Verses of Genesis 49
Genesis 49:22 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)
JOSEPH A TYPE OF CHRIST
Gen 49:22-24. Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him. But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob: from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel.
PECULIAR care is to be used in unfolding the types, lest, by indulging our own imagination, we bring the very truth of God itself into contempt. Where the Scriptures themselves have marked the typical reference, we may proceed without fear; but when once they cease to guide us, we should not venture one step but with fear and trembling. This observation is peculiarly applicable to the subject before us. It does not appear that Joseph is anywhere declared to be a type of Christ, notwithstanding the circumstances wherein they resemble each other are as numerous and remarkable, as in almost any other instance whatever. We forbear therefore to assert any thing on this subject with confidence; while, in compliance with the opinion of the most judicious commentators, and indeed with the almost irresistible conviction of our own mind, we proceed to trace the resemblance of Joseph to Christ, in,
His distinguishing character—
Joseph is represented as “a fruitful bough”—
[Every tribe is distinguished by something characteristic, either of the patriarchs themselves, or of their descendants. The distinction assigned to Joseph, is that of peculiar fruitfulness: and to him it eminently belonged. All his brethren indeed were honoured with being heads of distinct tribes: but Joseph had both his sons chosen of God, and appointed to be Leads of separate tribes; and thus two tribes sprang from him, while one tribe only sprang from any of his brethren.]
To our Lord also is a similar title frequently ascribed—
[Jesus was that “beautiful and glorious branch,” which was in due time to spring from the stem of Jesse [Note: Isa 4:2; Isa 11:1.], the fruit whereof was to fill the whole earth [Note: Isa 27:6.]. It was not one tribe only, or two, that was to acknowledge him as their head, but all the tribes; yea, Gentiles as well as Jews, even all the ends of the earth: his fruit was to shake like the woods of Lebanon, and they, who should spring from him, were to be numerous as the piles of grass [Note: Psa 72:16.], the stars of heaven [Note: Gen 15:5.], and the sands upon the sea-shore [Note: Gen 22:17.]. And so abundantly has this prediction been already verified, that we may say of this Branch as the Psalmist did of that which typically represented it, “It has taken deep root, and filled the land: the hills are covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof are like the goodly cedars; it has sent forth its boughs unto the sea, and its branches unto the river [Note: Psa 80:9-11.].”]
But the resemblance will more fully appear, while we consider,
His grievous sufferings—
Joseph was for many years very grievously afflicted—
[He was eminently the beloved of his father [Note: Gen 37:3.] ; and, being utterly averse to sin himself, he would reprove, and lay before his father, the misconduct of his brethren [Note: Gen 37:2.]: he also, unreservedly, communicated to them all the repeated intimations, which he had had in dreams, respecting his future exaltation above his whole family [Note: Gen 37:5; Gen 37:9.]. For these reasons he was envied, hated, and persecuted by his brethren [Note: Gen 37:4; Gen 37:11.]. And when he came to them from his father, upon an errand of love, they conspired against him to kill him [Note: Gen 37:18-20.]. An opportunity offering at the moment, they sold him into the hands of strangers for twenty pieces of silver [Note: Gen 37:28.]. After that, he was accused of a crime he utterly abhorred, and, without any one to plead his cause, was cast into prison [Note: Gen 39:12-20.], where, for a time at least, “he was laid in irons,” and galled with heavy fetters [Note: Psa 105:18.] ; so “sorely did the archers grieve him, and shoot at him, and hate him.”]
And can we err in tracing here the sufferings of our Lord?
[Jesus was, infinitely above all others, the well-beloved of his Father [Note: Mat 3:17.] ; and, while he faithfully reproved the sins of his brethren, declared to them his future exaltation and glory [Note: Joh 7:7 and Mat 26:64.]. Filled with envy and wrath against him, they said, as it were in malignant triumph, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him [Note: Mat 21:38.] ;” so cruelly “did they reward him evil for good, and hatred for his love [Note: Psa 109:3-5.].” When he was come to them from his Father with the most benevolent design, behold, one of his own disciples sold him, and that to strangers too, for thirty pieces of silver [Note: Mat 26:15-16.]. He was accused of blasphemy against God, and of rebellion against his king; and, without any one appearing to speak on his behalf [Note: Isa 53:8. See Bp. Lowth’s translation and note, and Psa 69:20.], was instantly condemned; and thus, though “none could convince him of sin,” “was numbered with the transgressors.” Could there have been such a coincidence of circumstances between his lot and Joseph’s, at least is it probable there would have been, if it had not been particularly ordained of God?]
We may pursue the comparison yet further, in,
His unshaken constancy—
Joseph was marvelously upheld under all his trials—
[Though he besought his brethren with cries and tears, we read not of any reproachful language that he used: when he entreated Pharaoh’s butler to intercede for him, he did not so much as mention either his brethren, who had sold him, or his mistress, who had falsely accused him [Note: Gen 40:14-15.]: nor, while he was enduring his hard lot, did he once murmur or repine at the providence of God: through the whole of his trial he possessed his soul in patience: nor, when he had it in his power to revenge himself, did he render any thing but love for hatred, and good for evil. The apparent unkindness of his deportment, which he adopted for a time, was a violence done to his own feelings, in order that he might discern the real state of their minds, and reveal himself to them afterwards to better effect [Note: Gen 42:7; Gen 42:9; Gen 42:12.]. When the proper season was arrived, he fully evinced the tenderness of his heart, and the delight he took in the exercise of mercy; and, so far from upbraiding his brethren, he said all he could to extenuate their crime, and referred the whole event to the overruling providence of God [Note: Gen 45:5.]. So effectually were “his hands strengthened by the mighty God of Jacob,” that in no instance was he “overcome of evil, but at all times overcame evil with good.”]
Our blessed Lord also shone like him, only with infinitely brighter lustre—
[Never did an inadvertent word drop from the lips of Jesus under all his persecutions: “When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously [Note: 1Pe 2:23.].” “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so opened he not his mouth [Note: Isa 53:7.] ” either in menaces, or complaints. His meekness was uniform, his fortitude undaunted, his patience invincible. He sought nothing but the good of those who were daily conspiring against his life: he wept over them, when they resisted all his overtures of mercy [Note: Luk 19:41.]: he even prayed for them, and apologized for their crimes, when they were in the very act of putting him to death [Note: Luk 23:34.]: and, after his resurrection, commanded that the offers of salvation through his blood should be made first to the very people who had so lately shed it [Note: Luk 24:47.].]
There is yet one more feature of resemblance to be noticed, in,
His glorious advancement—
After all his trials Joseph was exalted to a throne—
[Through the good providence of God, Joseph was enabled to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh, and was, on that account, brought from the dungeon, and made, next to Pharaoh, the supreme governor of the Egyptian kingdom [Note: Gen 41:14-15; Gen 41:41.]: all were ordered to bow the knee to Joseph [Note: Gen 41:43.] ; and all, who came for a supply of corn, received this direction, Go to Joseph [Note: Gen 41:55.]. Thus did God exalt him to be both “the shepherd and the stone of Israel,” that he might not only provide for Egypt and the neighbouring kingdoms, but be an effectual support to all his kindred, and preserve the lives of those very persons who had sought his destruction.]
Can we reasonably doubt but that in this he was a type of Jesus?
[Jesus was raised from the prison of the grave by the effectual working of God’s power: “he was highly exalted; and had a name given him above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow [Note: Php 2:9-11; Psa 72:8-9; Psa 72:11.]:” “all power was committed to him in heaven and in earth; and all things were put under him, he only excepted, who did put all things under him [Note: 1Co 15:27.].” Whatever we want for our souls, we must receive it all out of his fulness [Note: Joh 1:16.]: the direction given to every living creature is, Go to Jesus, Look to Jesus [Note: Isa 45:22; Joh 7:37.]. And how does he exercise his power? Behold, he calls his sinful brethren from a land of want and misery, and brings them to his own land of peace and plenty. There he nourishes them with the bread of life, and “reigns over the house of Jacob for ever and ever.” Thus, as “the great Shepherd of the sheep,” he both feeds and rules his flock, while as “the foundation” and “cornerstone” he supports and connects, confirms and dignifies, all the “Israel” of God [Note: Heb 13:20; 1Pe 2:6.].]
By way of improvement we observe,
The purposes of God, whatever may be done to frustrate them, shall surely be accomplished—
[We are amazed at the variety of incidents, that seemed to put the elevation of Joseph, and of Christ, almost beyond the reach of Omnipotence itself. Yet God’s purposes were accomplished by the very means used to defeat them. Thus shall it be with us also, if we confide in the word of God. Whatever means Satan, or the world, may use to “separate us from God,” they shall not prevail. “What God has promised, he is able also to perform.” Let us therefore trust in him; for He will work, and who shall let it? He hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? His counsel shall stand; and he will do all his pleasure [Note: Isa 43:13; Isa 14:27; Isa 46:10.].]
God’s dearest children must expect many trials in their way to glory—
[Joseph, and Christ, endured much before their exaltation. And we also “through much tribulation shall enter into the kingdom.” The number and weight of our trials are no grounds of concluding ourselves to be objects of God’s displeasure: they should rather, especially if they be sanctified to us, be considered as tokens of his love [Note: Heb 12:6.]. As the Captain of our salvation was, so also must we be, made perfect through sufferings [Note: Heb 2:10.]. Let us then “arm ourselves with the mind that was in Christ.” We shall surely have no reason to regret the difficulties of the way, when we have attained the rest prepared for us.]
We should not labour to control events, but study rather to accommodate ourselves to the circumstances in which God has placed us—
[How often might Joseph have escaped from the house of Potiphar, or sent to his brethren the news of his exaltation in Egypt! But he left all in the hands of God, endeavouring only to fulfil his duty, whether as a slave or a steward, whether as a jailor or a prince. Thus did our Lord also, when he could in ten thousand ways have changed the course of events. Let us do likewise. Whatever be our circumstances or condition in life, let us be more desirous of glorifying God under them, than of contriving, by any means, to alter them. God’s time and manner of accomplishing his own ends will be found infinitely better in the issue, than any we can devise [Note: Isa 55:8-9.]. Let us then tarry his leisure, and leave ourselves wholly to his disposal, and approve ourselves to him as faithful, and obedient children.]
Verses of Genesis 49
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Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)
Charles Simeon (1759 - 1836) was an English evangelical Anglican cleric.
Horae Homileticae reflects the rich source of Biblical understanding of Simeon, a towering figure in the history of evangelical theology.