Stephen, in his testimony before the Sanhedrin, recounted that “On the second visit, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and his family became known to Pharaoh.” [1] (Acts 7:13) This week’s Torah portion recounts one of the greatest acts of teshuva (repentance) through Judah, and one of the greatest foreshadowings of Messiah through Joseph.

[Read Gen. 44 – 45:5]

What was Joseph trying to do to his brothers? Why was he testing them? What was he trying to draw out of them? I see Joseph deliberately putting his brothers in a similar situation, where they can sell their half-brother into slavery in Egypt, while they walk away free.  In vs. 7-9 the brothers of course protested their innocence, even calling for their own deaths, whereas Joseph’s servant only stated slavery for the culprit.

I wonder what the head of Joseph’s household thought of this entire charade? Whatever it was, he was a great actor, and when he came to opening the bags, he deliberately started from the eldest, so as to build the suspense (vs. 11-12). When the cup is finally revealed all of the brothers tear their clothes and mourned as though their brother had just died. This starts to show how much they had all changed, because they had not mourned over Joseph but had torn his clothes instead of their own.

Judah, although not guilty of the theft, acknowledges that Adonai has truly and truthfully exposed their hearts (vs. 16). He then goes on and shows true teshuva (repentance, turning around). Not only does he recognize his own sinful actions, but he demonstrates the change in his heart. He is now willing to lay his own life down for his half-brother, and have himself sold into slavery in his stead. Judah pleads for mercy based upon the heart of his father, and recounts to Joseph the reaction of Israel to hearing of Joseph’s death (vs. 18-29). He goes on to recount that he has made himself surety for Benjamin. This final acknowledgement demonstrates that Judah, who had led the brothers in selling Joseph into slavery (Ch. 37:26), has turned around and done teshuva.

Joseph cannot contain his emotions any more, and explodes with tears and he “gave his voice to weeping.” Of course the brothers are in total shock as Joseph reveals himself in the Hebrew language instead of the interpreter, but finally they began talking to him after Joseph had wept on all of their shoulders and kissed them (vs. 14-15).

This story of the reunification of Joseph and his brothers is possibly one of the most famous narratives in the Hebrew Scriptures, and Joseph is one of the best types and shadows of the Messiah. Arthur W. Pink actually shows over 100 different similarities between Joseph and Yeshua.[2] Just as Joseph revealed himself on the second visit, so also the first time that Yeshua was seen by his physical brethren, they did not know Him, but when Israel shall “see Him the second time He shall be known by them.” [3] This is shown many places throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. In the same way when Moses first intervened on his brethren’s behalf they said, “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?” (Ex. 2:14) But the second time, after 40 years of not seeing him (number 40 represents judgement), Moses was accepted as their leader. The same is true for Joshua. When Joshua first appeared before the nation as one of the two spies with a favourable report (Num. 13), his brethren tried to stone him. Forty years later the Children of Israel were willing to follow Joshua into the promised land. Even king David, when he brings his brethren the gift from their father, was repulsed by his brothers (1 Sam. 17:28). Years later, however, together with all Israel, they were willing to make him King. Each of these was a type of Yeshua. The first time he appeared the majority of Jews rejected him, but when he returns he will be accepted as leader and king.

Teshuva is so important before God, and Adonai is longing to give forgiveness. [Eze. 20:39-43, Hos. 5:14-15] As Joseph did not reveal himself to his brothers until they had done teshuva by acknowledging their guilt and turning back, so also Yeshua is waiting for the time that Israel will turn back to Him. [Acts 3:17-21] Just as Joseph’s brothers were troubled by the revelation of Joseph, so also the prophet Zechariah (12:10) tells us that Adonai will “pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication, when they will look toward Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son and grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for a firstborn.” When all Israel sees the “awfulness of their sin in rejecting and crucifying their Messiah, they shall be “troubled” indeed.”[4]

Zechariah goes on and declares that the sins will be cleansed [Zech. 13:1-2] from the land. Isaiah also talks of this cleansing [Isa. 54:5-8]. And . . . Just as Joseph was filled with grace and compassion with his brothers, so also Yeshua is longing to shower Israel and indeed all who turn to him with “everlasting kindness” and “great mercies” when we say of him, “Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” [Matt. 23:37-39] (Ps 118:26) So what must we do? We must “Repent, and let each of [us] be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua for the removal of [our] sins, and [we] will receive the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh”! (Acts 2:38)

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.

[2] Arthur W. Pink, Gleanings in Genesis, (Moody, Chicago, 1922). Cited 06-Jan 2017. Online:

[3] Pink, Gleanings, Ch. 45:72.

[4] Pink, Gleanings, Ch. 45:74.