Monday, June 17, 2013

Genesis 50: The Chosen People are Liars

Today's podcast

Jacob's Death and Burial [cont.] (v. 1-14)

Joseph asked permission to follow through with his father's instructions and bury him where he requested. The Pharaoh not only said it is okay, but he sent many people along and he was honored in his death. Even the Canaanites took notice.

He was a big deal and was honored in death. Seems pretty reasonable.

God's Good Purposes (v. 15-21)

With their father dead, Joseph's brothers were afraid he would take revenge on them for what they did to him. They sent him a letter, supposedly from their father, saying he should forgive his brothers.

Now they are lying to their brother. This is certainly small compared to stuff they've done in the past but these guys seem incredibly self-centered all around.

This is all Guzik has to say about it
This story is probably concocted. They didn’t feel they had the moral right to ask Joseph for mercy, since they sinned against him so greatly. So they put the request for mercy in the mouth of their honored and dead father.
That's nice, but what about the fact that they are liars? You don't feel that's an important detail?

Wow, Matthew Henry's take on this is completely baffling to me. He doesn't even address the fact that they are lying, he seems to think they are doing a good thing.
We have here the settling of a good correspondence between Joseph and his brethren, now that their father was dead. Joseph was at court, in the royal city; his brethren were in Goshen, remote in the country; yet the keeping up of a good understanding, and a good affection, between them, would be both his honour and their interest. Note, When Providence has removed the parents by death, the best methods ought to be taken, not only for the preventing of quarrels among the children (which often happen about the dividing of the estate), but for the preserving of acquaintance and love, that unity may continue even when that centre of unity is taken away.
Wow, he goes on for another (much longer) paragraph about this, but he never acknowledges the lie.

Gill at least acknowledges that some people see this as a lie. He never really seems to take a side on it one way or another, and therefore doesn't have to defend what they did. A little evasive but at least he acknowledged it.

Joseph says it's fine, even though they intended evil, God used it to make sure many people didn't starve.

It's always good to turn a negative into a positive, but I really hate the precedence this sets. No matter what bad thing happens, people can try to spin it as if God is using it for good. And as long as we are talking about an all-powerful God, using this as a method to make sure people survive the famine is pretty silly.

Loud as a Whisper
From Guzik
As said before, if Joseph’s brothers never sell him to the Midianites, then Joseph never goes to Egypt. If Joseph never goes to Egypt, he never is sold to Potiphar. If he is never sold to Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife never falsely accuses him of rape. If Potiphar’s wife never falsely accuses him of rape, then he is never put in prison. If he is never put in prison, he never meets the baker and butler of Pharaoh. If he never meets the baker and butler of Pharaoh, he never interprets their dreams. If he never interprets their dreams, he never gets to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. If he never gets to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, he never is made prime minister. If he is never made prime minister, he never wisely administrates for the severe famine coming upon the region. If he never wisely administrates for the severe famine coming upon the region, then his family back in Canaan perishes from the famine. If his family back in Canaan perishes from the famine, then the Messiah can’t come forth from a dead family. If the Messiah can’t come forth, then Jesus never came. If Jesus never came, then you are dead in your sins and without hope in this world. We are grateful for God’s great and wise plan.
He talks as if that is the only way this stuff could have happened. Remember, God is supposed to be all powerful, he couldn't swing another way to make this work? It has to be this convoluted and fragile of a plan?

The Death of Joseph (v. 22-26)

Before Joseph died he told his brothers that God would come visit them and bring them out of Egypt and into the land god promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was buried in Egypt.

for the verses of note post


Genesis 50:15-16 Joseph's brothers (the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel) are liars

"It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him." So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this command before he died"


  1. Hell, yes, there was another way! :-) I believe you pointed it out in your review of the other chapters that this whole famine thing was initiate by God Himself. So you have God causing a problem, and God, presumably through manipulation of free will from time to time, also providing the solution. It's like the guy who pushes you off the ledge of a building only to grab your shirt as you are about ready to fall and say "I just saved your life!" :-)

    1. Exactly! A lot of these apologetics completely fall apart once you take into consideration that God is all powerful. If it was instead, say, destiny from the x-men comics, who sees glimpses of the future and can try to navigate down one path verses another, then sure, some super fragile convoluted path might be necessary. But an all powerful, all knowing God? He should have nothing but options in front of him.

  2. Its important that they highlight that Jesus comes from this family though. After all if it was not for Jesus we could never be saved ;)

    The thing about the god of the old testament that I don't get is that beside killing people (and shameless self promotion) he never did much anything else. Or is that only the way I see it.

    1. There's no real reason Jesus had to come from this family. He's really God, so any old meat sack should be as good as any other right? What is the difference what family line he uses?


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