Exodus Chapters 5, 6, & 7

Chapter 5

This chapter is just explaining that after Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and asked to be allowed to go into the wilderness, they were rejected. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he exercised more cruelty on the Israelites by no longer providing them straw to make bricks. They would have to collect it themselves, but were also required to make the same amount of bricks. The Israelite supervisors approach Pharaoh and plead with him, but he calls them lazy and reiterates his command.

They come across Moses and Aaron outside and yell at them, essentially, because they are treated badly. Moses turns to the heavens and pleads with God because he obviously doesn’t remember that the only reason that they’re treated badly is because God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

Chapter 6

The beginning of this chapter is a lot of recap. “I’m The Lord…Abraham…Isaac…Jacob…Land of Canaan…Israelite slaves…Egyptians…Pharaoh…” God told Moses to tell the Israelites this story, but they wouldn’t listen because they were broken. Moses explained that the Israelites would not listen to him. God told him to go tell Pharaoh to let his people go, but Moses said he couldn’t speak to Pharaoh because the Israelites wouldn’t listen to him.

We come to, surprise surprise, a genealogy. I’d like to take a moment to wonder why God didn’t, instead of hardening Pharaoh’s heart, speak directly into the Israelites’ hearts and tell them, “Hey, this Moses guy is your dude and you got nothing to worry about. Follow him and he’ll show you some crazy stuff. Wait until you see what I have planned for the Red Sea.” But no, God always has some bizarre Rube Goldberg device of a plan to “fix” things. Remember that flood from way back when that was supposed to cure the world of wickedness? How’d that work out?

From a writer’s perspective, I can understand the whole “harden Pharaoh’s heart” thing as a plot device. The god in this story wants to ensure that he can put on display his plagues and miracles so that people will believe.

Chapter 7

OK, finally, on to the main event. All the training is done and now Moses is like God and Aaron is his prophet. They went before Pharaoh and when he told them to perform a wonder, Aaron took Moses’ staff, threw it to the ground and it became a snake. Pharaoh called on his sorcerers and magicians and they performed the same trick. Is this Penn and Teller’s Fool Us? However, Aaron’s snake swallowed up all the other snakes. Also, I have to chuckle because the name of this section with the staff and snake trick is called “Aaron’s Miraculous Rod”. I’m going to hell.

Pharaoh’s heart is, of course, still hardened because God made it so, so he sends Moses and Aaron out to the Nile River to meet Pharaoh. There would demand that he let the Israelites go. When Pharaoh refused, Moses or Aaron or both struck the water with the miraculous rod and the river turned to blood, all the fish died, and it stank. The Egyptians had to dig for water to drink. However, Pharaoh’s magicians were able to replicate the trick and so the Israelites would not be set free on this day.

Once again, pardon my language, but this is nothing more than a mystical dick-wagging contest between Arron and Moses and the Pharaoh’s magicians. I have a feeling that this will keep going for the rest of the plagues.

Coming up next: Frogs.

Saturday Sermon: Freedom

“You know, we’re living in a society!”

George Costanza

I never thought that I would ever start a post on this blog with a Seinfeld quote, but here we are. I was originally going to talk about a different topic this week, but this one is fighting for attention in my brain and I figure I better write it down before my head explodes.

I’ve been following politicians and their political speak for a while now. The pandemic is starting to heat up again as the school begins or is about to begin, and there have been discussions about mandating masks for students. The governors of both Florida and Texas barred schools from mandating masks because…reasons, I guess. However, closer to home for me, we have a Senate candidate in Ohio who is anti-mask and is trying to fight for people’s freedom to not wear a mask in schools. That’s a funny choice of words there.

“Freedom.”

I feel like people think that they should be free to make whatever decisions they want to and to hell with everybody else. If that was the case, we would have chaos and nobody would be truly be free because by this idea, each person would infringe on everybody else’s rights. The thing is, we have certain rights and freedoms, but we are also part of numerous societies. Each group we belong to is a society, whether it’s a country, a state, a county, a city, a school, a workplace, a German brass band, a lodge, or a soccer team, and each of those groups has rules that we have to abide by in order to maintain that society. If everyone did whatever they felt like, then society would inevitably become unsustainable.

An excellent example of what happens when everyone is free to do what they feel like is the Futurama episode, “Freedom Day”. As New New York is preparing for the festivities, a stage collapses and the worker who was supposed to make sure it was structurally sound said, “I didn’t feel like it.” That’s an excellent analogy to what’s going on now with this pandemic.

People don’t want to wear masks, apparently because it’s some form of control technique or something. They want to preserve their freedom by not wearing them. Anyway, there are other people, including kids, who may not be able to get vaccinated who still have to go to school, work, and go about their daily business. The idea of a society is that we all work together for the greater good. If the people who complained about wearing masks since it became a topic of discussion would have done so from the start, I probably wouldn’t be writing this sermon. I probably wouldn’t be doing this Bible study project, either, since I would have lots of other stuff to do instead. Wearing a mask is not a means of control, it’s a piece of cloth that can really reduce the spread of the virus. It’s also a small thing anyone can do that makes you look like a decent person. You won’t be giving up your freedom. And for the record, I hate wearing a mask because it fogs up my glasses, but I still do it because I don’t want to get anyone sick.

Exodus Chapters 3 & 4

Chapter 3

Before we get to the main attraction in this chapter, I immediately notice that Moses’ father-in-law in the previous chapter is named Reuel, but in this chapter goes by Jethro. According to the Oxford Bible Commentary, he probably did not have a name in this tradition and different authors probably used different sources and inspirations. This also tells me that there is no possible way that Moses wrote this book because that would mean that he couldn’t keep his father-in-law’s name straight. Anyway, on to the rest of the story.

While Moses was out tending his father-in-law’s flock, he came to Mount Horeb and he saw the bush burning, but noticed that was not consumed by the fire. He likely inhaled deeply and heard the voice of God, as you do. Long story short, God recounts the misery of the Israelites and wants Moses to deliver them to the promised land, or rather, the land of milk and honey. God states that the cry of the Israelites has come to him, as if he didn’t already see this coming to the point that he mentioned it back in Genesis.

Moses asks God what he should say to the Israelites that will convince them that he was truly sent, then he asks for God’s name. It turns out to be the most anticlimactic reveal, “I am who I am.” Moses must tell the Israelites that I AM sent him and they will believe him. He tell him to go to them and then repeats all of the stuff he said earlier. He then says that Pharaoh will not let them go (I wonder why) and that he will stretch out his mighty hand and perform all the wonders, and after that Pharaoh will let them go and they will plunder Egypt.

So Pharaoh won’t let them go until after God performs his magic tricks for the Egyptians. It sounds like God is just showing off. I mean, save something in case they try to keep them from leaving.

Chapter 4

Moses isn’t very confident. I mean, he’s no Charlton Heston here. God teaches him some magic tricks like turning a staff into a snake and pulling a leprous hand out of his cloak. The latter is sure to be a hit at kids’ parties. After Moses masters these tricks God tells him more of what they’ll be doing.

8“If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. 9If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 138). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

You don’t know how much I was hoping that it wouldn’t go through another progression like the bargaining on the way to Sodom. “If they don’t believe the first three signs…, the first four signs, etc. etc.” I’m glad that it wasn’t taken all the way out to the seven plagues.

Once again, Moses tries to get out of it by saying that he’s not a good public speaker. God gets angry and tells him that he will speak through Moses, but Moses asks him to send someone else. So God decides to send Moses and his brother Aaron.

Moses returns to his father-in-law, whose name is still Jethro at this point, and asks to return to return to Egypt to see if his people are still alive. He loaded up his family on a donkey and took his staff and went back to Egypt.

21And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders that I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 139). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Uhhh, what? Why? Is this just so that God can show off his superpowers? God wants his people out of Egypt and in the promised land. In order to carry this out, he is going to make Pharaoh NOT want to let them go so that God can perform a magic show. Dear lord, Jason is right, why am I putting myself through this torture?

This is, according to the Oxford Commentary and I agree, disjointed:

24On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the LORD met him and tried to kill him. 25But Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet with it, and said, “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26So he let him alone. It was then she said, “A bridegroom of blood by circumcision.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 139). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I have no idea what is going on here, but accord the commentary, “feet” is a euphemism for “penis” (don’t ask, I just read the commentary). According to the commentary, this is maybe an origin tale of circumcision, but even in the commentary doesn’t know. I may have to ask a rabbinical scholar.

Aaron was sent to meet Moses out in the wilderness to go over the game plan. They gathered the elders and Aaron spoke to the elders while Moses did his tricks. It was a regular Penn and Teller act.

Exodus Chapters 1 & 2

Chapter 1

The chapter starts out with the recitation of the sons of Jacob who were fruitful and multiplied. We don’t get the names of any of the offspring, but they were prolific and exceedingly strong.

Apparently, the twelve sons of Israel were really, really busy being fruitful because their multiplication outnumbered the Egyptians, so the new Pharaoh (not the same one as in Genesis, but I’ll still use Yul Brynner’s picture where necessary, you’re welcome) set about oppressing them. He appointed to taskmasters to force them to work building supply cities, but the more they were oppressed, the more they were fruitful.

Pharaoh, in an effort to stop the Israelites from multiplying, told the Hebrew midwives to kill all of the baby boys, but let the girls live. Of course, the midwives feared God and let the boys live.

18So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” 19The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 134). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Pharaoh commanded his people to throw all of the boys born to the Hebrews into the Nile, but allow the girls to live.

Obviously, the authors are building the villain of the story. Having read and watched much about Egyptian history, this whole book is a work of fiction. The Israelites were never enslaved in Egypt, and there is no record in the meticulously kept records of Egypt about two million people leaving. Sorry, I guess I should have said, “Spoiler alert.”

Chapter 2

I always thought the story of Moses’ birth and youth was longer than it is. It’s only a few paragraphs and includes his birth, being placed in a mini-ark (a basket with bitumen and pitch), the Pharaoh’s daughter finding him, and Moses’ actual mother nursing him. After he had grown up, which is a sentence later, Pharaoh’s daughter took him as her son.

Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave and thought nobody had seen, but two other Hebrews had and apparently told Pharaoh, so Moses fled to Midian. There, he helped some Midianite women water their flocks after a group of shepherds tried to chase them away. For this act, the women’s father, a priest, invited him to dinner and gave him one of his daughters and she bore him a son, Gershom.

Eventually, this Pharaoh died and the Israelites cried out and God heard them. Once again, we have a non-omniscient moment from God. He hears the Israelites call out and it’s then that he remembers his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What else is going on that he can’t keep straight his covenants without a reminder. He’d probably think about flooding the world again until he noticed a prism in sunlight and saw the rainbow. Anyway, on to the next chapter.

Saturday Sermon: Work Ethic

I had a bit of a writer’s block this week, but after a Twitter incident last night, I would like to talk about how we view work in the United States. This all stems from a tweet by a candidate for the US Senate where he posted a photo with a server “who came to work sick because she knew they were short-staffed.” This tweet is not only wrong in my opinion, but it also shows a violation of the Ohio Food Handling Code. Anyway, we’ll let the proper authorities sort that out, on to the sermon.

When I saw the tweet that I referenced above, my immediate thought was, “That’s always been the American way for some reason.” There are people in the US who feel that taking a sick day is a sign of weakness. In America, we work at least 40 hours per week, get two weeks of vacation or paid time off (PTO). When I first started working in the corporate environment, if somebody called in sick the office rumor mill fired up saying either that the subject in question wasn’t even sick and just wanted a day off, or that they were looking for another job. I think both of these are worthy of a closer look.

If the person calling in isn’t actually sick and just wanted a day off, why should this be a problem at all? If I’m running a company and people feel like they have to be there on a day that their hearts or brains aren’t engaged in the work, I don’t want them there. There is no shame in saying, “I need to take a mental health day,” or simply, “I need a day to recharge.” I’m lucky to work for a boss who has told me to take a day off when I need it. This helps to avoid burnout, which is the leading cause to the second rumor mill statement.

If you’re burned out in your job, why wouldn’t you look for a new one? Admittedly, I haven’t had much experience with this since I ended up out of jobs through no choice of my own. If an employee appears to be burned out to his/her coworkers, then by all means, look for another job and let the company fill that position with somebody who wants to do it. Working through burnout is not fun and while I haven’t had many opportunities, I did have at least one in this century.

I was working as a contractor at a company for pretty decent money and when I first started there, it was a straight 40 hour per week job…for the first week. At the end of the second week, on Friday at 4:15pm (15 minutes before quitting time), the supervisor comes down and tells the department, “Everyone has to work tomorrow. No exceptions.” Well, OK, one Saturday won’t be too bad. Then it became a regular thing every week. Then, while outside lunch, one day, the bigger boss says loudly, “You better kiss your families goodbye, because everyone will be working twelves for the foreseeable future.” He sounded gleeful when he said it, too. I ended up working for two straight weeks, 12 hours per day and my brain knew it.

I called the contractor company I worked through and told them I was done at the end of that week. My agent said, “Just think of all that money you’re making with that overtime.” The money wasn’t the issue as you know. The fact that I was burned out so quickly from a job was a major issue. This was only four months into this assignment and I was toast. I had a blog at the time, but I wasn’t able to write anything. During that two week stretch my days were as follow: Wake up at 5am, drink a cup of coffee, drive a half hour to work at 5:30am, work twelve and a half hours (includes lunch), drive a half hour home at 6:30pm, shovel down dinner, shower, and go to bed by 9pm. I did this for two straight weeks.

Why do we tend to treat people who work long hours for not much pay and go to work sick like real American heroes? I think it’s because of the image that it portrays. People who work through illness and burnout look like they’re working harder than everyone else, even though they’re making more mistakes and getting less done. That’s the American way, work harder, not smarter. And it looks like our Senate candidate from the first paragraph fully embraces this ideal.

Genesis Chapters 49 & 50

Chapter 49

Jacob calls upon all of his sons and, in the form of a blessing, recounts their lives. Reuben is not favored because he defiled his father’s bed by laying with Bilhah. Simeon and Levi are divided because of their violence against the Shechemites. Judah will be the continuation of the line to King David (not stated here, but we all know what happens). The rest, up until Joseph, are well regarded it seems. I’m not going through all of them lest I bore you with repetition. Joseph is given the longest blessing, while Benjamin is called a ravenous wolf. This is both a recap and foreshadowing since this book was written well after the events of a lot of these books.

After he finished the blessing, he told his sons that he wants to be buried in the field of Ephron the Hittite where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and where Jacob buried Leah. Then he laid back in his bed and died.

Jacob certainly said a whole lot for someone who has one foot in the grave. That blessing/curse for his sons took twenty-seven verses and he still had to go through his burial wishes. OK, admittedly I’m nitpicking because I don’t have a lot to say about these final chapters because it’s all pretty normal. There is still a long way to go and I will have things to say. OK, on to the final chapter.

Chapter 50

Jacob’s body was embalmed by the Egyptians over a period of forty days, and they wept for him for seventy days. Joseph told Pharaoh that he swore an oath to his father to bury him in the cave in the field in Canaan. Pharaoh allowed him to do this, so all of Pharaoh’s servants and elders, as well as Joseph’s household, his brothers’ and father’s household all went on the long journey back to Canaan to bury Jacob. Only the livestock and children remained in the land of Goshen.

This section describes a funeral procession with chariots and a ton of people. They held a seven day lamentation that was so big that others noticed it, commented and named the area something that translates to the Mourning Field or something.

After the funeral stuff is over, Joseph’s brothers beg him for forgiveness and bow to him as slaves, but Joseph forgives them and tells him that he will provide for them and their families.

Joseph stayed in Egypt, but to told the Israelites that God would deliver them from Egypt. He made them swear that when that happens, they would carry his bones to the land promised to Abraham by God.

And done with Genesis.

Genesis Chapters 46, 47, & 48

Chapter 46

“So they loaded up the wagons and they moved to…the land of Goshen.” OK, it doesn’t have the same ring to it as Flatt and Scruggs (kids, ask your grandparents).

Anyway, Jacob/Israel and his entire household left Beer-Sheba and relocated to the land of Goshen in Egypt. The whole second paragraph of this chapter simply details all of the people who went. It turns out to be seventy in all, but I’ll let the reader go find out everyone’s names. It reads like a genealogy and as people know, I’m not a fan of those.

Joseph and his father, Jacob/Israel are finally reunited after many years, since that day his brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites. He can now die having seen that his son is alive. Joseph is going to tell Pharaoh that the family is now moved in and tells his brothers what to say. It turns out that Egyptians don’t care much for shepherds.

I wish I had more to say about this chapter, but there’s not much going on at this point. I think we can all predict what’s going to happen, since we still have sixty-five books to go after this one.

Chapter 47]

Joseph introduces the family the family to Pharaoh and the brothers tell him what Joseph told them to say and Pharaoh instructs Joseph to set them up on the best part of the land and put them in charge of his livestock as well. Then he brings in Jacob who blesses Pharaoh and Jacob tells him that he is one-hundred and thirty years old. Joseph settled them in the land of Rameses and gave them enough food to sustain them.

The famine raged on and the people bought as much food as they could with the money they had, but that wasn’t enough. Then they sold their livestock to Pharaoh to buy more food, but that still wasn’t enough to make it through the famine, so they sold their land to him and became slaves to Pharaoh in exchange for food. See where this is going? Then they had to give one-fifth of everything that they grew to Pharaoh. The priests didn’t have to sell their land or become slaves because they’re given an allowance by the Pharaoh.

Seventeen years after moving to the land of Goshen in Egypt, Jacob/Israel would die. Before he died, he called upon Joseph to swear an oath (by touching his junk) to bury him in the land of his ancestors. Joseph agreed.

So we get the origin of how the Israelites became slaves to Egypt and we will get the naming of the Twelve Tribes of Israel in a couple chapters. This chapter just felt anti-climactic with absolutely no resistance to being enslaved. I mean, they volunteered to be enslaved.

Chapter 48

Joseph came to his father’s bedside with his two children so that Jacob could bless them. Jacob tell Joseph that he will make him fruitful and multiply, but that Joseph’s two sons are now his (Jacob’s), because they will inherit the land that Jacob inherited. Anymore children that Joseph has will be his own.

When Jacob asked the two sons to approach and he blessed them, he put his right hand on the younger one’s head and his left on the older one’s head. This is obviously a callback to how Jacob got his father’s blessing as the younger. When Joseph tried to correct his father, he crossed his arms, still putting his right hand on the younger one’s head. Joseph wasn’t happy about this, but he didn’t seem to do anything about it. Jacob says that Ephraim, the younger, will be greater than his brother. Then he gives Joseph, I’m assuming, the land where Jacob’s ancestor’s are buried since he talks about land that he apparently took from the Amorites. The problem is that this didn’t happen, or at least it’s not anywhere in this book.

Saturday Sermon: Am I Pro-Life?

What does it mean to be pro-life? Is it simply enough to be anti-abortion? One would think that there is a lot more life out there to be in favor of preserving.

Dear reader, I would like you to pause here, minimize your browser window, and take a few minutes to think about what the term, “Pro-life” means to you, not what it means to other people or what it doesn’t mean.

[START NOW]

Pro-life to me is…

  • Ensuring that everybody has access to comprehensive healthcare which includes check-ups, health screenings, preventative care, testing, and treatment. This ensures that nobody has to ignore that lump or pain until it gets unbearable and only then do they find out that they have a serious illness.
    • This includes especially women, who have many different needs from men, including family planning, pre- and post-natal care, and access to safe abortions because no woman should be forced to give birth against her will.
    • This also includes children, who also have very different needs from adults including being vaccinated for childhood diseases, pediatric care, and dental care (see the next note)
    • This also includes access to mental healthcare for anyone who needs and an end to the stigma that goes with it.
    • I also believe that dental care should not be separate from medical care. We are all born with teeth and they should be taken care of.
  • Ensuring a good education for all of our kids so that they can have the tools necessary to be good stewards of this planet and to all of us when we get old. This especially includes offering comprehensive science education including discussing the problem of climate change.
  • Ensuring equal rights to all people regardless of age, sex, race, religion, color, sexual identity, disability, or mental illness.
  • Completely abolishing the death penalty. Human beings are imperfect and make mistakes, including by convicting and executing innocent people. Nobody should have burden put on them that they were responsible for execution of an innocent person.
  • Making wars the absolute last resort and instead, finding diplomatic solutions.
  • In light of the pandemic that we are living through, getting vaccinated and wearing a mask to help protect other people who may not be able to get vaccinated. Also, for those people in positions of authority, following the recommendations of the CDC and science-based health experts, and allowing communities with high rates of infection to institute mask and vaccine mandates without the fear of reprisal from the state.

So, am I pro-life?

Genesis Chapters 42, 43, 44, & 45

Chapter 42

So there is a famine “in the world” as it says at the end of the last chapter. This makes me think about how God “flooded the world” in Chapter 7. The world to the people writing these stories was Egypt, Canaan, Israel, and Mesopotamia. Hardly global, if you ask me. Anyway, I digress

There is a famine and Jacob sends his son to Egypt because they have the good stuff. He sends all of his sons except Benjamin because he feared that harm might come to him (like he thought it did Joseph?). So the brothers went to Egypt and met the governor who they didn’t recognize as the brother that they sold off to the Ishmaelites. Joseph recognized them, though.

OK, I’m confused. Joseph accuses them of being spies. The brothers tell Joseph who they are and that there is one younger brother who didn’t come with them. Joseph says that he will test them by letting one of them go to get the youngest brother while the rest are imprisoned. However, after three days, he lets all but one of them go home with all the grain that can carry and they must come back with Benjamin. So did one brother go and then eight others with grain, or were they all imprisoned for three days and then nine were sent back together? This book is confusing. How do people take it literally?

Reuben points out that the brothers were being punished for the way that they treated their brother. Oh how right they are. Anyway, Joseph hears them talking and understands them, though they don’t this since he used an interpreter. He had Simeon bound and sent the rest home with free grain and provisions.

So the brothers head for home, but when they find the money, they think that they’re being set up. They make it back to Canaan and tell Jacob what happened in a word for word telling of the last section. Jacob refuses to let Benjamin go with them, but Reuben makes him an offer.

37Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.” 38But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should come to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 107). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

So, Reuben decides that Jacob can kill his two sons if any harm comes to Benjamin. That seems completely insane.

Chapter 43

Jacob and his sons and their families ate up all the food that brought back in the previous chapter. Jacob tells his sons to go back to Egypt and buy more food, but Judah says, in not so few words, not unless they can bring Benjamin because the governor won’t even talk to them. Jacob wants to know why they even mentioned having a younger brother to which they essentially said, “What were we supposed to say?”

Anyway, Jacob let them take Benjamin, along with gifts of fruit and honey, and double their money to pay for the first load of grain. When they arrived, Joseph directed that they brought to his house, which was apparently the equivalent of getting sent to the principal’s office. However, Joseph’s steward assured them that their God must be smiling on them because he got his money.

Joseph got a little emotional when he saw Benjamin and went off into another room to get cleaned up so it didn’t look like he was crying. Then he ordered the feast to begin and Benjamin got five times the serving of his brothers. Also, Egyptians don’t eat with Hebrews because it is an abomination which is why Joseph was eating at a separate table.

Chapter 44

The next morning, Joseph orders the steward to load up the sack with grain and put their money in the top of each sack. Then he told him to put his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack. Then he sent the Steward after them and accused them of stealing his master’s silver cup. The brothers assure him that they haven’t stolen anything and have, in fact brought the money they felt they owed back with them.

I am not reading the Bible as if I know nothing about it. I know plenty about the stories throughout and I know that when somebody offers themselves as a sacrifice or a slave, it’s sure to not play out well for the person making the offer. In this case, one of the brothers makes the offer that if the cup is found, in whoever’s sack it is found, then he shall be put to death, and the rest will become slaves. Luckily, the steward, upon finding the cup in Benjamin’s sack, simply keeps him as his slave and sets the other brothers free. At this, the brothers all tore their clothes, and they returned to Joseph’s house.

Judah pleads for Benjamin’s release by basically repeating the whole story from the beginning, including the part where Jacob essentially says, “Don’t show back up at this house unless Benjamin is with you.” Judah offers himself as Joseph’s slave in exchange for Benjamin.

Chapter 45

There is not a lot to say about this chapter, at least not without the context of the rest of the chapters. Joseph could no longer contain himself and finally revealed to his brothers who he is. He told them that it was God who sent him to Egypt and that he now rules over the land. He sends his brothers to bring the whole family down along with their flocks and herds and live in the land of Goshen.

Pharaoh heard about this and basically repeated everything that was stated in the previous paragraph, and he even supplied wagons for the trip. He also gave them food, garments, and money. When they got back to Jacob, he demanded to see him before he died.

Genesis Chapters 39, 40, & 41

Chapter 39

While I look at as Joseph as the Cousin Oliver of this section, I will say that he wasn’t a letch. Joseph was bought from the Ishmaelites by Potiphar, the captain of the Pharaoh’s guard. He was made the overseer of Potiphar’s house and God smiled on him. Potiphar had no concerns while Joseph was around, but that was about to change.

Potiphar’s wife (who is nameless) had eyes for Joseph and wanted him to lay with her. He refused because he was entrusted with all that is his master’s and he didn’t want to betray that trust. One day, however, while he was doing chores, she grabbed a hold of his garment and demanded that he lay with her. He ran off, leaving the garment behind. She yelled out that Joseph had attempted to lie with her and ran off when she yelled. She told this to Potiphar as well and he threw Joseph in the king’s slammer.

While in jail, Joseph endeared himself to the chief jailer, who allowed to him to care for all of the prisoners and the chief didn’t pay attention to Joseph because God was with him.

OK, so Joseph isn’t a bad guy here. He didn’t accept the advances of his master’s wife, and he seemed to care for the people in the jail. I think I can safely say that he is a Mary Sue.

Chapter 40

Pharaoh has had enough of you

One of the many issues I have with this book is that the authors refer to the leader of Egypt as Pharaoh. Pharaoh is not a name, it’s a title. This tells me that these are nothing more than stories rather than a history. If the authors were going for a concise history of the day, they would have given the name of the Pharaoh. Anyway, let’s get on with this chapter.

The Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and baker were imprisoned for offending their master, and they were put in Joseph’s care. During that time, they dreamt weird dreams having a lot to do with the number three. Joseph, being able to interpret dreams, interpreted each of their dreams. It turns out that the Pharaoh would lift up the cupbearer’s head, figuratively, and he would be restored to his original post in three days. Joseph told the cupbearer to remember him. As far as baker goes, Pharaoh would lift his head up, literally, and hang him from a post.

As it turns out, Joseph was right. Pharaoh gave his cupbearer his job back, but he did not remember Joseph. The baker was hanged. I wonder what he did to offend Pharaoh?

Chapter 41

Two years after the previous chapter, Pharaoh has a dream about seven fat cows being eaten by seven skinny cows and seven ears of plump grain being eaten by seven ears of blighted grain. None of the magicians of Egypt are able to interpret the completely obvious metaphors for seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, but the cupbearer finally remembered Joseph after two freakin’ years and told Pharaoh that he could interpret those dreams. So Joseph was summoned.

Joseph explained the obvious meaning of the dreams, which is as I said above, a seven year boom time followed by a seven year bust. He also tells Pharaoh to select a man who is discerning and wise (hint, hint) to organize the effort to store food for the famine to come.

Obviously there is nobody in Egypt who knows warehouse management and logistics, so he appoints Joseph to do the job and makes him the second in command. Pharaoh blinged him out, gave him a chariot, and made everyone bow before him as he rode by. He also got a wife in Potiphera’s daughter. Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim and he was put in charge of food rationing during the seven years of famine.

So Joseph found some success in Egypt. The authors just really made him a way-too-perfect character so far. He can interpret dreams, excels at resource management, and is a real people person. I’ll bet if he was around today. He would be an expert at the game, Sim City.