1. Both have to flee their homes after they do something wrong and have people who want to kill them - see Genesis 27 & Exodus 2

  2. Both then end up at wells in foreign lands, and help women when unhelpful shepherds did not. The women then run back to their father leaving them at the well - see Genesis 28 & Exodus 2

  3. Both eventually marry the woman / one of the women they met at the well - see Genesis 29 & Exodus 2

  4. Both become shepherds for their father-in-law - see Genesis 30 & Exodus 2

  5. Both have mysterious encounters with God and 'wrestle' with God. Both ask God for His name - see Genesis 32 & Exodus 3

  6. Both journey back home, and meet their older brother on the way - see Genesis 32 & Exodus 4

Other parallel questions

  • 2
    While this is a great question, I doubt that we will get a really solid answer - but one can only hope we will!
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 10:02
  • 1
    Thanks @Dottard and @ TiagoMartinPeres. Unfortunately someone closed this question because "Questions about biblical topics but without a specific Bible passage are off-topic" I've since included the references, so hopefully someone else will re-open the question.
    – whiskey92
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 5:20
  • 2
    Hi whiskey92 - this is on the verge of being a great question! I think Dottard nailed it here, though - the way the question has been framed makes it difficult to write a good answer. Have a read through the other parallel questions, and see how each of the authors has honed their question down to a concise angle from which it could be Answered. I think the key is to tighten this down to a more clear specific question. 'What is the significance?' can work for a question on a specific verse or event, but is a bit too woolly for something this broad. @TiagoMartinsPeres李大仁
    – Steve can help
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 13:56
  • 1
    Seeing as in both cases the passages are limited to a few consecutive chapters, I will reopen this. However answers will need to be solidly based in these chapters, not just giving free thoughts.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 23:55

1 Answer 1


This question drives to the heart of the hermeneutic used by Jesus and the NT authors. It's answer is the solution to the seminary-ubiquitous question of "How did the New Testament authors use the Old Testament."

The authority to use the Old Testament the way they did came from Jesus. He taught that all the scriptures speak of him. (Lk 24:27, Joh 5:30) When they applied OT scripture to Jesus, it was not an invention or eisegesis. The scripture applied to him from the beginning, as prophecy.

It is tempting to think of the various hidden stories of Jesus in the OT as transparencies which contain subsets of information about Christ; completing the image as they are laid on top of each other. This explains the various parallels. Each story is a picture of Christ and they have parallels to each other as their subsets intersect.

But it is not a sufficient answer. The patterns are not just in parallels, but in fractal-like expansions through the various layers of the scriptures.

An example of this is the theme that God is the creator. It begins with an invisible aleph before the beginning of Genesis 1:1. (Previously mentioned here:

It expands to the first word of Genesis 1:1. Using the alphabet mentioned here, bereshit says: A revelation to man ב. It is revealed ר that God spoke and created the heavens and the earth א. His word came back with an increase ש. The new creation י was finished when his revelation produced a new life ת.

Bereshith links itself to the next layer of interpretation by being the first word of Ge 1:1 where in God created the heavens and the earth.

Bereshit links itself links itself to the next layer (the chapter) by notarikon where bere-shith ברא-שית is interpreted as 'created' ברא six שית'.

And finally, each day of creation is like a table of contents pointing to six divisions of the rest of scripture which declares that God is the creator.

The doctrine can be found to be taught, glistening through the whole in smaller parts, like Ro 1:18ff.

The historical-grammatical-literal methods of interpretation mis-identify the genre of scripture. God said that Israel would become a 'mashal' parable (De 28:37). Their whole history is a parable of Christ. Their lives became the words of prophecy concerning Christ.

All of that is foundation and context for the direct answer to the OP.

  1. The key to the kingdom (teaching) is the cross. When someone dies and is replaced by someone else, or is threatened with death but does not die, it is a cross scene. All of the men represent Christ. all of the women represent the bride in the layer of interpretation we call the voice of the prophet.

All of these are elements of the pattern which is interpreted as Christ laying down his own life.

Cain killed Able (who was replaced by Seth in a symbol of resurrection). Christs offering of his perfect life was insufficient, he had to die. Hear an encouragement to Jesus at Gethsemane "If you do right, won't you be lifted up?"

Moses killed the Egyptian as a symbol of Jesus coming of age in the temple when he was twelve. This prophecy is recapitulated in the account of the nine kings of Chedorlaomer in Gen 14; the bruised heel of the seed of the woman, Jacob's withered thigh. "Nevertheless thy will be done", is itself part of the pattern leading to his death on the cross. He had to 'kill the Egyptian' within himself, make his flesh 'limp' or be weaker, so that he could be obedient in the spirit.

  1. Jesus entered a foreign land in his incarnation. It was his Father's will that he die. Jesus was also a shepherd working for his Father. Israel (the bride Jesus gathered) ran away from him before the cross, leaving him to die alone. He then gathers the sheep for the Father.

  2. Wells represent the tomb. Rebeckah, Rachel and the woman at Sychar are the bride who were at the same well. the Father chose the first, the Son wooed and worked for the second, and the Spirit (Sychar means 'intoxicated' as a hint of Pentecost) gathered the bride. The various states of the well give a hint to the placement of the prophecy in the timeline of the story of Jesus. All the brides where obtained through the cross, symbolized by the well.

  3. Jesus became the Good Shepherd.

  4. Moses obtained the law, which was broken before he returned to the people. Through it he became the intercessor, the one providing grace, even offering his own death in place of theirs. The thigh represents the purpose of one's life, like the shoulder being the purpose of works. Prior to the wrestling match Jacob lived as the usurper. (the second Adam), He condemned his whole family to death, making them go ahead of him, as Jesus condemned us by his perfect life, removing all our excuses. His 'death scene' was sufficient and he gained them all back in his 'resurrection'. The pattern of substituting his righteousness for our sin begins in the single letter tsadi צ ץ, even as the aleph started a fractal pattern. It can be seen in the marriage of Cana as well.

'Name' ''shem'' also means reputation. They each obtained the reputation of God. Moses is 'drawn' but also 'creditor'. Jesus became the possessor of our debt. Jacob became Israel ישראל : Man יש joined to God אל by revelation ר.

  1. This is a bit more difficult to explain since it involves aspects of the Trinity, and this is already a long answer. Suffice it to say that Jesus was twice separated from the Father, once in incarnation, and once in death. He was reconciled. The Father and the Son are one.
  • I apologize if this is scrambled and needs more info, it is an very early morning and from memory post. There are also many targets for those who simply hate sensus plenior. Please ask questions to help clarify it's deficiencies
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 12:08
  • Sensus plenior is fine. I don't think anyone who believes the scriptures are inspired by God could ever be opposed to sensus plenior. Don't mistake opposition to your theories as hatred for sensus plenior.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 13:50
  • curiousdanni - I have been doing this for more than 20 years. I have been told by the president of a well known east coast seminary that my salvation was in jeopardy for even considering sensus plenior.. A professor at a west coast seminary told me that although he supported my efforts, he could not say so publicly because he would lose his job. Early efforts here also reflected those positions. So yes. There are those who hate it. I am insinuating nothing against honest questions here. Opposition before clarification is one of the early signs of scoffing. Honest opposition asks questions.
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 14:04
  • I maintain that no one who believes in God's authorship of the scriptures could possible oppose the belief that God imparts deeper meanings into them than their human authors intended. Of course that doesn't mean that anyone claiming to have a method for discovering those deeper meanings must be right. In particular, your theories here about individual letters having meaning seems unjustifiable. And "invisible alephs"? Wow, that's not sensus plenior by any reasonable definition. It can't possibly be, seeing as it's not about the text any more!
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 14:08
  • 1
    Sensus plenior is a Latin phrase that means "fuller sense" or "fuller meaning". It is used in Biblical exegesis to describe the supposed deeper meaning intended by God but not by the human author. Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 14:17

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