Our dialogue with Anaiah, an educated Jew from the 500’s B.C., continues.
Saint Barnabas Blog: You were going to tell us about the children of Jacob, aka Israel.
Anaiah: Yes. I will skip over many interesting details. In summary, Israel had twelve children, from whom traditionally the twelve tribes of our people are descended. Interestingly, the second youngest, Joseph, gets most of the attention.
SBB: We saw something like this before, when the younger brother, Jacob/Israel, was favored over Esau.
Anaiah: Yes, it’s a repeating pattern as you will see. In this case, Joseph was so favored by his father that his brothers were jealous. Even more so when Joseph reported dreams in which his brothers bowed down to him.
SBB: Not very diplomatic.
Anaiah: Perhaps not, but the dreams were sent by God, and we have a duty to report God’s truth even if it causes others to be offended. Well, friction between the brothers grew so hot that finally the brothers attacked Joseph, threw him into a pit, and sold him as a slave.
SBB: What did Israel think of that?
Anaiah: The brothers told him that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. Meanwhile, Joseph was carried off to Egypt and sold to the household of an official there. Through no fault of his own, he was thrown into prison. In prison, along with two disgraced officials of Pharaoh, God gave him dreams about the future, and he correctly predicted that one of the officials would be freed and the other executed. The freed official at first forgot all about Joseph, his fellow prisoner, but eventually Pharaoh himself had troubling dreams that the court astrologers were unable to interpret. At that point, Joseph was recalled from prison and correctly interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams as foreshadowing seven years of plentiful harvest followed by seven years of famine. He advised that grain be stored during the seven years for use during the seven lean years. Pharaoh not only took this advice, but put Joseph in charge of the project.
SBB: Interesting story. What does it tell us about God?
Anaiah: Let me finish the story and then we can talk about that.