Advent: Josephs the Dreamers

The Bible introduces us to two men with striking similarities. Both are named Joseph, both are sons of a man named Jacob, and both have dreams about royalty.

The first Joseph was the son of Jacob, who was also known as Israel. This Joseph dreamt that he would one day rule over his brothers and his parents, symbolizing by the cosmic authorities bowing to him. Fueled by jealousy, his brothers sought to dethrone him, and sold him into slavery, casting him into the land of Egypt. He quickly became employed and valued in the house of Pharaoh. He ran afoul of leadership in Egypt and was cast into prison. There, Joseph dreamt again about two men in the royal court, which lead him to provide bread and wine for the whole land of Egypt. Joseph would then ascend to the second-in-command position of Egypt, a kingdom of Jew and Gentile together, fed by the exalted son of Jacob.

The second Joseph was the son of Jacob. This Joseph, a son of David, dreamt that his fiancee was having a son, one who would rule over all of the world. Fueled by jealousy, Herod the king sent word to have this child, and every male child under two was set to be destroyed. Je ran afoul of Herod, who had become his own kind of Pharaoh, setting out to kill the firstborn of Israel who might challenge his reign, so Jesus was cast into Egypt. There, Joseph dreamt again about Jesus, sparing the life of the one who would bring bread and wine for the whole world. Jesus would later ascend to the right hand of Yahweh, reigning as king over the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of Jew and Gentile together, fed by the exalted son of Jacob.

Truly, we can say, in the life of both of these Josephs, we learn that what man meant for evil (ra’ah), God meant for good (tov). In both of these Josephs, the ideal of Eden would be restored, as the tree of life would be made available to the world through the exalted son of Israel.

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