Zaphnath-Paaneah: The Story Of Joseph Part 3

Genesis 41:30-41
39 “Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”


Zaphnath-Paaneah.  Kind of a strange name, isn’t it? 🤔 This is the name given to Joseph by the Egyptians and it is rich in meaning! ♥️

Typology Of The Life Of Jesus.

As I have said before in this series, of all the people in the Old Testament, the life story of Joseph is the closest to that of our Lord Jesus.  There are so many amazing parallels which we discussed in part 2. Another of the beautiful parts of his story is found the meaning of the names of the players, like the title of this article. What does it mean?

As usual, our Master Storyteller, the Holy Spirit, Who loves to hide things for us to seek out, has deeper truths and meanings in the names of people and places, even numbers, and the typologies He has included. He wants to tell the matchless story of this wonderful Jesus and to warm and bless God’s people. Joseph’s story delivers!


Troubling Dreams.

You recall that, while Joseph was in prison, there were two inmates that served in Pharoah’s court who fell out of favor.  One was the baker, the other was his butler.  Each of them had very disturbing dreams which were deeply troubling.  They told their dreams to Joseph, who was given their interpretation by God.  Both came true, just as he had said.  The baker was hanged and the butler restored to service.
Some time later, Pharaoh also had a very disturbing dream.  The butler remembered how Joseph had interpreted his dream and told Pharoah.  So Pharoah sent for him in prison and The LORD gave him the interpretation of his dream as well.
Secrets In The Hebrew Language.
Pharaoh’s dream was a portent of the coming famine.  Joseph, who had wisdom from God, suggested to him a strategy for preparing for this terrible time. Pharaoh was so impressed by this young man that he commanded his people to implement the plan.  This is what earned Joseph the name, “Zaphnath-Paaneah,” which  In Egyptian it means , “Savior of the world!” (See Genesis 41).  In Hebrew, however, it also has a meaning:  “One who reveals mysteries.”  How cool is that?!  Both are apt descriptions.
Joseph literally became the bread of life to the Gentile world and, unbeknownst to them, his own people as well.  Out of great lack sprang great provision!  Sure sounds like our Lord Jesus, doesn’t it? He is, after all, the Greater Joseph!

Joseph Marries A Gentile.
Genesis 41:50-52
50 “During this time {the 7 bumper-crop years}, before the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On.
51 Joseph named his older son “Manasseh,” for he said,  “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” 52 Joseph named his second son “Ephraim,” for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.”
Joseph married a Gentile bride, “Asenath,” whose name means, “Belonging to wisdom.”  That’s for sure!  Her husband was the wisest in all Egypt!  She bore him his two sons: Manasseh and Ephraim.  Their names mean “Forgetfulness” and “Fruitfulness,” respectively. The meaning of their names gives us a clue as to why Jacob crossed his hands when he blessed them.

Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons.
Jacob, near the end of his life, blessed these two boys of Joseph.  Normally, the first born blessing goes to the eldest child. However, instead of conferring the first-born blessing on Manasseh, Jacob, for some reason, crossed his hands.  He gave that blessing to Ephraim, the younger son, putting his right hand on his head, and his left hand on Manasseh. You see, in Jewish culture, it is the right hand that conveys this blessing.

Joseph was understandably upset with his father and tried to correct him.  He was very old and nearly blind so he thought his father had made a mistake. But Jacob stopped him. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew that, prophetically, the younger son would be blessed above his elder brother. 😮


This is all a snapshot of our Lord Jesus, Who was sent by His Father to His brothers that were far away from Him, both geographically and spiritually.
He came from heaven to minister His own but was neither recognized nor received by them.  He was rejected and betrayed, i.e., sold for 30 pieces of silver.  Then He suffered our punishment, died on the cross, and was buried in the heart of the earth for three days.  On the third day, He rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of The Father, in power and glory!

(There is more great wisdom and prophetic significance hidden here in the story of these two boys. This is dealt with in another series of articles. You may follow the link below to part 1 if you’re interested:


Because Jesus was rejected by his brethren, He has become the bread of life and Revealer of secrets, “Zaphnath-Paaneah,” to all “Egypt.”  In other words, to the whole world, particularly the Gentiles: Non-Jews…..and He married a Gentile bride:  It’s US, Church!  

His gentile bride, has been very fruitful during this 2,000-year-long period of rejection by His natural family.  We have brought Him GREAT JOY AND BLESSING as well during our sojourn together here in Egypt, and have helped Him FORGET the great sorrow of His rejection in the “land of His grief.”  

First-Born Blessing.
We, you and I Church, are the younger brother to our elder brother, “Israel,” who “Forgot” Jesus. As such, we are beneficiaries of all the first-born blessings for these last two centuries.  Jesus is “first-born” of the dead yet, through His death, we get all of what rightfully belongs to Him.
Jacob, by crossing his hands, was adopting the two boys as his sons, making Ephraim his first-born in place of Reuben, Manasseh in place of Simeon.  This is all covered in the series mentioned above.
When we are born into God’s family, WE ARE ALL ADOPTED AS FIRST BORN.  God has no grandsons or nephews you see.  It is a picture of the fact that God gives us fruitfulness (Ephraim) first which makes us forget (Manasseh) all our troubles! Under the New Covenant, God’s way is to bless us first.  We do not labor to be blessed but rather we labor BECAUSE WE ALREADY ARE!

The first-born blessing conveyed three things:  Priesthood, kingship and double portion of grace!  You and I, Church, are kings and priests after the order of Melchizedek, King Priest of Salem.  We are NOT of the tribe of LEVI, the order of the Law.  We are kings and priests like Jesus and are doubly blessed, just as He is.
How do we get all these things?  The answer is always THE CROSS, another reason for the “crossed hands!”

I am blessed and amazed that Jesus gets GREAT JOY AND BLESSING from us; from you and I, Church!  We are His beloved and He is our wonderful Zaphnath-Paaneah!

Please follow the link below to Part 4, where we’ll learn the meaning of the name, Goshen:

Goshen: The Story Of Joseph Part 4

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