Joseph:A Legacy of Greatness!Thechances are probably more than nine out of ten that you and I are the literal blood descendants of Joseph. In fact, “Nearly every member of the Church is undoubtedly a literal blood descendant of Jacob.” More specifically, President Joseph Fielding Smith explained, “At the present time most of those who are receiving the Gospel are of the tribe of Ephraim (son of Joseph) (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5thvol.).
Thoughthe family had lived two centuries in the land of Canaan, it was in the land of the Nile that Joseph lived all ninety-three years of his adult life.Although genealogically of Israel – geographically, politically, and culturally, they became Egyptians. They would have been exposed to the ancient Egyptian religion with its complex pantheon of gods: Ra, Ptah, Hapi, Horus, Osiris, Anubis, Amon, Khons, Sobek, Seth, Toth Sokar, Mont, Isis, Nephthys, Hathor, Geb, Nut, Atum, Mut, Khnum, Maat, Sekhemt, Shu, Khepri, Nekhbet, and more – each playing some seemingly mysterious role. It is little wonder that the Lord, Jehovah, was to remind Israel later: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
Genesis 40Mosthistorians are in agreement that there had been an attempt on Pharaoh's life.The butler (cupbearer) and the baker were two of the closest servants to the king.Joseph determined that the butler was to be trusted and the baker was guilty!
Genesis 41:1Howlong?Josephwas in prison for two years after he interpreted the dreams of the chief butler and baker.He was sold into slavery when he was seventeen and thirty years of age when he became vice-regent to the pharaoh.All together he served thirteen years with Potiphar and in prison.
Genesis 41:8Howcome the wise men of Egypt were speechless?Itis remarkable that these magicians could not have come up with some kind of logical explanation using their own well-known symbolism.
Butnot one of these could interpret it, although the clue to the interpretation was to be found in the religious symbols of Egypt. For the cow was the symbol of Isis, the goddess of the all sustaining earth, and in the hieroglyphics it represented the earth, agriculture, and food; and the Nile, by its overflowing, was the source of the fertility of the land. But however simple the explanation of the fat and lean cows ascending out of the Nile appears to be, it is the fate of the wisdom of this world, that where it suffices it is compelled to be silent. For it belongs to the government of God to close the lips of the eloquent, and take away the understanding of the aged (Job xii. 20). (Keil and Delitzsch,Commentary, 1:1:349).
Genesis 41:45“Zaphnath-paaneah”Whichmeans revealer of secrets or one close to God.And he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On.The Bible Dictionary indicates that the marriage was in the covenant, (661 under Egypt), Hyksos or shepherd kings.
Genesis 42:8“but they knew not him”Ithad been twenty-two years since the sons of Jacob had last seen Joseph – thirteen years of slavery and prison for Joseph, seven years of plenty, and two years of famine.He was now a mature, middle-aged man, and even if he looked like he did when he was younger, who would believe that there brother who was sold as a slave to a caravan of Arabians would have become the second most powerful man in Egypt?
Genesis 42:9“Joseph remembered thedreams”Thiswas the fulfillment of divine prophecy. His brothers had meant to shed his blood; he had been sold; he had been imprisoned after being ill-treated by his master’s wife; and he had been in a dark dungeon for two years while the forgetful butler failed to remember his help. Nonetheless, “the works, and designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught(Doctrine & Covenants 3:1).
Genesis 42:21“they still felt guilty”Sellinga man into slavery was as bad as murdering him (Doctrine & Covenants 122:7).Over twenty years had passed since his brothers sold Joseph into slavery, and yet they still felt tremendously guilty about what they had done.There was no way that they could repent, they couldn’t fix it, and their lives were hell because of it.
Genesis 43:28And they bowed down their heads and made obeisance.It had taken over two decades, but the Lord’s revelations were now fulfilled (Genesis 37:7, 9).Genesis 43:32Why was it an abomination for Egyptians to eat with Hebrews?Several Egyptian deities were represented by cattle, especially female cattle. Since the Hebrews were herdsmen who slaughtered and ate cattle regardless of sex, this practice would have been viewed by the Egyptians as a terrible abomination. Whatever the reason, Joseph seemed to respect the custom of the Egyptians and Hebrews eating separately (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:1:362; Clarke,Bible Commentary, 1:245; cf. Genesis 43:34).
Genesis 45:4-8“Joseph – A Type of Christ”ElderBruce R. McConkie taught that all prophets aretypes ofChrist:Likewise, the life and mission of Joseph typifies the life and mission of Jesus.Consider the following:1. Joseph was the favored son of his father; sowas Jesus.2. Joseph was rejected by his brothers,the Israelites, aswasJesus.3. Joseph was sold by his brothers intothe handsof theGentiles, just as Jesus was.
4. Judah, the head of the tribe of Judah, proposed the sale of Joseph. Certain leaders of the Jews in Jesus’ day turned Jesus over to the Romans. Judas (the Greek spelling of Judah) was the one who actually sold Jesus.5. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, the price of a slave his age. Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave his age.6. In their very attempt to destroy Joseph, his brothers actually set up the conditions that would bring about their eventual temporal salvation – that is, Joseph, by virtue of being sold, would become their deliverer. Jesus, by his being given into the hands of the Gentiles, was crucified and completed the atoning sacrifice, becoming the Deliverer for all mankind.
7. Joseph began his mission of preparing salvation for Israel at age thirty, just as Jesus began his ministry of preparing salvation for the world at age thirty.8. When Joseph was finally raised to his exalted position in Egypt, all bowed the knee to him. All will eventually bow the knee to Jesus.9. Joseph provided bread for Israel and saved them from death, all without cost. Jesus, the Bread of Life, did the same for all men.(Elder Bruce R. McConkie,ThePromisedMessiah, 448)
Genesis 47:9“Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.”In comparison with Abraham, who lived 175 years, and Isaac, who lived to be 180, Jacob’s 130 years to this point could be described as smaller or “few.”The word which is translated as “evil” actually means “sorrowful’ or “full of toil and trouble.”Remembering Jacob’s flight to Haran to escape Esau’s wrath, his years of labor for Laban, his wives and their contentions, his pilgrimage in the land of Canaan, the death of Rachel, and his years of sorrowing for the loss of Joseph contributes to a better understanding of why he would say his days were full of trouble and toil.
Genesis 49Twoblessings stand out:1. Judah was to be the forbear of the Messiah and the kingly power would not leave his line until the Messiah would come.2. With the exception of the above, the blessing of Joseph transcended all the others.(a) Joseph’s posterity would be numerous.(b) Some of his posterity (branches) would go over the wall from their brethren.
(c) In spite of the persecution, he would be strengthened by the Lord.(d) He would receive great spiritual and temporal blessings.(e) His blessings would be greater than those of his forefathers. Joseph would have the birthright blessing, wield great power, and assist in the gathering of Israel. Ephraim and Manasseh were to be the instruments of the ministry.Fully, one-fourth of the Genesis narrative is devoted to the story of Joseph.When Joseph Smith in Kirtland purchased the mummies and manuscripts, he announced that one manuscript was that of Joseph (July 1835).
“Joseph’s peculiar blessing, which I have just read to you, was that he should enjoy possessions above Jacob’s progenitors to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills. This would seem to indicate a very distant land from Palestine” (Orson Pratt,Journal of Discourses, 14:9).The seed of Joseph came to the land of America at the time Lehi and his family departed from the Mediterranean world. The land of America is specifically designated by the Lord as the land reserved for “a remnant of the house of Joseph” (3 Nephi 15:12).
Genesis 49:26America is the land of the everlasting hills!“I suppose that Jacob saw this land as well as Moses, and he designates it a land afar off; the utmost bounds would signify a very distant land. He said this land was over and above, what his progenitors gave to him and he would give it to Joseph…The precious things of heaven were to be given to Joseph on this land. Blessed of the Lord be his land for the precious things of heaven, more precious than the fullness of earth, more precious than the productions of the various climates of the earth, more precious than the grain, and the gold and silver of the earth. The precious things of heaven revealed to the people of Joseph on the great land given to them unto the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills” (Orson Pratt,Journal of Discourses, 18:167-68).Genesis 50:24“The Prophecies ofthe four Joseph’s(2 Nephi 3).
“Joseph in Egypt – A Model for Personal Righteousness”His reliance was upon the Lord. His trust was in the Lord, and his allegiance ran to the Lord.“I believe this is the greatest lesson that can be learned by the youth of Zion –to do the right thing because you love the Lord. It is so vitally important that, I feel, if you do anything in righteousness for any other reason than you love the Lord, you are wrong – at least you are on very shaky ground. And, somewhere your reasons for acting in righteousness will not be strong enough to see you through. You will give way to expediency, or peer group pressure, or honor, or fame, or applause, or the thrill of the moment, or some other worldly reason.Unless your motives are built upon the firm foundation of love of the Lord, you will not be able to stand” (Hartman Rector, Jr., “Live above the Law to Be Free,”Ensign, Jan. 1973, 130).