Sunday, February 4, 2018

Genesis 37-50 #2018BibleRBR


I'm doing this chronologically my posts will be grouped a little differently than weekly check-in posts that Adam is doing on RBR.  I started off with Genesis 1-11 and then chronologically the story moves to Job.  We are now back in Genesis and this post will cover everything up until the story of Joseph.

As I mentioned in the first Genesis post this book of the bible is broken down into four parts:
The Book of Gensis is divided as follows:
1. The Primeval History (1-11)2. The Patriarch Abraham (12-25:18)
3. The Patriarchs Isaac and Jacob (25:19 - 36)
4. Joseph and His Brothers (37-50)
This is the final section of Genesis.  This is the story of Joseph who is much beloved by his father and hated by his older brothers. You may know this story because of the Broadway show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  I, however, have never seen it, and only kinda like a song or two from the show.

There are a lot of lessons in this story. The story of Joseph and his brothers reinforces the concept of forgiveness especially when you've been greatly mistreated. His brothers threw him down a well and then instead of killing him, they sell him to Egyptians.  Then poor Joseph gets arrested because some woman takes a fancy to him and he's too upstanding to do anything with her.  (Women get a really bad rap in the Bible.  We'll talk about this more in future chapters.)

While in jail Joseph interprets two dreams for two men Pharaoh sent to prison. They both come true so when Pharaoh is struggling with a dream he had, Joseph is brought in to interpret. He is so on target Pharaoh is like you know what, I'm going to just be a figurehead and you're going to run things.

One of these dreams was about a famine. This affected Joseph's brothers and they went down to Egypt. Joseph knows these are his brothers and gives them what they want, but sets them up. He puts them into a moral dilemma as a way to teach them a lesson. They prove that they aren't horrible men, they love their father' they do show remorse over what they did to him, and they are men of their words.

This is the start of the migration of the people to Egypt.

So now an interesting part:

GN 38, 8 - "Then Judah said to Onan, "Unite with your brother's widow, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother's line."
First GN 38 feels like it's kind of just shoved into this story. It has a purpose, to show the passage of time between Joseph being sold to a courtier of Pharaoh and when he gets sent to jail.  This chapter covers this law where if a married man dies without an heir, his brother must marry his wife and produce an heir for his brother.  So Onan would father a child but in the eyes of the law the child would be considered his brother's son.  This is call Levirate Marriage.

I laughed when I read this chapter because it reminded me about this really bad movie I saw as a child. The movie is Holy Matrimony with Patricia Arquette and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Patricia plays a woman involved with a man who left the Amish life/faith. They rob a store/bank/something and hide out back with his family where he hid the money.  They tell everyone they are married. He dies and because of Levirate Marriage is something they believe in the man's much younger brother, JGL, must marry her.  This is awkward and makes for some bad comedy.  However, I can imagine similar age difference might have been common in the time of the bible story.

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