Vayechi (And he Lived)

Torah: Genesis 47:28 – 50:26 Haftarah: I Kings 2:1-12 Brit Chadasha: Romans 11:1-36

For our citizenship is in the heavens, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Master Yahshuah Messiah, Philippians 3:20

Coming to the end but just getting started

As we begin this portion we are told that Yakov was nearing his death.

And Yaʽaqoḇ lived in the land of Mitsrayim seventeen years. So the length of Yaʽaqoḇ’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years. And the time for Yisra’ĕl to die drew near, and he called his son Yosĕph and said to him, “Now if I have found favour in your eyes, please put your hand under my thigh, and show kindness and truth to me. Please do not bury me in Mitsrayim, Genesis 47:28-29

There is nothing casual about the Torah.  Every letter, jot and tittle are very important so with that said why do we see the text beginning with referencing Yaakov? Next, the following verse mentions Israel ‘s time to die drew near.  It is interpreted by many that when we see the name Yaakov it is referring to the natural as in Yaakov as a natural man and when the Scriptures mention Yisrael it is referring to the spiritual.  There is so much more here on this subject, but I will choose not to go down that road too far.  It is my opinion that what the Scriptures are trying to get the reader to see here is that Yisrael was no longer one man but a nation of many living as one.  Also, it could be said that this is a prophetic event that took place.  We see Yisrael is going ‘to die’ and what does he do?  He calls for Yosef, which in numerous passages; we can clearly see Scripture teaching us that Yosef is a type and shadow of Y’shua.  Something else I found very interesting was Yosef’s name and I believe this gives us a picture of the role of Elohim.  His name is made up of the letters Yod (means hand in ancient Hebrew), Vav (means a nail which attaches things), Samech (is a prop or brace that holds up or sustains something), and a Pey (means mouth).  When you put these all together it forms a picture of the hand and the nail supporting the Eternal’s Word.  Wasn’t Y’shua’s hand, if you will, nailed to a tree in order to support Yah’s Word?  Folks always remember that actions speak louder than words.

If you don’t believe me come here to the mission field and go to the orphanage we work with, go around to some of the families that get food out of our gardens as well as those who we have bought food for, and go talk to some families that have been helped out financially through offerings that come in to the ministry;  this is an observation that I see all the time here in Central America that what is most impacting in folks lives is what they see you do or what you can do for them versus just preaching to them.  Again actions speak louder than words and I believe many of the Older Testament believers point this out time and time again.

Get me out of here

Yaakov is very emphatic on expressing to Yosef that he does not want to be buried in the land of Egypt.  Why is this?  I feel there are several answers to this question.  The first is that Yaakov did not want to give the children of Yisrael an excuse as to stay in the land of Egypt.  He clearly wanted to leave his children with the reminder of you and I do not belong here we are just passing through.  Secondly, Yaakov knew that the Egyptians had a god for everything and who knows just maybe if his body would have been there they might have begun to worship him as a god.  The reason I say that is clearly we see the Egyptians mourning for Yaakov and remember they thought shepherds were an abomination.

And forty days were completed for him, for so are completed the days of embalming. And the Mitsrites wept for him seventy days.  And when the inhabitants of the land, the Kenaʽanites, saw the mourning at the threshing-floor of Ataḏ, they said, “This is a grievous mourning for the Mitsrites.” That is why its name was called Aḇĕl Mitsrayim, which is beyond the Yardĕn. Genesis 50:3, 11

Lastly, I believe that Yaakov was looking forward to the promise thus he wanted to be returned to the Land to be a part of it in the end of days.

As I wrote in the previous commentary, it was when Yosef was thirty years old that he was brought before Pharaoh and began to bear fruit for YHVH.

Now Yosĕph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh sovereign of Mitsrayim. And Yosĕph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Mitsrayim. Genesis 41:46

I also find it interesting how we see Yosef bringing his sons Ephraim and Manasseh to Yaakov and he clearly says that these two are mine.

“And now, your two sons, Ephrayim and Menashsheh, who were born to you in the land of Mitsrayim before I came to you in Mitsrayim, are mine – as Re’uḇĕn and Shimʽon, they are mine. Genesis 48:5

Before we go there lets back up to verses one and two of Genesis chapter 48.  I find something very interesting here that it was during the time of ‘Yaakov’s trouble’ (his death bed) that Yosef brings his children to Yaakov.  You know the children who were born outside the Land during the time of his separation from Yaakov and what happens when these children come to see Yaakov?  You guessed it!  Yisrael strengthened himself.

And Yaʽaqoḇ was told, “See, your son Yosĕph is coming to you.” And Yisra’ĕl strengthened himself and sat up on the bed. Genesis 48:2

Isn’t it fair to say that is a prophetic event that will take place in the future also?

Let’s move on to something else.  Doesn’t it seem strange that Yaakov is on his death bed and is adopting these two sons of Yosef?  Yaakov even tells Yosef that the children after these two will be Yosef’s but Ephraim and Manasseh belong to Grandpa.  First, we must remember that Yosef was given children by an Egyptian woman name Asenath and this gives us a picture of half Hebrew half Gentile children, if you will.

And to Yosĕph were born two sons before the years of scarcity of food came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him. Genesis 41:50

Yaakov seems to be a type and shadow of Y’shua so when Yaakov takes Ephraim and Manasseh as his own, it gives us a picture of what the role of the Messiah will be in taking Hebrews and Gentiles, for lack of a better word, and allowing them to become Yah’s own and instruments to whom the covenant was going to be passed down through.  Yaakov adopting these youngsters into the family, I submit to you, could be seen as he was ‘grafting them into’ his family.

So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the set-apart ones and members of the household of Elohim, Ephesians 2:19

They did not ‘replace’ Yaakov’s other sons either.  Hint hint.  I have often thought as to why Yaakov crossed his arms when he prayed for the two lads and this answer may seem a bit trivial, but I believe Yah told Yaakov to.  I do not think it was coincidence that Yaakov just did this out of the blue.  I believe that he just did what Yah told him to do.  There may be more to it than I am seeing but I really believe this was one of those situations where it is just because Yah said so.

You are truly forgiven 

What a beautiful picture here in the ending chapter of Genesis.  We see Yaakov has been buried and the little questions in the back of Yosef’s brother’s minds are at the forefront now because they do not see Papa around anymore to shield them from Yosef’s wrath or so they think.

And when Yosĕph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Yosĕph hates us, and pays us back all the evil which we did to him?” And they sent word to Yosĕph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, ‘This is what you are to say to Yosĕph, “I beg you, please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the Elohim of your father.” And Yosĕph wept when they spoke to him. And his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “See, we are your servants.” And Yosĕph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of Elohim? “And you, you intended evil against me, but Elohim intended it for good, in order to do it as it is this day, to keep a great many people alive. “And now, do not fear, I provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:15-21

What an ending it’s like and ending from a fairy tale movie.  I have written on many occasions about Yosef’s attitude towards the Creator.  We are left with an awesome picture here in the last chapter of Genesis of what Yah’s forgiveness truly is all about.  Yosef’s brothers fear that now their sin is really going to catch up with them and come back to haunt them.  It does not quite end this way though.  Yosef comes out and tells his brothers straight up hey guys you did something evil to me but Yah took it and turned it all around and made it into something good through preserving a whole lot of folks’ lives.

“And you, you intended evil against me, but Elohim intended it for good, in order to do it as it is this day, to keep a great many people alive. Genesis 50:20

Yosef clearly leaves us with a priceless portrait of Yah’s forgiveness.  When we are forgiven we truly ARE FORGIVEN!

And the eyes of Yisra’ĕl were dim with age, and he was unable to see. And he drew them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them. And Yosĕph took them both, Ephrayim with his right hand toward Yisra’ĕl’s left hand, and Menashsheh with his left hand toward Yisra’ĕl’s right hand, and brought them near him. And Yisra’ĕl stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephrayim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Menashsheh’s head, consciously directing his hands, for Menashsheh was the first-born. And he blessed Yosĕph, and said, “The Elohim before whom my father’s Aḇraham and Yitsḥaq walked, the Elohim who has fed me all my life long to this day, the Messenger who has redeemed me from all evil – bless the youths! And let my name be called upon them, and the name of my father’s Aḇraham and Yitsḥaq. And let them increase to a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Genesis 48:10, 13-16

Here is story of the crossing of the hands in order to give Ephraim the blessing instead of Manasseh but first in verse 10 it tells us something very interesting that basically Yisrael was blind and remember about seventy years before with Esaw and Yakov; Isaac had trouble with his eyesight also.  So we can say that blindness has happened to Yisrael.  We see the crossing of the hands that takes place and one would expect to see the blessing come forth on the ones Yisrael has his hands on right?  Well interestingly enough it’s Yosef that he begins to bless before Ephraim and Manasseh and Yaakov continues on to say let the Messenger bless the youths but let my name the name of Abraham and Isaac to be placed upon them as well.  Now let’s see what another Scripture says.

And he blessed them on that day, saying, “In you Yisra’ĕl shall bless, saying, ‘Elohim make you as Ephrayim and as Menashsheh!’ ” Thus he put Ephrayim before Menashsheh. Genesis 48:20

There is something very interesting in the Hebrew in this verse.  So Yaakov is blessing the young men here and where it says in you Yisrael shall bless, it’s in the singular in Hebrew there.  So I think the picture we are given here is that the two become one and not in Ephraim and Manasseh will Yisrael be blessed, but in those two becoming one will Yisrael be blessed.  As we are closing out our study of the book of Genesis we have seen the journeys of different people, beginning in the Garden and taking them into Egypt.  These journeys are marked by trials, triumphs and by much disunity and discord.  It started out in the beginning with Cain verses Able, continued onto the sons of Noah and the rest of the folks around them, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers.  It’s the classic battle of brother against brother or we could say a constant fight between family members.  There is hope though by what we read about Ephraim and Manasseh.  They were the ‘new generation’ that came along that didn’t really see all the infighting nor were a part of it.  So when Yaakov begins to bless these two, I’m sure Yosef thought oh my gosh, great here we go again.  The younger is put before the older and the fighting is going to continue and the pattern will continue.  Well we see the blessings given and Manasseh sits there while he sees his younger receive the greater blessing and says nothing.  I see these being the first two who didn’t fight or care who was going to be the man in the spotlight so to speak.

I guess what I’m saying is we’ve seen a full circle come about in the book of Genesis where two brothers started off fighting with one being killed to the end of the book where two brothers come together in faith, unity and love and accept each other for who they are and they aren’t looking at who is better than the other.  This speaks volumes to me today and it should speak volumes to not only the movement that we find ourselves in but the Creator of the Universe in which we promote and serve.  May we come together in unity in order to promote love and promote the message of one big family living together under the same roof and functioning the way the Father wants it to function not just for our sake but for the sake of our wonderful Father!