Parashah 10: Miketz “at the end of”
B'reisheet “in the beginning” (Genesis) 41:1-44:17 Psalm 40
'M'lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 2:6-3:8 Mattityahu (Matthew) 27:15-46
by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley
Holman Bible Handbook: The Bible and Its Message
Deliverance Through Joseph (Gen 37-50)
Israel's role as the people of promise was being jeopardized by their acceptance of the loose moral standards of the native Canaanites. The incest between Reuben and his father's servant-wife (35:22) hints at that moral compromise. Judah's marriage to the Canaanite Shua and his later affair with his own daughter-in-law, Tamar, makes the danger clear. To preserve His people, Yahweh removed them from that sinful environment to Egypt, where they could mature into the covenant nation that He was preparing them to be.
This explains the Joesph story. His brothers sold him to Egypt to be rid of their brother the dreamer. God, however, used their act of hate as an opportunity to save Israel from both physical famine and spiritual extinction. The rise of Joseph to a position of authority in Egypt in fulfillment of his God-given dreams illustrates the Lord's blessing upon His people. Joseph's wisdom in administering the agricultural affairs of Egypt again fulfilled God's promise that “I will bless him who blesses you.” What appeared to be a series of blunders and injustices in Joseph's early experiences proved to be God at work in unseen ways to demonstrate His sovereign, kingdom work among the nations.
No one was more aware of this than Joseph, at least in later years. After he had revealed himself to his brothers, he said, “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (45:7). Years later after Jacob's death, when Joseph's brothers feared his revenge, he reminded them that they had intended to harm him, “but God intended it for good to accomplish … the saving of many lives” (50:20). Human tragedy had become the occasion of divine triumph. Joseph's dying wish – to be buried in the land of promise – looks past the future tragedy of Israel's experience of slavery and anticipates God's triumph in the exodus (50:22-26).
1 At the end of two years, Pharaoh had a dream: he was standing beside the Nile River;
Some say that this two years refers to how long Joseph was in prison, harkening back to Genesis 39:20.
Since the chapter and verse divisions came into being long after the Scriptures were written, Genesis 41:1 follows immediately after the last verse of chapter 40, “Nevertheless, the chief cupbearer didn't remember Yosef, but forgot him.”
So, “At the end of two years” is most likely two years after Joseph interpreted the dreams of the chief baker and chief cupbearer, “Pharaoh had a dream ….”
Question: "Who divided the Bible into chapters and verses? Why and when was it done?"
Answer: When the books of the Bible were originally written, they did not contain chapter or verse references. The Bible was divided into chapters and verses to help us find Scriptures more quickly and easily. It is much easier to find "John chapter 3, verse 16" than it is to find "for God so loved the world..." In a few places, chapter breaks are poorly placed and as a result divide content that should flow together. Overall, though, the chapter and verse divisions are very helpful.
The chapter divisions commonly used today were developed by Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury. Langton put the modern chapter divisions into place in around A.D. 1227. The Wycliffe English Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use this chapter pattern. Since the Wycliffe Bible, nearly all Bible translations have followed Langton's chapter divisions.
The Hebrew Old Testament was divided into verses by a Jewish rabbi by the name of Nathan in A.D. 1448. Robert Estienne, who was also known as Stephanus, was the first to divide the New Testament into standard numbered verses, in 1555. Stephanus essentially used Nathan's verse divisions for the Old Testament. Since that time, beginning with the Geneva Bible, the chapter and verse divisions employed by Stephanus have been accepted into nearly all the Bible versions. (http://www.gotquestions.org/divided-Bible-chapters-verses.html, accessed 13Dec15)
2 and there came up out of the river seven cows, sleek and fat; and they began feeding in swamp grass. 3 After them, there came up out of the river seven more cows, miserable-looking and lean; and they stood by the other cows at the edge of the river. 4 Then the miserable-looking and lean cows ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. At this point Pharaoh woke up.
The “sleek and fat” cows were beautiful (יָפֶה [yah-pheh]) and fatted / plump (בָּרִיא [bah-riy]).
The “miserable-looking and lean) cows were bad / evil (רַע [rah]) and crushed / thin (דַּק [dahk]).
Notice how plump and beautiful are linked as are thin and bad (or evil).
Concepts of beauty are culturally driven, but in the eye of the beholder.
Another look at these cows:
Both sets of cows came from the same place.
The first set had found good pasturage, which the second set of cows obviously needed.
The beautiful cows allowed the lean cows to come along side them.
Then the true nature of the evil cows revealed itself as they consumed the peaceful first cows.
As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:10)
Pay attention! I am sending you out like sheep among wolves, so be as prudent as snakes and as harmless as doves. 17 Be on guard, for there will be people who will hand you over to the local Sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On My account you will be brought before governors and kings as a testimony to them and to the Goyim. 19 But when they bring you to trial, do not worry about what to say or how to say it; when the time comes you will be given what you should say. 20 For it will not be just you speaking, but the Spirit of your heavenly Father speaking through you. (Matt 10:16-20)
30 “Let them both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest-time I will tell the reapers to collect the weeds first and tie them in bundles to be burned, but to gather the wheat into my barn.” … 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world. As for the good seed, these are the people who belong to the Kingdom; and the weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. 39 The enemy who sows them is the adversary, the harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will collect out of His Kingdom all the things that cause people to sin and all the people who are far from Torah [practice lawlessness]; 42 and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where people will wail and grind their teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let him hear! (Matt 13:30, 37-43)
In John 8 Jesus teaches that the devil is a liar and a murderer.
In John 10 that he, as a thief, comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.
In Revelation 13 the beast is given authority … for a time … and it “blasphemies against God to insult His name and His Sh'khinah, and those living in heaven; 7 it was allow to make war on God's holy people and to defeat them; and it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 Everyone living on earth will worship it except those whose names are written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb slaughtered before the world was founded.” (Rev 13:6-8)
But, Revelation 17:14 says, “They will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are called, chosen and faithful will overcome along with Him.”
5 But he went to sleep again and dreamt a second time: seven full, ripe ears of grain grew out of a single stalk. 6 After them seven ears, thin and blasted by the east wind, sprang up. 7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven full, ripe ears. Then Pharaoh woke up and realized it had been a dream.
The “full, ripe” ears of grain were fatted / plump (בָּרִיא [bah-riy]) and good (טוֹב [tov]).
The “thin” ears were scorched (שָׁדַף [shah-dahph]) and crushed / thin (דַּק [dahk]).
“grain” here is from the Hebrew word שִׁבֹּל [shi-bol] meaning
Strong's: a stream (as flowing); also an ear of grain (as growing out); by analogy, a branch
BDB: flowing stream; an ear (of grain), a head of grain (as growing; a cluster)
Its feminine form is שִׁבֹּלֶת [shi-bo-let] (sometimes transliterated “shibboleth” because of the dagesh in the bet which doubles it, and absence of a dagesh in the tav which at one time changed the pronunciation). שִׁבֹּלֶת is famous, or maybe infamous, because of its use in Judges 12:5-6
The men of Gil'ad cut off Efrayim from the crossings over the Yarden, and whenever anyone from Efrayim tried to escape and said, “Let me go across,” the men of Gil'ad would ask him, “Are you from Efrayim?” and if he said, “No,” 6 they would tell him to say “Shibbolet” [שִׁבֹּלֶת]. If he said, “Sibbolet” [סִבֹּלֶת], because he could not make his mouth pronounce it right, they took hold of him and killed him on the spot at the Yarden crossing; at that time 42,000 men of Efrayim died.
But exactly what kind of grain appeared in Pharaoh's dream we don't know.
Notice that in both dreams the number seven appears twice.
Scripturally things are repeated for emphasis.
Seven is the number of completion.
8 In the morning he found himself so upset that he summoned all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dream, but no one there could interpret them for him. 9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today reminds me of something wherein I am at fault: 10 Pharaoh was angry with his officials and put me in the prison of the house of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker. 11 One night both I and he had dreams, and each man's dream had its own meaning. 12 There was with us a young man, a Hebrew, a servant of the captain of the guard; and we told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us – he interpreted each man's dream individually. 13 and it came about as he interpreted to us – I was restored to my office, and he was hanged.”
“Pharaoh told them his dream, but no one there could interpret them for him.”
Although many translations render this as “dreams,” in the Hebrew it is singular.
Even at this point, it seems it was realized that the two dreams were related.
Out of all the magicians and wise men of the Empire “... no one there could interpret them for him. ….”
It may have been that no one there could give Pharaoh an interpretation that satisfied him.
These dreams were given by the LORD and not subject to worldly interpretation.
Now the natural man does not receive the things from the Spirit of God – to him they are nonsense! Moreover, he is unable to grasp them, because they are evaluated through the Spirit. 15 But the person who has the Spirit can evaluate everything, while no one is in a position to evaluate him. 16 For who has known the mind of Adonai? Who will counsel Him? But we have the mind of the Messiah! (1 Cor 2:14-16)
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, Who gives to all generously and without reproach; and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)
Rashi (A.D. 1040-1105) brings out that Joseph is described in, what for an Egyptian, was some of the lowest terms possible (The Soncino Chumash, p. 254):
a young man: he was not yet old enough to have been considered learned or fit for distinction;
a Hebrew: a foreigner who does not understand our language or cultural; and
a servant: “it is written in the laws of Egypt that a slave can neither be ruler nor wear the raiment of a noble” (ibid).
According to Genesis 39:1 “Yosef was brought down to Egypt, and Potifar, an officer of Pharaoh's and captain of the guard, and Egyptian, bought him from the Yishma'elim who had brought him there.”
When Yosef was falsely accused by Potifar's wife, Potifar must have believed Yosef and put him into a type of protective custody in “the prison of the house” where he lived. He could have had Yosef executed.
This way his wife's honor, through bruised, but not broken;
Yosef was safe from her advances;
Potifar could keep his conscious clear from killing an innocent man; and
Potifar could still benefit from Yosef's work, ethic, integrity, and God's blessing through him; though now to a much more limited degree.
14 Then Pharaoh summoned Yosef, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon. He shaved himself, changed his clothes, and came in to Pharaoh.
With taking time to shave and change clothes we can see that “quickly” is a relative term. The word used here comes from the Hebrew רוּץ [rūtz] meaning
Strong's: to run (for whatever reason, especially to rush)
BDB: (here in the Hiphil) to bring or move quickly, to hurry; to drive away from, to cause to run away
15 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “I had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it; but I've heard it said about you that when you hear a dream, you can interpret it.”
As the only medical representative for a helicopter squadron when I was home-ported in San Diego, I had to be wherever the majority of the squadron was. Aboard ship I worked with the ship's medical department; on shore with the air station's clinic. Consequently I did not go out to sea every time the ship did. In between those short deployments a new senior chief checked into the ship's medical department. The first words out of his mouth when I were, “Oh, you're Petty Officer Boley. I hear everything you touch turns to gold!”
I immediately felt I had been “set up,” that he had very high expectations, and that I needed to do everything in my power to live up to this reputation someone had entrusted to me.
This was with a new senior chief; Joseph was similarly “greeted” by the ruler of the most powerful empire in the world.
16 Yosef answered Pharaoh, “It isn't in me. God will give Pharaoh an answer that will set his mind at peace.”
Joseph immediately, and unashamedly, gives full credit to God, while at the same time reassuring Pharaoh that the LORD will give him an answer that will “set his mind at peace.”
Whatever we may be facing, whatever may be coming our way, even in the face of possible total collapse of the country and life as we know it, which is exactly what Joseph was looking at, “God will give … an answer that will set [your] mind at peace.”
“peace” here is שׁלוֹם [shah-lom] meaning
Strong's: safe, i.e. (figuratively) well, happy, friendly; also (abstractly) welfare, i.e. health, prosperity, peace
BDB: completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
completeness (in number)
safety, soundness (in body)
welfare, health, prosperity
peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment
peace, friendship (used of human relationships; with God especially in covenant relationship)
peace (from war)
peace (as adjective)
from שָׁלַם [shah-lahm] meaning
Strong's: to be safe (in mind, body or estate); figuratively, to be (causatively, make) completed; by implication, to be friendly; by extension, to reciprocate (in various applications)
to be in a covenant of peace, to be at peace
(Qal) to be at peace; peaceful one (participle)
(Pual) on in covenant of peace (participle)
(Hiphil) to make peace with; to cause to be at peace
(Hophal) to live in peace
to be complete, to be sound
(Qal) to be complete, to be finished, to be ended; to be sound, to be uninjured
(Piel) to complete, to finish; to make safe; to make whole or good, to restore, to make compensation; to make good, to pay; to requite, to recompense, to reward
(Pual) to be performed; to be repaid, to be requited
(Hiphil) to complete, to perform; to make an end of
One of the most familiar blessings in Scripture is the Aaronic Benediction from Numbers 6:24-26 where the LORD tells Moses how Aaron is to bless His people; it culminates with “shalom”:
יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
veh-yish-meh-reh-kah (Adonai) yeh-vah-reh-keh-kah
and keep you the LORD bless you
יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
viy-khu-neh-kah eh-leh-kah pah-nahv (Adonai) yah-ehr
and be gracious to you upon you His face the LORD make shine
יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם
sha-lōm leh-kah veh-yah-sehm eh-leh-kah pah-nahv (Adonai) yi-sah
peace to you and give upon you His face the LORD lift up
If you love Me, you will keep My commands: 16 and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another comforting Counselor like Me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever. … 25 I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Ruach HaKodesh, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you everything; that is, He will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 What I am leaving with you is shalom – I am giving you My shalom. I don't give the way the world gives. Don't let yourselves be upset or frightened. (John 14:15-16, 25-27, emphasis original)
17 Pharaoh relates to Joseph his dreams adding commentary for emphasis:
19b “I've never seen such bad-looking cows in all the land of Egypt!”
21 But after the bad-looking cows had eaten up the fat, sleek cows “one couldn't tell that they had eaten them; because they were as miserable-looking as before.”
25 Yosef said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are the same: God has told Pharaoh what He is about to do.
Yosef interprets the elements of the dreams and then its meaning
28 This is what I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do.
The repetition of a word, phrase, sentence, or idea makes it emphatic.
29 Here it is: there will be seven years of abundance throughout the whole land of Egypt; 30 but afterwards, there will come seven years of famine; and Egypt will forget all the abundance. The famine will consume the land, 31 and the abundance will not be known in the land because of the famine that will follow, because it will be truly terrible. 32 Why was the dream doubled for Pharaoh? Because the matter has been fixed by God, and God will shortly cause it to happen.
“famine” here is the Hebrew word רָעָב [rah-ahv] meaning hunger or famine, used of individuals, lands, nations, and of the Word of the LORD
also as a tool of God's discipline and judgment (e.g. Deut 28:47; 32:24; 2 Sam 24:13)
“The time is coming,” says Adonai ELOHIM, “when I will send famine over the land, not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Adonai. (Amos 8:11; cf Deut 8:3)
But Adonai's eyes watch over those who fear Him, over those who wait for His grace 19 to rescue them from death and keep them alive in famine. (Ps 33:18)
Therefore …. Whenever we see “therefore” in Scripture, we should know what the “therefore” is there for.
33 “Therefore, Pharaoh should look for a man both discreet and wise to put in charge of the land of Egypt.
“discreet” here comes from the Hebrew בִּין [biyn] meaning
Strong's: to separate mentally (or distinguish), i.e. (generally) understand
BDB: (here in the Niphal verb form) to be discerning, to be intelligent, to be discreet, to have understanding
“wise” here is the Hebrew word חָכָם [khah-khahm] meaning
Strong's: wise (i.e. intelligent, skillful or artful)
BDB: wise, a wise (one); skillful (in technical work); wise (in administration); shrewd, crafty, cunning, wily, subtle; learned, shrewd (class of men); prudent; wise (ethically and religiously)
34 Pharaoh should do this, and he should appoint supervisors over the land to receive a twenty percent tax on the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should gather all the food produced during these good years coming up and set aside grain under the supervision of Pharaoh to be used for food in the cities, and they should store it. 36 This will be the land's food supply for the seven years of the famine that will come over the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish as a result of the famine.”
The typical term for a really good crop is “bumper crop.” According to Wikipedia:
In agriculture, a bumper crop refers to a particularly productive harvest yielded for a particular crop. Example: 'With all the rain we've had over the last few months, we are expecting a bumper crop this year.”
A bumper crop can also be a source of problems, such as when there is insufficient storage space for an overly large crop. The word 'bumper' has a second definition meaning 'something unusually large,' which is where this term comes from.
Sometimes there is an extraordinarily good crop, which is called a “bumper-bumper” crop.
Scripture speaks of the possibility of a crop producing “a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Mt. 13:8).
As the LORD blessed the crops, this could easily have been seven years of “bumper-bumper” crops. Storage would not have been a problem, however, as God had forewarned the people through Yosef, who made ample provision for storage throughout the land. In this way the twenty percent per year that was stored was an ample supply for not only Egypt but many from other lands as well.
As the LORD blesses His people, we are commanded to pass along that blessing in tithes, offerings, and simply being generous: We are called to be channels of God's blessings; not dams.
There is an example of a water course that constantly takes in, but where there is no outflow. The concentration of salts and other minerals is such that there is no life in this body of water that is often called the Dead Sea.
37 The proposal seemed good both to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 Pharaoh said to his officials, “Can we find anyone else like him? The Spirit of God lives in him!” 39 So Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Since God has shown you all this – there is no one as discerning and wise as you – 40 you will be in charge of my household; all my people will be ruled by what you say. Only when I rule from my throne will I be greater than you.”
In Genesis 37:3 we read, “Now Isra'el loved Yosef the most of all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a long-sleeved robe.”
Possibly because Yosef was the “firstborn” of Jacob's chosen wife Rachel who had died (Gen. 35:19).
… the son of his old age …
Nachmanides explains that all of Jacob's children were born to him in his old age, therefore, “he chose Joseph as the son to look after him in his old age, and this naturally increased his affection for him.” (The Soncino Chumash, p. 230.)
Joseph was the youngest for some time and would therefore be around “home” more as Jacob's age was showing more and more. As such, Yosef would have been learning how to manage all the affairs of a large household as he grew to know and follow the God of Israel his father.
Joseph had been given charge of Potifar's household (Gen 39:4);
of all the affairs of the prison (Gen 39:22); and now
of all the affairs of the empire
Psalm 105:16 [The LORD] called down famine on the land, broke off all their food supply, 17 but sent a man ahead of them – Yosef, who was sold as a slave. 18 They shackled his feet with chains, and they bound him in irons; 19 until the time when his word proved true, God's utterance kept testing him. 20 The king sent and had him released, the ruler of peoples set him free; 21 he made him lord of his household, in charge of all he owned, 22 correcting his officers as he saw fit and teaching his counselors wisdom.
41 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Here, I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Yosef's hand, had him clothed in fine linen with a gold chain around his neck 43 and had him ride in his second best chariot; and they cried before him, “Bow down!” Thus he placed him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “I, Pharaoh, decree that without your approval no one is to raise his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.”
The signet ring represented the power and authority of the individual person or the particular position the person held.
In this case Joseph was given all the power and authority of Pharaoh himself,
so that all that Joseph said, it was as if Pharaoh had said it; and
all that Joseph did, it was as if Pharaoh himself had done it.
Some relate the tzitzit to the signet, e.g.
The final section of Parashat Shelach [Numbers 13:1-15:41] introduces the mitzva of tzitzit. The purpose of this mitzva, as the Torah explicitly states, is to remind a person of his religious obligations: “…you shall see it and then remember all the commandments of the Lord and perform them, and you shall not stray after your hearts and eyes after which you would [otherwise] be lured” (15:39). The obvious question arises, how do the tzitzit strings remind a person of the mitzvot? How does this mitzva have the effect of reminding the individual of his obligations, and preventing him from “straying” after his sinful instincts? … Seforno [c. 1475-1550] writes that, quite simply, the tzitzit strings function as “the signet of the king upon his servants.” Just as servants wear uniforms reflecting their status of subjugation to their master, similarly, Benei Yisrael affix special strings to their garments as a permanent reminder that they live their lives in the service of the Almighty. (http://etzion.org.il/vbm/english/archive/salt-bemidbar/37-12shelach.htm, accessed 16Dec15)
So during the parading of the Torah, some will wrap tzitzit around their index finger and touch that to the Torah, signifying not only their belief in the coming of the Messiah, but with the tzitzit that they strive to live their lives in the service of the Almighty King and His Word (both written and personified in Yeshua).
A personal prayer is that the LORD would help me to live my life in such a way that all that I am wrapped up with, all that I am involved in, would please and honor Him.
The wearing of signet rings (from Latin "signum" meaning sign) goes back to ancient Egypt; the distinctive personal signature was not developed in antiquity and most documents needed a seal. Although less common today, and very rarely actually used for their intended purpose as seals, signet rings are still worn, especially among the armigerous, in European and some other cultures.
Because it is used to attest the authority of its bearer, the ring has also been seen as a symbol of his power, which is one explanation for its inclusion in the regalia of certain monarchies. After the death of a Pope, the destruction of his signet ring is a prescribed act clearing the way for the sede vacante and subsequent election of a new Pope.
Signet rings are also used as souvenir or membership attribute, e.g. class ring (typically bear the coat of arms or crest of the school), as an alternative to one with a stone. One may also have their initials engraved as a sign of their personal stature; however historically monogrammed rings were for the less noble classes.
Since at least the 16th century there have also been pseudo-signet rings where the engraving is not reversed (mirror image), as it should be if the impression is to read correctly. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_(emblem)#Signet_rings, accessed 16Dec15.)
In God's timing Joseph was raised up and not just his family, but an empire bowed down to him.
45 Pharaoh called Yosef by the name Tzafnat-Pa'neach and gave him as his wife Osnat the daughter of Poti-Fera priest of On. Then Yosef went out through all the land of Egypt.
These names of all of Egyptian derivation:
Tzafnat-Pa'neach means “treasury of the glorious rest”
Osnat (Asenath) means “belonging to the goddess Neith”
Poti-Fera means “he whom the Ra gave”
On means “strength” or “vigor”
BDB brings out that On was “a city in lower [northern] Egypt, bordering the land of Goshen, the center of sun-worship”
46 Yosef was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt; then he left Pharaoh's presence and traveled through all the land of Egypt.
Thirteen years after Joseph was introduced as a young man of seventeen years who was busy feeding, tending, ruling the flocks (Gen 37:2)
Just how long Yosef was actually in prison we are not told
47 During the seven years of abundance, the earth brought forth heaps of produce. 48 He collected all the food of these seven years in the land of Egypt and stored it in the cities – the food grown in the fields outside each city he stored in that city. 49 Yosef stored grain in quantities like the sand on the seashore, so much that they stopped counting, because it was beyond measure.
“heaps of produce” here might be more literally translated “copious” or “plenteous handfuls”
קֹמֶץ [kō-mehtz] means a closed hand, a fist, grasp, handful
שָׂבָע [sah-vah] means copiousness, plenty, satiety
This is one of innumerable places in Scripture where we can see how words relate by looking at the original language:
שָׂבַע [sah-vah] = to sate, fill to satisfaction, to have one's fill (to have desire satisfied)
שָׂבָע [sah-vah] = copiousness, plenty, satiety
שֹׂבַע [sō-vah] = satisfaction, satiety, abundance, fullness
ַשָׂבֵע [sah-veh-a] = satiated, sated, satisfied, surfeited (in a pleasant or disagreeable sense)
שָׁבַע [shah-vah] = to be complete, to swear, to adjure, to take an oath
שֶׁבַע [sheh-vah] = seven; seven times; by implication, a week; by extension, an indefinite number
this is part of the reason it is said that seven is the biblical number of completion
Notice the various terms used for emphasis:
During the seven years of abundance, the earth brought forth heaps of produce. 48 He collected all the food of these seven years in the land of Egypt and stored it in the cities – the food grown in the fields outside each city he stored in that city. 49 Yosef stored grain in quantities like the sand on the seashore, so much that they stopped counting, because it was beyond measure.
The bumper-bumper crop had come just as the LORD had said through Joseph.
50 Two sons were born to Yosef before the year of famine came; Osnat the daughter of Poti-Fera priest of On bore them to him. 51 Yosef called the firstborn M'nasheh [causing to forget], “Because God has caused me to forget all the troubles I suffered at the hands of my family.” 52 The second he called Efrayim [fruit], “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortune.”
Good and bad things happen in life. That's part of living in a fallen world.
What makes the difference is whether we hold on to the good and pass it along, or
hold on to the bad and pass it along.
Only the LORD can make our efforts to let go of past hurts successful:
to M'nasheh – cause us to “forget” them, and
put them behind us
Only the LORD can strengthen our grasp to hold on to the good:
to make us Efrayim – “fruitful”
Only the LORD can empower us to pass on the blessings.
53 The seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt ended; 54 and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Yosef had said. There was famine in all lands, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food. 55 When the whole land of Egypt started feeling the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food, and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Yosef, and do what he tells you to do.”
The word of the LORD came about, just as He had said.
Not only is God Sovereign, but He is also Omniscient (All-Knowing)
as well as Omnipotent (All-Powerful), Eternal, + + + + + + + + + + +
The famine was not confined to just Egypt, “there was famine in all lands,” but God had provided, “throughout the land of Egypt there was food.”
The LORD takes care of His people and always provides a way.
Our responsibility is to be faithful to Him, obedient to His Word, and watchful for the way.
56 The famine was over all the earth, but then Yosef opened all the storehouses and sold food to the Egyptians, since the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Moreover all countries came to Egypt to Yosef to buy grain, because the famine was severe throughout the earth.
God's provision through His servant saved the land where he was living and beyond.
As salt preserves food, Joseph as God's man preserved his country … and more
Yeshua said His talmidim were the salt of the earth (Matt 5:13)
As light pierces the darkness and gives saving light to all, Yosef stood on his principles for his God no matter what and in time was able to show the way.
Jesus said His talmidim were, as He is, light in a dark world:
You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don't cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)
For future study and development:
Judah and Tamar settled on the price of a young goat for services rendered. Since Judah did not have the goat with him, he offered Tamar some collateral. He asked her, “What pledge shall I give you?” She said, “Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand” (Genesis 38:18).
Judah’s seal, cord, and staff amount to the ancient version of his driver’s license, personal I.D. card, and major credit cards. The seal (chotam, חותם) was a cylindrical signet seal, the ancient equivalent of a signet ring, used to make a signature impression in clay seals for certification purposes. The cord (patil, פתיל) refers to the fringes on the hem of his garment. As explained above, the hem of the garment indicated a person’s status and prestige. Men sometimes used the distinctive embroidery on the hems of their garments to make seal impressions, like a signet. In the days of the Torah, a man might also use his staff (matteh, מטה) as a form of identification. For example, Moses collected the twelve staffs of the twelve tribal leaders, writing each leader’s name upon his staff.
The sages identified a messianic significance for each item:
The Holy Spirit inspired her to ask for Judah’s seal, cord and staff. “Your seal (chotam)” alludes to royalty, as it says [in Jeremiah 22:24], “Though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a seal (chotam) on My right hand.” “Your cord (patil)” alludes to the Sanhedrin, as it says [in Numbers 15:38], “And that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord (patil) of blue.” “And your staff” (matteh) alludes to the Messiah King [as it says in Psalm 110:2], “The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter (matteh) from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies.’” (Genesis Rabbah 85:9)
The allusion to the Sanhedrin seems obscure. A Messianic Jewish interpretation might point us to the tassels (tzitzit) of King Messiah. The cord of blue in the tassels represents royalty and priesthood. Those who grasped the tassels of the Master’s garment received miraculous healing, and in the age to come, the nations will take hold of His tassels. The items Judah left with Tamar—his seal, his cord and his staff—serve as messianic harbingers. Tamar cloaked her identity behind a veil, but in her hands she possessed the proof of Messiah. When the time was right, she triumphantly produced the evidence. Tamar challenges us from across the span of more than three thousand years, “Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?” (Genesis 38:25). Similarly, the Almighty has concealed the identity of the Messiah beneath a veil, but when the time is right, He will lift the veil and present the evidence of Yeshua’s messiahship to Judah—to the Jewish people. (http://torahclub.ffoz.org/portions-library/core/vayeshev/signet-cord-and-staff.html, accessed 16Dec15)
Later in this Torah portion, as Mike Schwab brought out, “Judah says that he will be responsible [for Benjamin] and take his place if anything should happen. This is a picture (messianic figure) of what the Messiah does for us; Yeshua took our place. Yeshua died for our sins even though He was without sin. He rose from the dead after three days because He didn't deserve His sentence and now is at the right hand of the Father in heaven, and speaks on our behalf.” See Genesis 43:8-9.