bible blog 1709

This blog was following the book of Genesis and the Gospel of Mark in tandem, but completed the latter some days ago. It continues with Genesis alone meantime. I have been urged to “get a move on” with these chapters of Genesis, and although I think they deserve as much consideration as any other part, I have used a translation I can easily download in larger chunks.

BERLIN REMEMBERS 1945  

Genesis 45 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

The corner where Red army troops mopped up

The corner where Red army troops mopped up

45 At last Yosef could no longer control his feelings in front of his attendants and cried, “Get everybody away from me!” So no one else was with him when Yosef revealed to his brothers who he was. He wept aloud, and the Egyptians heard, and Pharaoh’s household heard. Yosef said to his brothers, “I am Yosef! Is it true that my father is still alive?” His brothers couldn’t answer him, they were so dumbfounded at seeing him. Yosef said to his brothers, “Please! Come closer.” And they came closer. He said, “I am Yosef, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t be sad that you sold me into slavery here or angry at yourselves, because it was God who sent me ahead of you to preserve life. The famine has been over the land for the last two years, and for yet another five years there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you will have descendants on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household and ruler over the whole land of Egypt. Hurry, go up to my father, and tell him, ‘Here is what your son Yosef says: “God has made me lord of all Egypt! Come down to me, don’t delay! 10 You will live in the land of Goshen and be near me — you, your children, your grandchildren, flocks, herds, everything you own. 11 I will provide for you there, so that you won’t become poverty-stricken, you, your household and all that you have; because five years of famine are yet to come.”’ 12 Here! Your own eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Binyamin, that it is my own mouth speaking to you. 13 Tell my father how honored I am in Egypt and everything you have seen, and quickly bring my father down here!” 14 Then he embraced his brother Binyamin and wept, and Binyamin wept on his neck, 15 and he kissed all his brothers and wept on them. After that, his brothers talked with him.

16 The report of this reached Pharaoh’s house: “Yosef’s brothers have come”; and Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Tell your brothers, ‘Here is what you are to do. Load up your animals, go to the land of Cana‘an, 18 take your father and your families, and come back to me. I will give you good property in Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.

19 “‘Moreover — and this is an order — do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt to carry your little ones and your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20 Don’t worry about your stuff, because everything good in the land of Egypt is yours.’”

21 The sons of Isra’el acted accordingly; and Yosef gave them wagons, as Pharaoh had ordered, and gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave a set of new clothes; but to Binyamin he gave seven-and-a-half pounds of silver and five sets of new clothes. 23 Likewise, to his father he sent ten donkeys loaded with the finest goods Egypt produced, as well as ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread and food for his father to eat on the return journey. 24 Thus he sent his brothers on their way, and they left; he said to them, “Don’t quarrel among yourselves while you’re traveling!”

25 So they went up out of Egypt, entered the land of Kena‘an and came to Ya‘akov their father. 26 They told him, “Yosef is still alive! He is ruler over the whole land of Egypt!” He was stunned at the news; he couldn’t believe them. 27 So they reported to him everything Yosef had said to them; but it was only when he saw the wagons which Yosef had sent to carry him that the spirit of Ya‘akov their father began to revive. 28 Isra’el said, “Enough! My son Yosef is still alive! I must go and see him before I die.”jo reveals

This is the scene where the storyteller has to bring together all the themes of his narrative.He does so in a masterly way. 

1. Yosef is overwhelmed by his brother Y’hudah’s courage and love for his father. He knows that his brothers have learned from their mistake as he has learned from his.

2. Prompted by Yosef’s self disclosure, the brothers open their hearts to each other in mingled joy and grief. The expression of emotion comes first, the weeping and the embracing, before they can “talk with each other.”

3. Crucially, Yosef does not upbraid them, nor does he humiliate them by ostentatious forgiveness: he tells them that what they meant for evil God has turned to the good of all. This good has included to Egyptians but its final purpose is the safety of God’s chosen family.

4. Yosef says he has become a father to Pharaoh: he, the young, foreign slave, has been Pharaoh’s guide, protector and source of worldly wisdom. This is an astonishing recognition by Yosef of his role under God in respect of the most powerful man in the world. Now he extends that fatherly care to his brothers and his own father, by inviting them to spend the time of famine in Egypt. Yaakov had failed to look after Yosef but now Yosef will look after him.

5. Yosef’s generosity is matched by Pharaoh and his court. The good that Yosef has done- which comes from God- encourages sharing. The details of the gifts to be taken to Yaakov are described because the storyteller knows that goodness is always specific, never general.

6. Yaakov’s response reminds the audience of his dauntless spirit. There are many reasons for not going to Egypt, but he simply says, “My son is alive. I must go and see him before I die!”Dore-Joseph-and-Brothers

7 Through the characters of his story the author teaches his audience what it means to trust in God. None of his characters are “religious” men or women, but in their different ways and to different degrees they recognise that something near to them- their ability to decide for some ordinary goodness- comes from beyond them. It does not make life easier – indeed it may make it more arduous but it turns people towards a goodness that only they can make real in the world. Although the whole story of Genesis insists that God’s blessing is first of all for his chosen partners, we see how they can be a blessing to other peoples: goodness spills over all its containers.

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