So. I finished Genesis. There is a _lot_ to Genesis, which is why it took me 3 blogs to get it all the way done. Imagine like 5 of your favorite novels condensed into a few paragraphs and mushed together and that’s what makes Genesis so hard. There are all these different stories, but all of them go under the larger story arc.
In the final part of Genesis, Joseph is chronicled. His father is that liar Jacob, he of the smooth skin and brother blessing stealing. Jacob loves Joseph most of all and gives him a finely brocaded coat to prove it. He then sends him out to check on his older brothers, whom Joseph has tormented with two dreams he had where it appeared they were bowing to him. They see him and decide to throw him into an empty cistern. The eldest, Reuben, in the hopes of saving him tells them to throw him in but to do nothing else. (Reuben previously laid with his father’s concubine, costing him the elder’s rights of inheritance, so maybe he was hoping to get back into dad’s graces). Reuben then leaves. A traveling band of slavers passes by, and the 11 other brothers, led by Judah (who, oddly, contributes to the line of David, that contributes to the line that Jesus comes from, thereby disproving the whole “sins of the fathers” thing 😀 ), sell Joseph as a slave. Joseph is taken to Egypt and finds favor in his master’s house. But apparently Joseph is good looking, so the wife wants him. Bad. He tells her no, that it would be a sin against God to take her, as she is the one thing his master has not given him control or use of. The wife attempts kissing him anyway. He runs off, leaving his robe in her hand. She then cries “Rape!”. His master has him thrown in jail for no reason. But he is kind enough to throw him into the prison that the high ranking prisoners are held in. Joseph quickly gets in good with the jailer, always because of God’s favor. He ends up interpreting two dreams, one for the Pharaoh’s cup bearer and one for the Pharaoh’s baker. He asks the cup bearer to remember him and help him out of prison where he is unjustly held. The cupbearer forgot him. The baker might have remembered him, but as he lost his head about 24 hours later, it probably did Joseph no good. Years pass, where Joseph still remains in prison. Then the Pharaoh has two very strange dreams that he consults with a variety of supposed soothsayers, and dream interpreters, none of whom can interpret the dream. The cup bearer FINALLY remembers Joseph and the Pharaoh calls him. Asks him if he can interpret his dreams. Joseph says he cannot, but that God can. He then interprets the dreams as meaning 7 years of bounty were to be followed by 7 years of famine and that Pharaoh should start storing wheat etc against the eventual 7 years. He listens and elevates Joseph up into the high position, the one in charge of doing all this. Joseph does his job and does it well. When the famine hits, Egypt is good, in fact Egypt is better, because Egypt is able to sell grain to other countries. Suddenly, who at Joseph’s door should appear? Why Reuben and 10 other brothers a-begging. They don’t recognize Joseph. He forces them into leaving one of the brothers behind and says to not return until they bring Jacob with them. They end up coming back, Joseph reveals himself, after fighting with his anger for awhile and realizing that he needed to treat his family well.
I didn’t read the Count of Monte Cristo yet, Dave read it. However, I did recently see the adaptation with Guy Pierce. And all through reading this story in Genesis again, all I could think of was the Count of Monte Cristo. Man gets framed and sold by brothers. (Genesis). Man gets framed and imprisoned by best friend he grew up with (Count). Man spends years in servitude and jail (Genesis). Man spends years in prison. (Count). Man becomes powerful and wealthy (Genesis). Man finds treasure and becomes powerful and wealthy (Count). Man is bitter and wants revenge against brothers (Genesis). Man is bitter and wants revenge against friends and others who wrongly treated him. (Count). The movie ended differently than the book I think, so my comparison stops there. However, as you can see, my original section holds true. We keep hearing some of the same stories retold and retold in different ways. How many stories depend on a woman wronged accusing a man of violating her? (I know, I know, it adds to the whole “she asked for it” mindset, which is not my intention here as I think that’s disgusting. But, it is a common literary device).
Genesis is definitely worth a read, as there were side stories in here included in the larger stories that I didn’t really go into. Give it a read 🙂 It is worth it, whether you believe in God/Christ or are just interested in the literary side of things. My one recommendation? Read it in a study bible. It gives all sorts of historical notes and cross references that, for me, enhance the story a TON.
In two weeks, we shall discuss Luke. Or possibly Matthew. Whichever Gospel I decide I feel like talking about as we go into the Christmas holiday 🙂