Was Joseph a Type of the Messiah? Tracing the Typological Identification between Joseph, David, and Jesus -- By: James M. Hamilton

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 12:4 (Winter 2008)
Article: Was Joseph a Type of the Messiah? Tracing the Typological Identification between Joseph, David, and Jesus
Author: James M. Hamilton


Was Joseph a Type of the Messiah?
Tracing the Typological Identification between Joseph, David, and Jesus

James M. Hamilton

James M. Hamilton serves as Associate Professor of Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously served as Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Houston campus and was the preaching pastor at Baptist Church of the Redeemer in Houston, Texas. Dr. Hamilton has written many scholarly articles and is the author of God’s Indwelling Presence: The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments (B&H, 2006).

This typological way of reading the Bible is indicated too often and explicitly in the New Testament itself for us to be in any doubt that this is the “right” way of reading it—“right” in the only sense that criticism can recognize, as the way that conforms to the intentionality of the book itself and to the conventions it assumes and requires… . Naturally, being the indicated and obvious way of reading the Bible, and scholars being what they are, typology is a neglected subject, even in theology, and it is neglected elsewhere because it is assumed to be bound up with a doctrinaire adherence to Christianity (Northrop Frye, The Great Code).1

Introduction

How do we interpret the world and the events we experience? The world and the events that take place within it are not, after all, self-interpreting. In this essay I will argue that earlier biblical narratives so impacted later biblical authors that their minds, their vocabulary, and their interpretive framework were all shaped by what they read in earlier biblical narratives, chiefly the Pentateuch.2 I will seek to demonstrate this from the way that later biblical authors frame their accounts to correspond with earlier stories. This essay will focus on narratives devoted to Joseph, David, and Jesus.

In the story of Joseph we find a certain pattern of events. The way that key aspects of this pattern of events drew attention, were passed down, and later written up by Moses may have been influenced by the story of Cain and Abel.3 The presence of these elements in the Joseph story then exercised influence on the selection of events included in the stories of Moses,4 Daniel,5 Esther,6 and Nehemiah.7 Each of these instances could be studied ...

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