Parashah Studies

Vayigash -03

Parashah 11: Vayigash “he approached”

B'reisheet “in the beginning” (Genesis) 44:18-47:27 Psalm 48 Yechezk'el (Ezekiel) 37:15-28 Acts 7:9-16

Genesis 44 18 Then Y'hudah approached Yosef and said, “Please, my lord! Let your servant say something to you privately; and don't be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, 'Do you have a father? Or a brother?' 20 We answered my lord, 'We have a father who is an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one whose brother is dead; so that of his mother's children he alone is left; and his father loves him.' 21 But you said to your servants, 'Bring him down to me, so that I can see him.' 22 We answered my lord, 'The boy can't leave his father; if he were to leave his father, his father would die.' 23 You said to your servants, 'You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.' 24 We went up to your servant my father and told him what my lord had said; 25 but when our father said, 'Go again, and buy us some food,' 26 we answered, 'We can't go down. Only if your youngest brother is with us will we go down, because we can't see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us.' 27 Then your servant my father said to us, 'You know that my wife bore me two sons: 28 the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he have been torn to pieces,” and I haven't seen him since. 29 Now if you take this one away from me too, and something happens to him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sh'ol with grief.” 30 So now if I go to your servant my father, and the boy isn't with us – seeing how his heart is bound up with the boy's heart – 31 when he sees that the boy isn't with us, he will die; and your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sh'ol with grief. 32 For your servant himself guaranteed his safety; I said, 'If I fail to bring him to you, then I will bear the blame before my father forever.' 33 Therefore, I beg you, let your servant stay as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34 For how can I go up to my father if the boy isn't with me? I couldn't bear to see my father so overwhelmed by anguish.”

• Judah ◦ takes the leadership role ◦ steps forward to talk to the lord ◦ intercedes for his brother

• “… don't be angry with your servant ...”

◦ Some suggest that this indicates that Judah addressed Joseph in harsh terms, or may carry the meaning, don't be angry when I tell you that you are the cause of all this trouble. (See The Soncino Chumash, p. 277.)

▪ This idea begs the question, if so, why does Judah immediately follow this statement with “for you are like Pharaoh himself”?

• “The Midrash interprets: You will be smitten with leprosy on Benjamin's account, as Pharaoh was smitten for detaining my ancestress, Sarah, for only one night. Another interpretation: As Pharaoh promises and does not keep his word, you are like him in that respect; do you call this 'setting your eyes upon him' (verse 21)? Another interpretation: If you provoke me, I will slay you together with Pharaoh.” (The Soncino Chumash, p. 277.)

◦ I believe Judah is placing himself in a subservient position, bowing (at least verbally) before a man of power and position, taking on the part of advocate, intercessor, and substitute, and in so doing gives us a picture of Messiah. My reasoning:

▪ We know from the greater context of the Joseph story that this fulfills the prophetic dreams Joseph had (cf. Genesis 37:5-11).

▪ In this one passage the word “servant,” in one form or another, is used 12 times. The Hebrew word is עֶבֶד [eh-vehd] meaning:

• a slave, a servant, a man-servant • subjects • servants, worshipers (of G-d) • servant (in special sense as prophets, Levites etc) • servant (of Israel) • servant (as form of address between equals)

• “Coincidentally” עֶבֶד is used here once for each tribe subject to the rule of Adonai and His Messiah: 12 times.

▪ In this same passage the word “lord” (אָדוֹן [adon]) is used 5 times by Judah when addressing Joseph, (7 times in the Hebrew: “coincidentally” the biblical number for completeness). The word אָדוֹן means:

• Strong's: from a root meaning to rule; sovereign, i.e. controller (human or divine); lord, master, owner

• BDB: ◦ lord, master ▪ referring to men: a superintendent of a household, a superintendent of affairs; a master; a king ▪ referring to G-d: the L-RD G-d; the L-RD of the whole earth

◦ lords, kings ▪ referring to men: a proprietor of a hill of Samaria; a master; a husband; a prophet; a governor; a prince; a king ▪ referring to G-d: the L-RD of lords (probably = “your husband, Yahweh”)

◦ my lord, my master ▪ referring to men: a master; a husband; a prophet; a prince; a king; a father; Moses; a priest; a theophanic angel; a captain; a general recognition of superiority ▪ referring to G-d: my L-RD, my L-RD and my G-d; Adonai (parallel with Yahweh)

▪ Joseph's reaction: if Judah had adopted a brash, confrontational attitude, or was a prefigurement of Moses in his dealings with Pharaoh, Joseph would have reacted in kind, rather than what we see in the very next verse (Gen 45:1).

• “his heart is bound up with the boy's heart”

◦ In this passage Judah is trying to protect Benjamin. The only other place in Scripture where this language is used is in 1 Sam 18:1 where we read that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David. Jonathan was a Benjamite who tried to protect David who was from the tribe of Judah.

• Throughout Scripture the L-RD has given us numerous pictures that point us to Messiah. Joseph pictures Messiah in a number of ways. For instance he is sold by his own, goes through the pit for crimes he did not commit, is raised to the right hand of majesty, is like the king himself, and for those who will come to him he provides a means to be saved from death.

• In this two-and-a-half minute entreaty Judah also pictures Yeshua, Who is of the tribe of Judah. Y'hudah intercedes for Binyamin, whom his father loves – emphatic in the original – he embraces Benjamin as a brother, and offers his life to save him from a life of slavery.

◦ Y'hudah also pictures us as we approach our King's throne seeking grace and mercy. Remember from last week's parashah that Joseph's brothers were talking about killing him. It was Judah that convinced them to sell Joseph into slavery instead. Having repented of his part in the wrongdoing, he now draws near to Yosef calling him “my lord” six times and (directly and indirectly) calling himself Joseph's “servant” 12 times.

• In Messiah we are adopted into G-d's family and are therefore brothers and sisters of Yeshua. But, even though He is our brother, when we draw near, do we remember our position as His servants and honor Him as our Master and Owner; as our L-RD?

◦ Belonging to Messiah, do we follow His example, interceding for others who are loved by the Father and embracing them as joint heirs in Christ?

Genesis 45 1 At last Yosef could no longer control his feelings in front of his attendants and cried, “Get everybody away from me!” So no one else was with him when Yosef revealed to his brothers who he was. 2 He wept aloud, and the Egyptians heard, and Pharaoh's household heard.

• Rashi: He could not bear that the by-standers should hear his brothers put to shame when he made himself known to them. (The Soncino Chumash, p. 279.)

• Nachmanides suggests, also, that “it might have been dangerous to let the Egyptians know all that had transpired. Firstly, because they might have refused permission to the brothers to settle in the country, on the ground that if they had treated their own brother in this manner, how would they act toward the Egyptians! Moreover, they might lose faith also in Joseph.” (The Soncino Chumash, p. 279.)

3 Yosef said to his brother, “I am Yosef! Is it true that my father is still alive?” His brothers couldn't answer him, they were so dumbfounded at seeing him. 4 Yosef said to his brothers, “Please! Come closer.” And they came closer. He said, “I am Yosef, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.

• Who but Joseph would identify himself in this way? Certainly not someone so exalted as the Prime Minister of the greatest empire on the earth; unless it were true!

5 But don't be sad that you sold me into slavery here or angry at yourselves, because it was God who sent me ahead of you to preserve life. 6 The famine has been over the land for the last two years, and for yet another five years there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you will have descendants on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household and ruler over the whole land of Egypt.

• You had one thing in mind; G-d had another. You planned to rid yourselves of what you saw as a problem; G-d used it to bring about His purposes.

◦ This incident shines the light on an age-old quandary about the sovereignty of G-d.

▪ Is G-d really sovereign? Is He really in control? Is He really all-knowing? … If so, what about sin, sickness, death, etc.? Does that mean G-d is responsible for these things? Though numerous books throughout the centuries have been written on just this subject, let me try to succinctly summarize what I believe is a biblical position:

We know from Scripture and experience, that the L-RD is good, kind, loving, and merciful. We also know Him to be Sovereign, Omnipotent (All-Powerful), Omniscience (All-Knowing), and Eternal.

We must keep in mind that an All-Powerful being, such as the L-RD, can make creatures (e.g. humans) do anything, with a single exception: love them. G-d's desires for us includes that we should know and love Him, which is an act of volition: an act of the will; free choice.

The unfortunate side of choice is the ability to choose to do wrong: to rebel; to sin. Choice, or free will, is a two-edged sword. It was this choice that allowed man to sin against G-d's instructions which opened the door to further sin and all its ramifications. Since the Fall every person with a human father has born sinful. It is as if a hacker got into the primary system and reprogrammed our hard-drives with what is now a “natural” propensity toward sin.

The ramifications of the Fall were universal in that the entire universe was affected. Since that time death, destruction, decay, and rot have been a part of life. We live in a fallen world and so we experience these things. Some to a greater degree than others, but all of us are affected. Such is the negative side of free will.

Being All-Knowing, however, the L-RD was not taken by surprise by any of this and already had a plan: a rescue mission we call redemption. G-d gradually revealed His plan through His Word until the time was just right and the Messiah came. In Yeshua / Jesus, G-d Himself took on flesh and blood to live a perfect life and give Himself as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our wrongdoing. By accepting that that was for me, and believing the eyewitness testimony of Scripture, I can enter a life altering, life-giving relationship with Him. His Holy Spirit can clean my hard-drive, so to speak, and reinstall the original software that is like the Programmer Himself: good, kind, loving, etc. The choice is mine. The same choice is yours.

Do bad things still happen? Yes. Do I still get sick? Sometimes. Am I still susceptible to injury? Are certain parts of my body still wearing out? It sure feels that way. We live in a fallen world where “stuff happens.” But when Yeshua returns He will set everything right and these issues will no longer be a problem.

• God … has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household and ruler over the whole land of Egypt.

◦ A loving father, lord, or ruler takes care of the needs of those in their care.

▪ Joseph acknowledges that G-d has put him in this position for Pharaoh, all his household, and the whole land of Egypt.

▪ Yosef is a picture of the Messiah e.g.:

Joseph Parallels* Jesus 37:3 Their fathers loved them dearly Matt 3:17 37:2 Shepherds of their fathers' sheep John 10:11, 27 37:13-14 Sent by father to brothers Heb 2:11 37:4 Hated by brothers John 7:5 37:20 Others plotted to harm them John 11:53 39:7 Tempted Matt 4:1 37:25 Taken to Egypt Matt 2:14-15 37:23 Robes taken from them John 19:23 37:28 Sold for the price of a slave Matt 26:15 39:20 Bound in chains Matt 27:2 39:16-18 Falsely accused Matt 26:59-60 40:2-3 Placed with two other prisoners, one who was saved and the other lost Luke 23:32 41:46 Both 30 years old at the beginning of public recognition Luke 3:23 41:41 Exalted after suffering Phil 2:9-11 45:1-15 Forgave those who wronged them Luke 23:34 45:7 Saved their nation Matt 1:21 50:20 What people did to hurt them G-d turned to good 1 Cor 2:7-8 * From Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, p 87.

• A few others, with example verses: ◦ rejected by his brothers (Gen 37:19; Mark 9:12) ◦ sold for silver (Gen 37:28; Matt 26:15) ◦ wrongfully arrested / imprisoned (Gen 39:19-20; Matt 26:48; 27:2) ◦ exalted to the right hand of majesty (Gen 41:40; Acts 5:31) ◦ ruling with the authority of the highest king (Gen 41:42-43; Phil 2:9-11)

9 Hurry, go up to my father, and tell him, 'Here is what your son Yosef says: “God has made me lord of all Egypt! Come down to me, don't delay! 10 You will live in the land of Goshen and be near me – you, your children, your grandchildren, flocks, herds, everything you own. 11 I will provide for you there, so that you won't become poverty-stricken, you, your household and all that you have; because five year of famine are yet to come.”'

• “Go up to my father” and “Come down to me” are not necessarily references to north and south, but may be to elevation.

• Goshen was in the rich pasture lands of the Nile delta in lower (northern) Egypt, between the cities of On and Ra'amses.

• This would be “near” Joseph and yet separate enough from the Egyptians for them to bring all their flocks and herds “for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians” (Gen 46:34).

• “I will provide for you”

◦ As our parents age it is normal for roles to change. Taking care of them as we can is one way to honor them as we honor G-d.

◦ If being the “son of his old age” (Gen 37:3) meant that Yosef had been the designated caregiver for his aging father, he may have been seizing this opportunity to fulfill that work.

12 “Here! Your own eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Binyamin, that it is my own mouth speaking to you. 13 Tell my father how honored I am in Egypt and everything you have seen, and quickly bring my father down here!” 14 Then he embraced his brother Binyamin and wept, and Binyamin wept on his neck, 15 and he kissed all his brothers and wept on them. After that, his brothers talked with him.

• Your own eyes see ….

◦ Rashi suggests that at one point in this encounter Joseph had even shown them that he was circumcised like they were. (The Soncino Chumash, p. 280)

▪ It is also possible there was some other distinguishing mark, such as some other scar or birthmark, that would help prove the point that he was in fact Joseph.

◦ The Hebrew word used here for “see” comes from רָאָה [rah-ah] meaning (literally or figuratively) to see, to look at, to inspect, to perceive, to consider.

• After that, his brothers talked with him.

◦ Verse 3 says they were dumbfounded. It's safe to say they were in shock!

◦ Now, in light of that had happened, after all that had taken place, now that they were throughly convinced, “his brothers talked with him.”

16 The report of this reached Pharaoh's house: “Yosef's brothers have come”; and Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Tell your brothers, 'Here is what you are to do. Load up your animals, go to the land of Kena'an, 18 take your father and your families, and come back to me. I will give you good property in Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land. 19 Moreover – and this is an order – do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt to carry your little ones and your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20 Don't worry about your stuff, because everything good in the land of Egypt is yours.'”

• Part of the effect of this word would be to confirm all that Joseph had told his brothers and what they had seen, that Joseph was Prime Minister of the empire with Pharaoh's full backing.

• Now they had an order, command, charge from Pharaoh himself:

◦ take wagons from the land of Egypt

▪ Rashbam: No wagons could be taken out of the country without Pharaoh's order. (The Soncino Chumash, p. 282)

▪ Sforno: Thus Jacob would have no excuse for refusing to come. (Ibid.)

◦ bring your father

◦ don't worry about your stuff, because everything good in the land of Egypt is yours.

▪ “Goshen, along with gifts of clothing, silver, donkeys, and food, confers royal status on the family.” (Feinberg, Walk GENSIS!, p. 199)

21 The sons of Isra'el acted accordingly; and Yosef gave them wagons, as Pharaoh had ordered, and gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave a set of new clothes; but to Binyamin he gave seven-and-a-half pounds of silver and five sets of new clothes. 23 Likewise, to his father he sent ten donkeys loaded with the finest goods Egypt produced, as well as ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread and food for his father to eat on the return journey.

• Some commands from the king are for our good; some for the good of others.

◦ Obedience to godly orders brings blessings that that king is able to bestow: Obedience to the King of kings brings blessing that He is able to bestow.

• The extra gifts for Binyamin would not only be a natural expression of affection for his brother, but also could be seen as a type of recompense for being deprived of his only full brother for so many years.

24 Thus he sent his brothers on their way, and they left; he said to them, “Don't quarrel among yourselves while you're traveling!”

• Even in the midst of great blessing we must guard against being used by the enemy to sow discord.

• Do not quarrel over who was responsible for my sale (Rashi, Abraham Ibn Ezra, The Soncino Chumash, p. 283).

• “Don't quarrel among yourselves while you're traveling!” is the CJB rendering of a three word phrase in Hebrew: אַל־ תִּרְגְּזוּ בַּדָּרֶךְ

◦ אַל־ is a simple negation; “do not”

◦ בַּדָּרֶךְ is the “inseparable preposition” בַּ , meaning in or on the, attached to דֶּרֶךְ which is road, way, path, or journey

◦ תִּרְגְּזוּ is the Qal imperfect second person masculine of רָדַז [rah-gahz] meaning

▪ Strong's: to quiver (with any violent emotion, especially anger or fear) ▪ BDB: (Qal) to quake, to be disquieted, to be excited, to be perturbed

▪ 'Do not fear on the road' that you may be attacked by robbers, as you are so heavily laden, and particularly on your return, when you will have all your possessions with you, because my name will be a sufficient protection (Rashbam, Nachmanides, The Soncino Chumash, p. 283).

25 So they went up out of Egypt, entered the land of Kena'an and came to Ya'akov their father. 26 They told him, “Yosef is still alive! He is ruler over the whole land of Egypt!” He was stunned at the news; he couldn't believe them.

• Is it a sign of the fallen nature that we believe negative reports so much easier than the positive? Or that with no news, we tend to fear the worst has happened?

◦ We must constantly guard against this and trust in the Sovereign L-RD, encouraging ourselves in Him (cf. 1 Sam. 30:6).

27 So they reported to him everything Yosef had said to them; but it was only when he saw the wagons which Yosef had sent to carry him that the spirit of Ya'akov their father began to revive. 28 Isra'el said, “Enough! My son Yosef is still alive! I must go and see him before I die.”

• Rashbam takes this to mean that the brothers related “all the other events which had transpired,” but Nachmanides notes that scripturally “Jacob never learned that the brothers had sold Joseph, but was allowed to believe that he had been kidnapped by strangers and sold.” (The Soncino Chumash, p. 283)

Genesis 46 1 Isra'el took everything he owned with him on his journey. He arrived at Be'er-Sheva and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Yitz'chak.

• Isra'el moved wholeheartedly into what the L-RD had for him, not leaving anything behind – no “contingency plans.”

• He took time to offer sacrifices to the L-RD.

◦ We need to take time to pray, to praise the L-RD, and worship Him.

THE DIFFERENCE by Grace L. Naessens

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day: I had so much to accomplish, that I didn't take time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me, and heavier came each task; "Why doesn't G-d help me," I wondered. He answered, "You didn't ask."

I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day just toiled on gray and bleak; I wondered why G-d didn't show me. He said, "But you didn't seek."

I tried to come into G-d's presence. I used all the keys at the lock. G-d gently chided, "My child, you didn't knock."

I woke up this morning, and paused before entering the day. I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

2 In a vision at night God called to Isra'el, “Ya'akov! Ya'akov!” He answered, “Here I am.” 3 He said, “I am God, the God of your father. Don't be afraid to go down to Egypt. It is there that I will make you into a great nation. 4 Not only will I go down with you to Egypt; but I will also bring you back here again, after Yosef has closed your eyes.”

• As the L-RD sent Jacob out with a reminder of His covenant, care, provision, protection, and promises (Gen 28:13-15), here He reminds Jacob again before sending out to Egypt.

◦ If we, in relationship with Jesus, go out at the L-RD's command, we also go out with His care, provision, protection, and promises.

• “I am God, the God of … your father. Don't be afraid ….”

◦ This is just what the L-RD had said to Yitz'chak at Be'er-Sheva (Gen 26:24).

▪ This is what the L-RD would say to us as we seek Him in covenantal relationship through Yeshua.

• … If you belong to the Messiah, you are seed of Avraham and heir according to the promise. (Gal 3:29)

• It was in Jacob's place of worship that he found comfort and direction from the G-d of his father.

◦ One generation had successfully passed to the next a faith based on fact and relationship.

▪ Faith in the G-d of the Bible is a reasoned faith based on fact and relationship.

• Don't be afraid to go down to Egypt.

◦ Jacob knew the prophecy the L-RD had given has grandfather Abraham:

▪ Adonai said to Avram, “Know this for certain: your descendants will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs. They will be slaves and held in oppression there four hundred years. But I will also judge that nation, the one that makes them slaves. Afterwards, they will leave with many possessions.” (Gen. 15:13-14)

▪ He needed this reassurance from the L-RD: and he got it.

• It is there that I will make you into a great nation.

◦ This reaffirms one aspect of the covenantal promise found in Gen 12:2.

◦ It's all part of My plan … Egypt was a furnace G-d used to forge a people (Deut. 4:20)

▪ The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the L-RD tests hearts (Pro. 17:3).

▪ Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction (Isa. 48:10).

• Yeshua's earthly walk was characterized by affliction, on our behalf. When He returns in glory and we see Him as He really is, His feet will be “like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:15).

• I will go down with you to Egypt

◦ The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Ps. 27:1)

◦ “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the the presence of G-d.”

• Not only will I go down with you to Egypt; but I will also bring you back here again

◦ Going and coming back, I will be with you.

• after Yosef has closed your eyes

◦ You will see your “long lost son” before you die.

▪ Your heart will be comforted, your mind put at ease, because of the great things the L-RD is doing.

• Locked in both “time” and “space” as we currently are, our perspective is extremely limited, but G-d's plans for us in Yeshua transcend both!

5 So Ya'akov left Be'er-Sheva; the sons of Isra'el brought Ya'akov their father, their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had sent to carry them.

• “So Ya'akov left Be'er-Sheva” might be more literally rendered, “And rose up Ya'akov from Be'er-Sheva” (וַיָּקָם יָעֲקֹו מֹבְּאֵר שָׁבַע).

◦ וַיָּקָם [vah-yah-kahm]

▪ וַ [vah] is the conjunction “and”

▪ יָּקָם [yah-kahm] is the Qal imperfect, third person, masculine, singular of קוּם [kūm] (a “hollow verb” - in many forms the middle root letter “drops out” - here becoming קָם [kahm]) meaning:

• Strong's: to rise (in various applications, literal, figurative, intensive and causative)

• BDB: (Qal) to arise; to arise (hostile sense); to become powerful; to come on the scene; to stand (to maintain oneself; to be established, to be confirmed; to stand, to endure; to be fixed; to be valid; to be proven; to be fulfilled; to persist; to be set, to be fixed)

◦ After Jacob met with the L-RD at the “Well of Oath” (Be'er-Sheva) he left, yes, but more than that he “arose” or “rose up” which means

▪ he was sitting, kneeling, laying, etc. Jacob had gone there to meet with G-d and was waiting on Him; and because of that

▪ when Isra'el left Be'er-Sheva he had become powerful, established, confirmed, fixed, validated, proven, fulfilled.

• When we set ourselves to meet with the L-RD at our “Well of Oath” in an attitude of subservience, waiting on Him until He gives us a word, we “קָם [kahm] away” powerful, established, confirmed, fixed, validated, proven, fulfilled!

26 All the people belonging to Ya'akov coming into Egypt, his direct descendants (not counting Ya'akov's sons' wives), totaled sixty-six. 27 The sons of Yosef, born to him in Egypt, were two in number. Thus all the people in Ya'akov's family who entered Egypt numbered seventy.

• Based on the number of Noah's descendants listed in Genesis 10, the number seventy has come to represent all the nations and people of the world. These were the people “saved” from the flood through Noah and his sons, and their obedience to the L-RD.

• Israel, a direct descendant of Noah, and Israel's direct descendants, 70 listed, were “saved” from famine and extinction through assimilation through Israel and his sons, and their obedience to the L-RD.

◦ Yeshua, the Savior of the world, is a direct descendant of Isra'el (see Matt 1) and Noah (see Luke 3), so in another sense, through Israel, all the world may be saved. Through Yeshua's obedience to the L-RD's will, He purchased salvation for the world.

▪ You people don't know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews. (John 4:22)

▪ This Yeshua is the stone rejected by you builders which has become the cornerstone. 12 There is salvation in no one else! For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by Whom we must be saved! (Acts 4:11-12)

28 Ya'akov sent Y'hudah ahead of him to Yosef, so that the latter might guide him on the road to Goshen; thus they arrived in the land of Goshen.

• “to Goshen” here is the Hebrew גּשְׁנָה [Gōsh-nah]. This is the first place in Scripture these four letters occur as a word, and coincidentally are the same letters found on the dreidel, the four-sided top played with at Hanukkah which falls around the same time this parashah is read each year.

◦ The sages tell us Jacob was sending his son, Judah, to the Egyptian city of Goshen to set up a house of study, in advance of his entire family's relocation there. He knew the prophecy God had given his grandfather in Genesis 15: 13 … Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. 14 But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. (emphasis added)

These possessions were much more than the materials for the Tabernacle, priestly garments, and living in the wilderness for 40 years: it was a solid knowledge they were following and serving the One true God of heaven and earth. Tradition has it that when the Seleucid emperor outlawed the study of God's Word that the faithful would study in secret while keeping a dreidel handy. If soldiers approached the scrolls were quickly hidden and the dreidels pulled out, so it would appear that they were simply playing a game. Jacob was aware that this was a dreadful descent into exile. But he looked at all of the letters of the dreidel, if you will, and realized that hidden in the exile are the seeds of redemption. Study must continue, especially in exile. As long as we are able to keep God in our perspective, and His Word in our hearts, the exile cannot hold sway over us. And so our study of God's Words, how we live out our lives, and the Holy Spirt, Ruach HaKodesh, work together for our redemption.

One more thought here concerning the dreidel. Gematria /ɡəˈmeɪ.tri.ə/ originated as an Assyro-Babylonian-Greek system of alphanumeric code/cipher later adopted into Jewish culture that assigns numerical value to a word/name/phrase in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other or bear some relation to the number itself as it may apply to Nature, a person's age, the calendar year, or the like. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gematria, accessed 02Jan17) If you add up the gematria (the numerical value) of the letters of the dreidel you get 358, the same value as מָשִׁיחַ [Meshiach (the Messiah / anointed one {Χριστός (Christos) in the Greek, from which we get Christ}]

Nun 50 Mem 40 Gimmel 3 Shin 300 Hei 5 Yud 10 Shin 300 Chet 8 358 358

When Messiah comes into a life, He teaches us how to see divine purpose in every facet of life: Even times of exile and darkness can be illuminated. We may have been focusing on one particular letter. Meshiach helps us to see that all of life is a tapestry of Divine wonder.

The dreidel game asks, what will you do with Meshiach, with Christ?

Will you do nothing? Will you give Him a token and wait to see what happens? Will you take only some of what He has to offer? Or will you take all He has for you and enjoy the sweetness of living with Him and then share that others around you?

◦ Christ has revealed Himself in many ways throughout His Word and Creation. One reminder of this is this poem, Messiah Revealed by Jon Isaac

their faces I formed so that mine they would seek ears to listen for the Word I would speak eyes to see, minds to understand all they required I made with my Hand the Law and the Prophets for centuries foretold the birth of a baby begotten of old in words unencoded, with language so plain that even the simplest could call on my name fathom mysteries confounding the wise see the Messiah through a child's eyes

glimpse the dawn of a Son (Isa 9:6) born of a virgin, the anointed One (Isa 7:14) humblest of servants, child of the King (Isa 42:1) the righteous branch (Jer 23:5) and source of our healing (Isa 35:4-6) man of sorrows reviled and attacked (Isa 53:3) riding in triumph on a donkey's back entering Jerusalem worshiped and praised (Zech 9:9) for pieces of silver then sold as a slave (Zech 11:12) blameless but beaten for crimes not his own (Isa 53:9-10) hands and feet pierced yet no broken bone (Ps 34:20) buried with rich men, he rose from the grave (Isa 53:9; Ps 16:9-10) eternal high priest, his people to save (Ps 110:4) (https://jewsforjesus.org/issues-v11-n10/messiah-revealed, accessed 02Jan17)

29 Yosef prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet Isra'el his father. He presented himself to him, embraced him and wept on his neck for a long time. 30 Then Isra'el said to Yosef, “Now I can die, because I have seen your face and seen that you are still alive.”

• He had seen his “long lost son” as G-d had promised (v 4). His heart was comforted, his mind put at ease because of the great things the L-RD was doing.

31 Yosef said to his brothers and his father's family, “I'm going up to tell Pharaoh. I'll say to him, 'My brothers and my father's family, who were in the land of Kena'an, have come to me. 32 The men are shepherds and keepers of livestock; they have brought their flocks, their herds and all their possessions.” 33 Now when Pharaoh summons you and asks, 'What is your occupation?' 34 tell him, 'Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth until now, both we and our ancestors.' This will ensure that you will live in the land of Goshen – for any shepherd is abhorrent to the Egyptians.”

• Joseph has been living in Egypt for some time now and serving in Pharaoh's court for nine years (seven years of plenty and two of famine), so he instructs them in protocol.

• Although shepherds provide a needed and appreciated service, in many countries they are the lowest of the lower social strata. In some counties, such as Lesotho, once a shepherd, always a shepherd; anyone who has ever been a shepherd is never allowed to climb in social status.

◦ When the King of all kings came to earth, His birth was first announced to lowly shepherds (Luke 2:8ff). He is the Good Shepherd (John 10) Who came to the “lowest of the low” to raise us all up in Himself.

Genesis 47 1 Then Yosef went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers have come from the land of Kena'an with their flocks, livestock and all their possessions; right now they are in the land of Goshen.”

• Goshen was in the best land in Egypt, the fertile Nile delta. Joseph probably had his family go straight to Goshen in hopes that Pharaoh would allow them to stay there.

◦ Not only would it be more convenient to allow the people of Israel and all their flocks and herds to stay where they are, but Joseph already had favor with Pharaoh.

2 He took five of his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. 3 Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” They answered Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our ancestors,” 4 and added, “We have come to live in the land, because in the land of Kena'an there is no place to pasture your servant's flocks, the famine is so severe there. Therefore, please, let your servants live in the land of Goshen.”

• The brothers followed protocol and then politely added their plight and petition.

5 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Your father and brothers have come to you, 6 and the land of Egypt lies before you. Have your father and brothers live on the best property in the country – let them live in the land of Goshen. Moreover, if you know that some of them are particularly competent, put them in charge of my livestock.”

• When Pharaoh says “the land of Egypt lies before you,” he is speaking directly to Yosef (“you” is first person, masculine, singular), so permission for them to live in Goshen is based on Pharaoh's relationship with Joseph.

• Having personally seen him in action for nine years and knowing how G-d has blessed Joseph with wisdom, Pharaoh charges him, “if you know that some of them are particularly competent, put them in charge of my livestock.”

The Haf-ta-RAH reading for Va-yi-gash is Ezekiel 37:15-28

15 The word of Adonai came to me: 16 “You, human being, take one stick and write on it, 'For Y'hudah and those joined with him [among] the people of Isra'el.' Next, take another stick and write on it, 'For Yosef, the stick of Efrayim, and all the house of Isra'el who are joined with him.' 17 Finally, bring them together into a single stick, so that they become one in your hand. 18 When your people ask you what all this means, 19 tell them that Adonai ELOHIM says this: 'I will take the stick of Yosef, which is in the hand of Efrayim, together with the tribes of Isra'el who are joined with him, and put them together with the stick of Y'hudah and make them a single stick, so that they become one in My hand.' 20 The sticks on which you write are to be in your hand as they watch. 21 Then say to them that Adonai ELOHIM says: 'I will take the people of Isra'el from among the nations where they have gone and gather them from every side and bring them back to their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Isra'el; and one king will be king for all of them. They will no longer be two nations, and they will never again be divided into two kingdoms.

23 “They will never again defile themselves with their idols, their detestable things, or any of their transgressions; but I will save them from all the places where they have been living and sinning; and I will cleanse them, so that they will be My people, and I will be their God. 24 My servant David will be king over them, and all of them will have one shepherd; they will live by My rulings and keep and observe My regulations. 25 They will live in the land I gave to Ya'akov my servant, where your ancestors lived; they will live there – they, their children, and their grandchildren, forever; and David My servant will be their leader forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant. I will give to them, increase their numbers, and set My sanctuary among them forever. 27 My home will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 The nations will know that I am Adonai, Who sets Isra'el apart as holy, when My sanctuary is with them forever.” (bold red words are emphatic in the original)

• The first three rules of Bible study are “context,” “Context,” and “CONTEXT,” which, of course, applies to biblical prophecy.

◦ In some circles there is speculation about the meaning of the two sticks mentioned in this passage. The context tells us that these sticks refer to the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues has a position paper on this that is worth reading.

• Just as reunion highlights our Torah portion today, reunion highlights this passage as well. By the time of this prophecy the brotherly love of Genesis 44 has been replaced by a hatred that had split the kingdom into two and then driven both into exile.

◦ Here the L-RD promises to purify His people into a holy kingdom. ◦ He promises a covenant of peace and a sanctuary in which He will dwell.

◦ In Yeshua each of us is a sanctuary in which His Holy Spirit dwells and through Him we have a covenant of shalom with the Most High.

▪ The superintending Author of the B'rit HaDashah is the Ruach HaKodesh. In 2 Corinthians 6:16, Rabbi Sha'ul quotes from this prophecy, writing,

• … For we are the temple of the living God – as God said, I will house Myself in them, … and I will walk among you. I will be their God, and they will be My people.

▪ In Kefa's first letter the Ruach HaKodesh says,

• As you come to [Yeshua], the Living Stone, rejected by people but chosen by God and precious to Him, 5 you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be cohanim set apart for God to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Him through Yeshua the Messiah. (1 Pet 2:4-5)

▪ We are justified by faith in what Messiah has done (Gal 2:16), Avraham's seed and joint heirs according to the promises (Gal 3:29). Are we daily allowing Him to purify us into His holy kingdom?

The B'rit HaDashah reading for this week is Luke 6:12-16

12 It was around that time that Yeshua went out to the hill country to pray, and all night He continued in prayer to God. 13 When day came, He called His talmidim and chose from among them twelve to be known as emissaries:

14 Shim'on, whom He named Kefa; … … Andrew, his brother; Ya'akov; … … Yo-cha-nan; … Philip; Bar-Talmai; … … 15 Mat-tit-yahu; … T'oma; Ya'akov Ben-Halfai; … 16 Shim'om, the one called the Zealot; Y'hudah Ben-Ya'akov; … and Y'hudah from K'riot, who turned traitor. (bold red words are emphatic in the original)

• In the first stage of His “divine rescue mission,” while dwelling among us, Yeshua, son of David, son of Y'hudah began to fulfill the prophecy given to Ezekiel, by instituting the Kingdom of G-d on earth.

• We read here how Jesus went out and communed all night with G-d the Father, after which He chose twelve emissaries, which pictures for us corporate Israel.

• Most of our English Bibles tell us the apostle who betrayed Yeshua was Judas Iscariot, a transliterated form of Y'hudah ish K'riot which means “Judah, a man of K'riot.” K'riot was a town in the middle of the land of Judea; the land of Y'hudah.

• Isn't it ironic that Y'hudah's own nation must be purified of men who sin against the Father by selling a brother for silver? Y'hudah's drawing near in our Torah portion and Yisra'el's coming out from slavery in our Haftarah reading had both been forgotten. (Some thoughts adapted from Jeffrey Enoch Feinberg, Walk GENESIS!, p. 205.)

• When we have important decisions to make, do we invest time in seeking G-d in prayer? • Are we careful to proclaim His Word faithfully? • Do we live out our beliefs in a way that accurately points others to Yeshua?

• This parashah is often read around the time of Hanukkah. The shumash, or servant candle is lit first, and then it lights the others. Yeshua is the Servant from heaven, the Shumash lit by the Ruach HaKodesh, Who in turn lights those who come to Him.

◦ How well is our fire burning?

by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley

Parashah Schedule

To view the current week's reading, view the schedule.

What's a Parashah?

Parashah is a Hebrew word that means portion. 

Synagogues around the world read the same parashah each Shabbat. The Torah is divided into 54 weekly portions so that the whole Torah is read annually. Selections from the Haftarah (Prophets) are also read each week, and in Messianic congregations, selections from the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) are included. Holiday selections are also listed for the Feast Days.

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