Tuesday, December 25, 2012

וַיִחִי Vayechi

B’reishit 47:28 - 50:26

This weeks sidra is titled Vayechi and it’s meaning is "And he lived." The sidra begins, "Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven." At this point in Jacob’s life, he is preparing himself for death. So Jacob calls for Joseph to be appointed as the one to cary out his last living requests. The request for him to be taken out of Egypt and buried in the cave of Machpelah in Canaan.

As time quickly approaches for Jacob to die, Joseph is told that his father is ill. So Joseph takes his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim to see his father. At this point Jacob adopts Joseph’s sons as his own and prepares to bless them. It appears that the first blessing that is given is actually for Joseph, as Jacob had his hands on the heads of Joseph’s sons, Joseph is blessed through his sons. As the blessing now turns to focus on Manasseh and Ephraim, Jacob lays his strong hand on the younger to reveal that the younger will be a larger nation than the older, even though they receive the same blessing. "In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’"

Jacob then continues by calling all of his sons to him that he may bless them. What I find most interesting about the blessings of the sons of Jacob is the blessing of Judah and Joseph. If we compare the blessing that Jacob received from his father Isaac in B’reishit 27:28-29 the blessing of the firstborn, we see many similarities to the blessings given to Judah and Joseph. Ch 27:28 part of Jacob’s blessing says, "May God give you of heaven’s dew and of earth’s richness an abundance of grain and new wine." Joseph is told in his blessing that, "Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall, --- because of your fathers God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the Heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb, Ch 49:22-25. On the other hand Judah is blessed by these words, Ch 49:8, "Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you." As Jacob was blessed in

Ch 27:29, "May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be Lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you." Jacob’s blessing in Ch 27 was a blessing intended for the firstborn, even though he was not the firstborn. Likewise the blessings that Judah and Joseph receive, share this firstborn blessing attributes, although they were not the firstborn. Not to mention the messianic significance that each of their blessings consist. We all know that the life of Joseph is prophetic to the life of Yeshua as Messiah Ben Yosef or Messiah the suffering servant. The blessing of Judah on the other hand, is prophetic to Messiah’s second coming and the roll of King during the millennial reign. This firstborn blessing was split between Judah and Joseph and with the blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh being a double portion blessing through Joseph.

Soon after Jacob dies and the sons fulfill their fathers wishes by taking him from Egypt up to Canaan to be buried with his fathers. Pharaoh has all the top dignitaries of Egypt accompany the procession and Jacob is buried in the cave of Machpelah with his forefathers. The brothers suspect that Joseph will then seek revenge, now that his father is dead, for their actions of selling Joseph into Egypt. Joseph reassures them that he is in the place of God and knows that it was not them that sold him to Egypt but it was in the plan of God. The Sidra ends with the passing of Joseph. Joseph makes his brothers swear that when after God comes to their aid that they will carry his bones up from this place, meaning from Egypt up to Canaan. Many years and hardships will pass for the children of Israel, but the wishes of Joseph will be fulfilled and his bones will be delivered into the promised land. Oh how powerful the oral traditions of the Jewish people.

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