“VA’YESHEV – And he (Jacob) lived” Genesis 37:1 – 40:23; Zechariah 2:14 – 4:7
By Michael Schneider
* our commentary series of one year comes to an end. The Jewish people will commenrate to Hanukka miracle from this evening by lightening the first light.
In the last commentary on the parasha ‘Va‘Yeshev’, last year, we went into details in the Joseph Story as a proto-type of the Messiah. We saw the parallels of the Messiah Ben Joseph (ben means son). The brothers rejecting / opposing him and the Egyptians made him a Deity / a Godhead on side of Pharaoh; he become strang ‘Egyptian’, so that they couldn’t recognise him. So also the Jewish Messiah Yeshua became to strang ‘pagan/headen-Christian’ for the Jews as a people, and they can not recognise their Messiah.
But the Josef-Story is also to David-Story – at least in the beginning – equal. Parallels like the age 17, the age when Joseph (Genesis 37:2) like young David – both sheperds – are been rejected by their brothers. David was in the age 17 anoited by Samuel to be the promised King of Israel but it took another thirdteen hard years to ashieve it and sit on the throne. So with Joseph in the age of 30 sat ‘on the right hand’ of Pharaoh. Further, both, Joseph and David, were sons from another mother – so the Jewish scholars the reason of the descremination of David and his ‘red’ look.
And all because: “Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons…’ Again the reason is jealousy!
Chapter 38 interrupts suddenly in midle of the Joseph’s chapters speaking about a totally different episode: the deceitful incest affair of Yehuda (Judah) and Tamar, his daughter-in-law. Yehuda in the chapter before is the person that through his intervention Joseph’s life was saved (37:26-27) and therefore according the exegesis / interpretation it was the reason why he got in the Jacob Blessing in chapter 49 that his descendants will be the Royal and of the kingdom of Israel. The same Yehuda (from his name the term Jew – yehudi – comes from) wanted with good purpose to take care that his sons will have offspring and keep the forefather’s Blessing. After the first son Er died he passed the wife Tamar to his second son Onan (this called in Judaism Yibum): “”Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.” (38:8) But after also Onan died, Judah told Tamar to go back to her father’s home until the third son Shela will grow up.
But many years passed and the agreement was already forgotten, and when Tamar saw her father-in-law she wanted revenge. She put / took off widow’s clothes (38:14), it means she kept to the agreement all the years, and then she put on covering. Once protected from evil now covered with the mask of sin and deceit. Out of rage and revenge she dressed up as a prostitute and Yehuda fall into ‘her snare’ – like we read in Proverbs 7.
As her deceit became public and Yehuda confessed: “She is right, I am to blame” Tamar went on to give birth to – again – twins, Peretz and Zerach (38:25 – 26). Again the young (Peretz) was pushing himself to be first like with Esau and Jacob.
Another similarity we find as Tamar showing Yehuda his three belongings, ring, cord and staff, she said: “Recognize please,…” (Hebrew haker-na; 38:25) reminds us of the same words a chapter before as Yehuda himself showed – deceitful – his father Joseph’s coat and said: “Recognize please…” (37:32). Measure for measure!
We can ask ourselves why did the LORD let the both ‘legitimate’ levirate marriages fail and the seed of the father (incest!) became a part in the chain leading to the dynasty of King David and later the Messiah?
That was confirm in our portion from the prophet in Zechariah 2: “Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD… The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.” (14-16)