Monday, May 27, 2013

Genesis 41: Let a Slave Run the Country

Today's podcast

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dreams (v. 1-36)

The Pharaoh has a few dreams and nobody is able to interpret them for him.

The very fact that no one is able to interpret these dreams is pretty suspect alone. Even if you buy into everything else, that God is talking to Joseph and everything, I find it pretty hard to believe there isn't one scam artist seer who will make up some stuff to tell the Pharaoh.

His cupbearer remembers his time in prison and suggests that Pharaoh have Joseph interpret his dream. Joseph says the dreams mean there will be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. He suggests that the government should collect a portion of everyone's grain during the good 7 years so no one will starve during the 7 bad years.

That's a pretty good suggestion! Setting aside resources in times of plenty for upcoming times of scarcity. In fact, this would be a smart thing to do even if they didn't know that famine was coming.

Guzik points out that Joseph here gives credit to God. He could have very easily taken credit for the reading, and yet he says that God is the source of the reading. At first I wasn't sure if this should count as humility as he was setting himself up as a prophet, but a subsequent reading makes me lean toward agreeing with Guzik. Pharaoh was already seeing value in Joseph's ability, so the appeal to God wasn't necessary to make him an asset. I think it does come off as humble.

Something noticed when reading for the podcast, verse 32 says "And the doubling of Pharaoh's dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about." It doesn't say why God does this, just that he does. The pain and suffering caused by the famine are completely on God here. It makes me think of the problem of evil.

Joseph Rises to Power (v. 37-57)

The Pharaoh was pleased with Joseph and put him in power, he was second only to Pharaoh in Egypt.

What? He was a slave in prison, then he interprets a dream and becomes the second most powerful man in the country? Seriously?


Tried some coloring, I think it went well. (Comic Archive)
v.38 "And Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?""
Guzik says "This is the first mention in the Bible of the Holy Spirit coming upon a man. Pharoah saw that Joseph was fileld with the Spirit of God."
This seems like a pretty dishonest reading to me, it seems like he's just zeroing in on that word and projecting the trinity on it whenever he can. We've seen him do it with Jesus, now he's doing it with the holy spirit. Plus, I thought the whole in in Acts 10 was the first time the holy spirit was given to people. Wasn't that supposed to be some big changeover?

Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of storing up grains, so he went all around Egypt and collected grains for storage during the time of plenty. When the famine came people complained to Pharaoh that they were hungry and he sent them to Joseph. Not only those in Egypt, but even people outside of Egypt came to Joseph to buy grain.

They had to buy the grain? If he collected the grain from them in the bad time, shouldn't he give it back in the good times? Did he buy it from them in the first place? It doesn't seem to indicate this at all. 

Guzik ends his commentary with a 34 point list comparing Joseph and Jesus. It's pretty ridiculous, but also pretty long, perhaps I'll look into them more closely and make it a post of its own.

for the verses of note post

--Greed--

Genesis 41:56 Joseph sells the people's grain back to them

"So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt."

--Humility--

Genesis 41:15-16 Joseph gives credit to God, rather than taking the credit himself

"And Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.' Joseph answered Pharaoh, 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.'"

--Prudence--

Genesis 41:35-36 Joseph suggests saving in the good times to survive the bad times

"And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine."

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