Parashat Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)
Genesis 47 (continued)
47:30 But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said.
Comment: “thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me …”: Joseph should carry Jacob out of Egypt and bury him in the promised land.
Why did Jacob (a.k.a. Israel) want to be buried in the promised land?
The Bible did not explain. It may be that with the most recent common male ancestor of all Israelites being buried in it, the promised land will become a common sentimental attraction to all the future descendants of Israel, wherever they would be dispersed to, and however comfortable they would be living in the foreign countries.
48:1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Comment: If Joseph can be interpreted to represent Jesus Christ, then what can Joseph’s sons represent?
The Christians (of course!). This chapter will talk about Israel’s special blessings on Joseph’s sons, separately from his blessings on all his children in the next chapter. So these special blessings in this chapter may be related to the Christians.
48:5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.
Comment: “thy two sons”: What are some of the similarities between Joseph’s two sons and the Christians, that can be derived from this verse?
- “Ephraim and Manasseh … which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt”: Ephraim and Manasseh were born unto Joseph in Egypt, away from the family of Israel. They can represent many Christians who will be reborn unto Jesus away from the family of Israel.
- “they shall be mine”: They will become new sons of Israel, who represent Gd’s people.
- “as Reuben and Simeon”: They are like Reuben and Simeon, the oldest sons of Israel, since the Christian nations accepted Jesus Christ earlier than the tribes of Israel. Note that this new Israel is a new people of Gd consisting of all who are reborn through Jesus Christ, so what counts as the older sons is whoever followed Jesus earlier.
“Ephraim and Manasseh, … as Reuben and Simeon,”: The numerical value of “Ephraim and Manasseh” is 726, while the numerical value of “Reuben and Simeon” is 725. They differ only by 1, and they are regarded as related. In fact, this is the biblical basis of a tradition, which says that the numerical values of two Hebrew phrases don’t have to be exactly the same but can differ by 1. See https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/90033/gematriot-that-differ-by-1
(Note: Hebrew letters can represent numbers, so two Hebrew phrases with the same numerical value are regarded as related to each other. See gematria https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gematria).
48:16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
Comment: “let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth”: But how can this blessing on these two lads (Ephraim and Manasseh) be realized, since their descendants are now lost in exile (see, e.g., https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ten-Lost-Tribes-of-Israel)?
The blessing is realized by billions of the Christians nowadays.
What similarity between Joseph’s children and Christians can be found from this verse?
“let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth”: The Hebrew blessing on Joseph’s children says to multiply like fishes (veyidegu, see Rashi https://www.sefaria.org/Rashi_on_Genesis.48.16.3?lang=bi)
Christians are traditionally likened to be fish. See, e.g., https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/the-christian-fish-symbol-origin-and-history-facts.html
49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
Comment: If there exist hidden messages in the Bible, which chapters are likely to contain them?
This current chapter would be a likely place to contain hidden messages.
“in the last days”: This chapter contains prophecies for the future.
49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Comment: Does this chapter hint at Christ (or Messiah in Hebrew)?
Yes. “Shiloh come”: יבא שילה This Hebrew phrase can represent a number 358, which can also be represented by the Hebrew word “Messiah” משיח.
49:18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.
Comment: Can we find Jesus’s name hidden in this chapter?
Yes. In this verse, in the Hebrew word for “salvation”, is hidden Jesus’ Hebrew name Yeshua (L’Yeshuatecha Quiti, Adonai).
49:24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
Comment: “stone of Israel”: How is a stone important enough to be mentioned in Israel’s blessings?
From the context, this “stone” is most naturally regarded as a description of Gd. Rashi comments that “stone” in Hebrew is אבן “abn”, which is a contraction of אב “ab” (father) and בן “bn” (son). However, he did not say that this is related to an important New Testament concept. Jesus the Messiah said in John 10:30, that “I and my Father are one. No merely-human messiah can be trusted to save the world, only the one who is unified with Gd can be trusted.
50:24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Comment: “will surely visit”: How come Joseph is so sure that Gd will visit the Israelites to bring them out of Egypt?
The phrase “will surely visit” in Hebrew is a double use of “visit” or “remember”, Pakod Yifkod. This may be a ‘secret code’ that Gd gives to the Israelites through Joseph regarding the future exodus from Egypt. This phrase will be taught again to Moses by Gd, to bring the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3:16). See also https://parshanut.com/post/135856629726/the-secret-code-parshat-vayechi