and His deliverance. 

Zebulun (Z’vulun)
Issachar (Yissakhar)
“Rejoice, Z’vulun, as you go forth, and you, Yissakhar, in your tents. They will summon peoples to the mountain and there offer righteous sacrifices; for they will draw from the abundance of the seas and from the hidden treasures of the sand” (Deuteronomy 33:18-19).

These two tribes rejoice together because they will summon people to the mountain of Adonai to offer righteous sacrifices. They will find their abundance in the seas and hidden treasures of the sand. Zebulun and Issachar will have a significant role in the restoration of Isra’el.  From the sea of nations, ‘grains of sand,’ the faithful descendants of Abraham will return to Mount Tziyon and worship Adonai.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. A man found it, hid it again, then in great joy went and sold everything he owned, and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44).

“Blessed is he who makes Gad so large; he lies there like a lion, tearing arm and scalp. He chose the best for himself when the princely portion was assigned. When the leaders of the people came, he carried out Adonai’s justice and his rulings concerning Isra’el” (Deuteronomy 33:20-21).

Like a devouring lion, Gad will become a powerful nation. When it is time for Adonai’s justice and His rulings to be carried out concerning Isra’el, Gad will fulfill the call.

“Justice will once again become righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it” (Psalm 94:15).

“Dan is a lion cub leaping forth from Bashan” (Deuteronomy 33:22).

Og, the giant, was king in Bashan which is located in the Golan Heights. Cattle and a special breed of sheep have been raised in this area since ancient times. Wild animals often attacked the sheep which didn’t fare well for the animals.

Dan was the rear guard as the Israelites traveled through the wilderness.  As a lion cub, Dan may become the protector of the sheep. Dan’s land inheritance and the city of Dan are near the borders of Syria and Lebanon.  It is important that Dan is a lion cub, for perhaps it will become a military base protecting the sheep of the House of Isra’el.

“You, Naftali, satisfied with favor and full of blessing from Adonai, take possession of the sea and the south” (Deuteronomy 33:23).

Standing on the cliff of Mount Arbel, I was able to see the land inheritance of Nafatli, a beautiful, lush, fertile land. This land lies north of the Sea of Galilee which is not ‘the Sea and the south.’ Perhaps as the end times unfold, it will be the descendants of Nafatli who secure the West Bank from the Arabs which lies west and south of the Sea of Galilee.

“May Asher be most blessed of sons, may he be the favorite among his brothers and bathe his feet in oil. May your bolts be of iron and bronze and your strength last as long as you live”
(Deuteronomy 33:24-25).

Asher is to be the most blessed of Jacob’s sons and will the favorite among his brothers.  His feet will be bathed in oil and he will have great strength. 

Being ‘bathed in oil’ is an allusion to being anointed as king, priest or prophet. Queen Esther ‘bathed in oils’ as she prepared to meet the King. Psalm 104:15 says, “Oil makes the face glow,” however, it is Asher’s feet not his head that will be bathed. This may symbolize prosperity and that wherever his feet are placed, there will be blessing.

“Miryam took a whole pint of pure oil of spikenard, which is very expensive, poured it on Yeshua’s feet and wiped his feet with her hair, so that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume”
(John 12:3).

“Yeshurun, there is no one like God, riding through the heavens to help you, riding on the clouds in his majesty. The God of old is a dwelling-place, with everlasting arms beneath. He expelled the enemy before you and he said, ‘Destroy!’” (Deuteronomy 33:26-27)

Yeshua will return ‘riding on the clouds’ so this is prophetic to the return of the majestic King Messiah. At his return, he will destroy Isra’el’s enemies and remove them from the Land.

“Sing to God, sing praises to his name; extol him who rides on the clouds by his name, Yah; and be glad in his presence” (Psalm 68:5).

“So Isra’el lives in security; the fountain of Ya‘akov is alone in a land of grain and new wine, where the skies drip with dew. Happy are you, Isra’el! ‘Who is like you, a people saved by Adonai, your defender helping you and your sword of triumph? Your enemies will cringe before you, but you will trample down their high places’” (Deuteronomy 33:28-29).

‘Fountains’ symbolize spiritual nourishment that comes from the Word of Elohim.  When Yeshua reveals himself to Isra’el as Messiah, there will be security and the Land will drip with dew, grain, and new wine. ‘Dew’ symbolizes blessing and Isra’el will finally receive the fulfillment of her blessings: the covenants and the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Aaron, Phineas, and King David.

Two tribes are not blessed by Moshe: Reuben and Simeon.

Moshe Goes to His Ancestors

“I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over there” (Deuteronomy 34:4).

From the top of Mount Nebo across from the Jordan River, Moshe was shown all of the Promised Land –– from Gilead as far north as Dan, all of Nafatli and the Galilee, the lands of Ephraim and Manasseh, the land of Judah all the way to the Mediterranean and beyond, the Negev desert and the Aravah including the valley of Jericho and as far away as Tzoar.

Moshe died in the land of Moab at 120 years of age with ‘eyes undimmed and vigor undiminished.’  Though has aged, his eyesight and vigor suggest he still had many years left to live, but because of his unfaithfulness in front of the community of Isra’el, he had to die ‘young.’ He was buried in the valley of Beit-P’or, but to this day no one knows the location of his grave.  Isra’el mourned 30 days for Moshe.

“Since that time there has not arisen in Isra’el a prophet like Moshe, whom Adonai knew face to face.  What signs and wonders Adonai sent him to perform in the Land of Egypt upon Pharaoh, all his servants and all his land!  What might was in his hand!  What great terror he evoked before the eyes of all Isra’el!” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)

Moshe was the greatest prophet who ever lived. He was the most humble man on earth because that is how Adonai knew him. It was not with pride or arrogance that he led Isra’el or wrote down the words of Torah, it was in great humility.

Drawn out of the reeds of the Nile River as an infant and raised in the Egyptian court, Moshe became a simple shepherd. He was called by Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh from a bush that burned, holy ground under his feet, and was transformed into a man who performed signs and wonders –– evidence that Adonai Elohim was with him.  He stood before the Egyptian Pharaoh and judged his nation and his gods. He led a group of millions out of slavery through the Red Sea and into a covenant relationship with ‘I am.’ He talked with Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh panim el panim and received hand-written instructions from Him, twice. He stood in the crevice of the ‘Rock,’ protected by His Hand as the glory of Adonai passed by.

He struggled with the quarreling, judgments, and rebellion of the Israelites offering his own life so that they would not be destroyed from the earth. He saw manna come with the dew and water gush from the ‘Rock.’ He instructed Isra’el to build a Mishkan so Adonai could dwell among His people in a cloud of glory. He had to wander in the wilderness 40 years with a faithless generation who whined, groaned, and mixed the holy and profane until he had enough and hit the ‘Rock’ losing the privilege of entering the Promised Land.

From the mouth of Adonai, he received and wrote down the accounts of creation, the flood of Noach, the lives of the patriarchs until the day the Hebrews left Egypt. He was given Adonai’s instructions, mitzvot, regulations, and statutes. He wrote them in a book called Torah, a book that would sit at the right hand of the Ark of the Covenant until the words would be brought to life through the Torah in the flesh –– Yeshua of Nazareth.

Yeshua, a prophet like Moshe, was even greater because he is the visible image of the invisible Elohim. He taught the Torah that was spoken by his Father and written down by Moshe. Through his blood, he instituted the promised new covenant that transformed the rebellious hearts of Isra’el into hearts of flesh. As the living Torah, the instructions of his Father remain a righteous and holy standard for life in this present world and the Messianic Era. Torah will only passing away when there is a new heaven, new earth, a New Jerusalem, and Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the ‘I Am’ tabernacles with man once again and for eternity.

“Y’hoshua, the son of Nun was full of the Spirit of wisdom, for Moshe had laid his hands on him, and the people of Isra’el heeded him and did what Adonai had ordered Moshe” (Deuteronomy 34:9).

Yeshua and The Resurrection

“When Yeshua arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute-players, and the crowd in an uproar, he said, ‘Everybody out! The girl isn’t dead, she’s only sleeping!’ And they jeered at him. But after the people had been put outside, he entered and took hold of the girl’s hand, and she got up” (Matthew 9:23-25).

“When he arrived at the house, he didn’t allow anyone to go in with him except Kefa, Yochanan, Ya‘akov and the child’s father and mother All the people were wailing and mourning for her; but he said, ‘Don’t weep; she hasn’t died, she’s sleeping.’ They jeered at him, since they knew she had died. But he took her by the hand, called out, “Little girl, get up!” and her spirit returned. She stood up at once, and he directed that something be given her to eat” (Luke 8:51-55).

“Yes, indeed! I tell you that there is coming a time — in fact, it’s already here — when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen will come to life” (John 4:25).

“Yeshua said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Marta said, ‘I know that he will rise again at the Resurrection on the Last Day.’ Yeshua said to her, “‘I Am the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world….’ Yeshua looked upward and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I myself know that you always hear me, but I say this because of the crowd standing around, so that they may believe that you have sent me.’ Having said this, he shouted, ‘El‘azar! Come out!’ The man who had been dead came out, his hands and feet wrapped in strips of linen and his face covered with a cloth. Yeshua said to them, “Unwrap him, and let him go!” (John 11:21-27, 41-44)

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, Study Helps, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

Parashah 10: Mikketz (At the end)

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, and fat cows; the other is about seven ears of corn and the eastern winds.

The seven fat cows came out of the Nile River which was the lifeblood of Egypt.  Because Egypt has virtually no rainfall throughout the entire year, it relies on the yearly flooding of the river to provide water for crops. The dream also included the Egyptian gods, Osiris and Isis. The god Osiris, represented by a bull, was the god of the Nile.  The goddess Isis, represented by a cow, was considered to be the source of wisdom. She was worshiped for having power over life and death. Seeing these gods, the Nile, the bull, and the cow brought distress to Pharaoh’s spirit.   He calls for his magicians, but no one in his court can interpret the dreams.

Pharaoh is told about a Hebrew man, a servant of the Captain of the Guard, who interpreted the dreams of the baker and cupbearer accurately.  The Egyptians had nothing to do with the Hebrews, but Pharaoh’s spirit was so deeply distressed that he had no other option except to bring a Hebrew slave into his presence.

By this time, Joseph is 30 years old.  He has spent 13 years in Egypt as a slave, a servant, and a prisoner. He has waited for this moment, not realizing the years in captivity were a preparation. The number 13 in Hebrew represents cleansing and purifying.

Joseph washed and dressed for his meeting with Pharaoh, his action of purification. I have been told many times that Elohim doesn’t care how we dress when we go to ‘church.’  I always refer these people to Matthew 22 and the King’s wedding feast.  There is one person who arrives wearing the wrong clothes and is removed from the banquet. There is protocol when meeting with a king, whether it’s the King of Kings, the King of England or the King of Egypt.  Joseph prepares physically to meet Pharaoh because his appearance will be his first testimony; he must show respect for Pharaoh and the great task before him.

Joseph has also been prepared spiritually. He has matured since the days of his youthful dreams when he antagonized his brothers by calling attention to his 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 through all the trials. 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 utmost courtesy and restraint, and directs all of his praise to Him.

Once he listens to Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph explains that the dreams predict 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 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 conundrum of lean and fat cows and full and dried ears of corn occurring simultaneously.  Joseph’s interpretation satisfied Pharaoh’s longing for understanding. Only the Spirit of Elohim could still the distraught ‘spirit of Pharaoh’ and bring him shalom.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Peace or shalom – שלום – shin, lamed, vav, mem
– destroying the leader bound to chaos

Not only did Joseph interpret the dreams, but he offered advice on managing 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 and exclaimed, “Can we find anyone else like him? The Spirit of God lives in him!” “The Spirit of God lives in him!” (Genesis 41:38)

In Egypt, the winds generally blow from north to south, but there is a southeast wind that 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 small dust particles which are harmful to humans if inhaled, so most people stay in their homes during this time.  Khamsin means 50 in Arabic and generally the winds last about 50 days.  In the days of Joseph, this southeast wind either lasted seven years or came in 50-day intervals over seven years rendering every living thing in Egypt dead. 

The number 50 in Hebrew is the letter nun.  The Hebrew Letter Picture is a ‘fish’ and means to ‘life.’  Even though a deadly eastern wind was coming to destroy Egypt, life is being offered to Egypt and the children of Isra’el through a Hebrew savior named Joseph.

A Wise Man

“Look for a man both 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 was not vying for the position he suggests to Pharaoh.  He was an Egyptian prisoner, a Hebrew slave. He knew he was not trained for such authority, had no experience with that kind of responsibility, and was still only a young man.  What he didn’t realize as he spoke was that Elohim had prepared him for this exact moment.  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)

Pharaoh gives Joseph his signet ring, a sign of his new position and closeness to the king. A signet ring could be worn on a finger or a chain around the neck; Joseph is given the gold chain. The signet ring would be evidence to everyone in Egypt and the surrounding nations that Joseph had the highest authority in all of Egypt, except for Pharaoh.

He is clothed in fine linen as evidence of his new status in Egypt and rides in the second best chariot.  Everyone in Egypt ‘bows down’ whenever he passes by.

He is also given an Egyptian name, Tzafanat-Pa’neach, that would allow him to be accepted in the Egyptian court and among the Egyptian people.  There are many possible meanings of his new name from ‘one who reveals mysteries’ to ‘savior of the world,’ but the most accepted is ‘the god speaks and he lives.’

Joseph is given Asenath, whose name means ‘peril or misfortune,’ as his wife. Joseph would not have chosen to marry a pagan woman, but as the second highest ranking official in Egypt, he is given no choice.  Elohim honors this marriage by giving Joseph’s first two children an inheritance with the sons of Isra’el. Elohim blesses Joseph’s marriage and his offspring become an integral part of the history of Isra’el.

Elohim also uses this marriage to strengthen Joseph’s position as a national leader. Asenath is the daughter of Poti-Fera (Ra has given), the priest of On, a priest of the sun god Ra. The city of On was known as Heliopolis, the City of the Sun. It was the center of worship for Ra and located ten miles northeast of modern-day Cairo. The high priest of On held the title ‘Greatest of Seers.’ When Joseph married Asenath, he joined the social class to which only national leaders belonged. This marriage arrangement became more evidence of Pharaoh’s confidence that Joseph was a true ‘seer’ or prophet of the highest caliber.

Joseph was never part of the kingly lineage of Judah nor ever given the option of choosing long life or riches like Solomon. Instead, his path of life was determined by his brothers. 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. Solomon’s sons divided the nation of Isra’el and it remains divided today. Like Joseph, Yeshua was rejected by his brothers, had wisdom and understanding. He will soon return to render justice and restore the divided nation.

Two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, are born to Joseph before the famine arrives.  From the meanings of their names, it seems that Joseph told Asenath about his past, his family, and his Elohim.   Jewish tradition teaches that she became a follower of the Elohim 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, nun, shin, hey
– mighty life consumed, revealed

Ephraim (Fruit) or Efrayim – אפרים – alef, peh, resh, yod, mem
– first strength speaks highest authority, 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.  After seven years of abundance, the eastern wind began to blow and a famine covered the land all the way to Canaan.

Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt so the sons of Isra’el were sent to buy grain from the Egyptians. By using the name Isra’el in the passage, the journey to buy grain becomes a spiritual journey from which the sons of Isra’el learn the message of redemption through repentance, forgiveness, and restoration.

Joseph immediately recognizes his brothers, 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 speaks to them through an interpreter. They ‘bow down’ before him and he remembers his dream of the haystacks.  Nearly 23 years later in a foreign country, the dream comes to pass.

Joseph tells his brothers that he believes they are spies and sends them to prison. For three days their topic of conversation revolves around what they did to their brother and the never-ending feelings of guilt. Joseph detains Simeon when he sends his frightened brothers home for their youngest brother, Benjamin.  He also returns the money they brought in their grain bags.   This confuses the brothers and causes them to face their need to repent for their actions against Joseph.  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 so he makes a promise to his father, “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 two of his sons to death, the man who had twins with the righteous Tamar, guarantees the safe return of Benjamin and Isra’el’s sons’ from Egypt.

When Joseph sees Benjamin, he is emotionally overwhelmed and 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).

The servant speaks of the Elohim of their father?  How would an Egyptian servant know about Him?  Joseph had already told them when he set them free from prison “he feared Elohim” and now his servant is telling them to put their faith in the Elohim of their father. 

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

When Joseph returns to the room, the brothers have a meal with him. Reuben, the firstborn, sits in the place of honor, and the youngest, Benjamin, in the place of the youngest.  The brothers are amazed that this powerful man of Egypt knows their birth order, yet none of them consider this Egyptian man could be their long-lost brother. The whole idea seems preposterous. The 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, and Joseph’s silver goblet is hidden in Benjamin’s bag.

This cup would have been an Egyptian ‘cup of divination’ or a way to divine the gods for knowledge.  According to Deuteronomy 18:10-12, divination is an unacceptable practice among Elohim’s people. Did Joseph actually divine information from a cup?  No, he did not.

Joseph had a very personal relationship with Elohim who communicated with him through dreams. He had interpreted Pharaoh’s dream through the Spirit of Elohim and did not need to divine information from false gods. Having a ‘cup of divination’ was part of the religious culture in which Joseph lived. He wanted his brothers to think that he, only second in command to Pharaoh, could ‘divine knowledge,’ but the knowledge was firsthand, not from some other-worldly ‘cup of divination.’  Joseph uses the cup to frighten his brothers to believe that this great Egyptian leader had so much authority he could see right into their hearts and accuse them of the guilt that had put them in spiritual bondage.

Soon after they left the city, Joseph sends his manager to find them. He accuses them of stealing. When Benjamin is found with the ‘divining cup,’ they tear their clothes. They know what will happen to their father if they do not return with their youngest brother.  The brothers return to the city with the cup and try to explain the situation to Joseph. The consequences for stealing the cup is to make Benjamin a slave.

Yeshua and His Testing

“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 [Torah] 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, 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 4:1-11).

“Then Yeshua, filled with the Ruach haKodesh, returned from the Yarden and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days of testing by the Adversary. During that time he ate nothing, and afterwards he was hungry. The Adversary said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, order this stone to become bread.’”

“Yeshua answered him, ‘The Tanakh says, Man does not live on bread alone.’”

“The Adversary took him up, showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world, and said to him, ‘I will give you all this power and glory. It has been handed over to me, and I can give it to whomever I choose. So if you will worship me, it will all be yours.’”

“Yeshua answered him, ‘The Tanakh says, Worship Adonai your God and serve him only.’”

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

“Yeshua answered him, ‘It also says, “Do not put Adonai your God to the test.’”

“When the Adversary had ended all his testings, he let him alone until an opportune time”
(Luke 4:1-13).

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

The Sons of Israel in Hebrew

These are the Hebrew Word Pictures for the wives, sons, and daughter of Jacob –– Israel. The sons of Jacob are listed with a number representing their birth order.

Jacob (Supplanter)

Ya’akov or יעקב

י Yod – Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

ע Ayin – An Eye means ‘see’ and ‘understand.’

ק Kof – Back of the Head means ‘what is behind’ and ‘what is final.’

ב Bet – A House means ‘house’ and ‘family.’

The Hebrew word picture for ya’akov: understand the finished work of what is final in the family.

Israel (Overcomer)

Yisra’el or ישראל

י Yod – Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

ר Resh – A Head means ‘leader’ or ‘first authority.’

א Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ and ‘strength.’

ל Lamed – Shepherd’s Staff means ‘leader who urges forward.’

The Hebrew word picture for yisra’el: finished work consumes the leader’s strength who urges forward.

Rachel (Ewe, female sheep) She gave birth to two sons.

Rachel or רחל

ר Resh – A Head means ‘leader’ and ‘highest authority.’

ח Chet – A Fence means ‘protect.’

ל Lamed – A Shepherd’s Staff means ‘leader who urges forward.’

The Hebrew word picture for rachel: the highest authority that protects and urges forward.

11.  Joseph  (May he add)

Yosef or יוסף

י Yod – A Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ס Samech – A Prop means ‘to support.’

פ Peh – A Mouth means ‘speak’ or ‘source.’

The Hebrew word picture for Yosef: finished work binding, support and speak.

12. Benjamin (son of the right hand)

Benyamin or בנימין

ב Bet – A House means ‘family’ or ‘house.’

נ Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

י Yod – A Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

מ Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

י Yod – A Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

נ Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew word picture for Benyamin: finished work of the family; mighty finished work.

Bilhah, Rachel’s maid

5. Dan (Judged)

Dan or דן

ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’

נ Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew word picture for Dan: pathway of life.

6. Naphtali (My wrestling)

Naftali or נפתלי

נ Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

פ Peh – A Mouth means ‘speak’ or ‘source.’

ת Tav – Crossed Sticks means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant.’

ל Lamed – A Shepherd’s Staff means ‘leader who urges forward.’

י Yod – Closed Hand means ‘a finished work.’

The Hebrew word picture for Nafatli: life source of covenant, leader who urges forward the completed work.

Leah (Weary or tired) – She gave birth to six sons and one daughter.

Leah or לאה

ל Lamed – Shepherd’s Staff means ‘leader who urges forward.’

א Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ and ‘strength.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew word picture for Leah: leader who urges forward the first strength, revealed.

1. Reuben (See, a son!) – The firstborn of Jacob

Reuven or ראובן

ר Resh – A Head means ‘leader’ or ‘highest authority.’

א Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ or ‘strength.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ב Bet – A House means ‘family’ or ‘house.’

נ Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew word picture for reuven: highest authority, first strength binding the family house.

2. Simeon (Hearing) The ‘root’ of this word is related to Shema or ‘Hear’

Shim’on or שמעון

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

מ Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

א Ayin – An Eye means ‘see’ or ‘understand.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

נ Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew word picture for shi’mon: destroys chaos, sees binding of life.

3. Levi (Joining)

Levi or לוי

ל Lamed – Shepherd’s Staff means ‘leader who urges forward.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding’ as in the ‘binding of Isaac.’

י Yod – Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

The Hebrew word picture for Levi: leader who urges forward the binding, the finished work.

4. Judah (Praise)

Y’hudah or יהודה

י Yod – Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew word picture for y’hudah: finished work reveals binding, pathway revealed

9. Issachar (Hire, reward)

Yissakhar or יששכר

י Yod – Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

כ Kaf – Back of the Head means ‘what is behind’ or ‘what is finished.’

ר Resh – A Head means ‘leader’ or ‘highest authority.’

The Hebrew word picture for Yissakhar: finished work consumes what is behind the leader, the highest authority.

10. Zebulun (Living together)

Z’vulun or זבולן

ז Zayin – A Weapon means ‘to divide’ or ‘cut.’

ב Bet – A House means ‘family’ or ‘house.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ל Lamed – Shepherd’s Staff means ‘leader who urges forward.’

נ Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew word picture for Z’vulun: dividing the family binding, the leader who urges forward life.

Daughter, Dinah (Controversy over rights)

Dinah or דינה

ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’

י Yod – Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

נ Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew word picture for dinah: pathway to the finished work of life revealed.

Zilpah, Leah’s maid

7.  Gad (Good fortune)

Gad or גד

ג Gimel – A Camel means ‘lift up’ or ‘pride.’

ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’

The Hebrew word picture for Gad: to lift up the pathway.

8. Asher (Happy)

Asher or אשר

א Alef – An Ox means ‘strength’ or ‘first.’

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

ר Resh – A Head means ‘leader’ or ‘highest authority.’

The Hebrew word picture for Asher: first to consume the highest authority.

All the Hebrew Word Pictures of the sons of Jacob, the family of the Overcomer, Israel.

(Reuben) The highest authority, the ‘first strength’ secures the house. (Simeon) It destroys chaos that life understands. (Levi) The leader urges the binding, the finished work. (Judah) Behold the finished work, the binding, the pathway, behold –– (Dan) the way of life, (Naftali) the life source of the covenant. (Gad) The leader who urges the completed work lifts up the pathway. (Asher) The ‘first strength’ consumes the highest authority; (Issachar) the finished work consumes what is behind the leader, the highest authority (Zebulun) dividing the family, securing the one who urges forward. (Joseph) The finished work support the words, the source. ( Benjamin) The finished work of the family is a mighty finished work.

©2013 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.