A Comparison between Joseph and Jesus

(From notes by Bill MacDonald)

Many Old Testament accounts of people and events tell of the immediate with a foreshadowing of that which is yet to come. For example, Moses told the Israelites of another Prophet, like him, who would come later and who would require the people's total allegiance and obedience; the Psalms describe the experiences of David; yet they also speak of David's Greater Son, the Messiah.

Perhaps one of the best known and loved Bible accounts, along with that of Noah's ark and David and Goliath, is the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Joseph's life story affords many valuable lessons and applications; yet there is also a prophetic aspect to the account that foreshadows the Messiah himself. There are many fascinating parallels (more than 100) between Joseph, beloved son of Jacob, and Jesus, the Son of God who would arrive on the stage of human history centuries later. Here are just a representative few:

Parallel Joseph Jesus
BELOVED OF HIS FATHER Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children (Gen. 37:3a). This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:17b).
ENVIED AND HATED WITHOUT A CAUSE And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more they…hated him… (Gen 37:4). …the chief priests had delivered him for envy (Mark 15:10).

They hated me without a cause (John 15:25b).
A ROOT OUT OF DRY GROUND …he was the son of his [Jacob's] old age (Gen. 37:3b). …he [Messiah] shall grow up before him…like a root out of a dry ground (Isa. 53:2a).
HE FORETOLD THAT ONE DAY HE WOULD RULE … your sheaves stood…and made obeisance to my sheaf (Gen. 37:7). …ye [shall] seethe Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matt. 26:64b).
ACCUSED OF BEING A DREAMER (beside himself, deluded) And they said to one another, Behold, this dreamer cometh (Gen. 37:19). …they said, He is beside himself (Mark 3:21b).
SENT BY THE FATHER TO SEEK THE BROTHERS' WELFARE Go…see whether it be well with thy brethren (Gen. 37:14a). I will send my beloved son… (Luke 20:13b).
WENT WILLINGLY AND SOUGHT TILL HE FOUND THEM And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them… (Gen. 37:17b). …Lo, I come, to do thy will, O God (Heb. 10:9b).

He came unto his own… (John 1:11a).
REJECTED AND CONDEMNED TO DIE they conspired against him to slay him (Gen. 37:18b). We will not have this man to reign over us (Luke 19:14b).

But they cried, saying, Crucify him! Crucify him! (Luke 23:21).
STRIPPED OF HIS CLOTHING …they stripped Joseph out of his coat…that was on him (Gen 37:23b). And they stripped him (Matt. 27:28a).
THROWN INTO A PIT (alone, forsaken) And they took him, and cast him into a pit (Gen. 37:24a). so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:40b).
SOLD FOR SILVER INTO THE HANDS OF GENTILES …they sold Joseph to the lshmaelites twenty pieces of silver; and they brought Joseph into Egypt (Gen. 37:28b). and they bargained with him [Judas] for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:15b).
RAISED FROM THE PIT …and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit (Gen. 37:28a). …he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:4b).
BECAME A SERVANT And Joseph was brought down to Egypt…and he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian (Gen. 39:1-2). I am among you as he that serveth (Luke 22:27b).

…took upon him the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7b).
EVERYTHING HE DID PROSPERED And…the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand (Gen. 39:3b). and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand (Isaiah 53:10b).
RESISTED TEMPTATION The temptation by Potiphar's wife (Read Gen. 39:7-12). For such an high priest was fitting…who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners…(Heb. 7:26).

…[he) was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15b).
FALSELY ACCUSED The Hebrew servant, whom thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me (Gen. 39:17-18). At the last came two false witnesses, And said… (Matt. 26:60b, 61a).
NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS And Joseph's master…put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound (Gen. 39:20a). …there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left (Luke 23:33).
PROMISED DELIVERANCE TO A CONDEMNED MAN Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee… (Gen. 40:13). Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43b).
FORETOLD THE FUTURE ACCURATELY And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us (Gen. 41:13a). Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he (John 13:19).
PROVED TO BE A GREAT COUNSELLOR …Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art (Gen. 41:39). and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor… (Isa. 9:6b).
PROMOTED TO HONOR AND GLORY AND GIVEN A NEW NAME And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See I have set thee over all the land of Egypt (Gen. 41:41). (See also Gen. 41:45a.) …God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a new name which is above every name (Phil. 2:9).
ALL PEOPLE COMMANDED TO BOW TO HIM and they cried before him, Bow the knee (Gen. 41:43b). That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Phil. 2:10a).
PROVIDED FOR ALL IN NEED And all the countries came…to Joseph to buy grain (Gen. 41:57a). …I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger (John 6:35a).
HIS PEOPLE DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him (Gen. 42:8). …Have I been such a long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me…? (John 14:9a).

But their minds were blinded (2 Cor. 3:14a).
HIS BROTHERS WERE TROUBLED WHEN THEY MET HIM …be not grieved nor angry with yourselves (Gen. 45:5a).v They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn…and shall be in bitterness… (Zech. 12:10b).
ALLOWED HIS BROTHERS TO SUFFER A PERIOD OF TRIBULATION Read Gen. 42:6 through 44:34. it is even the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer. 30:7b).

For then shall be great tribulation (Matt. 24:21a).
REVELATION AND RECONCILIATION I am Joseph…whom ye sold…God hath made me lord of all…come…unto me… (Gen. 45:3b-9). And so all Israel shall be saved;…as it is written…and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Rom. 11:26).

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Frederick Emrich

Question: What is the significance of all of this? Were the gospels modeled after the Joseph story?

Observation: I think one of the most significant parallels was with the response of the brothers to Joseph's self revelation:

Amazement, terror . . . reminds me of the resurrection appearances: lack of recognition and amazement.

Also the story of Joseph seems to be a process of death/resurrection experiences.

Ruth Rosen

The gospel accounts were not modeled after the Hebrew Scriptures but much of the Hebrew Scriptures either prophesied or foreshadowed the gospel.


The Torah is simply the word of G-d, and in that word is the history of civilization from start to finish. In this respect, the events surrounding Joseph is the foreshadowing of future events that would span over 2,000 years. It must be this way, since fundamental Judaism is not found on any holy book of scripture, not the writings nor the prophets, but only Torah. In this regard, the story of Joseph is the very key to the kingdom of Mashiach. It is this story that will open the stubborn eyes and loosen the necks of the resistant. Whats more miraculous, besides a Jewish leap year, the parsha of Joseph according to Orthodox custom just so happens to coincide with events in late December, x-mas. Co-incidence? no. Rabbinical formulation? no. Divine providence completely directed by G-d Himself, may He be eternally blessed. ~s.

Revd. Canon Dr. Sam

So apt and uplifting. Spirit inspired exposition
How true indeed of the Old Testament being foreshadowing and Prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament
I'm overawed. Praise be to God Who reveals all Thruth


I don't think there is greater evidence in the whole Torah than the story of Joseph mimicking or pre-telling the revelation of Melech HaMashiach. The wonderful awesome revelation is that while Yosef, (Jesus) conquered the nations to gather some souls and save their lives, the brothers kept to their traditions...until a certain time when the famine, both spiritual and physical reached unbearable proportions. In time, the tribes of Israel, as did the brothers, will come through their special leader the descendant of Yehuda (Judah), to face the Mashiach that has been elevated higher and higher throughout the epic of the last 2 thousands of years known as the "footsteps of Mashiach". It is astonishing. And too beautiful for words. Not one word of this parallel is mentioned in the New Testament. It is a secret (more and more revealed) to the holy tribes of Israel...Yosef is Mashiach. And remember the one that followed to take over Moshe's reign, was a man named...Joshua..who is... Yeshua


Also the story of the two prisoners with Joseph is a story of the Last Supper and Passion. One has a Cup the other a basket of bread. One will be hung on a tree in 3 days. The other will sit at the right hand of Pharoah (God).


here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doug Wesney

We had a Messianic brother meet with us at our Bible study yesterday morning, and we had never heard this before. We were amazed! He lives in Israel, happened to visit one of our brothers for a medical stop, on his way back to Israel tomorrow--apart from that accidental visit, none of us knew him previously. We were astonished.

What of the parallels to the last supper (previous commenter mentions): baker dreams of break, cupbearer of wine, the Last Supper? The bread in 3 baskets (days) and the parallel of bread and flesh? The very for the crushing of grapes to make wine...does it have other uses/meanings related to sacrifice?


Thank you for this synopsis of the similarities between Joseph and Jesus. Had never heard of the connection until night before last at a convention in Bowen Hills Georgia; Brother John. My take away was Joseph persistence in determining if their hearts had changed because of what they wanted to obtain or because of the love they had for their father, Jacob. Bottom line message, for me at least: God wants us to love him above all else and to love our brethren as he loves us. Do what is right (Judah was willing to lay down his life for Benjamin) not to get the grain (earthly riches), but because he, Judah, would do what ever it took to spare his father (Jacob/God) the grief of losing his precious child, Benjamin. So much here to digest.

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