Joseph as a type of Christ part 2
Joseph in Egypt
Jacob moving on
Jacob has parted with Laban, who is never seen again, and continues his journey. Next along the way to Canaan, he meets up with "the angels of God" he recognized them as "God's host" and names the place "Mahanaim" which means "two camps". There is no mention of a conversation or notable event. I have to admit I have no clue what's going on. This is just two verses, Genesis 32.1 and 2. There's always more but this doesn't ring any bells. One thing that comes to mind is that Mahanaim literally means "dual camps" which implies a deep unity not necessarily exact duplicates. In Song of Songs 6.13 you will see Mahanaim translated as "company of two camps" and the word "company" is usually translated as dancers or company of dancers. Also this "place" later became a town, and this is where King David fled to for refuge from his son Absalom. There are some interesting facts to consider. Jacob has finally put Laban, the one who wanted to destroy him, behind him. Now he's about to meet up with Esau, who has vowed to kill him. The text seems to imply they made up, but Esau is just waiting for the right time. Esau gave Jacob a greeting kiss when they met. In the original writing there are dots over the word "kiss", so they asked Moses "what is the meaning of the marks?" he replied "the teeth marks of Esau." There is an interesting parallel story with this meeting, it is amazingly the story of the return of the prodigal son told by Jesus. Esau is a bad guy start to finish in real life but God uses bad types in a round about way to show a spiritual truth. Pharaoh being like a father over Joseph and even more the serpent on a pole, which to look upon gave healing. Jesus used language straight out of the Esau story. Why? Esau was the one Jacob wronged, God is the one we have wronged by our sin. Esau vowed to kill Jacob, God vowed that the one who sins must die. Yet Jesus became the substitution 'lamb' slain for us, so those who trust in Him are justified.
Jacob is returning like a prodigal son, fearing the worst. Esau see's him and in Genesis 33.4 Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. Luke 51.20 when he was a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. The moral is we have offend God yet He is eager for us to return.
Genesis 37.2 is only a one verse statement tucked between verse 1 Jacob being in the land and the well known verse 3, where it says that 'Jacob loved Joseph' more than all his other sons. Genesis 37.2 is a separate little statement that is mostly thought of as giving part of the reason that the brother's disliked for Joseph. This could be, but it is not specifically stated and I believe there is much more that is obvious. It is difficult to get much out of one single statement. God has designed the Bible as an intergrated whole, and everything is connected in more ways that we will ever know. Genesis 37.2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.' To start it says 'generations' but all you see is Joseph mentioned. The Joseph statement is more a separate issue, than to do with this small event involving the Bilhah and Zilpah sons. It's interesting to note that his age, seventeen, is mentioned. This marks the start of his testing and also after Jacob went to Egypt, he dwelt in Egypt seventeen years symbolizing testing but seventeen has more meaning as victory. Christ rose of Nisan 17 and the Ark rested on the seventeenth day of the seventh month. If you notice the first words of verse 2 is 'these are the generations'. A paraphrase could be "this is a story about Jacob and Joseph" but if you stick with the literal, you would get, "These generations", which would be inferring that Jacob and his son Joseph are encapsulating all the generations. Given that Jacob could be a type of The Father and Joseph as a type of His Son, 'these generations' means it's about pictures of 'them' in 'GOD. Moving along the words 'was feeding the flock with his brethren' is picturing what is stated by Jesus in the New Testament 'feed my sheep' and what we are feeding is Jesus to our brothers, so you could say that Joseph, as typifying Jesus, is feeding with the Church. A big note also is that the word 'with' is not in the Hebrew, In its place is the untranslated Aleph Tav, referring to his brothers as covenant brothers. Later in the verse 'Joseph brought an evil report' in the Hebrew its 'Joseph Aleph-Tav' picturing Joseph as a covenant son and also telling us in this picture, Joseph is the Aleph-Tav. Historically Joseph in revealing their bad deeds was being dutiful son but to his brothers, but it got them angry and it added fuel to the resentment of him.
The next view is Joseph being asked by his father to check on his brothers. It seems to being confusing as why he was sent. Joseph who was 17 years old and his brothers are much older. My suspect is that after he is betrayed and hauled off to Egypt, that Joseph may have wondered why his father didn't come looking for him and even if he was set up. Its just a thought, but it could answer why Joseph didn't try to escape or even when he was raised to leading Egypt. He didn't make any effort to go or send a message to Jacob that he was there. Back to the sending it literally says " And said Israel said unto Joseph do not your brothers feed in Shechem? Come and I will send thee unto them. And he ( Joseph ) said *Lamed-Vav" [ not translated - but carries the thought of Shepherd-Man ] behold I." Shechem was quite a ways away, about 50 miles, in Palestine. This is a curious request but not improper. Joseph the favored son being sent on a long dangerous journey was not something I would suggest. In the spiritual sense this shows God the father sending His Son unto us. The Father is concerned with our welfare even when we are far away. Sending His Son shows a personal care not just a far away call but a visit. In the deeper sense God the Father cared enough to become one of us and our near kinsman redeemer.
Shekem actually has quite an history. It can be interpreted as ' ridge or shoulder ' it was the first capital of Israel, 1 Kings 12.25-26. In Gen. 12.6-8 it is where " at the great tree" that the LORD appeared unto Abram and Abram there built an altar. There is much more, Shechem was also the place of the famous challenge by Joshua "choose you this day whom you will serve".Joseph was sent to 'find out how they were' but they were not there. The Cross is where we are asked to choose. In a sense the brothers were not there, they gave him over to the Romans. Joseph could have went back to the father and said they are not there. But he was diligently seeking those who lost.when " a certain man " told him they went to Dothan, which means "two wells"
Dothan is an interesting place. Given that Jesus said Scripture is all about Himself, we must look for Christ in this story. The brothers were in Shekem, a very fertile place. I see it picturing the Garden of Eden, but they were not there, they left! At Dothan there were two wells, one of which is even today called the Well of Joseph. They decided to put him in it, to die. These two wells give us a choice, chose the Cross of life or choose the other which is empty of hope.
Genesis 37.23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren that they stripped off his tunic, his coat of many colors that was on him. There are many nuances in this verse and there is even a complicated twist that will be discussed in Part 3. The words "it came to pass" sounds like something to do with God's plan. Also him coming to them, sounds like a prophetic revelation. In John 1.11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
ALEPH-TAV The amazing signature of Christ is the Aleph-Tav, Jesus said I am the Aleph-Tav. He is the infinite God, before time and He is the ever after time. It is interesting that it is not a translated word but is considered a mark. In Scripture it is unique in that it is placed by design to speak of Him and it is also used to signify those who are His. A beautiful example is Genesis 37.23, you will read in the King James version " they striped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him " but in the Hebrew it reads " and they stripped aleph-tav Joseph aleph-tav his tunic aleph-tav coat of colors that [was] on him. This is showing that Joseph is a covenant person and the aleph-tav covering refers to the covering of God that was upon him. In reality no one can take our salvation from us who are in God's hand. Yet as a spiritual picture it is Christ willingly being stripped of His glory to become 'Sin' for us. Then in Genesis 37.26 " what profit if we slay aleph-tav our brother and conceal aleph-tav his blood. What this is saying is we must own our guilt and own our salvation not conceal it.
Who really sold Joseph
The brothers clearly planed to sell Joseph, and in Genesis 45.4,5 Joseph attributes his sale to them, but is that actually what happened? One thing that has always bothered me was the scene in Genesis 37.21 Reuben doesn't want to go along with this dirty deed and he says gets the brothers to throw him in a pit and let him die there. But from Genesis 37.22 we know that he intended to rescue him later. Then we see, they follow his advice and throw him into a pit that had no water. The waterless pit pictures Hell, a pit where it is void of Gods presence. They sat down to eat, which does not say where or how close they were. From what follows I suggest it was a ways off and out of sight. Maybe they went where there was water and from there they saw the Ishmaelites, and decided to sell him. But before they got back to the pit, along came the Midianites. They took advantage of this find and being shrewd merchants, sold him to the Ishmaelites themselves. When Joseph mentions this selling, he says they sold him into Egypt. He would have known it was the his brother who sold him into Egypt, it was the Ishmaelites but by Gods standard, they are just as guilty as if they did.