Together, people of varied beliefs will read the King James Bible.
Sheesh, dude. You're not even trying any more. Time to unsubscribe. Have fun barely reading the Bible.
@Jude Stick it out, some times it's hard to come up with really good questions.In Chapter 44 Joseph sees the change in his brothers, so much so that Judah is asking to take the place of Benjamin as being the bondman(44:33). But Matthew Henry says it better.(MHC)Joseph, with an air of justice, gives sentence that Benjamin only should be kept in bondage, and the rest should be dismissed; for why should any suffer but the guilty? Perhaps Joseph intended hereby to try Benjamin's temper, whether he could bear such a hardship as this with the calmness and composure of mind that became a wise and good man: in short, whether he was indeed his own brother, in spirit as well as blood; for Joseph himself had been falsely accused, and had suffered hard things in consequence, and yet kept possession of his own soul. However, it is plain he intended hereby to try the affection of his brethren to Benjamin and to their father. If they had gone away contentedly, and left Benjamin in bonds, no doubt Joseph would soon have released and promoted him, and sent notice to Jacob, and would have left the rest of his brethren justly to suffer for their hard-heartedness; but they proved to be better affected to Benjamin than he feared.Note, We cannot judge what men are by what they have been formerly, nor what they will do by what they have done: age and experience may make men wiser and better. Those that had sold Joseph would not now abandon Benjamin. The worst may mend in time.
If you look closely you'll notice that Joseph is a "type" of someone...
@Coram DeoCare to unpack that a little?
I hope you saw that Joseph does not (quote): "get revenge on the brothers that sold him up the river."
Joeseph's success is due more to his economic skills than his "dream interpretations" It makes sense to us now to save up for a rainy (or droughty day). Joseph's foresight saved the Pharoh and Egypt from starvation during a long and difficult famine. It would hardly have been the first time famine struck; perhaps this was the first time anyone thought to plan ahead on such a scale.I think the forgetfulness of the baker is a plot device to show Joseph's patience. The baker was an Egyptian and Joseph a Hebrew slave. The Egyptian had no reason to consider any loyalty to Joseph so simply put him out of his mind until such a time when he was needed.Joseph, on the other hand, waited in jail, seemingly without rancour towards anyone until he could help out Pharoh. As we see this patience is paid off and he becomes wealthy and powerful. When his brothers arrive hat in hand he can be sneaky (He is Jacobs son after all); but it's all in good fun and everyone lives happily ever after. With out his jealous brothers selling him into slavery he would not be who he is/was today.
Sheesh, dude. You're not even trying any more. Time to unsubscribe. Have fun barely reading the Bible.Reading 2-3 chapters of the Bible, and crafting a post about them, every day, for a year, would be a full-time job. I don't blame him for not writing a full post every day. Dude probably has a day job.
@JudeSorry but I do have a full time job and this time of year is very busy for me. I'll post thoughts when I have the time but I may just post the day's reading. I may even be a day late once in a while. If that is an issue, best wishes and thanks for stopping by.@PaulI believe Joseph did get revenge on his brothers by putting them through all the stress and mind games. They lived in constant fear of their lives. Revenge doesn't have to involve injury or death.
OK, I'll offer up some questions:1. Is this story well told and merely well-known? There's musicals and animated movies about Joseph. The coat, the slavery, the dreams, the invitation are all well-known in the Christian culture.Now reading the story in the Bible, I found this was one of the first times where I wasn't confused by cultural idioms every 3 verses. Is that because I know the story or is this perhaps better written, or something else?2. What is the significance of God not taking an action role in this story? Unless I missed something, his presence is only in the abstract dreams and being giving credit for Joseph's rise to fame. In previous stories, he has spoken directly or through dreams giving clear directions. He doesn't actively participates here. Why?
Hi Bruce and everyone. There's always a critic in every group. It's all they know how to do. Please pay no mind to followers like Jude. If you read his blog, "An Atheist Re-Reads the Bible," you'll see that his last post about the bible was over 10 days ago, on the 5th. It's always those who are too lazy to do the work themselves who are quick to criticize when others don't do it for them.Please don't let others deter you and thank you for starting this blog, even if it's just a sentence, it's more than people like Jude offer.@ChasiaThank you for setting a great example and contributing by being proactive and asking questions. You have inspired me and I will try to do the same. When Bruce doesn't have time to come up with thought provoking questions, we (the readers) can step up and contribute, rather than complain and unsubscribe.
Chasia, it does feel good to read a familiar story, but this project makes one realize how much of this book you really aren't familiar with.I was familiar with the story of the twin having a red string around his wrist before birth, and then being second born after all, but I did not realize that it is connected to the stories of Onan and Tamar as well.Joseph is not as communicative with God as his forbears, but later he tells his brothers that the whole kidnapping and selling into slavery bit was all God's doing.What strikes me most is the casual way these people's mean treatment of each other is so tolerated. I am enjoying the project of reading the Bible, but I still wonder who first told these stories, and why?
@Aleta, Thanks for the notice. They were my observations anyway, just spun into questions ;-)@Barbara, My response to reading these stories has been how amoral (Meaning: no judgment on an actions morality) they are, compared to how they were presented to me when growing up (Catholic).It is a different point of view, trying to take these stories at face value, rather than in context with a belief. Like you, it makes me curious about the people who wrote them, and the people that maintained them.It's like an archeological expedition of the mind. A pottery shard here, an arrow head there.
I find this story badly written. While I get the general idea I am lost by some of the details. For instance, when the brothers were first sent back home with the grain why was the money put back in the sacks? Was joesph going to accuse them of stealing? And the part with keeping one brother and telling them to bring the youngest back. What's with that?Someone earlier said that it would take a whole day to do a few chapters fully. Boy do I agree.I did google the story to try and figure out the details. Most hits were children versions. They blow over all of the details - even why joeph is thrown in jail earlier. It just says the wife lied.
@Cunni, There is a lot of repetition in the Bible and it doesn't use an inner monologue, so yeah it can be hard to figure out character motivations at times. Joseph instructed his servant to place the money there. I'm guessing Joseph may felt that he should share his food with his family (not profit from it), some kinship tie. Keeping the one brother for ransom I believe was so the other brothers would return, but the brothers never acted on it. They came back for the food. This might be another kinship tie, but since Benjamin was Joseph only full brother, he may wanted to gauge how well Benjamin fared with the other brothers, to see if they had changed since they sold Joseph into slavery.I know realized my familiarity with the story made me skim these details. Thanks, Cunni for bringing them up. Another question:Is there a difference between slave and servant here? Hebrew families appear to have servants, but Joseph gets sold into slavery (and the Egyptians have slaves).
Paul said... @Coram DeoCare to unpack that a little?The Bible contains quite a lot of typology. Joseph is a kinsman-redeemer type. He was despised and rejected by his own, but he ends up being the merciful and loving [albeit imperfect] "savior" of his people.If you stick with this project you'll meet more kinsman-redeemer types along the way...they all point forward to the ultimate kinsman-redeemer promised to Eve in the garden after the fall...Abraham's "Seed" through Whom God's covenant promises would be realized.In Christ,CD
@Chasia'...these stories at face value, rather than in context with a belief...'I suppose you mean reading the stories uninterpreted by the church. Well and good, but we can't read them without considering the context. Even if we are reading pulp fiction, we read chapter 6 in the context of the five preceding chapters. We pick up a potsherd here and an arrowhead there, and we consider all the data to describe the civilization producing them. The Bible should be read in the same way we would read any other book. We don't read straight narrative in the same way we read poetry (plenty of that in the Bible, but not well differentiated in the King James rendering, except for the Psalms) or prophecy or letters or apocrypha.Even though the Bible was compiled from writings spanning some 1500 years, it has a unity. The theme is Creation, Fall, Redemption, Renewal of Creation. The focus is always on the Christ.
@Euslyss"Even if we are reading pulp fiction, we read chapter 6 in the context of the five preceding chapters."I don't think this analogy is apt. Yes, we read chapter 6 in the context of the previous 5 chapters, but not in the context that the author is attempting to convey a message from a god through his words. I feel that much of the interpretation of these stories was retrofitted to accommodate later works. Stories like the flood were present in many disparate cultures of the area, not all of which went on to embrace Christianity.
I've been trying to keep up with a post about each bit of reading so far at http://agnostichicagokie.blogspot.com/ and I can tell you it's been exhausting. Probably once things get busy around here I'll cut back to brief summaries too. As to this particular passage, it was one of the first ones so far that avoided bizarre sex and/or arbitrary killing and generally left the reader with a positive feeling. Did anyone else get the sense that Joe was trying to get Ben for himself but the plan backfired when Judah stepped in and offered himself as a substitute bondsman?
@ DavidStories like the flood were present in many disparate cultures of the area, not all of which went on to embrace Christianity. That is true. Maybe the flood incident was remembered by various peoples, whose retelling varied over time. The Laotians of Southeast Asia have a flood story with remarkable similarities to the Biblical account.
"Is there a difference between slave and servant here? Hebrew families appear to have servants, but Joseph gets sold into slavery (and the Egyptians have slaves). "I believe the original Hebrew is the same (the words btw for male slave and female slave are quite different in Hebrew).
@Euslyss on flood tales.I would be wary of seeing flood tales as having remarkable similarities to the Biblical tale unless you can trace the source to something uncontaminated by Christianity.
@ ErpThe Laotian flood myth is summarized at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khun_BoromI hope learning the source will leave your prejudice against Christianity uncontaminated. ;-)
@JudeIn defense of @Bruce - this full time job thing rally does get in the way of blogging - I can hardly keep up, except for the weekends. I really appreciate all the folks that pitch in with comments and insights.To the reading at hand, this story of Joseph is a notable stretch of good literature - a parable that could be a model for many other books in the OT. I can imagine that if a modern redactor was interested in making a concise OT and not worried about preserving the archaic style and odd interweaving of voices, then the creation story, the establishment of Israel and the covenant with God, the Ten Commandments, and a series of parables such as this could make a compelling read.
@EuslyssI am, like I assume most on this board, following Bruce's outline reading the Bible now like "a detective novel," linearly. Although there maybe some unity discovered by us as this reading unfolds, for now I'm taking this one step at a time.I do appreciate the additional, broader Christian outlook yourself, Edward and others give this blog. It is important to understand how many Christians see these stories. However, I don't accept that that is the context I must look at the Bible.
but I still wonder who first told these stories, and why?That's the big question, isn't it?On a certain level of coarseness, we know the "who" answer very well: Israelites, or early Jews. In the 1st millennium BCE. The "why" is more difficult- and there isn't just one answer. Different parts were surely written for different reasons.Even though the Bible was compiled from writings spanning some 1500 years, it has a unity. The theme is Creation, Fall, Redemption, Renewal of Creation. The focus is always on the Christ.Nothing in the OT is about Christ. It can't be, because it was written before Christ was born. It was written by and for Israelites. It only survived to be passed down to Jesus's time because early Jews considered it their sacred scripture. If they had written it with Christ in mind, then they would have been Christians.Christianity sprung up in the 1st century AD, a peculiar messianic sect of Judaism. And when they developed their scripture, they naturally used the OT to authenticate their beliefs. Which most Jews didn't suddenly jump to accept. (Notice Paul had better luck with the gentiles!) You'd think that if the OT was really secretly about Jesus, then the Jews would have gone "Oh, it's so obvious! Our ancestors were really writing in secret code! Now we know what the sacred scripture we studied for centuries REALLY means!"That didn't happen.The NT doesn't hold a candle to the OT, and I'm constantly annoyed at how it dominates our conception of The Bible. It's five conflicting stories (faked eyewitness accounts), a bunch of letters written by some dudes, and a crazy acid trip.The OT has epic history, war, humor, political intrigue, poetry, romance, bromance (David and Jonathan), myths, and instructions on how to build your very own tabernacle. Saying it's all just a secret prequel to Jesus does it an *immense* disservice.
@David"Stories like the flood were present in many disparate cultures of the area, not all of which went on to embrace Christianity." H.S. Bellamy in Moons, Myths and Men estimates that altogether there are over 500 Flood legends. Ya the whole world is covered in water and 8 people survive. I think that would be something to talk about over the camp fire. Especially when the little kids asked why there are so few people around. 2 Peter 3:3-7 tells us what to expect in the last days. The next time it's going to be with fire. (Matthew 13:40, 2 Peter 3:7; 3:12)
@betterthanesdrasChalk this up to a story that is bigger than any of us. As we read the OT we will see two different types of Messiahs. 1. A King that will establish His Kingdom, 2. A Servant that will die for His people. And "Which most Jews didn't suddenly jump to accept." Notice that Paul was a Jew and a Pharisee (Acts 23:6), because of the examples of the Messiah and the persecution the Jews were experiencing under the Romans they were looking for a King that would do away with the Romans and establish His Kingdom. Our way is not always God's way (Isaiah 55:9). And adding 3k to the church in one day is not to bad (Acts 2:41) and not to long after another 5k (Acts 4:4, those were just the men, how many women and kids?). And that was all before Saul became Paul (Acts 9:1-8).As for who wrote this, Moses by inspiration from God (II Timothy 3:16) Even Jesus started @ Moses (Luke 24:27). I could go on and on on this one. But this is getting off topic."It's five conflicting stories (faked eyewitness accounts), a bunch of letters written by some dudes, and a crazy acid trip."Wow reading the NT with you will be interesting. Knowing that some historians see Luke as being one of the best from antiquity, and the years and people that have scrutinized the NT... But we will cover more of that when we get to the NT. Just remind me if i forget please.
@Chasia"However, I don't accept that that is the context I must look at the Bible."No i would say look @ it and question it and don't come from the Christian perspective. I like the members of this community because they will question it and point out the things that they think is wrong with it or just ask questions and not beat around the bush. It's really great. I am reminded of a guy that was thinking the same thing. What is this all about? (Acts 8:26-35)
@Damion"Did anyone else get the sense that Joe was trying to get Ben for himself but the plan backfired when Judah stepped in and offered himself as a substitute bondsman?"No Ben was his full brother and the "youngest" from their dead mother. Joe was testing "in my opinion" his brothers and their care/respect for their ageing father and this brother that was from a different mother. I think i said as much earlier. I would say the plan did backfire though. I guess Joe did not expect his brothers or Judah to act the way he/they did and it showed Joe that they were truly repentant for what they had done to him.
They were looking for a King that would do away with the Romans and establish His Kingdom. Jesus did none of those things. Roman Empire stuck around quite a bit longer, and I don't remember any Jesus Kingdom.As for who wrote this, Moses by inspiration from God (II Timothy 3:16) Quoting a bunch of letters written by some dude is not evidence of anything except that dude's opinion.Knowing that some historians see Luke as being one of the best from antiquity, and the years and people that have scrutinized the NT...Luke "account" of Jesus was based on Mark's; all of which were anonymous documents written decades after Jesus' death. None were actual eyewitness accounts. They were loose narratives constructed around famous Jesus quotes, liberally salted with Septuagint references explicitly invented to "prove" Jesus was the messiah.