Covenant, Typology, And The Story Of Joseph -- By: Samuel Emadi
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And The Story Of Joseph
Critical scholars traditionally assert that the Joseph story (Genesis 37–50) does not develop any of the covenantal themes prominent in Genesis 1–36. By considering Joseph’s relationship to the kingship, seed, land, and blessing promises of the Abrahamic covenant, this article concludes that the Joseph story provides a significant development of the Abrahamic covenant. Joseph is an anticipatory fulfilment of the covenant and thus provides literary and redemptive-historical resolution to the Genesis narrative. Joseph also points forward to a more complete fulfilment of the patriarchal hopes expressed in the Abrahamic covenant. These observations provide evidence from within Genesis itself that the author intends Joseph to be read typologically, anticipating God’s eschatological work through the Messiah.
The author1 of Genesis affords Joseph more time in the narrative foreground than any other character. This is a striking fact, given the significance of Genesis’ other main characters, Adam, Noah, and the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This prominence is even more striking considering the apparent insignificance of Joseph in the rest of the OT. The name ‘Joseph’ is mentioned just fifty-seven times in the
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OT, excluding Genesis. Five of these occurrences refer to other individuals (Num. 13:17; Ezek. 10:42; Neh. 12:14; 1 Chr. 25:2, 9) while another forty-five refer to Joseph’s eponymous tribe. Thus the OT explicitly refers to Joseph only seven times outside of Genesis (Exod. 1:5, 6, 8; 13:19; Josh. 34:35; Ps. 105:17; 1 Chr. 2:2; 5:1).
The prominence of the Joseph story in Genesis and the few references to him thereafter pose a particular challenge to the biblical theologian whose aim is to read any portion of Scripture in the context of the entire Christian canon. How should interpreters read the Joseph narrative in the context ...
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