Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Notes about Joseph...

Notes on the life of Joseph... 'homework' for The Love church's Supernatural School.

Genesis 37
He was poorly parented – being the favourite made him precocious and perhaps big-headed? He was loved most by Jacob just because he was ‘born to him in his old age’ – not because he was particularly talented or marvellous. He was the youngest, yet told his brothers how important the dreams made him feel.
It was not wise of Joseph to relay his dream: it provoked enmity.  He was foolish- the brothers reacted badly to the first dream and yet Joseph STILL told them the second.  Arrogance?
Joseph’s brothers hated him and wanted him out of their sight – at least they relented from killing him.
Getting rid of Joseph didn’t make him less popular with Jacob – Jacob mourned Joseph for the rest of his life.

Genesis 38
The story of Judah’s hypocrisy and then his realisation. The birth of Perez – who shoved his brother Zerah aside to be born first – ancestor of David, so ancestor of Jesus. Perez like his grandfather Jacob in this respect. So Judah’s immorality (sleeping with a ‘prostitute’, his daughter-in-law Tamar in disguise) was used by God. (In fact Judah, who instigated Joseph being sold as a slave, is included in Jesus’ lineage whereas Joseph isn’t.)

Genesis 39
The Lord was with Joseph and made him successful. The Lord blessed the household because of Joseph. Potiphar left EVERYTHING, except the food he ate, in Joseph’s charge. Potiphar gave Joseph everything (for his use?) except his wife. To sleep with her would have been a sin ‘against God’ – and this was hundreds of years before the ten commandments were given.
Joseph did what was good and was unjustly punished for it.

Genesis 40
God gave Joseph supernatural wisdom to interpret dreams but this did not seem to benefit Joseph – he remained in prison even though the dreams came true. We do not always seem to prosper in spite of the gifts God gives us: perhaps it was not yet the right time?

Genesis 41
Joseph had to wait two more years in prison. Then he was made to look Egyptian again (he was shaved and given new clothes) and brought before Pharaoh to interpret the dream. He straight away said it was only God who could do this, then he gave such a clear interpretation and direction for action that Pharaoh decided Joseph was the best man for the job. Did Joseph now forget the hard time he has had now that he is installed as number 2 in the whole country? Just as the thin cows swallowed up the fat, did the fat time swallow up the thin time of slavery and imprisonment? Or did his past continue to inform his future?
I wondered that he had to save only one fifth of the harvest – why not more?  But there was so much that he stopped keeping records. With such a harvest, the Egyptians must have grown rich in the seven fat years, surely selling their grain to other countries as well? They themselves were not provident in storing grain for the future because they quickly ran out of food.
Joseph was thirty when he stood before Pharaoh – and Jesus was thirty when he started his ministry.

Genesis 42
As governor, Joseph personally sold the grain – all who came to buy would go through him.Joseph remembered his dreams – that his brothers would bow down to him – so he treated them as inferiors. Joseph put the brothers in custody for three days – three days in prison when they did not know if they would ever come out alive. Jesus spent three days in the grave...
Then he gave them a hard time – treating them as liars, demanding that they bring Benjamin – which would distress his father (as shown, in v38)  – to him. Joseph hears them – vv 21 onwards – saying that these bad things were happening to them because of what they did to him. Now they recognise the evil they did, Joseph is upset: why? Because his brothers seemed to repent and his heart melted? Or tears of anger, for all the years at home he had lost because of them?  And he had SIMEON bound (v 24). Why Simeon? Why not Judah, who had him sold into slavery?  The commentary suggests he had been the most violent of the brothers towards Joseph.

Genesis 43
Joseph did indeed have complete authority – not just over the Egyptians, but the brothers believed everything he said because Joseph had said he would refuse to sell them grain if Benjamin wasn’t there as well.
v19 the brothers again seemed to be changed men – fearful, worried, no longer so arrogant that they believed they would get away with murder.
Joseph is emotional – v30 – when he sees Benjamin, his younger brother, the only brother who had not been unkind to him.

Genesis 44
Joseph shows he has his father Jacob the Schemer’s talent (v15) – accusing the brothers of having stolen the cup when he himself had ordered it to be put there.

Genesis 45
Judah, who sold Joseph into slavery, shows his responsibility to his father by offering himself as a slave in place of Benjamin.
Joseph finally loses control of his emotions, unable to keep up the pretence any longer: because he has seen Judah’s change of heart and seen how his brothers have abased themselves before him?
He shows his spiritual maturity when he says, vv5, 7-8: “ not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you....But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance... So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” Then Joseph is reconciled with his brothers.  God must have been working in Joseph’s heart during the years of imprisonment and slavery for him to respond so quickly in this way.

Genesis 46
Joseph is overjoyed at seeing his father again: he “wept for a long time”.

Genesis 47
Joseph made sure that his family would be well settled on the best land in Egypt. Then he ‘saved’ the Egyptians from starvation by reducing them to servitude. The commentary suggests that the livestock was returned to their owners after the famine had ended?

Genesis 48
Joseph tried to correct his father when Jacob was blessing Joseph’s two sons. How much did he honour and respect Jacob? Or did his experience and status convince him that he knew better than his father? Perhaps he did.... 

Genesis 49
Joseph is praised and blessed by his father, especially for responding with strength when he was attacked. “Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
n] the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among[o] his brothers.” The commentary says: “The patriarch describes him as attacked by envy, revenge, temptation, ingratitude; yet still, by the grace of God, he triumphed over all opposition, so that he became the sustainer of Israel; and then he proceeds to shower blessings of every kind upon the head of this favorite son. The history of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh shows how fully these blessings were realized.”

Genesis 50
Jacob is given full honours in his burial, with Pharaoh’s agreement and support. The brothers then worry that Joseph, no longer needing to honour his father, will turn on them, but Joseph says: “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”

When Joseph himself died, he remembered and referred to the promise of the land that Abraham was given and insisted that his bones should be taken there, when the promise would eventually happen.

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