Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #10: Mikketz (At the end) Genesis 41:1-44:17
Haftarah: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 3:15-4:1
B’rit Chadashah: Acts 7:9-16
This week we are going to explore just one of an infinite number of ways G-d refines his people, providing for their best and subsequently His glory. It should be a humbling experience as we read many biblical examples of this refinement process. If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit we could have never planned such events in our own wisdom. Through narratives such as the one in this parashah describing a significant chapter in Joseph’s life, we can almost “feel” his vacillating emotions from self- confidence to doubt in his own abilities and finally to a well-grounded faith and trust in G-d.
After a full two years, G-d sent two prophetic dreams to Pharaoh. By this time, Yosef had spent almost 12 years in jail. According to the gematria, the number 12 represents totality, wholeness, and the completion of G-d’s purpose. Just a few examples of G-d’s use of the number 12 in addition to the years Yosef was in jail, in the human body there are 12 cranial nerves, 12 ribs on the average human; and 12 systems. Nothing occurs by accident in G-d’s plan. The dreams given Pharaoh were very disturbing, especially because they involved the Nile, which was considered a deity in its own right. Pharaoh could not stand the thought of skinny cows (Gen.41;3) turning carnivorous and eating the fatted cows that stood on the banks of the Nile. The tension builds in Pharaoh’s court and “suddenly” the chief cupbearer “remembers” that Yosef has the ability to interpret dreams (Gen. 41:9-13). Yosef’s life takes an unforeseen dramatic turn according to G-d’s plan. He is immediately summoned before Pharaoh and is given a change of clothes and a shave.
Pharaoh informs Yosef that “no can interpret” these dreams (Gen. 41;15). These are exactly the same words verbalized by the chief cupbearer and the late baker told Yosef two years earlier (Gen. 40:8).
Now we will see how Yosef matured spiritually in the last two years in jail. He does not respond immediately to Pharaoh as he did before to the cupbearer and baker by stating “Don’t interpretations belong to G-d? Tell it to me please” (Gen. 40:8) Two extra years in jail measured in days, have broken Yosef’s confidence in his own abilities. Now he answers Pharaoh that it is beyond him (the interpretation of his dreams) (Gen. 41;15). He refuses to accept the inference that he has supernatural powers. Now he adds “G-d will give Pharaoh an answer that will set his mind at peace.” Pharaoh shares his dreams and Yosef responds. The subtle difference in Yosef’s response to the cupbearer and baker versus Pharaoh illustrates a shift in focus from his ability to explain dreams to G-d being the One who can interpret dreams. The second dream is a punctuating of the first dream concerning the grain, indicating a single dream that G-d will fulfill quickly (Gen. 41:32). Cows stand for years in Egyptian inscriptions- so Yosef forecasts seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine.
Yosef demonstrates his humility and one spiritual maturity in the next narrative (Gen. 41:33) by suggesting that Pharaoh “should look for a man both discreet and wise to put in charge of the land of Egypt” with a comprehensive logistical plan explained for Pharaoh to consider. Yosef was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. Fast-forward to the time of Yahshua’s ministry where He was 30 years old. Yosef offered a plan to save Egypt from the famine and Yahshua offers a plan for anyone who has ears to hear to endure the progressive spiritual famine as the Ruach HaKodesh becomes less of an influence in the world.
The famine is described twice as chazak (strong, severe). This term is used again only to describe the conditions during Jerusalem’s fall (2 Kings 25:3). This famine is a global event. “Kol” (all) is used 11 times culminating with “kol ha’aretz.” Severe drought kept the Nile from flooding and food shortages that drove the people to Yosef for relief. The “Nile god” had failed them and now the people had nowhere else to turn but to Yosef. Could there be a parallel to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our world today and the need for people to turn to Yahshua rather than to the wisdom of man for a solution? While the world fasted because of the famine, Yosef’s household feasted (Gen. 42:11-15; 43:26;43:12,15). G-d provides (Matt.6:31-2; Luke 12:24;1 Cor.10:13). He will neither leave nor forsake us (Heb.13:5).
The people went to Yosef for relief. Similarly, we must ask, seek, and knock; all action verbs indicating Yahshua is waiting for us to humbly repent and follow His instructions for relief from the famine caused by an antinomian (anti-G-d) lifestyle. Asking implies humble prayer; not a list for a “Santa god” but prayer in line with G-d’s instructions on how to pray (Matt. 6:9-13) Heartfelt prayer shows a dependence on G-d for needs that cannot be met in any other way. Seeking implies seeking G-d (see Psalm 27;8; 34:10; 105:4; 119:2; Prov. 8:17). Knocking implies that we should pray in earnest until G-d answers; whether or not we believe the answer is not “favorable.” Profession without action will avail us nothing (1 John 3:18). Our journey to the “exit” sign from Egypt and to the Land will only last as long as it takes for us to surrender our will and lives to YHVH/Yahshua; no matter what this may entail.
Haftarah: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 3:15-4:1
This week’s haftarah echoes the subject of our parashah with the opening words: “And Solomon awoke, and behold it had been a dream.” Pharaoh had also experienced dreams. Although it is not included in this haftarah, it was during one of Solomon’s dreams that YHVH granted Solomon his wisdom greater than that of any other human at the time. The haftarah relates a famous episode in which Solomon’s G-d-given wisdom was demonstrated before all of Israel. Keeping with our purpose in life, G-d was glorified through this demonstration of impartial wisdom.
Two prostitutes approach King Solomon to settle their argument. They lived together in the same house, and each had given birth to an infant three days apart. One night, one of the infants was accidentally crushed to death by his mother, and one woman accused the other of switching infants in order to have a live baby. Each claimed the living child was hers. King Solomon asks that a sword be brought and orders that the child be cut in half with each woman receiving half. At this point, the real mother of the living child intercedes and exhorts the king to give the child to the other woman so that he would live, while the other woman said “It will be neither yours nor mine. Divide it up!” We read in 1 Kings 3:27; “Then the king answered, ‘Give the living child to the first woman, don’t kill it, because she is its mother.’ “All Israel heard of the decision the king had made and held the king in awe, for they saw that G-d’s wisdom was in him, enabling him to render justice properly.” Is it not interesting that the people realized G-d’s justice was right and true then, yet forgot it so quickly that they and many today choose not to believe it valid and reliable?
B’rit Chadashah: Acts 7:9-16
We can easily deduce the consistency of G-d’s Torah and the impossibility that man could have written the Bible without the authority, wisdom, and hand of G-d. In this narrative, Stephen relates the story of Yosef and some of the similarities to Yahshua:
Beloved of his father
Envied and hated without a cause
A root out of dry ground
He foretold that one day he would rule
Sent by the father to seek the brothers’ welfare
Went willingly and sought till he found them
Rejected and condemned to die
Stripped of his clothing
Thrown into a pit alone; forsaken
Sold for silver into the hands of gentiles
Raised from the pit
Became a servant
Numbered with transgressors
Promised deliverance to a condemned man
Foretold the future accurately
Proved to be a great counselor
Promoted to honor and glory and given a new name
All people commanded to bow to him
Provided for all in need
His people did not recognize him
His brothers were troubled when they met him
Allowed his brothers to suffer a period of tribulation
Revelation and reconciliation
Consider that the Lamb (Yahshua) will be the Temple in the New Jerusalem! There will be no need of a physical structure, and there will be no need for the sun or moon to light it. G-d’s Sh’chinah (glory) will give it light and its lamp is the Lamb (Rev. 21:22-23). May we consider these things as we continue to celebrate the miracle of Yahshua’s conception; The Light of the world born of a virgin and the miracle of victory against all evil that is yet to come.
Shabbat Shalom v’chag sameach,
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart