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Joseph Sold into Slavery

Submitted by on Wednesday, 8 July 2009No Comment

The day’s selection is from the Joseph cycle: Jacob’s son who was sold by his brothers, rose to fame in Pharaoh’s court and saved his family from famine. The story also tells us how the Israelites come to inhabit Egypt and grow into a people there, setting the stage for the Exodus.

The present selection from Genesis 41-42, shows Joseph already promoted as governor. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream of seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine which will grow worse for seven years more. The solution he proposed pleased the Pharaoh which prompted the latter to release Joseph from prison and promote him. The reading begins when the famine has already begun, and it grew worse such that even the other surrounding countries had to go to Egypt for grain. Thus Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to procure grain setting the stage for the meeting of Joseph and the brothers who sold him to slavery.

At this point of the story, one might ask: Since Joseph will be meeting the brothers who sold him, what would he do? Will he seek revenge? How will he settle the score with his brothers? The story is dramatic, something that those who like watching tele-novelas would appreciate. In fact, I believe that even some of the plots of our modern tele-novelas have been influenced by the Joseph story. What happens is that after Joseph allows them to get supplies,

(a) he frames them so that they will be forced to go back to him

(b) asked for his brother Benjamin to be a ransom for them

The selected passages for the reading show the brothers going to prison for three days at the end of which Joseph tells them to fetch their youngest brother. That is when the brothers begin to accuse each other of what they have done to Joseph years before. The selection ends with Joseph weeping. He would however take Simeon as hostage and send the other brothers home, not only with the grain that they purchased but also with the money they used for purchase.

Joseph sold into slavery becoming the cause of the salvation of his family is a type of Christ who went to Death so as to redeem us from Death and give us new life. We’ve seen the part of the process whereby Joseph makes it certain that his brothers will come back with Benjamin. What follows is the brothers’ discovery of the generosity of the governor and their return to him for the surprise of their lives.

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