I see new "followers" this morning! That's fun! Welcome!!!! :)
Chapter 41 "Pharaoh, Pharaoh......oh, Pharaoh, let my people go!" Well...so far all he has to let go is Joseph! Joseph is still in the dungeon....no thanks to his brothers! But he is having good luck in the dungeon....if that seems right! Pharaoh is having dreams...about cows....7 fat cow and 7 skinny cows....not the ice cream kind but the kind that are ugly and gaunt and the others are sleek and fat! He is also dreaming about wheat and 7 heads of grain that are healthy and growing abundantly but also those that are thin and scorched by the east wind. The magicians and wise men of Egypt are called into the help. Among them are the cupbearer (like a butler to Pharaoh) that was previously release from the same dungeon as Joseph. That cupbearer was supposed to have told Pharaoh about Joseph and his gift to interpret dreams.....TWO years ago!!! And while Pharaoh is wondering about his dreams the cupbearer says, "oh...silly me! I seemed to have forgotten something I was supposed to tell you....two years ago when I was released from the dungeon! I can't believe I am so absent-minded! " So Pharaoh learns of Joseph, sends from him and greets him saying, "I have heard it said that you can hear about a dream and interpret it (v. 15)". Joseph says...."I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires!" Not once, ever, has Joseph taken credit for being able to do this. He has always given the glory, credit and honor to God. It was never about Joseph. It can only come from God. Perhaps that is why God always looked upon Joseph with favor. The dream is interpreted and Pharaoh learns that Egypt (where he is king of)is getting ready to have 7 years of great wealth and abundance...but to be prepared...that 7 years of famine will follow! Pharaoh thought he was having 2 different dreams (cows and grains) but it was all the same dream....it was just God telling him FOR SURE that it is going to happen. If it's repeated, it must be important! :)
Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of all the land! He gets out of the dungeon, gets to wear the kings signet ring, gets a new robe (remember what happened to the one he was wearing when his brothers sold him off......they put blood on it and showed it to their dad to convince him that Joseph was dead!) So, here is Joseph, out of the dungeon and 2nd in command in all of the country of Egypt....no has more power than Joseph except King Pharaoh. Joseph gets married too. He has a family and all is going his way. His names his sons according to his life experiences. One is named Manasseh to reflect the idea that "God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household" (v. 51). And the second son is named Ephraim because "God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering" (v. 52). Joseph was so faithful....just like Abraham was. Joseph has risen to great power in spite of his past, he has been freed after being a prisoner, and he has moved beyond his past and seems to live with forgiveness. What great lessons to learn! And God was/is in the midst of it the whole time. Never leaving Joseph...never making Joseph to doubt God. He saw God's hand in it all.
Chapter 42 Here come his brothers....straight down the road from Canaan. It's been about 20 years since Joseph has seen his family. Joseph had his own dream (v. 9) about his brothers. He thought they were coming as spies...but they swear that they aren't. Joseph recognized them, but they didn't notice him. Joseph even spoke to them with an interpreter. He's bound to look better as 2nd in command for the king than when he was sold into slavery! Talk about a make over and the big reveal!! I'm telling you....TV has NOTHING on the Bible in terms of suspense, drama, twists and turns...and "filth!" :) Not that we need to be watching that stuff on TV..... :)
So, I'd say this is a chance for Joseph to get back at his brothers. They have come from Cannan to Egypt buy grain because of the famine. They even call themselves servants to Joseph because of his power and authority. He'd probably like to take the signet ring and pop them upside the head with it, leaving the mark of the king imprinted into their foreheads. But, he doesn't. He does test them though...to see what their true motives are. They are guilty already for how they treated him. They get thrown in prison, one of them has to go get the younger brother before the rest of them can get back out of prison. Joseph is testing their words but hoping to "purge evil from their hearts" (a footnote in my reference Bible). So, there are all of his brothers in prison, feeling guilty and thinking that their distress is being brought on to them by God. Joseph even "weeps" over his brothers.....he's surely forgiven them by now and is not out for vengeance. He wants them to learn a lesson. They have learned from their guilt. So Joseph does send them on their way back home. He fills their grain bags, gives them a snack for the road, and even gives them a refund on their purchases of grain. But they don't know that until they are gone and stop to eat. When they see that their silver has been returned, they are paranoid.......actually frightened (v. 35). The brothers tell their father of the story that happened and he refused to loose another son! So, remember....they've left one brother in prison, in Egypt until they return with the younger one to verify their words. Reuben, a big brother, offers for his own sons to be put to death if they aren't able to bring back the brother they left behind in Egypt. Jacob refused to let the younger son go down..."it will put my gray head in the grave!"
To be continued tomorrow............Chapter 43, 44, 45!
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!