Bible Discussion — Genesis 44-46

May 23, 2007, 12:30 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Chloe, David, Job, Josh J, MC-B, Steve  | 6 Comments

This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next three chapters of the Bible, Genesis 44-46.

Previously in Genesis:
1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18-2 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43

 
INTRODUCTION:
Steve:
One of my least favorite tactics in weekly sitcoms was the pivotal “To Be Continued” episode. Even in the most formulaic of comedies, when even a ten-year-old knew precisely how the dilemma would eventually be resolved, there was always that moment of regret and horror when it became clear you would have to wait SEVEN more days for the ending.

Well, here’s that ending, and this time, it was well worth the wait.

David:
In this section Joseph is reunited with his brethren and his father, and they move into Egypt to fulfill the prophecy that they would be enslaved for 400 years before a deliverer would arise.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Steve:
Judah didn’t lie to Joseph when he explained the family history — Joseph did go out from him, he really did SAY, “Surely he is torn to pieces,” and he truly believed he had never seen him since. Perhaps this technical truthfulness was connected to the role he believed God would play in the decision about the theft of the silver cup.

Josh:
When Jacob agreed to go down to Egypt, neither he nor anyone with him had any idea how exactly to get where they were actually going. Who says men won’t ask for directions?

MC-B:
I never realized how extensively detailed the list of the people who went to Egypt was.

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
MC-B: The Sons of Gad
Chloe: Closely Bound, Directions to Goshen
Steve, Josh: Loaded Donkey
Josh: Pharaoh’s Daddy
David: Muppim, Huppim and Ard
Job: Boyhood On

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
Chloe:
Joseph’s actions from Potiphar’s house proved his resiliency and sagacity. When it came to his brothers, however, he was downright shrewd. It brings to mind Jesus’ parable of the shrewd manager, which I didn’t understand for a long time, because I thought the shrewd manager was simply dishonest; why would Jesus tell us to be like him? Joseph’s actions, however, are a model of the type of shrewdness of which Jesus would approve, I imagine. Not only does he ease his way back into his family, learning as much as he can while keeping his hand to himself, but he also manages to bless his brothers to the utmost and make them as grateful as possible to the one they tried to kill.

MC-B:
A sappy made-for-TV reunion movie from the fine folks at Lifetime.

Josh:
When Joseph’s steward chased down the planted silver cup, it reminded me very much of Laban chasing down Jacob and his stolen household gods, except this time there was nobody to sit on the goods. Taking their father’s cue, the men swear that if anyone has the item, he would die. Since their silver was inexplicably returned after their last visit, this seems especially short sighted. But hyperbolic bravado seems almost expected, since the steward immediately scales down the terms. Still, this seems like the kind of situation that led Christ to tell us to simply let our yes be yes and our no be no.

Job:
The Egyptians as the Beverly Hillsians and the Israelites as the Clampetts, who roll their shepherding selves into town to live in the mansion that was Goshen.

Steve:
When Jacob got the good news about his son, some translations say his “heart stood still.” They say that shocking news can lead to heart failure…

David:
3 years ago, when I went to hear a friend preach, he threw his notes aside, not knowing I was there, and preached: “Joseph, it’s time to come out of the prison.” God had used Joseph’s story to tell me to wait for twelve years, and through that message God told me to step out into the ministry again.

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
David:
God’s plans are his own; we can only ride them out and stay faithful. Famines come, and they’re not a lack of faith or a sign that you have strayed from God’s will.

MC-B:
Though his brothers did a wicked thing to him, Joseph knew that if they had not, he wouldn’t have found the important work God had for him in Egypt. Everything God does is purposeful.

Steve:
The pleasures of vengeance are fleeting and sour; we see here that true satisfaction comes through real forgiveness.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
Job:
While I should be pleased when reading the account of Joseph and his brother’s reconciliation, I find myself, sadly, cringing more. “Weeping.” There is something so cringe-worthy about weeping and it’s something their culture appeared to employ quite often.

David:
Burnt ashes of dove dung was the most sought-after treatment for male baldness in 17th century Scotland.

Chloe:
What did the steward think of all that Joseph was doing? He put the money and the silver cup in the sack, then he accused the brothers of stealing that same cup after finding it again. Was he in on the plan, or was he thoroughly confused?

MC-B:
All shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians?

Steve:
In the closing list of Jacob’s descendants, we see that the youngest son, Benjamin, had a whopping ten sons, while fourth-born Dan only had one. With odds like that, it’s all the more surprising that Benjamin wound up as a small tribe eventually.

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
Josh:
The parallels between Joseph and Jesus continue as Joseph reveals himself, back from the (in this case, presumed) dead. His brothers react with shock, fear and disbelief as Joseph lets them know he went through this to save them.

Job:
Joseph is oft credited with being a Christ figure but it is Judah who first, and eloquently, states the gospel message.

Steve:
The power that brought about such redemption in his ancestor Judah.

David:
In Joseph, forgiving his brothers and saving them with a great deliverance.

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
David:
46:2 — And God spake unto Jacob in visions of the night saying “Jacob, Jacob:” and he said “Here am I.”

Job, Steve:
45:5 — “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.”

Josh:
45:7 — “And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”

Chloe:
44:33 — “Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad as a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.”

MC-B:
46:3 — “I am God, the God of your father,” He said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.”

 
PORTION YOU WOULD MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
MC-B:
It would be nice to understand for certain the reasons Joseph decided not to tell his brothers who he was initially, instead going through the whole “whoever stole the cup will be my slave” thing.

Steve:
Were Pharaoh and his servants REALLY so thrilled that all of Joseph’s brothers showed up? I would have liked to see that scene, when the hairless prissy Egyptian royalty met the unkempt and uncultured Israelite shepherds.

David:
Was Joseph’s motive to treat his brothers well and save them right from the beginning, or was God working on him while he mistreated them for purposes of revenge for a short time?

Josh:
Was there another way to save Israel besides having Joseph endure what he endured? God used the situation for their deliverance, but presumably his brothers were still not acting according to God’s will when they sold him. What would God have done if they had treated Joseph righteously?

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Josh:
Perhaps the toughest part of telling a lie is that you don’t just have to tell it once, you have to live it out from that point forth until it’s exposed. Even as Judah is pleading with Joseph for Benjamin and laying out all the family history, he still sticks with Jacob’s “torn to pieces” understanding of the events. At a time that called for straight shooting, this was as close to truth as he could bring himself.

David:
God is faithful.

MC-B:
Reconciliation is always possible among believers.

Job:
Dr. Arensen, a Houghton Professor and missionary to Africa said in a class once that “everyone is a stranger sometimes.” This struck me as a very keen point about the seasons of life all humans go through. But in a passage like this, I am reminded that having God as constant company means we are never alone. We can do good works with reckless abandon, toe the moral line, and live the faithful life, even while knowing our human surroundings are foreign, and we are new in the eyes of people we may not know. But God is hearth and home wherever the wind may take us.

 
CONCLUSION:
MC-B:
At last we’ve come upon an ending that feels like a Godly one; forgiveness and restoration are running rampant. All that remains now are blessings and a famine.

Steve:
And now we have almost completed the earliest history of the nation of Israel, with an explanation of how they and the world came to be, the story of their most important ancestors and families, and the tale of how they came to be in Egypt. Soon this idyllic scene will turn a shade darker; the Exodus looms on their horizon, and ours.


Comments

6 Comments to “Bible Discussion — Genesis 44-46”

  1. dsweetgoober on May 23rd, 2007 7:45 pm

    Benjamin ends up being so small partly because in Judges chapter 20 they go from 25,700 guys to 600. A bad day for them.

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