Bible Blog 1700

This blog is presently following the book of Genesis, using the Schocken Bible translation which represents the Hebrew idiom of the original . The daily headlines are reminders of the world we live in. This is the 1700th blog since I began and the large archive can be explored by date( via the archive itself ) or by biblical reference,(e.g. John 3:16) or, less accurately by theme (e.g. house of God). I recommend the use of the archive to anyone interested in the Bible, not because it is full of riveting insights but because it represents what one reasonably diligent person has gained from his study of the Bible over a lifetime (b 1942). I gain daily from the insights of others.


Men only?

Men only?

GENESIS 40: 16

When the chief baker saw that he had interpreted for good,

he said to Yosef:

I too, in my dream,

look, three baskets of white bread were on my head,

and in the uppermost basket, all sorts of edibles for Paharaoh, baker’s work,

and the birds were eating from the basket, from off my head.

Yosef gave answer, he said:

This is the interpretation:

The three baskets are three days.

In another three days

Pharaoh will lift up your head

from off you,

he will hang you on a tree

and the birds will eat your flesh from off you.

And thus it was, on the third day,

Pharaoh’s birthday

that he made a great drinking feast for all his servants, and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker amidst his servants:

he restored the chief cupbearer to his cupbearership,

but the chief baker he hanged,

just as Yosef had interpreted to them.

But the chief cupbearer did not keep Yosef in mind,

he forgot him.

Yosef of course has nothing to do with the fate that overcomes the baker, but the audience may feel some reserve towards him for speaking of this calamity without pity. Pharaoh is depicted as an absolute monarch with life and death power over his people. The sort of king who marks his birthday by showing clemency to one and liquidating another wins no prizes in the biblical critique of kings. So we may conclude that the storyteller wants us to see that Yosef is learning God’s way but has much yet to learn. He also wants us to know the character of Pharaoh, so that we do not overestimate the value of being his second-in-command.

The forgetfulness of the restored cupbearer does Yosef no harm. When his next test arrives he is readier to meet it.baker

Those with great abilities – and that means all people- should find their true calling under God in which these abilities can be used for the benefit of others, and,secondarily, of themselves. Often we are impatient, making haste towards what looks like our advantage. The Yosef story cautions us towards patience and discernment. It took me a long time to figure out that simply being an ordinary parish minister was the only thing I was any good at. Once I’d realised that, work became joy.

My best friend Bob Cummings whose funeral I conducted yesterday was one who discovered early that his calling was to scholarship and the transmission of knowledge, and who practised it with dedication. His happiness in his calling was infectious and made him a favourite with young people. Being blessed, he became a blessing to others.

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