Mt Sinai (Law) and Mt Zion (Grace)

Mt Sinai (Law) and  Mt Zion (Grace)
Mt Sinai (Law) and Mt Zion (Grace)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Joseph, the Son that Saved Israel and the Ancient World

Jacob, who God renamed Israel, had his 11th son born to him from his most loved, Rachel, and this son was Joseph. We have talked in this blog about a special family; Abraham, God's friend, then Issac, the promised miracle baby, then Jacob and his 12 sons, and now we will focus on Joseph. About 25% of Genesis talks about Joseph.

Now Israel had had a few very significant encounters with God as we have discussed. He knew spiritual things.Israel knew that Joseph was special. He made him a special tunic of many colors and extra length.

This was not just a fancy robe, but each of the colored patches represented all that Israel had, his total wealth. Israel knew that Joseph was to inherit the blessing that was reserved to the first born which was to become the head of the clan. His brothers hated him because of jealousy and envy. When Joseph was 17 he was working a a shepherd with his half brothers Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. Joseph's mother, Rachel, had died giving birth to his youngest brother, Benjamin. So Rachel's handmaid who was the mother of Dan and Naphtali probably took Joseph in and wet nursed Benjamin. This may have been some of the root of the problems with his half brothers. The Bible says that Joseph gave a report to Israel of the wrong doings of the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah listed here.

Joseph also had dreams that made his brothers hate him more. He dreamed that while binding sheaves in the field that his rose up and theirs bowed down to it. His brothers said, "Will you rule over us?" Also Joseph dreamed that the sun and moon and eleven stars all bowed down to him. When he told his family, Israel rebuked him and said, "Will your mother and I and your brothers all bow down to you?" Yet Israel thought on these things. God was letting Joseph know the future.
(The mother mentioned in Genesis 37:10 is probably Bilhah, for Rachel had already died and Leah was buried in route to Canaan , Genesis 49:31)1

 Israel sent Joseph to go and check on them and his flock which were pasturing near Shechem. Now Shechem was where Simeon and Levi had slaughtered the men because of the rape of their sister, Dinah. When he got near Shechem he was wandering in the field and a man asked what he was looking for. Joseph replied he was looking for his brothers and the flock. The man said they had moved to Dothan. Even though it had been many years since the slaughter, the people of the land still had a terror of Israel's house and a respect for his sons, Genesis 35:5
When Joseph was still coming to his brothers and the flock, they saw him and plotted to kill him. They said, "Here comes the dreamer! Lets kill him and see what becomes of his dreams. Ruben was the first born and not as evil as the others; he said, "Shed no blood, Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but do not lay hands on him." Ruben planned to come back and rescue Joseph. So they took Joseph and stripped him of his many colored tunic, and threw him in a dry well. Later when they sat down to eat, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming in the distance on their way to Egypt. Judah said, What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hand on him; for he is our brother, our own flesh." He was not as evil as the others either, and they listened to him and sold him to the Midianite traders for 20 pieces of silver.

Ruben returned and found the pit empty and tore his garments and said, "The boy is not there; as for me, where am I to go?" Ruben knew that he would be the blame for his brother's demise as he was the firstborn and would be held responsible by Israel.
His evil thinking brothers had now brought about the events that would lead to the fulfillment of Joseph's dreams. As Matthew Henry commented, on the similarity of Jesus and Joseph, his brothers knew the truth of the dreams, and thought by killing Joseph or selling him as a slave they would prevent it from happening. Just as the religious Jews knew the truth of Jesus being the I AM by so many signs and they thought to prevent His threat to their religious authority by killing him. In both cases God's will was being accomplished.
The brothers then killed a goat and dipped his many colored tunic in the blood and brought it to their father.

They said, "We found this; please examine it to see whether it is your son's tunic or not."
When Israel looked at the tunic, he knew it was Joseph's and exclaimed that he must have been torn apart by a wild animal.

Israel tore his clothes and put on sackcloth an mourned and wept. He said, "Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son." (Stories of Joseph by Andrea Del Sarto 1500 show these events.)
The Midianites delivered Joseph for a profit to Potiphar, who was the captain of the guard of the Pharaoh, Genesis 37.

Judah could not stand the pressure of his conscience for what he had done in selling his brother, Joseph. He left home and went to visit Hirah an Adullamite. There he married a Canaanite woman the daughter of a man called Shua. She had 3 sons; Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah took a wife for Er, his first born named Tamar who was a descendent of Shem. Er was evil in the sight of the Lord and the Lord killed him. Judah then said to Onan to go to Tamar and as his duty as a brother-in-law to raise up children for his dead brother. Onan knew that they would not be his children and he spilled his seed outside of Tamar to not give his dead brother children. This displeased God and He killed Onan also.
So Judah said to his daughter-in-law, Tamar, "Remain a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up." Judah was fearful that his last son would also die. Some time later, Judah's wife, daughter of Shua, died. When he had finished mourning, Judah went up to shear the sheep at Timnah with Hira his friend. Tamar heard of this and took off her widows clothes and dressed up with a veil and sat by the side of the road near Timnah. She saw that Shelah had grown up and she was not given to him as promised. Judah saw her and thought she was a harlot. He propositioned her for a young goat from the flock. She said what will you pledge me so I know you will bring it to me. So Judah gave her his signet ring, bracelets, and staff.

Tamar conceived from this union. She went and put on her widows clothes again. When Judah sent the goat by his friend, Hirah, he could not find the harlot. Three months later when Tamar started to show, Judah was told that his daughter-in-law has played the harlot and is pregnant. Judah said, "Bring her out and let her be burned!" While she was being taken she sent to Judah and said, "I am with child by the man to whom these things belong." She sent the signet ring, bracelets, and staff. When Judah saw them he said, "She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah."

Judah never had relations with her again. When she delivered she had twins; one baby presented a hand and the midwife tied a red string on it. But he drew the hand back and the other baby was born first and called, Perez (breach). Then the baby with the red string was born, called Zerah (brightness). Perez is in the lineage of Jesus Christ, Genesis 38. Perez is a pure bloodline of Shem because of the act of faith of Tamar. Judah had married a Canannite who had been cursed by Noah.

God was with Joseph and he prospered in the house of Potiphar, the Egyptian officer of Pharaoh who had bought him from the Ishmaelites. Potiphar observed that Joseph was blessed and all that he touched prospered. Before too long, Joseph was in charge of all that his master had, for he saw that God was with him and he was a man of integrity and honesty. Potiphar prospered so much that he was only concerned with what he ate daily and let Joseph handle everything else. However evil was brewing and Potiphar's wife was looking at Joseph with desire. She said to him, "Lie with me."

Joseph said, "No..Behold, with me here , my master does not conceern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one graeater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God?" She continued to pursue him and one day when the servants were outside she grabbed him by his garment and said, "Lie with me!" He fled, and she had his garment in her hand.

She screamed for help and said that Joseph had tried to force himself on her. When her husband came home he was furious and put him in jail where the Pharaoh's prisoners were kept.

Once again the Lord was with Joseph and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer so that in a short time the jailer had Joseph in charge of everything in the jail and whatever Joseph did, prospered, Genesis 39.

Then the cup bearer and the baker for the Pharaoh offended him and were thrown in the jail where Joseph was. The captain of the guard put them under the charge of Joseph. After some time, both of these chiefs under Pharaoh had a vivid dream in the same night and were distraught in the morning. When Joseph asked what the matter was, they told him they both had had a dream and that there was no one to interpret them.
Joseph said, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please." Joseph was faithful to the Lord.

The chief cup bearer started and told his dream; a vine was in front of me with three branches and as it was budding,  its blossoms came out and produced ripe grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in my hand and I took the grapes and squeezed them into it and put the cup in Pharaoh's hand. Joseph said, "Here is the interpretation of it; the three branches are three days; within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you will put Pharaoh's cup into his hand according to your former custom when you were his cup bearer. Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house."  Joseph told them how he had been kidnapped and had done nothing that deserved this dungeon.

When the chief baker saw this, he related his dream to Joseph hoping for a favorable interpretation too. He told how he had three baskets of white bread on his head and the top basket was all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh and the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head. Joseph answered, "This is its interpretation; the three baskets are three days; within three more days Pharaoh will lift up you had from you and hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh off you."

Three days passed and it was Pharaoh's birthday and the interpretation of God by Joseph came true. However, the cup bearer did not remember Joseph, Genesis 40

Two full years past with Joseph still in prison. He was a patient man and did not doubt God's hand on his life.
Finally, the Pharaoh had two dreams that greatly troubled him.

He saw seven fat healthy cows come out of the Nile river and graze. Then seven thin and scraggly cows came out of the river and ate the fat cows, yet they still were thin. 

The other dream he saw a stalk of corn come up by the Nile river with seven plump ears of grain. Another stalk came up with seven withered and dry ears of grain which devoured the seven plump ears. So the Pharaoh called all of his astrologers, magicians, and priests to give him the interpretation, which they could not. 
Now the chief cup bearer remembered Joseph and how he had interpreted his and the bakers dreams two years before. He told the Pharaoh all about it and he sent for Joseph out of the prison dungeon. Joseph was cleaned up and shaved to be presented to the king.

Joseph listened intently while the Pharaoh described his two dreams.

He then told the Pharaoh what God had revealed to him. He said that the two dreams were one and the same. God had gave this dream to warn the Pharaoh of future events.

The seven fat cows and the seven plump ears of grain were seven years of plenty that were starting now. The seven thin cows and the seven withered ears of corn were seven years of severe famine that would follow in which none of the good years would be remembered.

Joseph continued that the Pharaoh needed to get a wise man in charge of his kingdom to store the grain in the seven good years to be ready for the seven year famine in order to survive. The Pharaoh said that Joseph would be that man because the king saw his wisdom and that God was with him and the Lord had given him favor for this situation. So Joseph was made the highest authority in all the land other than the Pharaoh himself; he had control of everything.

Joseph had instantly been exalted to a place of royalty and power. 

Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah (God speaks and lives) and gave him Asenath to be his wife who was the daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis. Joseph was 30 years old. He had been in Egypt for 13 years. 

The Pharaoh's name was Djoser, a king of which there is a lot of evidence that has been discovered dating back to 1860 BC.

Joseph became a legend in Egypt during these times. 

He was the architect of the first pyramid which was built for his Pharaoh Djoser.  

Joseph built a large complex for Pharaoh Djoser which can be seen today.

Several of the huge grain storage silos are still present here. The Bible says he built storage facilities all over, where ever the grain was grown.

During the seven years of plenty, Asenath delivered 2 sons to Joseph; Manasseh (making to forget) for Joseph said, "God has made me to forget all my trouble and all my father's household." and Ephraim (fruitfulness) for Joseph said, "God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction."

Joseph set up dispensaries to sell the grain to those in Egypt and the rest of the world, for the famine was severe and widespread in all the earth, Genesis 41.

In the Djoser complex called Saqqarah in Egypt there are intricate connected silos and passages to handle large movement of grain sales. 

There is halls where the business of selling grain took place.

There is one exit where the buyers would load their wagons or animals and leave with the grain.

In January of 1995, the National Geographic had an article about Imhotep, the priest, and adviser for Pharaoh Djoser. The time in Egypt referred to as the 3rd Dynasty. This was a real man who did wonderful thing including saving Egypt during a famine at the time. Imhotep was a priest, doctor, scribe, architect, vizer, and finally promoted to a god after his death according to Tour Egypt and an article by Jimmy Dunn. 

There is a history of this man recorded on a boulder on the Nile that describes how great this man was. 

I believe that Joseph and Imhotep are the same person. Ron Wyatt believed this and many of the discoveries  listed here were made by him. Check out for more details.

Don't get caught up in the times, it is hard to get an exact one from archaeologists, but according to the Biblical record, Abram was in Egypt about 1948 years after Adam or 2161 BC and Jacob (Israel) moved to Egypt (Goshen) 2238 years after Adam or 1871 BC.

God's plan for Joseph was to save His people as well as the rest of the world at this time from the famine. He had originally spoken to His friend, Abraham about this in Genesis 15. Now the stage was set for Israel to move to Egypt with Joseph in a position of power to care for God's people. When the food was scarce in Canaan, Israel sent 10 of his sons to Egypt to buy grain. He kept Benjamin for the fear that something may happen to him as it did to Joseph.

When they arrived in Egypt they had to present themselves before Joseph, who was in charge of everything.

Joseph recognized them, but they did not recognize him. He spoke to them by an interpreter. He accused them of being spies to come and look at the undefended parts of Egypt. The brothers told him they were 12 with one gone and the youngest at home, and they only wanted to buy food. Joseph had them thrown in jail 3 days and said they could send one of them home to bring back their youngest to see if they told the truth. Then Joseph came back and told them, "Do this and live, for I fear God" he kept Simeon and let the rest go home with food. He told them he would let Simeon go when they brought Benjamin back. They said among themselves, we deserve this for what we did to Joseph. Ruben reprimanded them and said he told them not to harm the boy. Joseph heard all of this, but they did not know he understood Hebrew. 
Joseph put all their money back in their sacks. When they got home they told Israel, but he vowed they could never take Benjamin for if something happened to him, he would be filled with sorrow to the grave, Genesis 42. 

When the food they bought was gone, Israel said go back to Egypt and buy more. Judah told him they could not without Benjamin. There was a lot of protest but they left again with Benjamin and twice the money to make up for the money that Joseph had put in their sacks. Israel had them take a gift of honey, myrrh, and nuts from the land and prayed that this ruler in Egypt would be kind to them. When they appeared before Joseph and he saw Benjamin he had a luncheon prepared for them to eat at Joseph's house. All of the brothers were afraid. They explained to Joseph's steward that they had brought the money back that was in their sacks and more to buy grain, plus a gift for Joseph. He told them, the God of their father has given you treasure in your sacks for I had the money and he brought out Simeon to them. When Joseph came home and saw Benjamin, he withdrew and wept. They all ate, but separate because the Egyptians would not eat with the Hebrews. Joseph sent portions from his table to theirs but 5 times as much for Benjamin, Genesis 43.

Joseph sent them away with their sacks full, but had his steward put all their money back in the sacks and put his special divining cup in Benjamin's sack. 

Then he sent his armed servants and steward to accuse them of stealing on the road home. They denied they had done anything, but the search found the money in their sacks and the silver cup in Benjamin's sack. So they all were arrested and taken back to Joseph. Reuben explained how if Benjamin did not come home, it would kill their father and he retold their whole story, Genesis 44.

Joseph could not control himself and sent all his house away so it was just Joseph and his brothers. He then made himself known to them. 

No doubt he revealed his circumcision to them and then told them "I am Joseph!" in Hebrew.

Joseph wept, embraced them and asked about their father, Israel.

"Do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before uou to preserve life", Joseph said.  It had been two years into the famine and he told them there were 5 more coming. Go home get your families and Israel and all that you have and come back here with me and live.
He hung on to Benjamin and wept loudly, Genesis 45

He sent them away with wagons to bring their stuff back. Jacob (Israel)  had a hard time believing, but did. He moved all he had back to Egypt.

When Joseph presented his father to Pharaoh Djoser, the king was pleased and said they would be welcome in Egypt. He asked the age of Israel and he told him he had sojourned for 130 years, then he blessed the Pharaoh.

Joseph presented his brothers to Pharaoh and he was happy to receive them. 

By the end of the famine, Egypt owned all of the belongings of its people, all of their livestock, and their very lives...all spent for food. Joseph as 2nd in command was very wealthy. The Pharaoh Djoser was pleased to let the Hebrews and their livestock live in Goshen, which was the Nile Delta. The Egyptians did not like shepherds and this would separate them somewhat.

Israel's family amounted to 70 souls when they moved to Goshen. There, just as God had said, they grew and became a great nation, Genesis 46 & 47.

Joseph brought his sons; Manasseh and Ephraim to Israel for a blessing.

Israel crossed his arms and laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim even though Manasseh was the first born.

Israel kept his hands in place even though Joseph protested, because he said the elder will serve the younger. 
He blessed them and sand said that, "by you Israel shall pronounce blessing, saying may God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!", Genesis 48. Israel said that Joseph was to receive and extra inheritance. Joseph had pushed for that to go to his sons.

Then Jacob (Israel) summoned all of his 12 sons and told them what shall become them in the days to come, a prophecy for them all, Genesis 49. He then pulled up his feet on the bed and died. He was 147  years old.

Jacob's (Israel) was buried in the cave of his ancestors that Abraham had bought from Ephron the Hittite. Here is a picture of his Cenotaph there. There was a great company that went with Joseph and his brothers to bury his father after he was embalmed for 40 days in Egypt. The Egyptians wept for 70 days. 

Joseph's brothers were still concerned that he might do them harm for their wrong to him but he assured them that he would take care of them and that what they meant for evil, God turned into good. 

Joseph lived to be 110 years old and died in Egypt, he saw the 3rd generation of Ephraim's sons. He left command with his brothers that when they would someday leave Egypt and go back to the land of 
Canaan, to take his bones with them for God would take care of them.

430 years passed, and God did deliver them by the hand of Moses and they went back into the promised land that God had given Abraham. (see older blogs)
The land was divided like this.

God's design for Joseph was truly amazing, but trust and faith saw him through even the worst of times. His life as we mentioned was a "type" of Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of the world.

1- Who was the mother of Joseph mentioned in Gn 37:10? Probably Bilhah. Testimony magazine by D. C. Millington.

All pictures and art were found on the Internet the artist are in the HTML if known. All quotes in this post are from the New American Standard Bible.

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