The Dreams of Joseph Part Two
Posted by: Brittney Zellner
“Gen 37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brothers, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brothers: and his father rebuked him, and said to him, what is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow down ourselves to you to the earth?”
This dream of Joseph’s most certainly parallels his first dream in meaning but it also sends a slightly different message. (If you have not read the blog post about Joseph’s first dream, you can find it here.) Double dreaming or dreaming a second dream with essentially the same message is a way for Abba to not only confirm a message to us but it does so by giving us another angle or point of view at which to understand the message.
It seems that when something is important to Yah and he or anyone else speaks the truth, the truth must be verified. This is especially the case when there is an increase in the importance of the message or when the truth itself comes into question. In the case of a criminal accusation, verification must be, by law verified by the witness of two or three different people. The witness is a very important aspect of the truth in question. A witness is not always people. As in the case of Joseph, the witness is the occurrence of multiple dreams. The second dream is purely a verification of the first.
The message of this second dream is slightly simpler than the first. Here again, Joseph, his father and his brothers must have believed that the interpretation of the dream was that each star represented one of his brothers and that the sun and the moon represented his father and mother respectively, all bowing down to him…but were they correct? This dream didn’t say like it did in the previous dream that each star belonged to the brothers in the same way that the bundles did. However, it can be inferred given what we now know about each of the brother’s names from the previous post that these stars might in some way be related to the situations in Joseph’s life that led to his eventual elevation in authority and status.
Have you ever wondered how a star bows? When you Google images of Joseph’s star dream, the pictures don’t help to clear up what this might look like either. A star cannot bend over like a bundle of grain or prostrate itself before a person as a human-like object might. However, Joseph doesn’t say the word bow. He says obeisance. His word is the Hebrew word “Shacah” which can mean to show reverence, submit oneself or to cause to sink down and be depressed. So somehow the stars, sun, and moon showed him reverence and that might have looked like they were sinking down to the ground at his feet. It would seem that Joseph’s dream had them starting out in their place in the sky, above him. One by one or all at once they began to come down towards him. Just taking a moment here to say that this would definitely be unsettling in real life… however, Joseph makes no note of any fear he might have had in this dream. As the heavenly bodies came towards him, they became smaller until they were simply lying at his feet. It stands to reason that if they were larger than him, then they would not have seemed to be humbled before him. So now that we have a slightly better visual than at first, I feel as though I can give a more accurate interpretation of Joseph’s dream. I will start with the symbols.
Stars symbolize opportunities. An opportunity usually comes in the form of a trial or a situation in life that tests your abilities and causes you to grow. Sometimes an opportunity can simply be a good situation you take advantage of. Stars essentially symbolize a point of change and direction that guide you through life similar to checkpoints.
The sun symbolizes the Father’s voice and his guiding light throughout our life that affects everything from our growth in understanding our purpose… to our progress on the path of Yah’s will towards his kingdom. This light is the Father’s Torah, which means instruction. Sometimes his light feels fresh and gives you clarity in life. It makes you feel comfortable and safe. Sometimes when your attitude is negative his light feels overwhelming and overbearing when it shines as a burden onto your back and shoulders as you look down. His light can burn you if you are not careful and even kill you without water to refresh your soul. It may even blind you if you look too hard for too long without giving yourself a break to absorb it.
Your attitude can determine the effects of his light in the same way that someone may think a sunny day is perfect and enjoy his day while another person may think a sunny day is too hot and is therefore miserable all day. The instruction of the Father is also symbolized by the instruction of Jacob who was Joseph’s father. It was he who would have been the one teaching Joseph Torah, after all. His instruction was equal to Yah’s instruction because it was one in the same.
If the sun truly did symbolize Jacob then why did Jacob rebuke Joseph? The scenario happened to further verify that Jacob did indeed represent the sun in the dream. Joseph was not being rebuked for believing his parents symbolized the sun and the moon, but was being rebuked because his father could see that his heart was becoming dangerously puffed up. It is the Torah that rebukes us as the voice of our father especially in instances of pride. This fact is what parallels so perfectly with Jacob rebuking Joseph’s pride. Joseph’s pride was in thinking that he could or would be in authority over his father and his mother after the telling of the dream.
The moon symbolizes another guiding light. However, it is a guiding light during the dark difficult parts of our lives. This guiding light keeps track of our positive/negative cycles that seem to wax and wane as the months and years go by. The light and comfort we receive during these moments come from another source that happens to reflect some of the same light and instruction that comes from the father. The moon’s symbolism correlates to the Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh), the mysterious source of our guidance that comes and goes and sometimes makes us feel a little crazy. It is likened to the residual echo of our mother’s voice in our minds when we are adults and making decisions. Furthermore, the wife and mother are both symbols of spiritual guidance; advice and comforting support just like the Ruach is. Rachel, whether alive or not, would be included in this symbol since Joseph likely committed much of her guidance and advice to memory before her death. It was this guidance that he would also submit to.
The number 11 symbolizes being in the will of Yah. You can see this in the physical symbols of two 1’s parallel to each other representing your path lining up with his. The two Hebrew letters that represent 11 is a yod (a hand is the original Hebrew symbol) and an aleph (paleo symbol of power, a horned bull), which represent the hand of Yah and his capability. The number 11 symbolizes life doing what you want it to do easily, feeling the way it is supposed to feel. The gematria points to this number as being associated with the process of absorbing Yah’s strength and cutting off weakness. It also symbolizes the process of one’s life, to go beyond learning the commandments (represented by the number 10) to the next stage before leadership (represented by the number 12). It is the exact place he wants us to be before we enter the kingdom as those mature and ready to lead.
An object bowing in reverence in a dream symbolizes what causes the dreamer to be humbled in their waking life and humility is what causes Yah to lift us up and place us higher than we could ever go. What humbles us can be a situation or a characteristic that we have taken on. In Joseph’s case, he is being humbled by all the situations that arise on his path towards being lifted to the second highest position of authority over Egypt and also his position of deliverer of the world. He is also humbled by the affects of the Father’s instruction and the guidance of his spirit and yet all these guides on his path that humble him are also exactly what is needed to lift him higher and higher towards his eventual position.
Putting it all together
Joseph’s dream meant that he would have 11 humbling and yet guiding experiences (each expounded on in the first dream post) that would identify him as being in the will of Yah. The number 11 indicates that this was exactly where he was supposed to be and that it was Yah who was doing it. Each star symbolized a different humbling experience. The sun and moon’s submission represents that Joseph himself would be humbled by the instruction of Yah and his Ruach. Joseph would endure the heat and light of the sun (instruction of Yah) and the continual and consistent guidance of the moon (Ruach). At the end of his dream he is above the lights that normally guide. In his position of second to the Pharaoh, he became a man in position to guide the world above what normally guided them.
While his brothers do indeed come to bow down at him at a certain point, the symbolism is clear that these dreams are about so much more than a single point in the future. The interpretation is simply a path dream completely meant to be brought to remembrance at the time when the brothers would bow down and Joseph would see and understand in a moment Yah’s will and purpose in his life all along. The dream also serves a purpose to those that read about it and understand its message.