Thursday, May 30, 2013

Joseph is like Jesus?

I'm repeatedly amused at how hard the Christian commenters try to shoehorn Jesus into the old testament. Most recently I was reading Genesis 41 and at the end of Guzik's commentary he has a 34 point list of how Joseph and Jesus are similar (it's at the very bottom). I found the list funny, but didn't get into details at the time because it was long and I figured it deserved a post of its own. So here we go. (oh hey, let's keep score. Actual good comparision out of attempts)
1. Was a shepherd
Was Jesus a shepherd? I thought he was a carpenter, or perhaps a "fisher of men". Although Joseph wasn't really a shepherd either, he worked for a family of shepherds but he was given a robe of many colors indicating that he is something of an aristocrat rather than a grunt worker. (0/1)
2. Loved by his father
 Is it really so significant that someone is loved by their father? It's not everyone, some dads are horrible people, but it's not terribly rare either. Also, this is a different use of father, Joseph's actual biological father versus God as Jesus' father. (0/2)
3. Sent unto his brethren
Joseph was sold into slavery. Does this phrase mean something other than what I think it means? (0/3)
4. Hated by his brothers
Joseph was hated by his actual brothers. I suppose Jesus was hated by the people who had him crucified, are those his brothers? Seems like a different use of the word brother doesn't it? (0/4)
5. Prophesied his coming glory
I feel like prophesies were a dime a dozen back then, but whatever, they both made prophesies. (1/5)
6. Rejected by his brothers
This is a repeat of point 4, and again, different use of "brother". (1/6)
7. Endured unjust punishment from his brothers
Unjust punishment seems pretty common in these stories (Noah's ark anyone?) but sure, they both received unjust punishment.  (2/7)
8. Sentenced to the pit
"The pit" for Jesus is hell, "the pit" for Joseph is a well he was thrown in for a few hours? Hell no you aren't getting that point (2/8)
9. Delivered to the pit, though a leader knew he should go free
Who is the leader for Joseph? Is it his brother Reuben? I went back and looked at the text and he really doesn't seem to be a leader at all, they just seem to be a bunch of brothers. You could make an equally good argument that Judah is the leader. (2/9)
 10. Sold for pieces of silver
Is this really impressive? They were both sold for the currency of the day. If I was trying to argue that two financial transactions happened in the united states, I wouldn't think I would gain my sway by saying "they were both purchased with dollars". (2/10)
 11. Handed over to the Gentiles
Weren't there Jews as well in the crowd that wanted to crucify Jesus? (2/11)
12. Regarded as dead, but raised out of the pit
But this is only similar because of peculiar wording. Jesus actually died and came back to life. Joseph was thrown in the pit, then brought out of the pit and sold into slavery, THEN it was told to his father he was dead. The order of events isn't even right. (2/12)
13. Went to Egypt
Jesus went to a ton of places. But fine, they both went to Egypt (3/13)
14. Made a servant
Jesus wasn't forced into slavery. He offered himself up to serve, but it's totally different. (3/14)
15. Tempted severely, but did not sin
Jesus broke the old laws, isn't that sinning? Except he is God, so by definition he didn't sin. Also, Joseph lied to his brothers. How do they have to define sin so this works? (3/15)
 16. Falsely accused
Fair enough (4/16)
17. Made no defense
Jesus refused to give a defense, Joseph had no opportunity. That's not the same (4/17)
18. Cast into prison, and numbered with sinners and criminals
First of all, you can just say prison. Second, was Jesus in prison? I suppose it's possible that he spent a few minutes in prison before he was crucified, but as I remember the story he got captured and went right to the crucifixion. At any rate, Joseph was in prison for years, it's barely comparable (4/18)
19. Endured unjust punishment from Gentiles 
I'm not giving you points for this and falsely accused. Besides, Jesus was punished by the Jews as well (4/19)
20. Associated with two other criminals; one is pardoned and one is not
Except with Jesus, he was one of the prisoners, with Joseph, we are talking about 2 other people. This is ridiculous! (4/20) Also, this point has a sub-entry
20a. Some associate the butler, with his wine, and the baker with the elements of communion. Along the same lines, some associate the three-day period before their case is resolved with the three days before the resurrection of Jesus. 
Are you fucking kidding me? First of all, make your holy symbols basic food and drink and they will come up everywhere. Secondly, butler=wine? I feel like I should deduct points for this.
21. Showed compassion
Most people do this at some point. But fine. (5/21)
22. Brought a message of deliverance in prison
Does this mean they were eventually let out of prison? If so, the prison for Jesus must be hell, in which case the comparison is quite a stretch. (5/22)
23. Wanted to be remembered
Yeah, so does everyone else who ever existed. Might as well say they both breathed air (5/23)
24. Shown to have divine wisdom
Joseph was a prophet, he relayed messages from God about people's dreams. Does this translate into divine wisdom? He seemed like an idiot with his family. The only thing I can see with Joseph that we could count as wisdom is storing the grain from the time of plenty, but that is the obvious move given the information. Is this the measure of wisdom now? (5/24)
 25. Recognized as having the Spirit of God
This is based off a comment in chapter 41, I pointed out then why it was a silly conclusion to make. (5/25)
 26. Betrayed by friends
Joseph was betrayed by his brothers. This overlaps again with 4 and 6. (5/26)
27. Glorified after his humility
This is true of anyone in power, or who was martyred, but fine (6/27)
28. Honored among Gentiles while still despised or forgotten by his brethren
Let's think about how this applies to Jesus. There were Jews, some of them rejected Jesus and stayed Jews, others accepted Jesus and became Christians. So all it really says is that some people like him and some don't. Not so impressive put that way is it? (6/28)
29. Given a Gentile bride
What the hell? Jesus wasn't married, in fact he told his disciples to abandon their families. This must be some metaphor nonsense (6/29)
30. Was 30 years old when he began his life’s work
Didn't Jesus talk to some church elders as a child? Maybe that's not actually in the bible, I can't remember. Regardless, we simply don't know what he was doing before 30, perhaps we was growing a following (6/30)
31. Blessed the world with bread
Refer to my point on 20a (6/31)
32. Became the only source of bread for the world
Again with the fucking bread! First off, there was a shortage and Joseph had a healthy supply, doesn't mean it was all of the bread in the world. Secondly, the "bread of Jesus" is a fundamentally different thing. (6/32)
33. The world was instructed to go to him and do whatever he said to do.
Also true of every king, pope, and mob boss. What's your point? And people don't go to Jesus in the same way they went to Joseph. One is a spiritual thing and one is real. We are comparing apples and oranges here. (6/33)
34. Was given the name “God Speaks and He Lives.”
I don't even understand what this means. And I'm tired of this stupid list.

Well, that's it. I thought it would be more fun, but it's so bad I just wound up getting kinda irritated. Let's gather the items which I gave him points for
5. Prophesied his coming glory
7. Endured unjust punishment from his brothers
13. Went to Egypt
16. Falsely accused
21. Showed compassion
27. Glorified after his humility
Oh I stand correct. Clearly they are EXACTLY the same! Seriously though, it makes me wonder if these lists are even meant to be read. It's terrible. But perhaps it's just there so people can say "oh yeah, Jesus and Joseph were very similar, I saw a 34 point list about their similarities" and the other person would go "neat" and then repeat it to someone else without ever seeing the list.

In closing, I'm going to make an equally impressive list comparing Joseph and Jesus

  1. Both were born
  2. Both breathed air
  3. Both ate food
  4. Both used words for communication

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