Today we begin Genesis Chapter 47.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
“He took five of his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh.”
At the close of the last chapter, we witnessed Joseph reunite with his father Jacob after 22 years in a scene that would rival the dramatic tension of any tear-jerker scene ever made in movie history.
For we were told that Joseph embraced his father and wept on his neck a good long time.
Remember Joseph was Jacob’s favorite and most beloved son.
And Jacob thought he would never see him again.
He assumed Joseph had been killed by wild animals and left for dead.
So for Jacob, meeting Joseph was literally like seeing his son come back from the dead (major spiritual hint here folks!).
Now after the moving reunion, the next step was for Jacob and his sons to be received by Pharaoh.
However, not all of Joseph’s brothers would be granted an audience with Pharaoh.
We are told that Joseph only chose 5 of the 12 brothers to appear before Pharaoh.
What is the significance of the number 5?
Recall also that Joseph gave Benjamin on two separate occasions five times more than the other brothers.
The number “5” represents God’s grace in the Bible.
It should also be noted that God took the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet “HEH” and used it to change both Abram and Sarai’s name.
As we all know, Sarai became Sarah.
And Avram became Avraham.
These name changes were accomplished by adding this fifth Hebrew letter of the alphabet to the end of Sarai and inserting it into the middle of Abram’s name.
The implication being that 5, the number of grace, is how we are changed or saved.
We are saved by grace through faith.
It is the gift of God and not of ourselves.
So it is possible that Joseph choosing five of his brothers is a symbolic gesture of wanting to obtain Pharaoh’s grace.
The reason is because they are going to have to ask Pharaoh for his permission to live in the land of Goshen.
By the way, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to emphasize this enough, the idea that “salvation is by grace through faith alone” is NOT a teaching that first made its appearance in the New Testament.
Grace began with Adam and Eve, was reinforced by Abraham and will continue throughout the whole Torah.
What I find interesting is that the two very things that some people criticize and scorn as being the opposite of God’s grace are actually represented by the number 5 which symbolizes grace.
The first thing I’m talking about are the sacrificial offerings.
How many primary types of offerings did God command Israel to bring to Him?
The answer is five.
The second thing I’m talking about is the very Torah we are studying together.
Now how many books are there in the Torah?
The answer is five.
I don’t know about you, but if you ask me, these two things are the ultimate symbols of God’s Grace.