Parashah 10: Mikketz (At the end)
Genesis 41:1 through 44:17
Parashah 10: Mikketz (At the end) - Genesis 41:1 through 44:17.
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): 1 Kings 3:15 through 4:1.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Acts 7:9-16.
Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadash Scriptures from the Aramaic English New Testament.
Welcome "newbies" and "oldies!" As you all know, Torah was written by Moshe (Moses) and consists of the first five Books of the Bible which contain God's original Divine Instructions in Righteousness. Since this is a Netzarim (Nazarene/Messianic) website, we refer to God by His proper Name: Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, transliterated into English as YHWH, and most likely pronounced "Yah-way" (see Exodus 3:13-15). His Son's Name is Y'shua (most likely pronounced "Ye-shoo-ah"). Enjoy this week's Torah portion!
Simply put, the bottom line of this week’s lesson is: YHWH's Will was and is always done, regardless how much we humans attempt to interfere or take matters into our own hands!
Backtracking for just a moment, we've been reading about Yosef (Josef), the son of Ya'akov/Israel who was left for dead by his own brothers in a cistern (Gen. 37), and ultimately ended up (due to some bizarre circumstances) becoming a very powerful man in Egypt - despite the fact that he had been sold to Potifar (one of Pharoah's officials) whose wife's rage after Yosef rebuked her sexual advances, landed Yosef in prison (Gen. 39).
While in prison he met a man who would ultimately be instrumental in getting him noticed by Pharoah. To see how this very interesting story unfolded, we must briefly return to Genesis 40:
Genesis 40: 1 Some time later it came about that the Egyptian king's cupbearer and baker gave offense to their lord the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh became angry with his two officers the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. 3 So he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison, in the same place where Yosef was kept. 4 The captain of the guard charged Yosef to be with them, and he became their attendant while they remained in prison.
5 One night the two of them, the king of Egypt's cupbearer and his baker, there in prison, both had dreams, each dream with its own meaning. 6 Yosef came in to them in the morning and saw that they looked sad. 7 He asked Pharaoh's officers there with him in the prison of his master's house, "Why are you looking so sad today?"
8 They said to him, "We each had a dream, and there's no one around who can interpret it."Yosef said to them, "Don't interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please." 9 Then the chief cupbearer told Yosef his dream: "In my dream, there in front of me was a vine, 10 and the vine had three branches. The branches budded, then it suddenly began to blossom, and finally clusters of ripe grapes appeared. 11 Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, so I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and gave the cup to Pharaoh." 12 Yosef said to him, "Here is its interpretation: the three branches are three days.
13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office: you will be giving Pharaoh his cup as you used to when you were his cupbearer. 14 But remember me when it goes well with you; and show me kindness, please; and mention me to Pharaoh, so that he will release me from this prison. 15 For the truth is that I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and here too I have done nothing wrong that would justify putting me in this dungeon."
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Yosef, "I too saw in my dream: there were three baskets of white bread on my head. 17 In the uppermost basket there were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds ate them out of the basket on my head." 18 Yosef answered, "Here is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. 19 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head from off of you -he will hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh off you."
20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, he gave a party for all his officials, and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his officials. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer back to his position, so that he again gave Pharaoh his cup. 22 But he hanged the chief baker, as Yosef had interpreted to them. 23 Nevertheless, the chief cupbearer didn't remember Yosef, but forgot him.
Notice how the cupbearer "didn't remember Yosef." How very "human!" It would seem as if Yosef was destined to remain in prison - but watch what happens next!
Genesis 41: 1 At the end of two years, Pharaoh had a dream: he was standing beside the Nile River; 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. 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.
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 dreams, but no one there could interpret them for him.
Here it comes - Yosef's redemption....
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."
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. 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." 16 Yosef answered Pharaoh, "It isn't in me. God will give Pharaoh an answer that will set his mind at peace."
17 Pharaoh said to Yosef, "In my dream, I stood at the edge of the river; 18 and there came up out of the river seven cows, fat and sleek; and they began feeding in the swamp grass. 19 After them, there came up out of the river seven more cows, poor, miserable-looking and lean -I've never seen such bad-looking cows in all the land of Egypt! 20 Then the lean and miserable looking cows ate up the first seven fat cows. 21 But after they had eaten them up, one couldn't tell that they had eaten them; because they were as miserable-looking as before. At this point I woke up. 22 But I dreamed again and saw seven full, ripe ears of grain growing out of a single stalk. 23 After them, seven ears, thin and blasted by the east wind, sprang up.
24 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven ripe ears. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me." 25 Yosef said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are the same: God has told Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears of grain are seven years - the dreams are the same. 27 Likewise the seven lean and miserable-looking cows that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty ears blasted by the east wind - there will be seven years of famine.
28 This is what I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 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.
33 "Therefore, Pharaoh should look for a man both discreet and wise to put in charge of the land of Egypt. 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 famine that will come over the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish as a result of the famine." 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!"
Were the events above all "coincidence"? Obviously not! It was easy to YHWH at work in His chosen vessel, Yosef! Because of this, watch what Pharoah does next:
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." 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." 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.
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. 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.
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." 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." 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.
In Genesis 42 - 44 Yosef's initial dreams when he was just a teenager (Gen 37:1-11), began to unfold when his father Ya'akov/Israel (who had been tricked into believing Yosef was dead) sent all but one of his sons into Egypt to buy food. Naturally, since years had passed, Yosef's brothers did not recognize him and the story continues from here, while Yosef keeps his identity a secret (even though it pains him greatly) until the timing is right for the brothers (and his father) to realize that they really were destined to "bow down" to him someday....
Note how cleverly Yosef disguises his true identity while he "toys" with his brothers:
Genesis 42: 9 Remembering the dreams he had had about them, Yosef said to them, "You are spies! You've come to spot our country's weaknesses!" 10 "No, my lord,"they replied, "your servants have come to buy food. 11 We're all the sons of one man, we're upright men; your servants aren't spies." 12 "No," he said to them, "you've come to spy out our country's weaknesses." 13 They said, "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Kena'an; the youngest stayed with our father, and another one is gone." 14 "Just as I said,"replied Yosef, "you're spies! 15 Here's how you can prove you're not lying: as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave here unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother. Meanwhile, you will be kept in custody. This will prove whether there is any truth in what you say. Otherwise, as Pharaoh lives, you are certainly spies." 17 Then he put all of them together in prison for three days.
18 On the third day, Yosef said to them, "Do what I say, and stay alive, for I fear God. 19 If you are upright men, let one of your brothers remain incarcerated in the prison you're being kept in, while you go and carry grain back to relieve the famine in your homes. 20 But bring your youngest brother to me. In this way your statements will be verified, and you won't die." So they did it. 21 They said to each other, "We are in fact guilty concerning our brother. He was in distress and pleaded with us; we saw it and wouldn't listen. That's why this distress has come upon us now." 22 Re'uven answered them, "Didn't I tell you, 'Don't wrong the boy'? But you wouldn't hear of it. Now comes the reckoning for his blood!"
23 They had no idea that Yosef understood them, since an interpreter was translating for them. 24 Yosef turned away from them and wept; then he returned and spoke to them. He took Shim'on from among them and put him in prison before their eyes. 25 Next he ordered that their containers be filled with grain, that every man's money be put back in his pack and that they be given provisions for the journey. When these things had been done for them, 26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and departed.
In Chapter 43 we see the following: After the brothers (except for Simon) returned to Israel and their families had eaten all the food purchased from Egypt, Ya'akov sent them down to Egypt for more, and this time he allowed Benjamin to accompany his brothers. The tribes of Israel were fearful of Yosef because they thought he might kill them. They didn't realize He was their brother and that he loved, blessed and desired to protect them. (This foreshadows how the Jews would ultimately feel about Messiah Yeshua!)
Before Yosef ultimately revealed Himself to his brothers, he surprised them with his unexpected kindness and intimate and detailed knowledge about each of them. (Food for thought: Could this be a foreshadowing that today's Jews are fearful of being rejected by Yeshua HaMashiyach because they have rejected Him for so long?)
Later, in Chapter 44 when a stolen goblet was found in Benjamin's pack (the full brother of Yosef) Judah came forward to offer his life in exchange for his brother, in essence, to atone for His brother's sins. (We could view this as the foreshadowing of Messiah coming from the line of Judah.)
Unfortunately, this particular parashah ends in the middle of Chapter 44, which brings us once again to the end of another Torah study. But more on Yosef next week! If you haven't done so, please read our article about how Yosef's life parallels that of Yeshua!
Here we see a parallel between the wise Yosef and King Shlomo (Solomon) who in those days was king over all Israel. Notice how YHWH chooses and makes men wise who are in tune with Him.
1 Kings 3: 15 Shlomo awoke and found it had been a dream. But he went to Yerushalayim, stood before the ark for the covenant of ADONAI and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings. He also made a feast for all his servants. 16 After this, there came to the king two women who were prostitutes. After presenting themselves to him, 17 one of the women said, "My lord, I and this woman live in the same house; and when she was in the house, I gave birth to a baby. 18 Three days after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were there together; there was no one else with us in the house except the two of us. 19 During the night this woman's child died, because she rolled over on top of it.
20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from next to me, while your servant was sleeping, and put it in her arms; and she laid her dead child in my arms. 21 When I awoke in the morning to feed my child from my breast, there it was, dead. But when I took a closer look later in the morning, why, it wasn't my son at all - not the one I gave birth to!" 22 The other woman broke in, "No! The living one is my son, and the dead one is your son!" The first one said, "No! The dead one is your son and the living one is my son!" This is how they spoke in the presence of the king. 23 Then the king said, "This woman says, 'The living one is my son; your son is the dead one'; while the other says, 'No, the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.'
24 Bring me a sword," said the king. They brought a sword to the king. 25 The king said, "Cut the living child in two; give half to the one and half to the other." 26 At this, the woman to whom the living child belonged addressed the king, because she felt so strongly toward her son: "Oh, my lord, give her the living child; you mustn't kill it!" But the other one said, "It will be neither yours nor mine. Divide it up!" 27 Then the king answered, "Give the living child to the first woman, don't kill it, because she is its mother." 28 All Isra'el heard of the decision the king had made and held the king in awe, for they saw that God's wisdom was in him, enabling him to render justice properly.
B'rit Chadasha readings:
Acts 7: 9. And our fathers were jealous of Yosip and sold him in Misrayin. But Elohim was with him, 10. and He delivered him from all his oppression. And He gave grace and wisdom to him before Pharaoh king of Misrayin (Egypt), and appointed him ruler over all Misrayin and his house. 11. And there was a famine and great affliction in all Misrayin and in the land of Canaan, and our fathers had nothing to sustain (them). 12. And after Ya'akov heard that there was sustenance in Misrayin, he sent our fathers first, 13. and when they went the second time, Yosip made himself known to his brothers and the nationality of Yosip was made known to Pharaoh. 14. And Yosip sent for his father and brought Ya'akov and all his family. And they were seventy and five souls in number. 15. And Ya'akov went down to Misrayin and died there, he and our fathers. 16. And he was moved to Shechem and was placed in the tomb that Awraham had purchased with money from the sons of Khamor.
There is so much more that could be said about today's study, and we wholeheartedly urge you to read the cited scriptures through, if you haven't already done so. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write! Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and we pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH. And, as always, please let us know if you ever see anything in our studies that sounds "off the mark"! Nobody has the market cornered on absolute Truth; we are all learning and obeying to the best of our abilities....
The next Parashah reading will be:
Parashah 11: Vayigash (He approached) - Genesis 44:18 through 47:27.
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Ezekiel 37:15-28.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Acts 7:9-16.
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