What You’ve Missed…
* A lot.
* Jacob’s sons graduate from brotherly rivalry 101 [giving Indian burns, punching each other in the shoulder (two for flinching!) and just causing your basic, run-of-the-mill emotional scarring inherent in all brotherly relationships] and move onto graduate level stuff like LEAVING THEIR BROTHER JOSEPH TO DIE IN THE WILDERNESS, and later, SELLING HIM INTO SLAVERY. (To be fair, he did constantly mention how he had dreams that they would all bow down to him in the future.)
* After becoming a slave in Egypt, Joseph is falsely accused of rape and is thrown in prison. (Let’s see…being hated by his brothers, becoming a slave, and then thrown into prison under false pretenses? Can you imagine the prescription drug problem this guy would have today?)
* God uses Joseph to interpret the dreams of two fellow inmates. (One goes on to prosperity, and the other is impaled on a pole.)
* Joseph becomes the original Charlie Sheen in Wallstreet (is this too dated a reference?) rising straight to the top of the power/wealth chain when he gives Pharaoh some pretty sweet insider information, and Pharaoh appoints him to be in charge of the entire kingdom.
* Because of famine, and because Joseph is the man with the plan (and food) his brothers come to him (not recognizing him), bowing at his feet (ring a bell?) begging to buy food for their families back home in Canaan.
* In retrospect, maybe you should just watch Act I of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It’s filled with lavish musical numbers, elaborate stage sets, and fantastically flamboyant costumes. Other than that, it’s exactly the same as what you just read.
Daily Reading: Genesis 42-45:15
Alright, so Joseph’s brothers took brotherly harassment to a new level. But it’s turning out the Bible knows how to spin one heck of a great story, and Joseph is about to take the idea of “getting even” to new heights. Joseph wants revenge, but he’s not out for blood, and it should be mentioned he seems slightly bi-polar. So what’s his approach? Mind games.
Phase one kicks off with some serious interrogation. After grilling his brothers he accuses them of being liars and spies. For phase two, Joseph throws them all in jail for three days. Then he demands they go back home, and return to Egypt with their youngest brother Benjamin. He ties up his brother Simeon, and holds him as ransom. But just to keep them on their toes, he fills up their grain sacks, and secretly returns the money they used to purchase the grain, which they find later, and which really stresses them out.
Their father Jacob starts freaking out, refuses to let Benjamin go to Egypt, and plays the famous dad card telling his idiot children that they will be the death of him. As the famine continues their grain runs out again. (Let’s pause quickly and remember their brother Simeon has been tied up in prison, completely disregarded by his family this whole time.) So Jacob relents and sends his sons with Benjamin back to Egypt.
Phase three of Joseph’s mind games includes him inviting his brothers to eat in the palace. (They’re pretty much convinced they’re in serious trouble. You know that crazy intense scene in Inglorious Basterds where the movie theater lady is dining with that General, and she has to pretend to be enjoying herself, even though she’s pretty much convinced he’s just toying with her and planning on destroying her life completely any minute? It’s like that.)
After eating, Joseph initiates phase four, where he gives his brothers more grain and sends them on their way, but not before stashing his silver cup in their luggage, and instructing his servant to stop them, and accuse them of stealing from him. Everything goes according to plan and upon returning to the palace under the charge of theft, Joseph declares the one who stoles the cup will now be his slave. After hearing his brother Judah cry out for mercy, Joseph breaks down and reveals himself to his brothers. Then he weeps loud enough that everyone in the palace hears him. (This is my favorite part because this Bible “hero” is clearly a regular dude, with some emotional instability, who is looking for a little personal justice, thinking it will bring him peace. Now this is a guy I can relate to). Finally he invites his whole family to come to Egypt to live with him.
You know, as I think about this, Joseph is like a real life Willy Wonka. He’s in charge of a crazy place. He’s (probably) wearing some weirdo outfit (just think about how the pharaohs looked). His favorite gift to give to his guests is a few rounds of mental torture. He’s an emotional wreck (I’m reading in between the lines for Mr. Wonka here, but I think it’s still pretty obvious) and he eventually invites a family to move in and live with him in his fantastical palace. The only difference is they replaced grain with chocolate and a silver cup with golden tickets. Oh, and they added orange midgets.
Yup. This is indeed some crazy stuff.