The Revelation of Joseph

Joseph's brothers did not recognize him. Likewise, for most of the last two thousand years, most Jewish people have not realized that Jesus is Jewish.

(Image composition: © FFOZ 2008, Messiah Magazine)


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.

Joseph himself revealed his identity to his brothers. Unlike Jacob, Judah, and Tamar, Joseph did not hold up any personal items (such as his coat or a staff and seal) and say, “Please recognize.” Rather he removed the mask himself, declaring, “I am Joseph.” As he did so, he interrupted the cycle of concealed identities. Though Jacob concealed his identity from Isaac, Leah from Jacob, and Tamar from Judah—Joseph revealed his own identity to his brothers.

Joseph’s reconciliation with his brothers can be understood as a prophetic portent for Messiah’s ultimate reconciliation with Israel. A day will come when the Messiah will reveal His identity to all of Israel, but He will do it in His own time and on His own terms.

According to one tradition, the brothers did not believe that he was really Joseph until he proved his identity by showing them the marks of his circumcision. Christianity has so consistently misrepresented Yeshua of Nazareth to the Jewish people that most devout Jewish people cannot accept the notion that He might have been a good Jew, much less, the Messiah of all Israel. Many devout Jewish people are unaware that Yeshua was Jewish at all.

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)

The revelation of Joseph brought a moment of sudden clarity to the brothers. The same realization will accompany the revelation of Messiah. When that day comes, the scales will fall from all of our eyes and we will perceive God’s hand at work in all events. We will finally understand the long separation and concealment. We will understand the events of history. The nightmares of the exile will vanish. Our many troubles and sorrows will be lifted as we perceive the sovereign hand of God in all of these things.

This is how it will be in the day of King Messiah when He reveals Himself to His brothers and to all the world, as Scripture says, "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.

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