What is indigestible to my sense of proportion regarding the Christian clergy, is their skimming over facts to sustain their impression of certain Biblical characters.
Joseph, whose history finds narration in the late 30’s and early 40’s of the Book of Genesis, is gilted by the preachers to purvey their notions of Joseph. My mom, was so fascinated by those homilies that she decided to name me after him, which for me has turned into a double jeopardy! One I am supposed to be WISE, EFFICIENT & SPOTLESS like the Genesis Joseph. Secondly, others expect me to be meek like Mary’s husband and the foster father of Jesus. Both the Josephs hardly did anything to deserve what they got!
Ten of his brothers wanted to put Old Testament’s Joseph’s dreams to test, in the New Testament matter, an angel convinced him that the child of Mary was of the Holy Ghost and not through fornication. Both the Joseph’s would have been happier had they not been put through what they had been put through providence!
The caption of this blog is with specific reference to the Joseph of the Old Testament. The preachers I’ve listened to have emphasised on three major points : IMPECCABLE PERSONAL LIFE OF JOSEPH; DILIGENT IN WHATEVER WAS ASSIGNED TO HIM; finally, HIS HOPE WITHOUT ANY ASSURANCE FROM THE CIRCUMSTANCES HE FOUND HIMSELF IN! The three points are all true, but the preachers fail to talk of how Joseph incarcerated his 10 brothers, including Ruben, for three days and close to a year Simeon!
That was what made Joseph an able administrator! He had a long memory and he carpe deim-ed superbly well, when he was offered a slight chance! He believed in his OWN DREAMS & DID NOT LET GO OF A HALF-CHANCE, WHEN IT LENT ITSELF TO HIS VIEW!
Ruben is supposed to have tried to save Joseph from his brothers, by first recommending his assignment to a pit for later recovery, instead of killing Joseph. Meanwhile the rapacious Judah, devises to get more out of the lad, than merely getting Joseph out of the way by selling Joseph for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites!
Joseph, as narrated in Genesis, was inescapably under the control of murderous, rapacious and lying brothers, except for Ruben. Joseph puts him also in jail for three days, hoping Ruben would sprout a spine. Joseph gives an intense treatment to his ten brothers, of what he himself had to go through hopelessly for more than a decade, clutching at a hope that the Cup bearer of the Pharoah, would get him out through a timely word slipped to the Pharaoh while offering his heady potion! All his efforts had been in vain. Nothing brought him the intended results within the expected time frame, which in lesser mortals could have nibbled away their Hope! Joseph persisted, by hindsight it is easy to say that he was able to sustain his hope because of his innocence. Only two people knew about his culpability, joseph being the one, and the other being Potiphar’s wife!
When he got his brothers, excepting Benjamin, he got them by what hurt them most. When the sh** hits the roof, each is on his own, in keeping with that old adage, the brothers call into remembrance their guilt of not having been kind to the desperate pleas of their stripling brother Joseph. Three days in the cooler and each cracks up – JAILED IN AN ALIEN LAND, where the Egyptians believe that they are superior to the shepherdic Jews(?)- there were hardly 70 jews by then- alive.
Joseph, gets each one to pay for his heartlessness or complicity to it. The best part was, Joseph separates Simeon from Levi! What an administrative genius. Joseph keeps them apart for close to a year! Joseph makes Judah mellow down and keeps Simeon incommunicado from his other brothers. Joseph doesn’t even reveal to Simeon that he was Simeon’s brother, till they all return for the second trip.
What amazes me is Joseph’s assessment of people and situation coupled with restraint when clothed with absolute power. Joseph was one who disproved Lord Acton’s off quoted saying on POWER, long before the saying came in!
It is time Christian preachers taught the willing, such aspects of the Jewish history instead of packaging Joseph as an icon for encapsulating their pet half-baked guilt theories!