3. SHABBAT READINGS & COMMENTARY

Friday, December 30, 2005 |    

Miketz: Genesis 41:1-44:17; Zechariah 2:10-4:7

Commentary:

In this Parasha, which always falls during Hanukkah, we continue with the story of Joseph and his brothers. This story is seen as a prototype of the Messiah, the Mashiach Ben-Joseph (son of Joseph). Messiah Ben-Josef means the first coming of Yeshua the Messiah who was rejected by his brothers and the Jews. Messiah Ben-David is the name for the ruling Messiah, like David of the line Judah, and describes the second coming, the return of Yeshua, when he will come back as the King of Kings.

Some parallels already encountered in Joseph’s story:

- Joseph dreamt of a time when his brothers would bow to him. Yeshua speaks of a kingdom where everything and everyone will bow to him. Man and nature will be made subordinate to him.

- Joseph was sent by his father to check on the welfare of his brothers. Yeshua was sent by his father first to the “sheep of the house of Israel.”

- The brothers conspired to kill Joseph as did the council of the high priests in plotting Yeshua’s death.

- Both were sold to pagans. In the case of Joseph, the Ishmaelites bought him then sold him to Egyptians. In the case of Yeshua, the Pharisees delivered him to the Romans.

- Joseph’s coat of many colors was soaked with blood and so was the robe of Yeshua in prison.

- Because it was Joseph’s brother Judah who did not want him to be killed but sold, God blessed the line of Judah. From his line came the house of David and the Messiah.

- The tearing of the curtain in the temple when Yeshua died can be compared to Jacob tearing his clothes into pieces and mourning for his son for many days. These “many days” have been going on for 2000 years now.

- Genesis 29: We find parallels here to the first missionary journeys of the apostles when they spread the Gospel throughout foreign countries. Joseph was successful and gained respect in Egypt. So did the first Christians until persecution began. Joseph was imprisoned like so many of the first Christians.

- Genesis 40: Here we can also compare the last supper of Yeshua and his disciples with the story of Joseph and his brothers. Who met Joseph in Pharaoh’s prison? It was two servants of the king: the cupbearer, a symbol of wine, and the baker, a symbol of bread! Both of their dreams were fulfilled within three days. As the cupbearer was restored to his job within three days, Yeshua rose from the dead after three days. The baker, who was killed after three days, can be seen as the disciple Judas who hung himself.

- In our Parasha from Genesis 41 onwards, we read how Joseph, became ruler of Egypt despite initial opposition. Yeshua also will return as ruler of the world. Yeshua, like Joseph, becomes bread of life, savior of the world.

- The seven years in the Pharaoh’s dream are also an allusion to the seven years of the Messiah.

- After 22 years and because of a famine, the brothers returned back to the “bread of life,” to their brother Joseph, who was in charge of the storehouses of grain. Likewise the Jews, after nearly 2000 years, returned to their country. They have come to him, but they did not recognize him because he was too much of a foreigner. Joseph became much like an Egyptian and a foreigner to the Jews of his time, even his brothers did not recognize him!

- Yet until the last brother, Benjamin, sits at the table, which means until the last Jew has returned home.

- God has always used anti-Semitism, the image of the Jew as an innocent scapegoat, in order to bring his people back to him. One example for this can also be found in the story of Joseph, when the king’s cup was hidden in the sack of the Hebrews. Finally, it is interesting that this week’s prophecy section (Haftara) is also about the Messiah: “’Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ declares the LORD” (Zech. 2:10).

By Michael Schneider

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