The life of Joseph, the son of Jacob, foreshadowed or paralleled the life of Jesus. Some Bible scholars say that there are over one-hundred parallels between the life of Joseph and the life of Jesus while here on earth. I have observed over twenty very obvious foreshadows from the account of Joseph, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham.
1 – Joseph was born of Rachel, the love of Jacob’s life. (Genesis 29:30) In Hebrew Rachel means “ewe,” a female sheep. Figuratively therefore Joseph, born of a ewe, was a lamb. John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus to be “the lamb of God.” (John 1:29)
2 – From Scripture we can determine that Joseph was at least 39 years old when he brought his family to Egypt. At that time Jacob declared himself to be 130 years old. (Genesis 47:9) This indicates that Jacob was as much as 91 years old at the birth of Joseph, and Rachel probably was not that much younger than Jacob. Maybe she was only 60 to 70 years old. Either way, the birth of Joseph was probably a miraculous birth! Most certainly, the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary was a miraculous birth.
3 – Jacob loved Joseph more than all of his other children. (Genesis 37:3) Joseph was the beloved son. The Lord declared Jesus to be His beloved son. (Matthew 3:17)
4 – Jacob gave Joseph a special garment; the “coat of many colors.” The Lord Jesus also had a special garment. It was apparently so special that the Roman soldiers gambled over it. (John 19:23-24)
5 – Because Joseph was the beloved son of Jacob, his brothers hated him. (Genesis 37:4) The leaders of Israel, the Jewish brethren of the Lord Jesus hated Him, to the point that they had Him crucified.
6 – Joseph had a dream where his brothers’ sheaves of wheat bowed down to his sheaf. His brothers mocked him said, “shall you reign over us?” (Genesis 37:7-8) On the cross, Jesus was mocked. In effect they said “if you are the Messiah, the King, come down off of the cross and reign over us.” (Luke 23:35-37)
7 – Joseph was made the overseer of Jacob’s livestock operations. (Genesis 37:14) Joseph was second only to his father. The Lord Jesus is second only to His father.
7A – Joseph was sold into slavery in the house of Potiphar. Potiphar recognized Joseph’s abilities and made him the chief steward of all his household. Joseph answered only to Potiphar, and was second in command, again.
7B – When Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of making advances toward her, he was placed in prison. While there, the jailer recognized the abilities of Joseph and made him administrator of the prison. Joseph was second in command, again.
7C – Because of the successful interpretation of the butler’s dream, Joseph was recommended to Pharaoh to interpret his dreams. As a result of Joseph’s wisdom and discretion, Pharaoh made him viceroy of Egypt. Joseph answered only to Pharaoh. Joseph was second in command, again.
There are many more amazing parallels between the lives of Joseph and Jesus. They will continue in the next lesson. Until then, may the Name of the Lord be praised!