The Revelation: I Am Joseph

Do things seem out of whack to you? In an instant, the whole upside down world is going to turn right side up!

Joseph Forgives His Brothers (illustration from a Bible card published 1907 by the Providence Lithograph Company, via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Vayigash

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Vayigash (ויגש | He approached)
  • Torah: Genesis 44:18-47:27
  • Haftarah: Ezekiel 37:15-28
  • Gospel: Luke 24:30-48

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Genesis 44:18 | Judah Pleads for Benjamin's Release
    • Genesis 45:1 | Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers
    • Genesis 46:1 | Jacob Brings His Whole Family to Egypt
    • Genesis 46:28 | Jacob Settles in Goshen
    • Genesis 47:13 | The Famine in Egypt
  • Prophets
    • Eze 37:15 | The Two Sticks

Portion Summary

The eleventh reading from the book of Genesis is named Vayigash (ויגש), which means "and he came near." The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which says, "Then Judah [came near] him" (Genesis 44:18). The portion begins with the dramatic unveiling of Joseph's true identity and his reconciliation with his brothers. It then proceeds to tell the story of the migration of Jacob's family to Egypt and the rest of the famine years. This Torah portion begins to set the stage for the Egyptian captivity of the sons of Jacob.


For more than two decades, Joseph’s brothers lived in a state of anguish and remorse. They bore the guilt for their brother’s exile and their father’s suffering. Now everything seemed out of kilter. Somehow, the Egyptian governor’s cup had been found in their midst. So far as they knew, they must leave Benjamin behind in Egypt and break their father’s heart again. They felt humiliated in the eyes of the Egyptians, accused of theft and spying, helpless under the irrational whims of a Gentile ruler. Meanwhile, their families stood at the threshold of starvation back in Canaan. It felt to the brothers as if the whole world was coming apart around them. It must have seemed that God had utterly abandoned them.

The Jewish people have suffered in a similar manner in the centuries since the Messiah walked among us. Beginning with the Roman war and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jewish people have suffered exile and humiliation under one capricious Gentile ruler after another.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” (Genesis 45:3)

Joseph’s revelation to his brothers foreshadows the messianic redemption to come. When the Egyptian ruler declared, “I am Joseph,” everything changed. The veil lifted from their eyes, and all the puzzle pieces fit together. Everything became clear as God’s master plan fell into place:

When Joseph said “I am Joseph,” God’s master plan became clear to the brothers. They had no more questions. Everything that had happened for the last twenty-two years fell into perspective. So, too, will it be in the time to come when God will reveal Himself and announce, “I am the LORD.” The veil will be lifted from our eyes and we will comprehend everything that transpired throughout history.” (Chofetz Chaim)

In that moment, the whole picture snapped into focus. They recognized God’s plan at work over the last twenty-two years. They saw how everything had been orchestrated for their own redemption. Joseph was not dead, he was alive. His blood was not on their hands at all. There was no stolen cup, and Benjamin was in no danger. They realized that Joseph’s prophetic dreams had been right all along, and they still had the opportunity to accept him in the role that God has placed him.

In a similar way, when Messiah reveals Himself to His brethren, God’s master plan will become suddenly manifest before all of us. We will recognize the centuries of trauma as the foundations of redemption. The Jewish people will realize that the Messiah has been with them all along, and there will still be time for them to accept Him in the role in which God has placed him. The Nations will recognize that Jesus is Jewish and inseparable from Israel.

The story of Joseph’s revelation depicts the day of King Messiah when He reveals Himself to His brothers and to all the world. “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him” (Revelation 1:7), “that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God” (Romans 3:19).

Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

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This coming year Torah Clubs are studying the Gospels from a Messianic Jewish perspective. Club members will encounter Yeshua of Nazareth in his Jewish context. Discover the historical and cultural backdrops of the gospels and be amazed as the teachings of Yeshua snap into focus and clarity. Unravel his difficult words and parables; study Jewish parallels to his teachings; and ultimately know Jesus better.

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