February 20

Psalm 45; Psalm 47; Psalm 48; Genesis 37:12-24; 1 Corinthians 1:20-31; Mark 1:14-28

They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.”  Genesis 37:19-20

Joseph is sold by his brothers following Joseph’s “Dreams of Greatness” in this story in Genesis 37:12-24. A re-reading of this familiar story of Joseph features a series of events that appear to be “bad luck”: Joseph, by answering “here I am” was sent by “Israel to assist his brothers in pasturing the flock”. When he asks a man in the fields about where his brothers might be, he follows the man’s directions to Dothan. The brothers saw him coming, and conspire to kill him, but Reuben asks them to not take his life, “shed no blood: but “throw him into this pit in the wilderness but lay no hand on him.” So, they (jealously) “strip him of his robe” (with sleeves) and threw him into a pit in which there was no water. Was there no water so he would suffer and then die of thirst, or was he lucky that there was no rain so that he would not drown? Seeing a caravan of Ishmaelites with camels, they instead sell him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, and Joseph was taken to Egypt. Reuben returns to rescue Joseph only to find just Joseph’s robe, soaked in blood (of a slaughtered goat). We know that Joseph maximized his talents by serving the Egyptian king well, so he saved enough grain to feed not only the Egyptians, but also his family and his countrymen. So, this story can be read as a tragedy, or a fortunate unfolding of God’s will for Joseph, the Egyptians, the family of Joseph when they are reunited, and, ultimately, the people of Israel. And us?

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise him all creatures here below.
Praise him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.