SDMB weekly Bible Study (SDMBWBS)-Week 30 Genesis 45

Welcome to the SDMB weekly Bible Study (SDMBWBS). This week we will be discussing Genesis** 45**. Since the discussion can turn into a very broad and hijackable thread, we would like the following rules to be adhered to:

  1. These SDMBWBS threads are to deal with the books and stories in the Bible as literature. What I’m hoping to achieve is an understanding of the stories, the time in which they were written, context, and possibly its cultural relevance.

  2. While it is up to the individual to choose to believe or disbelieve any portion, that is not to be the discussion of the thread. If you must, please choose to witness/anti-witness in Great Debates.

  3. The intention is to go through the Bible from front to back in order. While different books are needed to be referred to in order to understand context, please try and keep the focus on the thread’s selected chapter(s)/verse(s).

  4. Since different religions have chosen which books to include or omit, the threads will use the Catholic version of 46 Old Testament Books and 27 New Testament Books. It’s encouraged to discuss why a book was included/omitted during the applicable threads only. BibleHub, as far as I know, is a good resource that compiles many different versions of the verses into one page.(Also the SDMB Staff Reports on Who Wrote the Bible). Please feel free to use whatever source you want, including-and even more helpfully-the original language.

  5. Hopefully we can get through these threads with little to no moderation. A gentle reminder that if a poster comes in and ignores these rules, please use the “report post” function instead of responding.

Links to previous threads:
Genesis 1:1 to 2:25
Genesis 3
Genesis 4
Genesis 5-6
Genesis 7-9:17
Genesis 9:18-10:32
Genesis 11
Genesis 12-13
Genesis 14-15
Genesis 16
Genesis 17
Genesis 18-19
Genesis 20-22
Genesis 23-24
Genesis 25
Genesis 26:1-33
Genesis 26:34-Genesis 28:9
Genesus28:10-30:24
Genesis 30:25-31:55
Genesis 32
Genesis 33
Genesis 34
Genesis 35-36
Genesis 37
Genesis 38
Genesis 39
Genesis 40
Genesis 41
Genesis 42 & 43
Genesis 44

[Genesis 45

New International Version (NIV)](http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2045&version=NIV)

Joseph Makes Himself Known

45 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do 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. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’

12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”

14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

16 When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, 18 and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’

19 “You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. 20 Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’”

21 So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes. 23 And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”

25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”
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Joseph has tested his brothers, several times, and they pass – they show moral integrity and family loyalty. Faced with similar circumstances to their past sins, they react differently. And now we get high drama.

Sarna says, “[Joseph]’s emotional tension is overwhelming. Twice before Joseph had broken down – when he overheard Reuben describe the agonies of his sale into slavery (42:24) and when he first set eyes on Benjamin (43:30f). On this last occasion, Joseph has succeeded in controlling himself, but he can no longer control his pent-up feelings.”

He sends his Egyptian servants and entourage away, partly so they won’t witness this intimate drama, and partly so they won’t know that his own brothers sold him into slavery. Sobbing, he reveals himself to his brothers [verse 3, E-author]. “I am Joseph. Is my father still living?” In his impassioned appeal in the prior chapter, Judah mentioned their father 14 times (2 x 7), and that undoubtedly helped shatter Joseph’s self-restraint.

He tells them [verse 5, J-author] that he is their brother that they sold, both reassurance and rebuke: I will act brotherly, although you didn’t back then. He tells them that although their intent was evil, God turned it for good purpose, saving lives – including their lives. He repeats this in verse 8, replacing “sold” me with “sent me.” He will restate this after Jacob dies, in Chapter 50:20. Joseph, alone of all biblical characters who does not speak with God, recognizes the hand of God in his story and forgives his brothers.

The line “father to Pharaoh” in verse 8 is strange. We have no such title from Egyptology. Perhaps the term is used in the sense of “advisor” or administrator?

He tells them not to be distressed or angry with themselves. In verse 12, “you can see for yourselves… it is really I who am speaking to you,” that is, directly, without an interpreter, in their own language.

In verse 14, he throws his arms around his brother Benjamin and weeps. We had a very similar reunion and verbs in Gen 33:4, when Jacob and Esau are reunited: they throw their arms around each other and weep. But with Jacob and Esau, it was formality, they were not REALLY reunited. Joseph here undoes another of Jacob’s sins: he is indeed reunited with his brothers and this scene ends their enmity.

In verse 16, Pharaoh supports Joseph’s instruction that his family should all come to Egypt, as honored guests. In verse 18, Pharaoh says (literal translation) “bring your father and your families … to me.” The phrase is a boundary marker as the Israelites are brought to Egypt, and again when they leave Egypt, God says He “brought [Israel] to Me” (Exodus 19:4.)

I find verse 20 interesting: “Never mind about your belongings.” I think it’s very human, reflective of the reluctance of people (especially of the aged) to uproot: what will we do with our furniture? What will we do with grandma’s antique silver? Where will I put the coffee pot? And so forth. It’s a way of avoiding thinking about the major change, by raising little questions about belongings. Very human, from that day to now (and reminds me of when I dealt with my mother-in-law’s move to assisted living.)

They are to settle in Goshen. There is no source defining the exact geographic location, but most scholars assume the area of Wadi Tumeilat, from the eastern arm of the Nile to the Great Bitter Lake. Sarna says, “Egyptian texts confirm the presence of Semites and other Asians in the northeast part of the country, both at the end of the Sixth Dynasty (ca 2250 BCE) and about 1700 BCE in the wake of the Hyksos invasion. Exodus 12:38 refers to a ‘mixed multitude,’ that is, foreign tribes, dwelling in the area…” Gen 46:32ff and 47:6 and other sites tell us that Goshen has excellent grazing areas for cattle, and this conforms to our knowledge of ancient Egypt, that the Nile Delta was used for cattle.

Goshen must lie on the natural route from Asia to Egypt, since Joseph travels there to greet his father en route (Gen 46:29). After the Exodus, the route from Goshen (Exodus 8:18) also implies it’s near that border. When we get to the book of Exodus, the J-author tends to locate the Israelites living together in Goshen; the E-author seems to have them spread about, living amongst the Egyptians.

Joseph gives the brothers a change of clothing (!) in verse 22. Since clothing was a source of hostility, it’s another sign of complete reconciliation that clothing is now given them as a gift. (Remember the importance of clothing to mark Joseph’s fall/rise, discussed in Gen 41.)

In verse 28, Jacob doesn’t care about the famine, nor about Joseph’s high position; he only wants to see his long-lost son.

Perhaps Joseph is not as sure as he might be that his brothers are reformed characters. Especially after he shows major favoritism to the youngest brother of the lot.

Regards,
Shodan

Not just the youngest brother, but his only full-brother (same mother, Rachel)… and the problem all along has been favoritism shown to Rachel.

Interesting thought, Shodan. Similarly, we’ll get to Gen 50:15, where the brothers worry after Jacob’s death, that Joseph will get even with them now that their father isn’t around to see. Joseph reassures them. So there’s an interesting implication that, while Joseph has forgiven them, and while they’ve certainly made major improvements, Joseph doesn’t fully trust them?

New thread for Genesis 46