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Parashat Vayeishev

Updated on December 9, 2017

A Synopsis of Breishit (Genesis) 37:1-40:23

Ya’akov has settled in Hebron, and chooses his son, Yosef, as his favorite, showing Yosef preferential treatment that causes jealousy and hatred in Yosef’s brothers. Yosef then has two dreams that foretell his destiny as a ruler, and his brothers hate him even more.

Ya’akov sends Yosef to his brothers who are tending their father’s flocks at Shechem; however, they are in Dothan, about twelve miles north of Shechem, which is [roughly] sixty-two miles north of Hebron. His brothers see Yosef coming and plot to kill him. Reuven, the oldest of the twelves son, suggest they put Yosef into a pit instead, secretly hoping to return later and help the boy get back to their father. Meanwhile, Yehudah sells his brother, without Reuven’s knowledge, to a passing band of Ishmaelites. Yosef’s special garment, made especially and specifically for him by his father, is dipped in the blood of a goat and presented to his father, who now believes his favorite son is dead.

Shortly afterward, Yehudah marries a Canaanite woman and has three sons- Er (the Hebrew AlephBet that reads as Er in a backward manner means “evil”), Onan, meaning, “the virile one”, and Shelah, meaning, “petition”. Er marries a woman named Tamar, but dies before he and Tamar can have a child. Levirate marriages is the custom of that time, and, so, Tamar then marries Onan, the second brother, who will have sons for his older brother, Er. However, Onan knew that any child conceived would not be his and refuses to fulfill his Levirate Marriage duty. And dies. Yehudah is reluctant to have his third son, Shelah, marry Tamar and sends Tamar back to her father’s house. Tamar is determined to have a child of Yehudah’s lineage, disguises herself as a prostitute, seduces Yehudah, and conceives a child that is Yehudah’s. When Yehudah hears of his daughter-in-law’s pregnancy, he wants her brought forth for execution; at which time, Tamar produces Yehudah’s signet (seal) and its cord along with his staff. Yehudah recognizes the items as his, the ones he gave the prostitute (Tamar) when he slept with her, and realizes his responsibility in the whole mess because he withheld his son, Shelah, from Tamar. Tamar gives birth to twins- Zerach, meaning, “east, brightness, sunrise”, and Peretz, meaning, “to be born breach”.

During all of this, Yosef has been sold to Potiphar of Egypt. Elohim blesses all that Yosef is charged with, and Potiphar’s wealth and prestige increase because of this fact. Soon, Potiphar places Yosef in a position of authority in his (Potiphar’s) house and property. Yosef, a nearly grown man, has become muscular and quite handsome, and Potiphar's wife takes a liking to Yosef, petitioning Yosef to have a relationship with her. When Yosef denies Potiphar’s wife many times, she accuses Yosef of rape, and Potiphar puts Yosef in prison. While in jail, Yosef finds favor again with Elohim and the jailers put their complete trust in Yosef, appointing Yosef to a position of authority within the confines of the prison.

The Pharaoh's chief butler and chief baker, both, find themselves in prison with Yosef because they so offended their master, the Pharaoh. While in prison, the butler and the baker both have dreams, which Yosef interprets for them. The butler will be released and set back in his position as the chief butler while the baker will be hanged. As Yosef interpreted so did the events happen. And, though Yosef exhorts the butler to tell the Pharaoh about him (Yosef), the butler does not.

What does this mean for Believers today?

Do we ever stop to consider the bigger picture? For example, Michaela, Jackson, and Alana all have a five-minute Oklahoma History presentation due on December 28th. The bigger picture is the project in its entirety … a five-minute oral presentation with a visual aid project for a final grade. They have been given class time here and there during regular lesson sessions to work on their projects. If they will work on their projects a little at at time, they only see that part of the project getting done (i.e.-deciding on a county, collecting information, deciding on their visual aid project, preparing notes, typing notes, working on the visual aid project). These are only small parts of a larger [completed] project; but, until the day arrives to give their presentation, they don’t exactly see the bigger picture.

Yosef’s older brothers did not see the bigger picture of Elohim’s purpose. The brothers could only see what was in their face at that time … Yosef being favored by their father. But, Yosef knew that Elohim had a divine assignment for him (Yosef), and Yosef would be obedient to Elohim, trusting that Elohim would protect and provide. And, though Yosef found himself in situations that were not always the best, he knew that Elohim was doing what Elohim had promised … protecting and providing. Yosef saw people hurting and who had problems, like the butler and the baker, and though Yosef has problems, too, he put his problems away to focus on helping others. This is what the bigger picture does for us when we truly see it … it sets us to the side to allow the glory and honor and power of Elohim to shine ETERNALLY.

When we set our own needs to the side, and that’s not to say that we can’t take care of what we need to take care of in our own lives but others come first, then we realize the bigger picture of Elohim’s purpose in our lives.



This must surely mean …

Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between.



This must surely mean …

Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between.

In Hebrew, the word for joy is sameach. This is- quite often -how I address the devotions each morning … Yom Reeshone sameach (Happy First Day), Yom Shaynee sameach (Happy Second Day), Yom Shlishi sameach (Happy Third Day), Yom Revi’i sameach (Happy Fourth Day), Yom Chamishi sameach (Happy Fifth Day), and Yom Hamishi sameach (Happy Sixth Day) … it adds joy to the reader, and it gives me joy to see others joyous throughout the day.

Romans 12:15--”Rejoice with those who rejoice. …”


Matityahu-ha’Levi (Matthew) 16:24--”Then Yeshua said to his disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’”

Yochanan-Makabi ([John]-Mark) 8:34--”He (Yeshua) called the multitude to Himself with His disciples, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’”

Ur/Luqas (Luke) 9:24 (and this is Yeshua speaking)--”For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for My sake, the same will save it.”

Galatians 5:22-23--”But the fruit of Ruach HaKodesh is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:24--”Those who belong to ha-Meshiach have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.”

Ephesians 4:22--”Concerning your former way of life, put away the old man, that which grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit.”


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