Joseph—the Fruitful Bough

"Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall" (Genesis 49:22).

This is part of Jacob's dying prophetic blessing on his twelve sons. Each of the twelve prophecies has been fulfilled, including this prediction of Joseph's fruitfulness.

Joseph actually received a double inheritance in the future land of Israel, with the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh both descended from him. The name Joseph means "increasing," so that even his name was prophetic of the great multitudes who would be his descendants.

There is another interesting and intriguing fulfillment of this prophecy. More men were named after Joseph than any other man in the Bible, with no less than eleven different "Josephs" mentioned in Scripture. This may not seem so remarkable until it is realized that no one else in the Bible was named after Adam or Noah, Abraham or Isaac, or even Moses or David or Solomon. No one was named after Paul or Peter. Why, then, so many Josephs (except to fulfill prophecy)? One would normally think that Abraham or Moses or David would provide the most favored names for Hebrew children, but not so.

Among all the namesakes of Joseph, the most important were Joseph (the husband of Mary) and Joseph of Arimathea. One provided legitimacy to the birth of Jesus, taking the virgin Mary as his wife and giving Jesus the legal right to David's throne. The other provided a legitimate burial to Jesus, falsely condemned and crucified as a criminal.

Two Josephs—both descended from Judah rather than from their namesake—thus played key roles at the beginning and end of the earthly ministry of the true "Increaser," the "Child born" and the "Son given." He is the most fruitful Branch of all, for "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end" (Isaiah 9:6-7). HMM

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