My Mum's Ancient Family Bible

My Mum's Ancient Family Bible
Kept in the garage of all places for so many years, it's finally been put to good use.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm a Slave 4 U (Genesis 46-50)

Before I wind down the Book of Genesis, I think that I should mention some of the things in it that are presented as perfectly acceptable:

General Trickery
Making People Slaves
Passing Out Naked in Front of Your Tent
Killing Lots and Lots of People
Handing Your Daughter Over for Gang Rape

I know the Old Testament doesn't have the warm and fuzzy reputation of the New, but c'mon. What is most confusing to me about using the Bible as a moral reference is that it is completey unclear which lessons we're supposed to draw on.

Okay. Genesis 46 picks up with Joseph, who has recently been reunited with his brothers and father. Unfortunately, they're shepherds and it's the middle of a famine. Shepherding skills are about as useful as a bag of dust right about now. Anyway, this was set up to be a big crisis but it's not even a big deal because they're sent off to the more fertile land of Goshen, which leaves me wondering why everyone doesn't go there if it's better. I don't know. Perhaps Egyptians are a listless people who enjoy complaining.

As previously established, Joseph is in charge of selling grain. When the people run out of money he takes their cattle. When the people run out of cattle he takes their fields. And finally, when the people run out of fields he makes them slaves. What a great guy. All this profits the Pharaoh, on whom Joseph must have some sort of a man-crush.

Israel, Joseph's father, gives a big, long speech on his deathbed about his twelve sons and what different fates will find them. There are clearly favourites. Personally, I'd want to be Asher: "Asher's food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal dainties" (Gen 49: 20). I interpret this to mean that he'll become some sort of superior pastry chef or chocolatier. It's probably more important to note that the descendents of his twelve sons comprise the tribes of Israel.

Genesis 50 ends with Joseph forgiving his brothers for their previous transgressions against him (I thought we were already past that?). He says, "As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good..." (Gen 50:20). This seems very Eat, Pray, Love to me. You know, everyone's a teacher to you and you're on a journey and you wouldn't be who you are today if it weren't for... blah, blah, blah.

I love that book/movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment