Friday, January 14, 2011

New Year: Gen 44-47 for Jan 14

To give these chapters their due would take the skill of everyone on this planet who has ever missed their father, and anyone who has ever missed a son, and anyone who has had love for a brother, and any family member who has missed another, put together -- and then they could not come up with such a tremendous story, even if they had the freedom to make up fiction. For one simple reason: we know that through this story blessing has in reality come to the world, and will come.

There is humor here, when the brothers of Joseph, who were clever enough when they were younger to fake story after story, prove embarassingly stupid before Pharaoh in 47:3, after being coached in 46:34, how to speak to Pharaoh.

Another interesting issue is how the Lord's use of history and "the big picture" is undoubtably emphasized, but the specifically religious piety of either Joseph, or his brothers, or Jacob, is minimal. 46:1-4 is the sum of God's direct and explicit intervention in the events of this story. Is this saying something? I do believe so. In modern terms, we could say that it is not necessary for God to micromanage, for His will to occur.

The climax of the narrative of Genesis is 45:1-13. God, however, has foreseen and planned, and the reader knows or remembers, more: what God said hundreds of years before to Abraham: "Know for certain that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years" (15:13). We haven't reached the end of this history, which was always known to God and originally told to Abraham long before.

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