Parashat Vayeishev (And He Dwelt)
Beresheet (Genesis) 37:1-40:23
Haftarah: Amos 2:6-3:8
I want to open this week’s commentary on what the Haftarah says about the significance of prophecy in God’s economy:
For the Lord ADONAI, will do nothing, unless He has revealed His counsel to His servants the prophets…
In the Parashah, we learn about the beginning of the story of Joseph and his brothers. Right from the start, we learn about the price one may have to pay for sharing prophetic truth:
Now Jacob lived in the land where his father had lived as a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the records of the generations of Jacob. Joseph, when he was 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. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a multicolored tunic. And 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.
Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Please listen to this dream which I have had; for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf stood up and also remained standing; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.” 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.
Then he had yet another dream, and informed his brothers of it, and said, “Behold, I have had yet another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” He also told it to his father as well as to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Am I and your mother and your brothers actually going to come to bow down to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.”
While it may have been Joseph’s attitude as the youngest brother, coupled with Jacob’s favoritism of Joseph that caused his brothers to be jealous of him and, ultimately, to conspire against him, I believe that the truth of his prophetic dream is what the brothers most rejected. I call it a prophetic dream, since as we know, these dreams became reality. His brothers did end up bowing to him when Pharaoh, king of Egypt, entrusted everything under Joseph’s rule.
This prophetic dream reflects a prophetic blessing that Jacob gave to Judah in Genesis 49:8
As for you, Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
When we connect Joseph’s prophetic picture and the prophetic blessing that Jacob gave to Judah, one can see that both of those - the picture and the blessing – point us to something even greater. As we read the entire prophetic blessing that was given to Judah, we can find to what or whom it points:
As for you, Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down to you. Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up.He crouches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares to stir him up? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes,and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
The word Shiloh here refers to the Messiah, and I believe that the above verses speak of the physical presence of God, through the Word that became flesh on this earth, and that will bring the people back to Him as an act of obedience.
This is a prophetic picture of yet another brother that the children of Jacob (Israel) sold from the tribe of Judah (the prophetic blessings), until a moment in history when He (Shiloh), the Messiah, will come. Not only will we bow down to Him, but we will also recognize Him as one of our own:
And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and of pleading, so that they will look at Me whom they pierced; and they will mourn for Him, like one mourning for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
…so that at the name of Yeshua every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
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