(Genesis 37:1-40:23) Week Nine
Vayeshev: And he settled
Jacob ~ now “Israel”: Contender with God
Joseph: He Will Add (The 11th son of Jacob, but the first with favored wife Rachel)
Benjamin: Son of the Right Hand, Son of the South (The 12th son of Jacob, second son of Rachel)
Bechor: First-Born Son (Rueben)
Mashgiach: Overseer (Joseph; overseer for Jacob, then Potiphar, then served as overseer in Prison)
Canaan: West of the Jordan River, interpreted as Apostate Israel.
Caravan of Midianites: These were the cousins of Jacob’s sons, from the descendants of Ishmael.
Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons, who were from Leah and the two concubines who had borne sons from Jacob. It is told in Torah that Jacob loved Rachel and therefore, loved their son Joseph more than any other of the sons. It was through Uncle Laban’s trickery and the rivalry between Leah and Rachel, that the first 10 sons were born through Leah and her maid servant. (Rachel was barren for 7 years)
Jacob “identified” his favoritism by clothing Joseph in a specially made, long sleeved coat which was believed to be from the cherished fabric passed down from Rachel and Rebecca. The special coat for Joseph was an outward sign of his elevated position in father Jacob’s heart, and a thorn in the blended family of brothers competing for Jacob’s approval.
Jacob felt compassion for Joseph and Benjamin, who lost their mother prematurely. Therefore, some of the tenderest treatment for Joseph and Benjamin by their father was rooted in his LOSS.
Jacob postured Joseph over his brothers by appointing him as Overseer (Mashgiach) of his brothers. This meant that Joseph would be sent by their father to evaluate the brothers at work in the fields or with the animals, and was the one to report back to father Jacob of their performance. Joseph had many poor reports about his brothers.
Jacob sent Joseph into Shechem, the territory where Simon and Levi (Leah’s sons) plotted and carried out murderous retribution for Dinah’s dishonorable rape by the Prince of Shechem. Jacob was nervous about this territory which was plundered by his sons, sending Joseph into enemy territory to oversee his brothers while in the territory of their violent past.
Jacob rebuked Joseph for sharing the dreams of his position of authority in the family with the brothers, yet Jacob secretly hid these dreams and their meanings in his heart!
Rueben, the displaced Bechor or first–born son of Jacob, attempted to thwart the murderous plans of the other brothers, and save Joseph from their acts of vengeance. He had compassion for his father, and his father’s deeper love for Joseph. Rueben wanted to restore Joseph to his father!
The Coat of Many Colors which was an outward sign of approval of Joseph, was used by Jacob to identify his favoritism without having to VERBALIZE it! The coat was later used with malice by the brothers to fool Jacob, with no words being uttered into surmising that Joseph, his favorite son had been killed. The sons witnessed their father grieve over Joseph every day until they were reunited. It seems they may have held more contempt for Jacob than Joseph, possibly due to Jacob’s loveless relationship with Leah, their own mother.
The same sons of Leah, who were the murderers of Dinah’s rapist, and the local townspeople, were also callous enough to throw Joseph into the cavernous PIT, to die. Notice after they threw their little brother into the PIT they turned away to go eat lunch. Like Uncle Esau…these sons were also driven by their fleshly hunger.
The traveling Midianites, who were cousins to all these brothers through Ishmael’s children, came at the perfect time. Joseph was freed from the PIT to be sold into the hands of the Midianites and Egyptians, and taken to Egypt to be sold again, into the royal court as a servant.
Is it possible that we can be saved OUT of a situation that seems doomed to destroy us, if we are in the middle of God’s will? Has God used THE PIT to pull you OUT into His will, and into your anointing?
The story line shifts here to Judah, son of Leah and Jacob, who marries a Canaanite woman. They have three sons and the eldest, Er, is evil. Er dies prematurely, having no heirs through Tamar his wife. Tamar, in an effort to carry on the bloodline, seeks a husband. The story twists and turns in every direction! Manipulation is the common thread in this side-bar story of Tamar and Jacob. History repeats itself!
Joseph, favored by God, succeeds in Egypt to become the ‘Right Hand Man’ to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s Chief Officer. In fact, Potiphar turns the kingdom over to Joseph, descending to Pharaoh’s first in charge in name only. Joseph becomes the acting overseer of the Kingdom. This appointment of Overseer was ordained by God. He elevated Joseph for the good of all the nations on earth.
Scriptures describe Joseph as handsome in form and appearance. He is young and in his prime. Potiphar’s wife becomes his temptress!
She tempts him multiple times, in different ways, to seduce him.
Joseph lists 3 reasons he could not sin with her:
1) He could not dishonor Potiphar’s trust in him.
2) He could not dishonor the sanctity of the marriage of Potiphar and his wife.
3) He could not dishonor the one true God by sinning against His instructions.
Joseph runs as fast as he can from Potiphar’s wife and from temptation! In her humiliation and anger she calls Joseph “That Hebrew”! Recall the meaning of Hebrew, which means from the other side. Joseph stood on the other side of sin and put his relationship with a Holy God before everything else in his life. See the IRONY of how Joseph did not CLING to the ‘Coat of his Calling’ by Adonai, but slipped OUT OF IT, leaving it in the hands of his temptress! In his life as Servant to the Most High, his calling became his most treasured possession.
Joseph wore a different coat in the house of Potiphar. This coat signified his position as overseer of Egypt.
This Coat was stitched together by ADONAI! This coat was not worn in arrogance, but in submission to God’s call on Joseph’s life in Egypt.
HAFTARAH (Old Covenant) READING: Amos 2:6-3:8
“For Israel’s three crimes, no four, I will not reverse it, because they (sell the upright for silver) and (the poor for a pair of shoes), (grinding the heads of the poor in the dust) and (pushing the lowly out of the way).” These verses highlight the sins of Jacob’s brothers.
“Of all the families on the earth, only you have I intimately known. This is why I will punish you for all your crimes.”
Parallel scriptures by the prophet Amos regarding the continual falling away of Israel from God’s Mitzvot or commandments punctuates these scriptures. This is the earthly struggle for humanity, not just for Israel, but all of us! We all need a savior to save us from our sin! We flourish in the New Millennium, under the just rule and reign of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! This is the eternal side of the Tapestry which will bring all of God’s best together, through the weaving of what has been broken, with the ONE who will bring the restoration of all things! Jesus the Messiah will finish The Tapestry of History…in Victory!
BRIT CHADASHAH (New Covenant) READING: Acts 7:9-16
“Now the Patriarchs grew jealous of Yosef and sold him into slavery in Egypt. But Adonai was with him; he rescued him from all his troubles and gave him favor over Egypt and over all his household.”
The genealogical design of the line of Messiah is stitched by men and women who sinned and fell short of God’s Mitzvot or Commandments. There were heroes and heroines whom God worked through, in mighty ways, who elevated the Nation of Israel so that through them, all the Nations of the Earth would be blessed!
It is because of the falling away of the chosen people of God that HIS plans and purposes have been made real for the Gentiles; who will in the end turn the head of Israel back to their true faith and community as a Nation of Priests of God.
His will is that not one would perish! Through the sacrifice of His son, Yeshua the Messiah, all the Nations will be blessed and eventually, Israel will be fully restored to her Covenant land, in its fullness, and to their inheritance as His chosen people. Baruch Hashem!