Biblical Joseph's Trials

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Josephs' Trials Parallelism happens quite frequently in the book of Genesis. In chapter 37 starting in verse 17 Joseph is on his way to see his brothers. The prior two verses had just lead to Joseph's finding of his brothers. A man finds Joseph when he has just decided to give in on his search for his brothers. The man told of where the brothers could be found. On Joseph's walk to the fields where his brothers were, his brothers saw him coming. They were jealous of Joseph and plotted to kill him when he got there. However they decided that to take his life would be too harsh of a punishment, instead they stripped him of his robe and threw him into a pit. To avoid blood shed while Joseph was still in the pit they decided to sell him to passing Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver.

This trading and betrayal of a brother we tested and paralleled in chapter 42, but the test is this time given by Joseph to see where their loyalty lies after all these years.

In chapter 42, specifically the verses following and including 9 deal with Joseph putting his brothers through a series of tests and hardships. First he imprisoned his brothers for being spies even after they begged and pleaded their case to him. Here Joseph was reenacting what they had put him through, only this time the roles reversed. His brothers were in the "pit" or the dungeon instead of him. Even in verse 21 the brothers said, "Alas, we are paying the penalty for what we did to our brother; we saw his anguish when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this anguish has come upon us." The brothers believed that it was God punishing them for their actions for the crime that they had committed so many years before. However, in reality it is Joseph and his recognition, his mercy, to only test his brothers by leaving them with a choice. These "pits" or dungeons which are mentioned in both sections of the story describe more than the physical confinements that restrain Joseph and the brothers, but a total downward slope in life, which with Joseph's faith is turned around and he soon had no limits; as for the brothers they realized what they had done, and understood that life of misery which they had sold their brother into for all those years. This chapter is of the utmost importance to the Joseph story, because Joseph's dream is completed: his brothers had bowed before him and he was there as the Lord of the land, all because his brothers had sold him away. Joseph followed his dreams from God and God delivered what he had promised to Joseph in his dreams.

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