Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Genesis Chapter 37

Ah, here we are at the story of Joseph, which many of you will be familiar with because your high school put on at least one performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat while you were there.

Joseph is 17 when this particular incident happens, and he sounds like a pain in the ass Joseph brought unto his father their evil report (v.2). In other words, he tells on them. We all love tattletales, right? For this, and the fact he's Rachel's son, Israel loves him best and he made him a coat of many colours (v.3) which even Jerry admits is 'a garment worn by the daughters of kings' or 'a ceremonial robe draped about statues of goddesses.' In other words, either his father is dressing his 17 year old son in girl's clothes, or Josesph is a big old biblical queen.

Now this favouritism shown by Israel does not go unremarked by Joseph's 11 brothers. They're not even civil to him. But it doesn't stop Joseph from wanting to tell them about his dream. I think we can all agree that the only thing more irritating than a snitch is someone who wants to tell you about his dreams. And what was said dream: well, they were all binding the wheat when suddenly, the sheaves become animated, and the brothers' sheaves all gathered around Joseph's sheaf and made obeisance to it. I amend what I said before: a snitch is annoying. A snitch who wants to tell you about his dreams is really annoying. A snitch who wants to tell you about his self-serving dreams deserves what he gets, even if he is only 17.

Anyway, this dream does not endear Joseph to his brothers and makes them hate him even more. But Joseph still isn't done. He then tells him another dream, where the sun, moon and 11 stars all pay obeisance to him. He describes it to his father, who has finally had enough and rebukes him.

One day, the brothers go out to tend the flock and surprisingly, do not invite Joseph, but Israel sends him anyway. While he's on his way, he meets a man who tells him his brothers went somewhere else. So he heads over. His brothers see him and while he's still out of earshot they conspire to kill him and throw him into a pit and tell their father an animal got him. Okay, he might not deserve that, but a circle booting wouldn't hurt. Fortunately, Reuben, who was last seen having sex with his stepmother, convinces them not to kill him. Instead, they take off his drag and throw him into a pit. They sit down at the top for lunch and see a caravan of Ismaelites passing by on their way to Egypt. Judah, the fourth son, suggests selling him to them. So they sell him for 20 pieces of silver.

Reuben must have left at some point, because he comes back and finds the pit empty and tears at his clothes in remorse. They kill a goat and dip the coat in its blood, then present it to their father who blames a wild animal. Israel dresses in sackcloth and goes into mourning. Joseph, meanwhile, is sold to an official in the Pharoah's house in Egypt.

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