Here is an important point. Joseph in Egypt first suffers, and then is elevated, bringing in a golden age. But, this golden age is outside of the land of Israel, the promised land. Jews through the ages have lived outside of the land. They have been elevated to positions of leadership, like Prime Ministers, Cabinet members, Ambassadors and Generals. But it always crumbles and falls apart. Like in Egypt, a “Pharaoh who knew not Joseph” arises and the people enter into a time of “birth pains.” So, Joseph is a picture of Messiah Ben Joseph, the one who comes before to “preserve life” (Gen 45.7). But, we are going to have another who comes after Joseph, named Moses, who will play the role in the first redemption of the Messiah Ben David in the second redemption. Yeshua will fulfill both roles in the second redemption.
There are Scriptures that refer to the second redemption exceeding the first redemption and the Exodus out of Egypt (Jer 16.14-15; Jer 23.5-6, 33.15-16). So, let’s talk about the Egyptian Redemption in the time of Moses, which is also called the First Redemption.
This redemption will be a picture of the Messianic Redemption, only smaller in scale. Our main character in the first redemption is Moses, and Yeshua the Messiah will be the main character in the second redemption. In the Egyptian Redemption, Moses is the main character, but Israel did not have a king, but they did have a high priest. But, Moses will be operating as a “king” and he is in a category by himself. We had Levites, Priests and the people, and they had camping sites, but Moses was different than all others. He will operate as a king, but he will not supersede the office of high priest. We have in the Scriptures that Messiah will be king, and many see him as king, priest and prophet. But, where are we told this? In the Dead Sea Scrolls we have a messianic character as “priest” as well as king and prophet. In Isa 11.1, Jer 23.5-6 and Jer 33.15-16, we have the Messiah presented with the title “the Branch” or “tzemach” in Hebrew. In Zech 6.11-12, we have a high priest by the name of Joshua (it is Yeshua in Ezra 3.2-the same guy) who wears two crowns (Isa 6.11 says “crowns” in Hebrew), one for a priest and one for a king (“a priest on his throne”-6.13). These crowns indicate a function that the tzemach (branch) does. We are getting a profile of the Messiah in these verses.
We learn from Exo 1.1-8 that Israel increased greatly and then a Pharaoh arose who did not know Joseph. This indicates that it just wasn’t one man, but a whole dynasty. Now, Jacob comes into Egypt in Gen 47.7-9 at the age of 130 years old. In Gen 47.28 it says he died at 147 years old, so that means he spent 17 years in Egypt. Joseph was 30 years old when he was made ruler, second only to Pharaoh. The years of plenty were seven years, so Joseph is 37, and it will be two years into the famine when Joseph reveals himself, so he is now 39 (Gen 45.6,11). In Gen 50.22, it says that Joseph died at 110 years old. So, he ruled Egypt for 80 years.
Now, Exo 12.40 says that the sojourning of Israel “who dwelt in Egypt” (at that time) was 430 years. In Gal 3.17 it says that the Torah came 430 years after the promise to Abraham in Gen 15.6. So, let’s put this chronology together from all this information. From Gen 15 to Isaac is 25 years. From Isaac to Jacob was 60 years. Jacob lived 147 years, and from Jacob’s death to Joseph’s was 55 years. From Joseph’s death to the Exodus was 143 years. Totally, this is 430 years, so the 430 years go back to Gen 15.6. It also means that Israel was only in Egypt, after the death of Joseph, 143 years. Totally, they were only in Egypt about 215 years.
Moses is 80 years old when the Exodus happens. We know that Aaron was 83 (Exo 7.7), so they were slaves in Egypt about 80 years because there is no evidence Aaron’s life was in any danger when he was born. This was only at the time of Moses (Exo 1). Gen 15.12-16 says that the “fourth generation” will enter the land. That would be Kohath, Amram, Moses, and his son’s were the one’s who entered the land.
Now, let’s look at the progression of slavery because it will move slowly. Let’s go back to Joseph. He is 17 when he enters Egypt and he will be there 13 years before he is elevated to be a ruler, second only to Pharaoh, at the age of 30. Not all of those 13 years were bad. We have a parallel with Yeshua, who was about 30 when he began his ministry. Joseph will be one of the greatest pictures of the Messiah, giving us glimpses into both the Egyptian and the Messianic redemption.
When Joseph comes in, who was the Pharaoh and who was the Pharoah of the Exodus? If you watch the movie “The Ten Commandments” it will be Rameses. Rameses means “Ra” (their god) “Meses” (delivers). You will see that “meses” is similar to “Moses” and means the same thing. That Rameses as Pharaoh is based on Exo 1.11 where it says, “So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor. And they built for Pharaoh storage cities, Pithom and Rameses.” But, this is a common name, after one of their gods “Ra” so that doesn’t mean it was built by the Jews for a Pharaoh named Rameses. We don’t have a Pharaoh named “Pithom” so just because the other city is named Rameses doesn’t mean that was the name of the Pharaoh at the time.
We do believe that the name of the Pharaoh when Joseph becomes ruler in Egypt is Amenemhat III. The chronology of Egypt has many flaws. You have the “Old Kingdom”, with dynastic rulers. Then you have the Intermediate Period, where there isn’t a central ruler, but rulers over regions. This can be caused by wars, famines, diseases, drought and flooding. In the First Intermediate Period, Abraham came into the land because of a drought. Then we go into what is called the “Middle Kingdom” which is when Joseph came in.
Now, during the reign of Amenhemhat III, Egypt is divided into “Nomes” (Greek) or “Sepat” (Egyptian) meaning “law.” Egypt had a Lower Kingdom, closest to the coast, and an Upper Kingdom. The Lower Kingdom is lower in elevation and the Nile flows north. Often you would have one dynasty in Upper Egypt and another in Lower Egypt. We also have “nomes”, which are like our counties. Each “nome” had a warlord who supported the Pharaoh. But, if he wasn’t loyal he wouldn’t support him with taxes. This support was up to the warlord. All of this changed with Amenhemhat III. All the nome warlords came under the centralized rule of a single Pharaoh. How did this happen? They ran out of food during a famine. In order to receive food from the royal treasuries, they had to give their allegiance to the Pharaoh. Now, read Gen 47.1-31 with this in mind.
There is a river, or canal, called the “Bahr Yusef” (River of Joseph) which connects the Nile with an area called the Faiyum. It was built during the reign of Amenhemhat III. Before then, the canal was a natural “off shoot” of the Nile, which created a lake. The “canal” or “river” was enlarged by Amenhemhat III through Joseph into this valley, creating a canal 9.3 miles long and 16 feet deep. The Bahr Yusef had irrigation canals off of it. You can go to the Internet and research the River of Joseph or Bahr Yusef for more information and pictures. The Faiyum is a very fertile area in Middle Egypt, some of the best in all of Egypt. According to the Egyptian government, it was the most fertile.
Now, famine is usually caused by drought. The Nile does not get rain from runoff in the south. Also, if you have too much water you have flooding, killing the crops and causing a famine. During the reign of Amenhemhat III, they diverted water if it was too high in the Nile into a lake called “Moeris” by the Greeks and Romans in the Faiyum. If they did not have enough water, they took water out of Lake Moeris and put it back in the Nile. As a result, the farmers had water for irrigation, even during a famine. What is so brilliant about the Bahr Yusef is they had locks, just like in the Panama Canal. They would close when they wanted to block the water, and open when they needed water. The belief is Joseph built the canal through the inspiration of God himself, and it was built during the reign of Amenhemhat III. Near the Nile, there was found a huge complex called the Labyrinth at a place called Harawa. This word is very close to the Hebrew word “Havurah”meaning “friend” and “fellowship.” This Labyrinth contained huge granaries for shipment on the Nile during the famine with 3000 rooms. Amenhemhat III had his burial pyramid there and they found his remains, and this is the area where Joseph lived and was buried. We will get into this in more detail later on in this teaching.
In Part 4, we will pick up here.