Enter subtitle here
Joseph a type of the Lord Yahoshua Anointed
'...he shall grow up before him as a tender plant' (Isa 53: 2)
2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being 17 years old, was feeding the flock ...
Joseph, the remarkable type of the Lord Yahshua, and of whom no sin is recorded. GEM
'Christ ... Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth' (1 Pet 2: 21,22)
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Joseph enjoyed a sunny youth at home till he was seventeen.
"Jacob loved him more than all his children."
But this sunny youth was not unclouded. The ill-feeling of his brothers was a shadow in the sky. This existed without any cause from Joseph-at least without a cause for which he could be held responsible...
The coat was not necessarily of "colours," but more correctly "of pieces" (mg). The word for "coat" is the Hebrew "ketonet," signifying a "cover," and thus the garment was more a sacrificial dress, such as used later of the priests. Thus a distinctive robe, a garment of privilege, which became an object of the brethren's envy.
5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
He dreamt prophetic dreams. Perhaps he did not know they were prophetic. At all events, he told them to his brethren, who were angered at them because they exhibited Joseph in the position of supremacy over them all. These dreams were of God, as we may understand Joseph afterwards recognised from his declaration to Pharaoh:
"It (the power to interpret dreams) is not in me: God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace;"
And also his question to the butler and the baker in prison:
"Do not interpretations belong to God?"
All dreams are not of God: very few are. Dreams come of the multitude of business (Eccles. 5:3).
"He that hath a dream, let him tell his dream; but he that hath My word, let him speak it faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord" (Jer. 23:28).
Yet there were dreams that were from God:
"If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make Myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream" (Numbers 12:6).
Of this order are the dreams referred to in the promise of the latter-day outpouring of the spirit:
"Your old men shall dream dreams."
This was the nature of Joseph's dreams-divinely communicated forecasts of coming events. They were communicated as a part of the agency that was to develop the future to which they pointed. The narrative of them by Joseph filled the minds of Joseph's brethren with envy-a bitter feeling that banishes mercy.
Their self-esteem was hurt by dreams that appeared to them the mere embodiments of a petted boy's complacency, and thus they were predisposed to act the part that was to send Joseph to the sphere of his discipline and promotion. *
6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
'He is despised and rejected of men' (Isa 53: 3)
8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
Here is a prophecy where the interpretation is immediately apparent to the hearers
Their feelings settled into hatred, and hatred was ready to seek and find an opportunity of putting its object out of the way. Joseph was perfectly innocent of anything to justify their malignity. He was free of guile, a lover of righteousness, loved of his father, and loved of God; and behold him the object of gathering clouds of enmity! *
10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
The hearers have no difficulty in interpreting the prophecy.
As the sun is the great source of the electrical glory and power of the solar system, it is said in scripture, to "rule the day." The moon and the stars become visible to us by the reflection of his beams. Their light or glory is borrowed; and when he is darkened, they also are in eclipse. The sun is therefore a very appropriate symbol of the supreme or sovereign power of a political universe.
In Joseph's dream, predictive of his exaltation, and of the homage that would be paid to him by his kindred, his father is represented by the sun, as the ruling authority of the circle; his mother by the moon; and his brethren by eleven stars (Gen. 37). They all "made obeisance to me," said Joseph; and though highly figurative, Jacob readily perceived its signification
11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
'...he was despised, and we esteemed him not'. (Isa 53: 3)
A short-sighted view would have judged the situation impossible. It would have said an innocent youth would have been shielded from malice; and, in the opposite experience, it would have complained of injustice, or, at the least, of a bewildering inscrutability in the ways of God.
The facts of Joseph's case at this juncture confute such views. Joseph was innocent and excellent, but Joseph was young and untried, and God had a great purpose with him that required that he should be matured and perfected in character as men only can be perfected-in the school of adversity. *
(John 10: 20)
19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
This is the heir; come, let us kill him (Matt 21: 38)
20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
The object of Joseph's brethren was to kill him. They proposed to do this out and out before casting him into the pit (Gen. 37:20); but this would have interfered with the purpose of God. They were therefore diverted from their purpose. *
21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
But Elohim will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. (Ps 49: 15)
22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
Reuben was touched with compassion for his brother, and proposed that they should do nothing violent to him, but merely put him into a pit, and let him come to die there-his object being to release him afterwards, and take him back to his father. *
'He was oppressed, and he was afflicted... as a lamb to the slaughter...he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth...' (Isa 53: 7, 9)
23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;
Nothing is said in the narrative of Joseph's terror; but it comes out in their remarks one to another in Egypt twenty years afterwards,
"We saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear." *
'An horrible pit' (Psa 40: 2)
24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
Joseph had to be fitted for exaltation and the exercise of power, and therefore Joseph had to suffer for Joseph's own good and for the bringing about of a great result to the whole house of Israel. Joseph was allowed to become the object of his brethren's successful hatred. Therefore, if sympathy sheds a tear, the understanding admires, while Joseph is bound by unfeeling brethren, and in spite of his frantic entreaties, lowered into a pit where death appears inevitable, both in his own estimation and that of his brothers.
No greater evil short of death could befall a human being than that which thus came to Joseph. A spectator on the spot would have said it was evil in which it was not possible to imagine any good purpose. There was no explanation of it. Joseph was not permitted to know the meaning. He could not have understood if told. It would have frustrated the object for him to know.
Let us recollect this when in any matter similarly situated. Circumstances may be dark; calamity unmixed; the situation such that enemies may appear to speak the truth if they say, "There is no help for him in God;" yet God may be at the bottom of all the trouble for purposes of goodness which the future alone will reveal. The only policy is, in all circumstances, to commit ourselves to the keeping of our Creator in faith and well-doing, as the Spirit commands:
"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgment as the noonday." *
26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
Judah [Yahudah] proposed to sell Joseph: Judas is Greek for Yahudah, the name he would be known by among the Jews.
Had Reuben's idea of coming back alone and taking him up again been carried out, God's purpose would have been interfered with. So something occurs - we are not told what - to take Reuben away from the company of his brothers for a short time. While he is away, a company of travelling merchants, en route for Egypt, come in sight. An idea occurs to Judah: *
28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
Allegories are similitudes - not exact in their details. (Yahoshua sold for 30 pieces)
'...the whole case is declared to be a case of divine manipulation...Thus Joseph told his brethren who had sold him into Egypt:
"God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth. . . . So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God" (Genesis 45:7-8).
Again, after his father's death, when his brothers, fearing Joseph's resentment for what they had done to him, sought to propitiate him, he said, after reassuring them,
"As for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:20).
So, also, we have the oft-recurring remark, "And the Lord was with Joseph:" and the statement of David in Psalm 105: God
"sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant."
In studying the events of Joseph's life, therefore, we are studying a case in which God was at work beyond all question; and from which, therefore, we shall be able to learn instruction with regard to the experiences of our own lives, if our lives, like his, are framed in the fear of God and committed to His keeping in prayer and well-doing; for his case, like all the others, was
"written for our learning."
29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
Joseph is taken out of the pit and sold in Reuben's absence. The merchants take their terror-stricken property and depart. Joseph's brethren also go their ways. Reuben, by and by, comes to the pit expecting to put an end to his brother's agonies. Alas, he is gone! - Reuben knows not whither - and he gives way to his grief.
Follow Joseph in his journey. From one dreadful experience he has plunged into another, and far worse. A father's favourite, accustomed to the ways of love and the surroundings of comfort, he finds himself in the hands of unfeeling and mercenary strangers, who regard him as a chattel, and think only of how much he will fetch when they arrive in Egypt.
It is written, "Oppression maketh a wise man mad." Judge, then, the violent revulsions of feeling to which Joseph the choice of Jacob's family, must have been subject in the custody of the Midianites as a slave going to a strange country.
It was enough to break his heart altogether. Probably, we should have thought it was broken if we could have seen him "all of a heap," exhausted with grief, broken down, unable to cry any more. It is not possible for human situation to be more agonising; human prospects to be darker; or human grief more poignant or more unavailing than Joseph's at this part of his life.
And yet "God was with him," and was directing his way, and fitting him for exaltation and for untold usefulness in the execution of the divine purpose. The fact is to be pondered by every son of God in all possible evils that may befall them; for these things were "written for our learning."
The kingdom of God lies ahead, and Paul has told us that
"through much tribulation we must enter therein."
How much, and what sort we require, God knows, and not we ourselves. Therefore, let us
"humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God; and He will exalt us in due time."
Joseph's agonising journey to Egypt was a journey to exaltation; and so is ours, if, like Joseph, we fear God, do His commandments, and commit our way to Him. But exaltation comes not at once. There were dark and dreary years before Joseph.
Let us not be impatient.*
*Ways of Providence Ch 8