PART A: EVENING: JOSEPH—THE BRIDGE
March 15, 2023.
Just yesterday, my Jewish brother David Nekrutman shared with me from Berachot in the Talmud that dreams are one-sixtieth of prophecy. We then discussed the dreams of Joseph as being the first in the Torah that were shared with others. Abraham’s dream state during the covenant between the parts (Genesis 15) and Jacob’s dream state during the ladder visitation at Bethel (formerly Luz) were kept private to themselves, at least until fulfillment began to unfold. But Joseph at a tender age shared his dreams with his brothers; and they hated him for it, because they understood the interpretation: he was to be like a king over then, taking dominion of their destiny. (37:5-8)
They already hated him, because his father loved him above them all, giving to him a coat of many colors—a royal garment. (2 Samuel 13:18) Now, with his dream of royal dominion in the house of Jacob, the brothers hated him exceedingly. And more than this, he dreamed yet again, this time with the interpretation that even his father and mother, not only his brothers, would bow down to him. Jacob did not hate his son: he realized that God was at work in some mysterious way.
The STONE commentators make the point that Joseph was “a spiritual bridge between the exalted level of the Patriarchs and the lesser one of the tribal ancestors.” A bridge.
Of course, we are aware that Joseph is one of the greatest Types of our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah. He is THE BRIDGE between God and Man.
Aimee Semple McPherson wrote a remarkable song in the early 20th Century. The lyrics said:
I found the key to paradise
A cross of wood upon a hill
I found the key to paradise
My soul with raptures thrill
I found the key to paradise
No other key unlocks the door
The cross I’ll cherish more and more
It’s my key to paradise
There is a bridge for you from Here to There, from Death to Glory. It is “The Way, The Truth and The Life.” (John 14:6) Walk it out until you cross over.
PART B: The story line of the parashah.
Jacob’s family was rich in livestock. They pastured their animals in far flung places as they searched for good pasture.
On a certain day, from where he was dwelling in Hebron (the place of the cave of Machpelah where his ancestors who had died were lying entombed), Jacob sent his prized son Joseph, Rachel’s firstborn, to see how his brothers who were at the great distance of Shechem we faring.
When the brothers saw their hated sibling coming toward them, they hatched a plot to kill him and dip his royal coat in the blood of an animal and then say to their father, “’A wild beast ate him;’ then we will see what becomes of his dreams.”
There are many forces that will hate your dreams: be slow to share them. Wait for God’s time. (Luke 10:21-24)
But Reuben convinced them to sell him rather than kill him. This they did, not realizing that they were urging along the fulfillment of their little brother’s dreams. Ishmaelite traders from Midian passing by bought Joseph from them and took him to Egypt to be sold as a slave to Potiphar who was in the court of Pharoah and the Chamberlain of his Buthers. (STONE) There he prospered, eventually being elevated as steward over all of Potiphar’s wealth, until the man’s wife lusted for him, tried to seduce him, and when jilted accused him to her husband, who then threw him into prison.
But in prison Joseph also prospered, until the jailor put him in charge of all his fellows. Can we not see that the Regal Gift in Joseph was already working even in his condition as a slave and even in his condition of confinement in a prison? Where are you bound? Where are you emprisioned? In what condition do you find yourself even now? Then why do you mourn your state? Can you not function where you are? Did not our Lord continue to be The Son of God even when he was in subjection to Mary and Joseph as a boy? Did he not submit to them, even though the Gift in Him was yearning to break forth and work the business of redemption for which he was sent from Heaven to Earth? (Luke 2:43-52)
While in the Household of Humanity, Jesus the Incarnate Son “INCREASED in wisdom and stature, and in favor—with God, and with man.” (Luke 2:52) In your strait place, there you will INCREASE.
In the interlude, the story of Judah begins to unfold. Judah would become the most dramatic of the brothers in the final unfolding of the majestic narrative concerning Joseph in Egypt. But in chapter 38 he is shown to be a man of passion. The intricate story of Judah’s sons by the daughter of a prominent local merchant named Shua ended in the wife of one of them—her name was Tamar—being sent back to her father’s house to live as a widow after both her husband Er and his brother Onan died by a divine judgment. Judah promised to her his young son Shelah grew up so that he could take her as a wife and provide for her.
She waited. But years later, when Judah delayed to fulfill his promise, she trapped him by acting as a prostitute by the roadside where she heard that he was travelling. Unwittingly, Judah lay with the widow of his own son! And she conceived twins by him—the first Pa’retz (“Perez,” breaking forth, breach, gap), the second Zarach (“Zerah,” rising light).
The story of Joseph resumes (as mentioned above) in the chapter that follows the story of Judah. In that story, Joseph becomes not just “the dreamer,” but also “the interpreter of dreams.” In prison he interprets the dreams of two of Pharoah’s servants who had been placed there for offences to the ruler of all Egypt. When the interpretations that Joseph gave to them came true, one (Pharoah’s baker) was executed and the other restored to his place as Pharoah’s cupbearer (his “wine tester” who insured that Pharoah’s drink was not poisoned by drinking from it first at the risk of his own life).
This parashah ends with Joseph still in prison because Pharoah’s wine taster did not tell Pharoah about him. But in the next parashah we will see how GOD’S TIME always rolls around. Soon Joseph would come out of his testing place and would be seated at the side of the Pharoah of the World of that time—Ruler over the greatest Gentile Empire of that generation!
You too will come out of your test. Be faithful in it, so that when your time of promotion comes, you will be prepared to assume the role that is waiting for you, just in the distance.