God’s Unmistakable Plan 1-6- 17
This week I pray we will be enabled, bezrat Hashem, to tie together the last two parashiot and include this week’s readings. Vayetse וַיֵּצֵא and he left/ Miketz מִקֵּץ at the end/ Vayigash וַיִּגַּשׁ and he drew near- span from B’reshit 28;10- 47;27. There will be a wealth of information and points we will not cover, come with me into the Yosef saga. I pray that Hashem will give to you something to take into this week and forever.
Tehillim 109;1 He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, 9 The covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac.10 Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant,11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance,” 12 When they were only a few men in number, very few, and strangers in it.13 And they wandered about from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people. 14 He permitted no man to oppress them, and He reproved kings for their sakes: 15 “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.” 16 And He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread. 17 He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 They afflicted his feet with fetters, he himself was laid in irons; 19 Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. 20 The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples, and set him free. 21 He made him lord of his house and ruler over all his possessions, 22 To imprison his princes at will, that he might teach his elders wisdom.
– Yosef has a highly developed God consciousness. God is always on his lips. Yosef more than anyone else, has the life that we could compassionate with a loss of faith over. Based upon what he has gone through could we, as readers, really blame him if he just simply gave up? It is interesting though that only after Yosef is sold that we hear mention of God, then we read YHVH was with Yosef. People see it, people recognize it and Yosef is ‘successful’. Right and wrong for Yosef is defined by His relationship with God. He has a highly developed Moral sensitivity. We do not at first find this same sense with any of Yosef’s siblings.
B’reshit 37; 2 These are the records of the generations of Jacob. Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic. 4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms. 5 Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Please listen to this dream which I have had; 7 for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
– Why would Ya’acov think to send his son out first of all to the area of Shechem ( a place notoriously problematic for the his people), and secondly to brothers with whom he is having so much strife? Israel wants Yosef to have his version of the face to face he had with Esav with his brother. The ‘mission’ of Yisrael for Yosef is to go and see…find the peace with his brothers and even to repent from the word which was causing the hate between them. Unfortunately it doesn’t turn out the way he had hoped. He underestimated the level of dysfunction his family had arrived at. This is one thing I adore about the Torah. The Divine King we serve through the ‘pen’ of Moshe has painted with strokes of black and white portraying the good, bad, the ugly and the breathtaking. We should learn from these accounts and try be very careful to recieve from the past in order to preserve the future for our children and their loved ones.
B’reshit 37; 9 Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, “Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 He related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying ( שָׁמַר אֶת הַדָּבָֽר Shamar et ha’davar- guarded the word ). 12 Then his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock in Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “I will go.” 14 Then he said to him, “Go now and see about the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock ( שְׁלֹום אַחֶיךָ וְאֶת שְׁלֹום הַצֹּאן), and bring word back ( וַהֲשִׁבֵנִי דָּבָר va’ha’shiveniy davar ) to me.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 A man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field; and the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16 He said, “I am looking for my brothers; please tell me where they are pasturing.” 17 Then the man said, “They have moved from here; for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’”So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
-You would think the brothers would eventually come to realize, ‘a guy like this we want on our side’, everyone can see his greatness except his brothers. Everyone can see his quality except those closest to him. How do we respond when others in our lives are successful? The Torah tells us how God is with Yosef through each step on his journey. Just like we learned from the previous lesson, God is taking him through one challenge in order to strengthen him for the next encounter. The beautiful Psalm our lesson commenced with states the incredible, ‘until the time that his (Yosef’s) word (perhaps even his dreams) came to pass, the word (arrows for teaching and instruction) of the Lord tested him.
B’reshit 39;1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. 2 The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. 3 Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. 5 It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. 6 So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.
B’reshit 39; 20 So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. 22 The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. 23 The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.
-The ‘extraneous’ explanation of the cupbearer’s not remembering- forgetting gives us a clue as to the feeling of abhorrence toward the Hebrew people. You would think he might be grateful to Yosef and at the very least when the obvious opportunity to make mention of him arrived he would do so immediately. He goes out of his way to ‘forget’ him. There is much commentary on “why” Yosef remained in prison, some opinions attest that this is the only part of Yosef’s ‘testimony’ where he seems to ‘feel sorry for himself’ and in which he does not acknowledge God. Who can blame him for attempting to enlist the help of a man, still it may show that Yosef was not yet spiritually mature enough (trusting/relying on Hashem 100%) to be lifted up from the pit and tackle his next challenges.
B’reshit 40;12 Then Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days; 13 within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you will put Pharaoh’s cup into his hand according to your former custom when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house. 15 For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.”… 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and he put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; 22 but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.
-With an overall perspective one and easily see that Yosef was content, he understood and saw that there was a bigger plan at work. He was able to bring light into every situation he was in. He was extraordinary and everyone saw this except for his brothers. Even in prison his countenance was pointed Godward, he asks “what’s wrong?”- in prison! He also takes an interest in helping others, he involves himself with the downcast servants of Pharaoh approaching them. We can do the same.
Keeping a good attitude in difficult or uncomfortable conditions, even going out of our way to be overly positive in negative situations can be an antidote for despair.
Also let us take an active approach, depression and hardship can be difficult to address but perhaps an active involved approach is just what someone out there may need and perhaps we can fulfill this listening ear, at least that they feel someone actually cares…for them.
B’reshit 40; 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning and observed them, behold, they were dejected. 7 He asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in confinement in his master’s house, “Why are your faces so sad ( bad/evil- plural…raiym רָעִים ) today?” 8 Then they said to him, “We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”
Found only 4 times in all of Tanakh :
#2196 (v) za’af זָעַף – to breathe, to burn, to be sad, to fret, to be morose.
- B’reshit 40:6 When Joseph came to them in the morning and observed them,
- behold, they were dejected.
- 2Ch 26:19 But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests
- in the house of the LORD, beside the altar of incense.
* Mishlei 19:3 The foolishness of man ruins his way, and his heart rages against the LORD.
* Daniel 1:10 and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king.”
-Again we can see there is a disgust toward the Hebrews, perhaps especially toward Yosef (who was so successful despite being a ‘convicted rapist’.) The cupbearer again uses ‘extraneous’ language to describe Yosef. He’s a Hebrew. A na’ar נַעַר- just a youth! And, he’s a lowly slave.
B’reshit 41; 9 Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I would make mention today of my own offenses. 10 Pharaoh was furious with his servants, and he put me in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, both me and the chief baker. 11 We had a dream on the same night, he and I; each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. 12 Now a Hebrew youth was with us there, a servant of the captain of the bodyguard, and we related them to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us. To each one he interpreted according to his own dream. 13 And just as he interpreted for us, so it happened; he restored me in my office, but he hanged him.”
-We have discussed the immense significance there is in “Bringing God into things”. In previous lessons we submitted that this may have even perhaps have been the ultimate reason Moshe Rabeinu was forbidden to enter eretz Yisrael. We discussed how one can practice simple mode of language in our daily lives which will “bring God into things”. ( Bezrat Hashem, God willing we’ll be there! vs. We’ ll be there. Chas v’shalom, God forbid you should get lost on the way! vs. I hope you don’t get lost on the way. Baruch Hashem, I am feeling good today. vs. I feel good today) Again,
Yosef more than anyone else in B’reshit BRINGS GOD INTO THINGS.
B’reshit 41; 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16 Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “ It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” …24….Then I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.” 25 Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do….28 It is as I have spoken to Pharaoh: God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do…. 32 Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about. 33 Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise נָב֣וֹן וְחָכָ֑ם, and set him over the land of Egypt.
-We learn an even deeper lesson regarding the bringing of God into things. Even when we declare His work in our everyday lives, small to big occasions and opportunities…even if it is among people who have no knowledge or belief in God…it is a seed planted. One day, every single creation will see, recognize, acknowledge and know that there is a God in heaven and His investment and activity and omniscience is operating at all times. It is amazing that Yosef’s recognition and acknowledgement of God has even ‘led’ to PHARAOH HIMSELF using such language. Yes!
Even Pharaoh is now bringing God in to things!!
B’reshit 41; 38 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit ( ruach elohim רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים )?” So 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise נָב֥וֹן וְחָכָ֖ם as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
#995 (v) Biyn בִּין – to stand apart, to be separate and distinct; to be easily distinguished, to understand; to turn the mind; attend; discern; perceive; to be intelligent, prudent; to have understanding.
[look at the incredible root of our adj. form of Chacham found only twice in Torah-
#2449 (v) Chacham חָכַם – to make wise; made wise; to seem wise to oneself; to be wise in one’s own eyes; to show oneself wise.
Shemot 1:10 “Come, let us deal wisely with them, or else they will multiply and in the event of war, they will also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us and depart from the land.”
Dev. 32:29 “Would that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would discern their future!]
#2450 (adj) Chacham חָכָם – skillful, wise, intelligent; sagacious, shrewd; imbued with the ability to judge; subtle; crafty.
The next context in which this similar phrase is found, as you read think about the astounding parallels to our Torah lesson and Yosef context! (The favored son Yosef who made his father glad; God delivering him from death and instead orchestrating his ‘sale’ to Egypt; Yosef rejecting the immoral craving of Potiphar’s wife; how diligently Yosef worked and gained the respect of all those who knew him; Yosef gathering in the years of plenty; the brother’s concealing the violence of their deed to Yosef and deceiving their father; Yosef boldly ‘commanding’ pharaoh what he should do about his vision and Pharaoh taking heed to his wisdom; the ‘babbling’ of Yosef to his brothers, enraging them with his dreams in which they seemed lowered beneath him; the hatred of the brothers,strife in the family; the forgiveness & love of Yosef for his brothers despite all their wrongs:
Mishlei 10;1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish son is a grief to his mother. 2 Ill-gotten gains do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death. 3 The Lord will not allow the righteous to hunger, but He will reject the craving of the wicked. 4 Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. 5 He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. 7 The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot. 8 The wise of heart will receive commands, but a babbling fool will be ruined. 9 He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out. 10 He who winks the eye causes trouble, And a babbling fool will be ruined. 11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. 12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions. 13 On the lips of the discerning נָ֭בוֹן , wisdom חָכְמָ֑ה is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding.
John 6; 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64 However, there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Yeshua had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him.) 65 Then Yeshua said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has granted it to him.” 66 From that time on, many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him. 67 So Yeshua asked the Twelve, “Do you want to leave too?” 68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”
The brother’s made their choices. I believe they expected a reaction from their father. Mourning would be expected, but then they planned to be the “family” there to comfort him after the loss. They did not expect the extent of Ya’acov’s suffering. He will not come to an end of mourning, he will not be comforted, the family rallying around him will not suffice. Furthermore, one without closure may end up simply unable to cease mourning (parents of kidnapped children, the families after the Holocaust- still looking for their loved ones, etc.) Ya’acov can not cease mourning because the one he mourns for is not actually dead! Have you ever wondered if Joseph questioned what part Ya’acov played in this situation- where’s the search party?
Until he hears Yehudah’s account of the sorrow of his father he may never have known for sure. It should also be noted that a contributing factor in Yehudah’s eventual confession/teshuvah – the point at which he becomes unwilling to allow his suffering Ya’acov to become a twice bereaved father is the fact that he too is a twice bereaved father. I think Ya’acov knew that the brother’s had something to do with Yosef’s ‘death’, the text seems to tell us he is at least deeply disillusioned regarding their capacity to care for any child of Rachael as their ‘own’.
B’reshit 37; 33 Then he examined it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him; Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!” 34 So Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.” So his father wept for him.
B’reshit 42;2 He said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down there and buy some for us from that place, so that we may live and not die.” 3 Then ten brothers of Joseph went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, “I am afraid that harm may befall him.”
B’reshit 42; 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and you would take Benjamin; all these things are against me.”…38 But Jacob said, “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should befall him on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.”
-Yosef is 17 when he is sold into slavery, 30 when he stands before Pharaoh, he has had 13 years to think, consider and plan. He considers his dreams and as he grows he desires for his brothers to find teshuvah with him but much more importantly WITH GOD. I truly believe this is a primal concern of Yosef- that the brothers reach a sincere and saving repentance with the Holy One. Everything he does is based upon their actions and he has played out in his mind every scenario possible. If you were Yosef and you knew eventually- based upon your understanding that the DREAMS WILL COME TRUE- your family would come to Egypt to find food, what would your plan A hope be when meeting them? “It’s you. Yosef. Now we understand.”
They would be a) looking for you, knowing you might be there somewhere, after all they knew you were sold down there- he wanted them to care enough to be looking for him (to make amends) b) recognizing you once they saw you, understanding that your potential certainly allowed for you to have risen to such an ‘impossible’ station c) once they understood who you were they would be repentant for all the harm they had done to you and in bowing understand that even from the start this was part of God’s plan and that the dreams were coming true. Unfortunately for Yosef nothing went according to a plan A scenario. The brother’s weren’t looking for him, no they had not come to spy out the land scouring it for their long lost brother.
The brother’s did not recognize him, they never saw his potential and therefore could never have conceived of Yosef having risen to such power, not in a million years. The brothers bowed but they weren’t connecting it in any way to the fact that he was Yosef and the prophecies were coming true, they were still unrepentant and sly with their words regarding his sale and thus Yosef has to go to a plan b situation and test their color.
#5234 (v) nakar נָכַר – to estrange, to alienate, to not know, to be ignorant of; to contemplate, to recognize, to acknowledge, to know, to know how, to dissimulate, to feign. (recognize used 4x’s)
B’reshit 42;6 Now Joseph was the ruler over the land; he was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7 When Joseph saw his brothers he recognized them, but he disguised himself ( וַיַּכִּרֵ֑ם וַיִּתְנַכֵּ֨ר phrase found only here: va’ya’ki’rem va’yit’na’ker) to them and spoke to them harshly. And he said to them, “Where have you come from?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” 8 But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him. 9 Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and said to them, “You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land.” 10 Then they said to him, “No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all sons of one man; we are honest men, your servants are not spies.” 12 Yet he said to them, “No, but you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land!” 13 But they said, “Your servants are twelve brothers in all, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no longer alive.” 14 Joseph said to them, “It is as I said to you, you are spies; 15 by this you will be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here …16 Send one of you that he may get your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. But if not, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.” 17 So he put them all together in prison for three days.
#7270 (v) ragal רָגַל – to move the feet, to go to tread, to go about (slander), calumniate, to explore, a spy, to teach to go. Found only in our Yosef and his brother’s contexts 7 times. Then twice in Devarim once Moshe sends out to spy, once when the “sin of the spies” takes place.
[ The root for the word “undefended parts” #6168 (v) arah עָרָה- plucking out (as with plants,hairs); to make naked, uncover, to empty (a vessel), to pour out, to make naked, to make oneself naked, to pour oneself out, to spread oneself. Found only 3 times in Torah
*Ber. 24:20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, and ran back to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels.
*Vayikra 20:18 ‘If there is a man who lies with a menstruous woman and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow, and she has exposed the flow of her blood; thus both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
*Vayikra 20:19 ‘You shall also not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister or of your father’s sister, for such a one has made naked his blood relative; they will bear their guilt. ]
#6172 (Fem.N) Ervah עֶרְוָה – nakedness, nakedness of the land (metaphor), shame, filthiness, dishonor.
[ translated in our text as undefended parts.]
* First and only context before Yosef’s reference:
B’reshit 9;22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness.
* Next (2) contexts after Yosef’s reference:
Shemot 20:26 ‘And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it.’ – the rest have to do with inappropriate relationships in Vayikra predominantly.
[ #7686 (v) shagah שָׁגָה- to wander, to reel, to transgress, to cause to wander, to lead astray.
Found only 3 times in Torah: Vayikra 4:13 ‘Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty; 14 when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a bull of the herd for a sin offering and bring it before the tent of meeting.
Bemidbar 15:22 ‘But when you unwittingly fail and do not observe all these commandments, which the LORD has spoken to Moses,…
Devarim 27:18 ‘Cursed is he who misleads a blind person on the road.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ ]
#4870 (Masc. N) Mish’geh מִשְׁגֶּה – height, a lofty place, a rock, refuge, error. [1 x in Tanakh]
B’reshit 43; 8 Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the lad with me and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, we as well as you and our little ones. 9 I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever. 10 For if we had not delayed, surely by now we could have returned twice.” 11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take double the money in your hand, and take back in your hand the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks; perhaps it was a mistake.
Yosef knows none of this is an error. Everything that has happened from the very start, Yosef has acknowledged (inward and outward) as coming from God. However we do see a progression. A young teenager who was handsome and skilled, extraordinary and favored finds himself using his lips and words in a way which causes his brothers to hate him. He is a “spy” for his father who receives reports about them through Yosef. Yosef grows and when he receives his prophecies he comes to his brothers naively.
Yosef really may have thought that they would be proud of him, happy for him, excited and amazed at what God had put in store for him. He really believed they’d cheer him on.
They didn’t, yet step by step of the way along his journey Yosef is growing more and more reliant upon, attesting more and more of God’s unquestionable unfathomable yet total, consummate hand in every single element unfolding before him. So too may it be for each one of us- in the pits, through the temptations,for the stays in prisons of pain, to the heights of prominence and through the most heart wrenching gut twisting havoc of personal family issues….knowing that the ultimate end will revolve in His nature….for the good, for salvation, for deliverance and preservation.
Make no mistake, none of it is a mistake.
Daniel 4; 34 “But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ 36 “At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. 37 “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”
Yoav 9;1Then Job answered, 2 “In truth I know that this is so; but how can a man be in the right before God? 3 “If one wished to dispute with Him, He could not answer Him once in a thousand times. 4 “Wise in heart and mighty in strength, Who has defied Him without harm? 5 “It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how, When He overturns them in His anger; 6 Who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; 7 Who commands the sun not to shine, and sets a seal upon the stars; 8 Who alone stretches out the heavens and tramples down the waves of the sea; 9 Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south;10 Who does great things, unfathomable, and wondrous works without number.11 “Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him; Were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him. 12 “Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’
Yoav 23;1 Then Job replied, 2 “Even today my complaint is rebellion; His hand is heavy despite my groaning. 3 “Oh that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat! 4 “I would present case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 “I would learn the words He would answer, and perceive what He would say to me. 6 “Would He contend with me by the greatness of power? No, surely He would pay attention to me. 7 “There the upright would reason with Him; and I would be delivered forever from my Judge. 8 “Behold, I go forward but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; 9 When He acts on the left, I cannot behold; He turns on the right, I cannot see Him. 10 “But He knows the way I take; He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 “My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. 12 “I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.13 “But He is unique and who can turn Him? And His soul desires, that He does. 14 “For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such are with Him. 15 “Therefore, I would be dismayed at His presence; I consider, I am terrified of Him. 16 “God has made my heart faint, and the Almighty has dismayed me, 17 But I am not silenced by the darkness, nor deep gloom covers me.
-The first time the brothers come to Egypt it is because of the staff of bread which has been broken in the land, the sheaves of wheat, and they bow down. Yet, the second of the dreams’ fulfillment is not accomplished. This time there are the eleven of them (corresponding to the eleven stars) but what of the sun and moon? Perhaps this could be the reality that the “universe” was coming to Yosef to find the food they needed to live. And that didn’t happen until the time of the 7 lean years arrived. What is Yosef doing when he seats them according to their birthright? He is showing he knows the order of their status but by giving Benyamin the fivefold portion he is purposefully provoking the brothers in order to see if they will still be jealous when the son of Rachel is favored. He needs to challenge them to see if they have changed or not….will they abandon Benyamin?
B’reshit 43;28 They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” They bowed down in homage. 29 As he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?” And he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Joseph hurried out for he was deeply stirred over his brother, and he sought a place to weep; and he entered his chamber and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out; and he controlled himself and said, “ Serve the meal.” 32 So they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians. 33 Now they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment. 34 He took portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they feasted and drank freely with him.
-It goes even further. Yosef continues to attempt to draw out in the brothers the memories of their youth, a flight from a “cruel” master. A hidden idolatrous item which had been “stolen” and thus was searched for. A vow made (just like father did), whoever has stolen it shall die, this time it is not Rachael but the son of Rachael in who’s sack the lost item is actually found. Perhaps Yosef want’s the brothers to presume Benyamin did steal the goblet, he wants to see if they will just desert him and be done with all the trouble. He wants to see just how far they are willing to go to save and defend Benyamin?
B’reshit 44; 2 Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph had told him. 3 As soon as it was light, the men were sent away, they with their donkeys. 4 They had just gone out of the city, and were not far off, when Joseph said to his house steward, “Up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? ….6 So he overtook them and spoke these words to them. 7 They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing. 8 Behold, the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks we have brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9 With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.” 10 So he said, “Now let it also be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” 11 Then they hurried, each man lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12 He searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.
The end of the matter is that Yosef has been put into the ordained position he was born to fill, and it was not by happenstance nor were any of the difficult challenges mistakes. Had Yosef never been sold there would be no eventual calling out of the special treasured nation from Egyptian bondage. The deliverance Yosef accredits God with, is a near and far prophecy. Relief from the famine, redemption from slavery and for the future Day to come Salvation- Yeshua accessible for all mankind.
B’reshit 44; 30 Now, therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, 31 when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow. 32 For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.’ 33 Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. 34 For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me—for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?”
There will come about a true repentance for the 12 tribes, before God and man, the family is restored and will again be revived. There indeed is a moment where perhaps the brothers hearken to the past. When their father’s brother and adversary (Esav) threatened revenge once ‘dad’ died. This vow Esav made may have crossed their minds when their own father was going to be gathered to his fathers. Perhaps they feared Yosef would fall in line with that thinking, despite the fact that this entire time…Yosef has been showing them- look what I COULD do to you, BUT…I am not going to go that route. I can demand of God, What are You doing? I can blame you, I can accredit the devil or I can recognize the plan for good which God has created and glorify Him in it.
B’reshit 45; 3 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer and he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Yosef takes his High ground, his Tikun, a leap and bound farther and more awesome than expected. He immediately voices his compassionate concern for how his brothers will feel about each other, about themselves. Don’t beat yourselves up, don’t you blame shift…I am not doing that, just get home and bring me my Father. The only two other Torah contexts of atsav tie together delicately Yosef’s beautiful heart for his brothers. (I know what you’ve been through- I understand and have had a lot of time to think about all the contributing factors- and you are forgiven.)
#6087 (v) atsav עָצַב – to toil with pain, to suffer, to be grieved, to be pained, to afflict, to labor, to serve, to become angry.
B’reshit 6:6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
B’reshit 34:7 Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved,and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.
B’reshit 50;15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. 21 So therefore, do not be afraid;
I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
So you see, no matter who it is or what it is….how painful it is, if we can try and wrap our hearts around the notion “‘you’ meant it for evil, but God has planned the good”, we’ll be able to bring God into things living life intentionally without mistaking our circumstances as being under the power or authority of any One else. If we are willing to go down into the pits with Him inside of us, perhaps we will live to witness the prominence He might raise us to. This lesson comes to a close for now with the wonderful Psalm in which David, for dedicating the very House of Hashem- recalls all the trials that Yosef had to endure. Why does David HaMelech do this? IF it weren’t for Yosef’s ability to rise to the occasion- forgive his brothers and restore Israel… the Beis Hamikdash would serve no purpose. God desires to dwell within us, as a family, as a people, as a bride united under one understanding….the Lord may break but He also will heal and He knows precisely what He is doing. We can look forward to a future time when Yeshua HaMashiac will too restore Israel and bring together a greater family made up of all the remnants of peoples and restore His House of Prayer in Yershalayim.
מִזְמֹור שִׁיר חֲנֻכַּת הַבַּיִת לְדָוִֽד Mizmor Shiyr Chanukat Ha Bayit L’David
Tehillim 30;1 I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. 2 O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. 3 O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit. 4 Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name. 5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning. 6 Now as for me, I said in my prosperity, “I will never be moved.” 7 O Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong; You hid Your face, I was dismayed. 8 To You, O Lord, I called, and to the Lord I made supplication: 9 “What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness? 10 “Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me; O Lord, be my helper.” 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness 12 That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I
will give thanks to You forever.
Blessed are You Lord our God King of the universe,
You alone have planted among us life eternal.
Blessed are You Lord Gracious Giver of the Torah,
B’shem Yeshua Ha Mashiac – amein
Resources: see home page and ‘Resources’ entry for some of the sources I draw from to compile these entries.