Thursday, October 7, 2010

Genesis 42 - 45: Joseph - the awkard reunion

Flash over to Jacob and his remaining 11 sons. (And his one daughter! Just kidding, she isn't mentioned. After serving her one purpose, getting raped and triggering the slaughter of a whole city, I suspect we will never hear of her again.) They begin to feel the effects of the famine over in Canaan, so Jacob tells his sons, (paraphrasing) "Word on the street is they have food in Egypt, why don't you go buy some?" He doesn't let the youngest, Benjamin, go because he doesn't want him to get hurt. Joseph and Benjamin are the only 2 to have Rachel as a mother; I guess in Joseph's absence Benjamin is now the favorite.

So, the 10 of them go to Egypt, and are shown to Joseph who is in charge of all the food. Joseph knows who they are, but for some reason they don't recognize him. Joseph is pissed at his brothers, and starts yelling about how they are spies. They explain who they are, and let it slip that they have one more brother (idiots). So Joseph says that to prove their honesty, they must wait in jail while one goes and gets the other brother and brings him here. (Why? Does he want all his brothers there at once so he can exact his revenge? Does he just really miss Benjamin? Is he just being a dick? I have no idea.) Then he throws them all in jail for 3 days.

3 days later, I guess Joseph has had a chance to cool off. He tells them that only one of them must wait here in jail, while all the others go back with food for their starving families. But they must bring the youngest back, "so that your words may be verified and that you may not die." Die? Huh?

Then the 10 brothers have a little conversation among themselves about how they are being punished for what they did to Joseph. It seems odd to me that they should happen to think of that at that moment, since they couldn't recognize Joseph. Are they really that guilty about it still, after all these years?

So Joseph has Simeon taken away, then he gives orders for their bags to be filled with grain, and for their money to be put back in their bags. Err, why? Joseph is willing to take money for food from starving Egyptians, but not his no-good double-crossing family?

Maybe he gave them their money back to freak them out, because that's just what happens. They find their money later, and "Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, "What is this that God has done to us?" "

So they get home and relate this story to Jacob (in typical biblical fashion: excruciating detail). Jacob refuses to let them take Benjamin to Egypt, saying: "You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!" and "My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left."

Wow, Jacob is dramatic. Also, have 11 sons. Unless for some retarded reason you are only counting the children you had with Rachel. I know Rachel was your favorite wife and all, but to pretend like your other 10 sons don't exist seems just a little bit unfair.

So, they leave Simeon in jail, and life goes on I guess. Eventually they eat all the food they got, so Jacob tells his sons to go get some more. They're like, "uh, we can't go back there without Benjamin." Jacob moans and groans for a while, then he's like, "fine, but I don't like it." He tells them to take Benjamin, and also gifts...honey, almonds, etc (I thought there was a famine on, where are all these gifts coming from?), and extra money so they can pay for the food they got before also.

They go to Egypt. Joseph sees them all and tells the steward of his house to bring them home for lunch. They're pretty freaked out about being summoned to Joseph's house, they think it's because they didn't pay for their food last time. They tell the steward that they don't know how they ended up with their money back last time, but they brought it back. The steward is like, "don't worry about it!" Then he goes and gets Simeon out of jail.

Joseph shows up, and they present their gifts to him. He asks about their father, and when he sees Benjamin he has to run out of the room and cry for a while. Hmm, I guess he did just really miss Benjamin. Then he came back, and they all "feasted and drank freely." Aww.

Then it was time to go...Joseph told the steward to give them grain, to put their silver back in their bag, and to put his (Joseph's) fancy silver cup in Benjamin's bag. Then he told the steward to chase after them and accuse them of stealing the fancy silver cup. They say, "If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die; and the rest of us will become my lord's slaves." (Idiots!)

So of course, Benjamin is found with the cup. They "tore their clothes" and returned to the city. Joseph says, (paraphrase) "Don't worry! Only the one who had the cup must be my slave, the rest of you are free to go."

Judah makes this long plea to Joseph (seriously, it goes on for an entire chapter). Oh please, if we come back without Benjamin it will break our poor father's heart, he will die of sorrow. I personally guaranteed Benjamin's safety, if we come back without him it will be bad for me. And so on and so forth. Therefore, please let me stay as your slave instead of Benjamin.

Then "Joseph could no longer control himself." He tells all his servants to leave, and then reveals himself to his brothers. He tells them not to feel bad about what they did, and that he's not angry (gee, I would have never guessed that from the way he's been acting...). It's not their fault, God brought him here so that he could save people from this famine.

Then he tells them to go get their father and all their households and move them here to Egypt...there's 5 more years of famine coming, so they may as well come closer so Joseph can provide for them.

So they are sent back to Jacob with shiny new clothing, more food, and carts for the women and children. They tell him that Joseph is alive and in charge of Egypt, and they should move up there. After a bit of convincing, Jacob says, "I'm convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die." Fantastic.

No comments:

Post a Comment