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[Hebrew, 0:00:52] – “So Pharaoh calls for Joseph and has him hauled out of the pit.” Okay, wait a second! Before we actually ready anymore, what did that verse say? He was taken out of a pit? But he wasn’t in a pit. Joseph was actually in jail. The word for jail in Hebrew had actually been [Hebrew, 0:01:08]. That is where he was put. But now that he was taken out, doesn’t say he was taken out of the [Hebrew, 0:01:14], he was taken out of the pit, but he wasn’t in a pit. Well he wasn’t in a pit now, but was Joseph ever in a pit? He certainly was.
Thirteen years before that, his brothers had thrown him in one. Strange. It almost seems like the Torah is purpose fully messing with you, blurring the line these two stories. Back to the story. Joseph is hauled out of this [Hebrew, 0:01:35], this pit [Hebrew, 0:01:37] he takes a haircut and then he gets a change of clothes. He gets out of his prison clothes and puts on nice new clothes. Does that reminds you of anything earlier in Joseph’s life? What happened right before the brothers threw Joseph in a pit; the event that takes place immediately before that? [Hebrew, 0:01:56] – “they stripped Joseph of his beautiful coat.” Right after Joseph gets out of the pit, he gets to put on nice new clothes.
Now, I want you to take a look at what’s happen here so far. Look at what we’ve just seen. It’s not just that there is connection, there is a pattern in the connections. What’s the pattern? First of all, it’s the reverse chronological order. The last time around, the first thing that happened was the stripping of the coat and then he was thrown into the pit; and now, the first thing that happens is being taken out of the pit, and the second thing that happens is getting new clothes. It’s not just reverse chronological order, it’s also the reverse significance of the event. First time around he was stripped of his coat, now he is getting a beautiful new coat to wear; the opposite. And, the first time around he was thrown into a pit, now, he’s been taken out of the pit. What there really is, is a reverse of on two levels, the chronological level and the level of significance. Does that pattern continues? If it would, the next event that we would expect to happen in our story involving Joseph and Pharaoh, should be the reverse of something that happened in that story thirteen years ago, before he was thrown in the pit and before he was stripped of his clothes. Let’s see if we can find them.
So Pharaoh calls for Joseph, takes him out of the pit, he gets this change of clothes, very next words [Hebrew, 0:03:15] – “And he was brought, he came to Pharaoh.” Okay. So Joseph goes to a man, a kind of authority figure. The opposite of going to a man or being brought to a man, is being sent away from a man; wouldn’t it? Does something like that happened thirteen years ago back in the Joseph and the Pit story? Before Joseph is thrown into the pit, before he lost his clothes, he was sent away from a man from an authority figure. His father had sent him away from him to go meet his brothers in [Hebrew, 0:03:46]. Let us just pause here for a second and consider this, because if this parallel really is true, if it is not just the figment of our imagination here, then what is the text suggesting here? Who is Pharaoh representing in this new story? Pharaoh is matching up with the role played by Joseph’s father, right; that’s the reverse. Joseph’s father had sent him away; Pharaoh now is bringing him close.
So we actually explored this idea that Pharaoh is acting almost like a father figure to Joseph in much greater depth in last year’s [Hebrew, 0:04:19], try to take a look. But in the meantime, let’s come back to Joseph. The point of the matter, at least for our purposes, is that Joseph going into Pharaoh’s interpretation of the dream, he’s seeing these Deja vu events that reminds him, in backwards fashion, of his life and the pit. It’s almost as if God is leading Joseph to an understanding of what might occur as he hears the dream. My theory is going to be, that as he continues to see these parallels in the dream, it would help him interpret the meaning of what God is trying to tell Pharaoh. But maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves, maybe it’s just still a coincidence; we want to see more if it’s really true, more of the pattern.
The next event that happens in the Pharaoh and Joseph story should be the reverse of what had happened before Joseph was thrown into the pit, before he lost his clothes and before his father sent him to check on his brothers in [Hebrew, 0:05:14]. Well, let’s continue with our story of Joseph and Pharaoh and see what we find.
After Pharaoh has Joseph pulled out of the pit, after he gets a change of clothes, after Joseph comes to Pharaoh, the very next words are [Hebrew, 0:05:27]- “And Pharaoh says to Joseph,” [Hebrew, 0:054:29] – “I had this dream, but no one can interpret it. The dream is inscrutable, impossible to understand.” What’s the opposite of a dream that’s so inscrutable, that’s uninterpretable and impossible to understand? A dream whose meaning is so obvious that no one even needs to interpret it; it speaks for itself. That’s the exact even that had occurred, right before Jacob had sent his son Joseph off to [Hebrew, 0:05:56]. Joseph had had a dream, the second of a set of dreams in which the sun and the moon and the eleven stars had all come bowing to him; a dream whose meaning was so self-evident. Jacob as incensed, “[Hebrew, 0:06:08]”, he said – “So me and your mother and your eleven brother, we all come bowing down to you? Is that what this is about?” And now look at the reverse thirteen years later.
In the Joseph and Pharaoh story, Pharaoh, the father figure had the dream and told it to Joseph. In the Joseph and Pharaoh story, how is Pharaoh relating to Joseph? He wants to tell him this dream; thirteen years ago, Jacob didn’t want to hear anything about dreams. It’s the reverse. And here is one last intriguing detail. In Hebrew, when Pharaoh tells Joseph the dream, the language is [Hebrew, 0:06:44] – “a dream I dreamt”. You know what the language was thirteen years before? [Hebrew, 0:06:51] – “I dreamt a dream”. It’s the same thing backwards.
So when you add all this up, it doesn’t really seem like a coincidence. It seems like there is something there, but what does this mean; this reverse parallel of events? It suggest that whatever happens thirteen years ago on some level, it’s getting undone now. Thirteen years ago, everything was falling apart, now, it’s all coming together; it’s now getting redeemed somehow. We’ve seen a remarkable pattern, correspondences between Joseph’s life thirteen, and the events leading up to Pharaoh telling over his dream to Joseph. Now the question is, the very next thing that’s going to happen in the text of Joseph and Pharaoh is that Pharaoh will tell over his dream and the question is, “Do the correspondences continue? Will we continue to see echoes in Joseph’s life thirteen years ago?” If the parallels do continue as Pharaoh begins to tell the dream, then maybe God is playing that little dinner table game I was talking to you about before. Maybe these parallels that we’ve seen in Joseph’s life, are [unintelligible, 0:08:02], the resonant, the sense of Déjà vu, it’s already there. So when Joseph gets to the dream, he is ready to see the further Déjà vu patterns that are embedded within it. Let’s come back next week and see if and how, the patterns continue.
1. Bereishit: Thank You, God...For Not Making Me A Woman?
2. Noach: Why Aren't Dinosaurs In the Torah?
3. Lech Lecha: The Battle For Abraham's Legacy
4. Vayeira: Abram, Sarai, Hagar, Ishmael and...Exodus?
5. Vayeira: Epilogue
6. Chayei Sarah: Eliezer and Samuel's Surprising Connection
7. Toldot: What Is Isaac's Legacy?
8. Vayeitzei: Understanding Rachel's World
9. Vayishlach: From Jacob to Israel
10. Vayeishev: Does God Speak To Us Today?
11. Miketz: Reversing the Sale of Joseph
12. Vayigash: Understanding Pharaoh's Dream
13. Vayechi: A Tap On The Shoulder
14. Shmot: Does God Really "Love" Us?
15. Va'era: Seeing God in Science
16. Bo: God's Justice In Action
17. Beshalach: Fruit Trees In the Sea?
18. Beshalach: Epilogue
19. Yitro: Seeing Ten Commandments in the Burning Bush
20. Mishpatim: Does Our History Become Laws?
21. Mishpatim: Epilogue
22. Terumah: Angels In the Tabernacle? Part I/2
23. Tetzaveh: Angels In the Tabernacle?- Part 2/2
24. Ki Tisa: A Closer Look At Kiddush
25. Pekudei: A Giant Chiasm In Sefer Shmot
26. Vayikra: How Can We Relate To Sacrifices Today?
27. Tzav: A Deeper Look At The Priestly Role
28. Tzav: Epilogue
29. Shemini: What Does Aaron Teach Us About Loss?
30. Tazria-Metzora: Rejoining the Community
31. Acharei Mot-Kedoshim: Social Justice...and Sacrifices?
32. Behar-Bechukotai: Walking With God
33. Bamidbar: Why We Count
34. Beha'alotecha: Where It All Went Wrong
35. Shelach: How Can We Relate To Such a Vengeful God?
36. Korach: Why Did Korach Rebel?
37. Chukat: Why Did Moses Hit The Rock?
38. Balak: What Is Israel's Purpose In The World?
39. Pinchas: What Is True Leadership?
40. Matot-Masei: The Art of Negotiation
41. Devarim: What Did Moses Do Wrong?- Part 1/2
42. Va'etchanan: What Did Moses Do Wrong?- Part 2/2
43. Eikev: Why Does The Nation Of Israel Merit The Land?
44. Re'eh: Why Do We Need Both Oral and Written Law?
45. Shoftim: The Significance of Saving Private Ryan
46. Ki Teitzei: How To Merit Long Life
47. Ki Tavo: The Pursuit of Happiness- Part 1
48. Nitzavim: The Pursuit of Happiness- Part 2/2
49. Ha'azinu: Moses' Farewell To Israel, Part 2/3
50. V'Zot Habracha: Moses' Farewell To Israel, Part 3/3
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