A number of people in the Jewish Scriptures had lives that were divinely crafted to bear similarities to Jesus, the prophesied Messiah. Jonah is one example specifically cited by Jesus:
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man [Jesus] be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Jesus was referring to the fact that, symbolically, Jonah was dead for three days and was then miraculously brought back to the land of the living. The book of Jonah specifically referred to Jonah being in hell (or Sheol – the realm of the dead) when he was in the fish/whale (Jonah 2:2).
Like Jonah, Joseph symbolically rose from the dead in the sense that his father was convinced he was dead (Genesis 37:33-35; 42:38; 44:20) until Joseph later revealed himself to his family. Like Jesus, the beloved Son of God, Joseph was his father’s beloved, faithful and innocent son. As Jesus was brutally rejected by his brethren, so Joseph was rejected and shamefully treated by his brothers (Genesis 37:20-27) and unjustly accused (Genesis 39:7-20), after which, again like Jesus, Joseph was instantly promoted to rule and became the savior of many nations. In the case of Joseph, he saved (from starvation) Egypt and the descendants of Israel and well as many other nations:
Genesis 41:56-42:2 The famine was over all the surface of the earth. Joseph opened all the store houses, and sold to the Egyptians. The famine was severe in the land of Egypt. All countries came into Egypt, to Joseph, to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all the earth. Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” He said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy for us from there, so that we may live, and not die.”(Emphasis mine.)
Like Jesus, Joseph forgave those who had mistreated him (Genesis 50:15-21).
Bible Versions Used
King James Version
King James Version