*image originated from here
Day 8: Genesis 36 – 40
This chapter is the genealogy of Esau and the kingdom of Edom. I highly suggest you read this one and compare it to the other genealogies we’ve read so far. What I found interesting was the way it talked about Esau’s wives, their grandsons, and the other women mentioned for no reason we know of in this genealogy. It also points out that Esau and Jacob were too rich to live closely together, the land couldn’t support all their livestock so Esau moved away.
Siblings, if you don’t have one you probably want one. If you do have one or more you can most likely relate to Joseph’s brothers. He is the favorite, the one who always gets nice things and never has to work for it. I know I have that sibling! They get away with everything and my parents don’t even know they’re being manipulating them into it. Now imagine this sibling comes up to and is says something like, “I just got this awesome message from God in a dream that I’m going to get really rich and powerful and you’re going to be my servant!” I would be thinking something like, if there was a God He’d be giving you a beating not more of everything you want. Now I wouldn’t go as far as selling them off, but I know there has been death threats made, lots of eye-rolling, and plenty of yelling, “You’re stupid!” “So? Mom loves me better than you!” We definitely have the tattle-telling thing going on which leads to some serious questions of loyalty since we all know it’s supposed to be team kids against team parents…. You get the picture, so it isn’t hard to understand Joseph’s brothers’ motivation for their actions. You better believe that you’d be lying about it too if you suddenly became dumb enough to sell your parent’s favorite kid into slavery and that lie would definitely not point ANY responsibility on you. If you’re also parents just imagine what you would do to that poor idiot child when you found out what they did, then reevaluate yourself if you were thinking that you wouldn’t lie about this.
None of that excuses their actions. We can understand it because we’re sinners too. That doesn’t mean that this is the way it should be. Without sin Jacob wouldn’t have had a favorite son to begin with. His brothers wouldn’t have been jealous of his achievements or blessings, or tried to kill him, or sold him into slavery and Joseph himself wouldn’t have been spying on them to take a bad report back to his dad. Sin to cover up sin doesn’t make anything better, it only escalates a bad situation more quickly.
Another story you didn’t talk about in Sunday school. Judah now moves away from Jacob’s household to start his own. He marries and has 3 sons of his own, the oldest he marries to Tamar. Then something interesting happens. Judah’s oldest son is wicked in the Lord’s sight so He puts him to death. What?!? If selling you’re brother to slave-traders isn’t wicked where in the world is this line? Judah then does as is custom in their culture and gives Tamar as wife to his second son so that he can produce offspring for his brother. Knowing that any children she has won’t be his own, the second son makes sure she doesn’t get pregnant which is also wicked so he is put to death by God. Judah then sends her back to her father’s house to live as a widow while his third son grows up, of course he is now worried that his third son will die too. Some time later when his third son is grown Judah breaks his promise by not giving Tamar to him as a wife. She hears that her father-in-law is going to be in the region she is living so she dresses up as a prostitute and sits by the road he will be travelling. He sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant by him. For a pledge that he will bring her payment later, not knowing who she is, he gives her his staff, cord, and seal (basically his identity). When his friend returns to pay her, he cannot find her and the men of the area say that there isn’t a prostitute anywhere near them. Judah shuts up about the matter to avoid further embarrassment. Several months later he finds out Tamar is pregnant and it definitely isn’t by her betrothed husband, the penalty is death. When he sends to have her killed she sends back a message about who the father of her offspring is. He recognizes his own staff, cord, and seal. Then says she was right in what she did because he broke his promise. When she gives birth she has twins, Perez and Zerah. I would like to point out one more thing about this story though that makes all the difference in the choices that we see Joseph make in the next chapter. Judah is a married man who had no business sleeping with a prostitute in the first place much less giving her his identity. He knows that this is wrong, which is why he doesn’t turn the countryside upside down looking for her and his identity when his friend can’t find her to retrieve them. Men this was such a great shame to him that he would rather lose his identity, the power that came with that identity, and credibility of his actions with his seal in someone else’s hands rather than be found out for these actions!
Meanwhile, Joseph arrives in Egypt and is sold to the Pharaoh’s Captain of the Guard. God blesses Joseph’s work in spite of his circumstances. Soon he is entrusted with his master’s entire estate, everything is there to do with as he pleases except the man’s wife. This woman is very beautiful, but she lusts after Joseph. Guys imagine this: she comes to him day after day asking him to sleep with her…and he refuses! Just saying, this is why I have high expectations, gentlemen you have no excuses. Joseph was by no means perfect, but he was capable of honesty and self control. Since she can’t get him to sleep with her she frames him as if he raped her and accuses him to her husband. Every movie I have ever seen about Joseph, at this point, has him seriously questioning God right here for the way he’s being treated or they have his master hear out his side. That didn’t happen according to the Bible. His master was rightly furious for if such a crime had been committed, remember that his own brothers destroyed an entire town because of an action just like that to their sister. Thinking of it in that way it is practically a miracle that his master only throws him in prison and doesn’t kill him on the spot. God is merciful too, soon Joseph is running the prison and making it prosperous. In the movies he’s ready to quit and he’s asking God why He’s abandoned him. Real Joseph doesn’t do either of those things even though he is tested certainly to the edges of human limits he holds out faith that God will keep the promise He once sent him in those dreams that seem so long ago now.
While in prison Joseph meets Pharaoh’s baker and cup bearer who have been accused of theft. Through there dreams Joseph is able to tell these two prisoners what their sentence will be. He begs the cup bearer to remember him and tell Pharaoh his case to get him out of prison when the cup bearer is returned to court innocent. The cup bearer forgets.