Category Archives: Genesis

A dream come true, or Joseph’s Revenge!

Genesis 42
The famine in the previous chapter was not just in Egypt, but the entire region. Joseph’s family sends ten of his brothers to Egypt to buy grain. Jacob, their father, keeps Benjamin behind for fear that something bad might happen to him. Joseph immediately recognizes his brothers, but keeps his identity hidden, and speaks harshly to them, accusing them of being spies, and locks them all up for three days. After three days, Joseph stated that in order to prove their innocence the brothers must return with their youngest, the caveat being that one brother must remain in custody. Simeon was bound, and the other 9 brothers were loaded with grain and sent home. Upon return, the brothers informed their father, Jacob, of what had happened, and also discovered that their money had been returned. However, Jacob refused to let the brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin in order to rescue Simeon.

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The rewards for being a diviner of dreams

Genesis 41

Joseph is brought in to interpret a pair of dreams for the pharaoh:

After a lapse of two years, Pharaoh had a dream. He was standing by the Nile, when up out of the Nile came seven cows, fine-looking and fat; they grazed in the reed grass. Behind them seven other cows, poor-looking and gaunt, came up out of the Nile; and standing on the bank of the Nile beside the others, the poor-looking, gaunt cows devoured the seven fine-looking, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

He fell asleep again and had another dream. He saw seven ears of grain, fat and healthy, growing on a single stalk. Behind them sprouted seven ears of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind; and the thin ears swallowed up the seven fat, healthy ears. Then Pharaoh woke up—it was a dream! (Genesis 41:1-7)

Joseph interprets these dreams as meaning that there will be seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine, and advises Pharaoh to stock up on food in preparation for the famine. Pharaoh is so pleased with Joseph that he appoints him second in charge of Egypt, outranked only by the pharaoh. He is given a signet ring, fine robes, an Egyptian name, a new wife, etc.

Joseph’s interpretation came to fruition, and seven years of prosperity was followed by seven years of famine. Thankfully, in his new position, Joseph had prepared Egypt for the famine, and the people were able to eat.

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What did the baker do to get impaled?

Genesis 40

Whole Joseph was imprisoned, the royal baker and cup bearer were imprisoned as well. While doing his duties one day, he noticed that they looked disturbed. Upon inquiry, they stated that they had both had dreams, but nobody to interpret them. Joseph offered his help. First was the cup bearer:

“I saw a vine in front of me, and on the vine were three branches. It had barely budded when its blossoms came out, and its clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; so I took the grapes, pressed them out into his cup, and put it in Pharaoh’s hand.” (Genesis 40:10-11)

Joseph interprets this dream favorably, telling the man that he will be restored to his former position of cup bearer. Joseph then requests that when this happens, that the cup bearer tell the pharaoh about Joseph, and how he was kidnapped from his land and is wrongly imprisoned. Because of the favorable interpretation given to the cup bearer, the baker asks for his dream to be interpreted as well:

“I too had a dream. In it I had three bread baskets on my head; in the top one were all kinds of bakery products for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.” (Genesis 40:16-17)

Joseph did not interpret this dream in a favorable way. Instead, he told the baker that in three days the pharaoh would have him impaled. Three days later the pharaoh had a banquet, and Joseph’s interpretations of the dreams came true. The baker was impaled, and the cup bearer was restored to his position, however he did not tell the pharaoh about Joseph.

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Blessed people make good servants

Genesis 39

Joseph (whose brothers tried to kill him and left him down a well) was sold into slavery in Egypt. Joseph was good at being a house servant, and his master made him his personal servant. Joseph was trusted with the household, and with this God blessed the entire house. The masters wife took a liking to Joseph, and continuously asked him to sleep with her. Joseph always refused, seeing the act as a sin against God. One day she came onto him by grabbing his cloak. Joseph ran away, leaving his cloak in her hand. She then told the other servants and her husband that Joseph tried to have his way with her, but her screams prevented it. The master of the house had Joseph imprisoned. God remained with Joseph while in prison, causing the jailer to be well disposed towards Joseph. Joseph was put in charge of the prisoners, and just about anything else that had to be done.

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God is watching you have sex

Genesis 38

Judah, one of Jacob’s sons marries an unnamed woman. With her he has 3 sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. Er marries Tamar, but he greatly offended God, so God killed him. Judah then gives Tamar to Onan saying,

“Have intercourse with your brother’s wife, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.”

Onan knew that any child conceived with Tamar would be considered his brothers, so every time they had sex, he pulled out. This made God angry, and God killed him. Judah then sent Tamar back to her father’s house, telling her to wait until Shelah grows up. Time passes, and Judah’s wife dies. After he mourns he goes to visit the people who shear his sheep. Tamar is told of his journey, and she takes off her widow’s clothes and wraps herself in a shawl, and waits for Judah to pass. At this point Shelah has grown up, but Tamar has not been given to him. When Judah passes her, he thinks she is a prostitute, and does not recognize her as his daughter-in-law. For the price of a young goat he has sex with Tamar. After, Tamar goes home and back to being a widow. When Judah becomes aware that Tamar is pregnant, she is accused of being a prostitute. Tamar then reveals that it is Judah’s child she is carrying, and he says that she is in the right, because he did not give her to Shelah. Tamar is not burned to death, and has twins.

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The consequences of having big dreams

Genesis 37

Joseph is Jacob’s favorite son. One day he has a dream in which he and his brothers were bundling grain, when his bundle floated up, and his brothers bundles formed a circle around his and the bowed down to it. His brothers already did not like him, because he was the favored son, and this dream made them like him even less. Joseph then had another dream in which the son, the moon, and eleven stars all bowed down to him. This angered his family even more. One day Jacob sends Joseph out to find his brothers who are tending their flocks. His brothers spotted him before he them, and they plotted to kill him. Reuben objects, and instead of killing Joseph, suggests that they throw him into a cistern instead. When Joseph finally meets them, they strip him of his tunic and thrown him into a cistern. They did not kill him, but instead conspired to sell him to the Ishmaelites. Reuben went back to fetch Joseph, however he was no longer in the cistern. The brothers dipped Jacobs tunic in animal blood and sent it to Jacob, their father. Jacob was inconsolable. It turns out, however, that Joseph was pulled from the well and sold to one of the Pharos officials in Egypt.

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More biblical polygyny

Genesis 36

This chapter lists the descendants of Esau, who apparently also now goes by Edom. What little narrative is in this chapter tells us that Esau moves to Seir, because the land cannot sustain both he and Jacob. Esau also marries 3 women, one of whom is his cousin.

This does mean that I can add to the list of biblically supported non-“traditional” marriage types with this entry:

  • A man and three women, one of whom is his cousin. (Genesis 36:2-3)

The rest of this chapter might be of interest to those who enjoy biblical ancestry or building family trees, but I am not.