Saturday 10 October 2015

Bible Book:

“’Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.’” (vv. 19-20)

Genesis 50:15-26 Saturday 10 October 2015

Psalm: Psalm 106:43-48


The story of Joseph began with his brothers hating him ever moreintensely (Genesis 37:4, 5, 8); it ends with their fearthat the tables now being turned he will hate them, even thoughnothing he has said and done since they rediscovered each other hassuggested he has any wish to pay them back. If you have read thewhole story you will notice that verse 15 is the first time theyadmit guilt for what they did to him.

Despite the NRSV's translation "they approached Joseph" (v. 16)the Hebrew original and the sentence construction suggests theysent a message rather than speaking to him directly. What they sayis probably a complete fabrication taking their father's name invain to save themselves since it is hard to believe that Jacobwould have used them to convey such a message rather than talk toJoseph himself. But if Joseph sees through their dishonesty he doesnot challenge it, but for a final time reassures them that he bearsthem no ill will. However he does not say "I forgive you" which iswhat they are asking, for the simple reason that he had done solong ago, and probably long before they first met him in Egypt.

The story of Joseph and his brothers is one of family jealousy,intrigue and reconciliation. The brothers display no sense anywhereof respect for God, but as Joseph sees it the whole of his life hasbeen directed by God for greater purposes (verse 20). Everything inScripture, even everyday stories of family life, are includedbecause the compilers believed God spoke through events and notjust in words.

Joseph lived to see his great great grandchildren, and "born onJoseph's knees" (v. 23) indicates that in some sense he adoptedMachir's children. Joseph knows that God will eventually lead hispeople out of Egypt, and like his father (Genesis 49:29-32) wants his bones buried inCanaan. He makes his surviving brothers swear that this will happenwhich maybe suggests he retains some doubt as to theirintegrity.

To Ponder

  • Have you or someone you know well (perhaps someone you forgave)found it hard to believe you/they are forgiven? Why do you thinkthis is?
  • Were Joseph's brothers right or wrong to pretend their fatheron his deathbed had asked them to pass on a message to Joseph? Whatis your view of the morality of making up a story to smoothrelationships?
  • When is sending a message better than saying somethingimportant face to face?
  • Does it matter to you where your body or ashes finally rest?Why, or why not?
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