“The Gospel According to Torah”
Posted daily at www.hereticslikeus.com
Weekly summaries also at www.billbrucewords.com
Concurrently at www.trinityunitedkw.ca
Summer Reading 2018
COMPLETING YOSEF’S CYCLE
Reading Week from July 22
Garret Talk Tues July 24
Genesis 43-48: Mon July 23 to Sat July 28
Tuesday, July 24:
The Jahwist’s narrative continues its literary echo and amplification of earlier tales. The face value of the story of entrapment, threats, and advocacy are powerful enough – what might they mean, if you try this vocative ‘we’ reading?
The sacks are loaded with grain and with the money given to pay for it – and Benjamin has silver planted on him, reminder of Rachel’s thefts from Laban as Yaakov set out to re-emigrate from the north, and of the first round of relief food with the payment money hidden in the brothers’ sacks.
The brothers are rehabilitated by their loyal refusal to abandon Benjamin as once they once sold out Yosef, submitting themselves to the youngest two brothers, sons of Rachel. Judah is the eloquent advocate for them all. We are, in fact, our brother’s keepers, and stand together or fall together.
When ‘they’ are suspicious of ‘us’ and how ‘we’ have prospered from misfortune as alien immigrants to successful residents, ‘we’ tell stories like these to celebrate God’s abundance showered upon us, not by theft, or by our work alone, but in large part by grace and gift to the faithful.
Genesis Chapter 44
Then he commanded the steward of his house, ‘Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the top of his sack. 2Put my cup, the silver cup, in the top of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.’ And he did as Joseph told him.
3As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. 4When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to his steward, ‘Go, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, “Why have you returned evil for good? Why have you stolen my silver cup? 5Is it not from this that my lord drinks? Does he not indeed use it for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.” ’
6 When he overtook them, he repeated these words to them. 7They said to him, ‘Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing! 8Look, the money that we found at the top of our sacks, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan; why then would we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9Should it be found with any one of your servants, let him die; moreover, the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.’
10He said, ‘Even so; in accordance with your words, let it be: he with whom it is found shall become my slave, but the rest of you shall go free.’ 11Then each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each opened his sack. 12He searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13At this they tore their clothes. Then each one loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.
14 Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house while he was still there; and they fell to the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, ‘What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that one such as I can practise divination?’ 16And Judah said, ‘What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? How can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; here we are then, my lord’s slaves, both we and also the one in whose possession the cup has been found.’ 17But he said, ‘Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the one in whose possession the cup was found shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.’
18 Then Judah stepped up to him and said, ‘O my lord, let your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19My lord asked his servants, saying, “Have you a father or a brother?” 20And we said to my lord, “We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead; he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.” 21Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me, so that I may set my eyes on him.” 22We said to my lord, “The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.”
23Then you said to your servants, “Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.” 24When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord. 25And when our father said, “Go again, buy us a little food”, 26we said, “We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother goes with us, will we go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.”
27Then your servant my father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since. 29If you take this one also from me, and harm comes to him, you will bring down my grey hairs in sorrow to Sheol.” 30Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life, 31when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die; and your servants will bring down the grey hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol.
32For your servant became surety for the boy to my father, saying, “If I do not bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame in the sight of my father all my life.” 33Now therefore, please let your servant remain as a slave to my lord in place of the boy; and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the suffering that would come upon my father.’