42.) Genesis 49:1 – 33

June 30, 2009

49photo_last_will_and_testament

Genesis 49:1 – 33   (NRSV)

Jacob’s Last Words to His Sons

49)  Then Jacob called his sons, and said: “Gather around, that I may tell you what will happen to you in days to come. 2Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob; listen to Israel your father.

3Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the first fruits of my vigor, excelling in rank and excelling in power. 4Unstable as water, you shall no longer excel because you went up onto your father’s bed; then you defiled it—you went up onto my couch!

water-drop

5Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords. 6May I never come into their council; may I not be joined to their company— for in their anger they killed men, and at their whim they hamstrung oxen. 7Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

simlevi-sword

8Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. 9Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion, like a lioness—who dares rouse him up? 10The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and the obedience of the peoples is his. 11Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine and his robe in the blood of grapes; 12his eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.

judah_lion

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Revelation 5:4-5 (New International Version)

I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

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13Zebulun shall settle at the shore of the sea; he shall be a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon.

zeb-ship_203x152

14Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between the sheepfolds; 15he saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant; so he bowed his shoulder to the burden, and became a slave at forced labor.

issachar-donkey

16Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. 17Dan shall be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider falls backward.

dan-snake

18I wait for your salvation, O Lord.

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1 Thessalonians 5:9   (NRSV)

For God has destined us . . .  for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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19Gad shall be raided by raiders, but he shall raid at their heels.

49-raiders

20Asher’s food shall be rich, and he shall provide royal delicacies.

asher-rich-food

21Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears lovely fawns.

doe-with-fawns

22Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall. 23The archers fiercely attacked him; they shot at him and pressed him hard. 24Yet his bow remained taut, and his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25by the God of your father, who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. 26The blessings of your father are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

joseph-vine

27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey, and at evening dividing the spoil.”

benjwolf1

28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, blessing each one of them with a suitable blessing.

Jacob’s Death and Burial

29Then he charged them, saying to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors—in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 31There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried; and there I buried Leah— 32the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites.” 33When Jacob ended his charge to his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

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Music:

“Day by Day”  by Carolina Sandell Berg (1832-1903), the “Fannie Crosby of Sweden.”  She wrote this hymn shortly after she witnessed the death of her father in a boating accident.    This was one of my mother’s favorite hymns; at 13 years of age, she had held her mother’s hand when her mother died of multiple sclerosis.  Sung by the Antrim Mennonite Choir from Antrim, Ohio.  (This video is a slow starter; the music doesn’t begin until you are 17 seconds in.)      

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Last will and testament.   http://legalvideowisconsin.com/images/photo_last_will_and_testament.jpg

water drop.  http://www.wsi.nrcs.usda.gov/products/images/wq_drop.jpg

sword.  http://theexcaliber.com/library/Glamdringgandolfsword.jpg

lion.  http://www.itsnature.org/Ground/images/article-pics/African_Lion.jpg

ship.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/guernsey/content/images/2004/07/27/cog_ship_203x152.jpg

donkey.  http://edwardkhoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/donkey.png

snake.  http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/snakes2.jpg

raider logo. (haha)   http://midlifecrisis.honadvblogs.com/files/2008/09/raiders-logo.gif

little cakes.  http://www.gevalia.com/Gevalia/images/product/large/80058-sp.jpg

doe with fawns.  http://www.xtremewhitetail.com/Images/Photo%20Gallery/Doe-with-Fawns.gif

grapes on vine.  http://www.northforknaturals.com/images/large/wine-country/webgrapes362.jpg

wolf.  http://www.yellowstonewolf.com/Wolf1.jpg

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41.) Genesis 48:1 – 22

June 29, 2009
"Jacob Blesses Joseph's Children" by Shoshanna Brombacher, 2008

"Jacob Blesses Joseph's Children" by Shoshanna Brombacher, 2008

Genesis 48:1 – 22   (NRSV)

Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons

48)  After this Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” he summoned his strength and sat up in bed.

3And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and he blessed me, 4and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers; I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your offspring after you for a perpetual holding.’ 5Therefore your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are now mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are. 6As for the offspring born to you after them, they shall be yours. They shall be recorded under the names of their brothers with regard to their inheritance. 7For when I came from Paddan, Rachel, alas, died in the land of Canaan on the way, while there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).

8When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?”

9Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.”

And he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.”

10Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, and he could not see well. So Joseph brought them near him; and he kissed them and embraced them. 11Israel said to Joseph, “I did not expect to see your face; and here God has let me see your children also.”

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Music:

“All the Way My Savior Leads Me” written in 1875 by Fannie J. Crosby.  Jacob, I think, would have agreed with her. 

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12Then Joseph removed them from his father’s knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 13Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them near him. 14But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the firstborn.

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Devotional from Amy Carmichael, Whispers of His Power:

Genesis 48:14 (KJV) — And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

Psalm 78:72 (KJV) — So he . . . guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

“Guiding his hands wittingly.”  Do we ever read this story without thinking of the mean and faithless scheming of Genesis 27?  Israel must have thought of it.  He must have felt humbly and sorrowfully how needless it all was.

There is a wonderful sense of release when we understand that we need never plan for ourselves, never try to twist circumstances so that our wishes shall come to pass.  We have only one thing to do, such a happy, peaceful thing that we can never be glad enough and grateful enough for it.  We have only to commit ourselves and our ways to Him who guides us by the skillfulness of His Hands.

"Jacob Blesses Joseph's Sons"  by graphic artist Duncan Long.

"Jacob Blesses Joseph's Sons" by graphic artist Duncan Long.

15He blessed Joseph, and said, “The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, 16the angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys; and in them let my name be perpetuated, and the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude on the earth.”

17When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father! Since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.”

"Jacob Blesses Joseph's Sons," by Rembrandt, 1656 (Kassel, Germany)

"Jacob Blesses Joseph's Sons" by Rembrandt, 1656 (Kassel, Germany)

19But his father refused, and said, “I know, my son, I know; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.” 20So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will invoke blessings, saying, ‘God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.’“ So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. 21Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your ancestors. 22I now give to you one portion more than to your brothers, the portion that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.”

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The promise of another inheritance, from 1 Peter 1:3-6 (New Living Translation)

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,  and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.  And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

So be truly glad.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Brombacher.   http://www.chabad.org/media/images/255/ANJh2556075.jp

Long.   http://duncanlong.com/science-fiction-fantasy-art/christian/index.html

Rembrandt.  http://liberty92.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/jacob_blessing_the_children_of_joseph-rembrandt1.jpg


40.) Genesis 47:1 – 31

June 26, 2009

Did Jacob take a trip to see the pyramids? Some of them were already several centuries old.

Genesis 47   (NRSV)

So Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan; they are now in the land of Goshen.” 2From among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh.

3Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?”

And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our ancestors were.” 4They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to reside as aliens in the land; for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks because the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, we ask you, let your servants settle in the land of Goshen.”

5Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land; let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know that there are capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”

7Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob, and presented him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the years of your life?”

9Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my earthly sojourn are one hundred thirty; few and hard have been the years of my life. They do not compare with the years of the life of my ancestors during their long sojourn.” 10Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh.

11Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and granted them a holding in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had instructed. 12And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their dependents.

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Music:

Abraham first used the term “Jehovah Jireh” when he found a ram to sacrifice on Mount Moriah, rather than his son:  Genesis 22:14 — “So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.”  In this chapter of Genesis we see how the Lord has provided for Jacob and all his family during the famine.

What has the Lord provided for you?  Have you thanked him lately?

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The Famine in Egypt

13Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. 14Joseph collected all the money to be found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15When the money from the land of Egypt and from the land of Canaan was spent, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, and said, “Give us food! Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.”

16And Joseph answered, “Give me your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph; and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. That year he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock.

18When that year was ended, they came to him the following year, and said to him, “We can not hide from my lord that our money is all spent; and the herds of cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. 19Shall we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. We with our land will become slaves to Pharaoh; just give us seed, so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.”

20So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. All the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe upon them; and the land became Pharaoh’s. 21As for the people, he made slaves of them from one end of Egypt to the other. 22Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh, and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.

23Then Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh, here is seed for you; sow the land. 24And at the harvests you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.”

25They said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be slaves to Pharaoh.”

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Romans 6:22 (Today’s New International Version)

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

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26So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth. The land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh’s.

The Last Days of Jacob

27Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen; and they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied exceedingly. 28Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were one hundred forty-seven years. 29When the time of Israel’s death drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor with you, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal loyally and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt. 30When I lie down with my ancestors, carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.”

He answered, “I will do as you have said.”

31And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself on the head of his bed.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
pyramids in Egypt.     http://travel.smart-guide.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Pyramids-of-Egypt.jpg
Jacob blesses Pharaoh.   http://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/lds/meridian/2005/images/jacob_pharaoh.jpg

39.) Genesis 46:1 – 34

June 25, 2009

Designs on this tapestry symbolize the sons of Jacob and their tribes.

Designs on this tapestry symbolize the sons of Jacob and their tribes.

Genesis 46:1 – 34   (NRSV)

Jacob Brings His Whole Family to Egypt

46)  When Israel set out on his journey with all that he had and came to Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.”

3Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. 4I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph’s own hand shall close your eyes.”

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Reflection:

Are you worried about your future?  Do you feel anxious when facing the unclear and unknown?  The promise God made to Jacob is also meant for you:  “Do not be afraid, (your name here), for I am God. I have good plans for you. I myself will go with you wherever you go, and even death cannot separate you from my love.”

Music:

“God will make a way where there seems to be no way”  by Don Moen.

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5Then Jacob set out from Beer-sheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6They also took their livestock and the goods that they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and they came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, 7his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters; all his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

8Now these are the names of the Israelites, Jacob and his offspring, who came to Egypt.

Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, 9and the children of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.

10The children of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.

11The children of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

12The children of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan); and the children of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.

13The children of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Jashub, and Shimron.

14The children of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel 15(these are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, together with his daughter Dinah; in all his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three).

16The children of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.

17The children of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. The children of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel 18(these are the children of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah; and these she bore to Jacob—sixteen persons).

19The children of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 20To Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him.

21The children of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard 22(these are the children of Rachel, who were born to Jacob—fourteen persons in all).

23The children of Dan: Hashum.

24The children of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem 25(these are the children of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel, and these she bore to Jacob—seven persons in all).

"Jacob and His Family Entering Egypt," by Willem Reuter (The Iraq Museum, Baghdad)

"Jacob and His Family Entering Egypt" by Willem Reuter (The Iraq Museum, Baghdad)

26All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own offspring, not including the wives of his sons, were sixty-six persons in all. 27The children of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two; all the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.

Jacob Settles in Goshen

28Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph to lead the way before him into Goshen. When they came to the land of Goshen, 29Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. He presented himself to him, fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.

Joseph is reunited with his father, Jacob.

Joseph is reunited with his father, Jacob.

30Israel said to Joseph, “I can die now, having seen for myself that you are still alive.”

31Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32The men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.’

shepherd-sheep

33When Pharaoh calls you, and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our ancestors’ —in order that you may settle in the land of Goshen, because all shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.”

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John 10:14-15 (English Standard Version)

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Twelve Tribes tapestry.   http://www.judaicaheirlooms.com/gallery/2/12tribes.jpg

Reuter.  http://wwwdelivery.superstock.com/Image/866/PreviewComp/SuperStock_866-4829.jpg

Joseph is reunited with Jacob, watercolor.   http://www.wmcwels.com/clipart/Sabc073.gif

sheep and shepherd.  http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/8822/shepherd-sheep.jpg


38.) Genesis 45:1 – 28

June 24, 2009

"The Recognition of Joseph by his Brothers" fresco by Peter Cornelius, 1816 (Nationalgalerie, Berlin)

"The Recognition of Joseph by his Brothers" fresco by Peter Cornelius, 1816 (Nationalgalerie, Berlin)

Genesis 45:1 – 28   (NRSV)

Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers

45) Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it.

3Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.

8″So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’

12“And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. 13You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” 14Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

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Reflection:

What a touching scene!  I think of Odysseus telling Telemachus, “I am your father.”  I think of children welcoming home their father or mother from war in a distant land.  I think of Jesus telling the woman at the well, “I am the Messiah.”  Suddenly the world is turned right side up!  Wonder and joy!

What meeting or reunion are you longing for?  Remember, “Nothing is impossible with God”  (Luke 1:37).

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Music:

“It’s Always Better When We’re Together” by Jack Johnson.  

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16When the report was heard in Pharaoh’s house, “Joseph’s brothers have come,” Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. 17Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your animals and go back to the land of Canaan. 18Take your father and your households and come to me, so that I may give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you may enjoy the fat of the land.’

19″You are further charged to say, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20Give no thought to your possessions, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’“

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Psalm 37:18-19 (New International Version)

The days of the blameless are known to the LORD,
and their inheritance will endure forever.

In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

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21The sons of Israel did so. Joseph gave them wagons according to the instruction of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey. 22To each one of them he gave a set of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of garments. 23To his father he sent the following: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. 24Then he sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Do not quarrel along the way.”

25So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26And they told him, “Joseph is still alive! He is even ruler over all the land of Egypt.” He was stunned; he could not believe them. 27But when they told him all the words of Joseph that he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him before I die.”

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Luke 15:22-24 (New International Version)

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Cornelius.  http://www.wga.hu/art/c/corneliu/fresco2.jpg


37.) Genesis 44:1 – 34

June 23, 2009

"Joseph's cup is found in Benjamin's sack"  by New York-based Dutch artist Shoshanna Brombacher, 2008

"Joseph's cup is found in Benjamin's sack" by New York-based Dutch artist Shoshanna Brombacher, 2008

Genesis 44:1 – 34   (NRSV)

Joseph Detains Benjamin

44) Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the top of his sack. 2Put my cup, the silver cup, in the top of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him.

Joseph's silver cup is reinterpreted as a chalice for the blood of Christ at Holy Communion.

Joseph's silver cup is reinterpreted as a chalice for the blood of Christ at Holy Communion.

3As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. 4When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to his steward, “Go, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you returned evil for good? Why have you stolen my silver cup? 5Is it not from this that my lord drinks? Does he not indeed use it for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.’“

6When he overtook them, he repeated these words to them. 7They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing! 8Look, the money that we found at the top of our sacks, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan; why then would we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9Should it be found with any one of your servants, let him die; moreover the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.”

10He said, “Even so; in accordance with your words, let it be: he with whom it is found shall become my slave, but the rest of you shall go free.”

11Then each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each opened his sack. 12He searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.

"Joseph's Brothers Find the Silver Goblet in Benjamin's Sack"  by Alexander Ivanov, 1861 (Tretjakov Gallery, Moscow)

"Joseph's Brothers Find the Silver Goblet in Benjamin's Sack" by Alexander Ivanov, 1861 (Tretjakov Gallery, Moscow)

13At this they tore their clothes. Then each one loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.

14Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house while he was still there; and they fell to the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that one such as I can practice divination?”

16And Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? How can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; here we are then, my lord’s slaves, both we and also the one in whose possession the cup has been found.”

17But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the one in whose possession the cup was found shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”

Judah Pleads for Benjamin’s Release

36-judah-pleads-for-ben

18Then Judah stepped up to him and said, “O my lord, let your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’ 20And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead; he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.’

21″Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, so that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23Then you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.’ 24When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord.

25″And when our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’ 26we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother goes with us, will we go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since. 29If you take this one also from me, and harm comes to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol.’

"Jacob caressing Benjamin"  by Rembrandt

"Jacob caressing Benjamin" by Rembrandt

30″Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life, 31when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die; and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol. 32For your servant became surety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame in the sight of my father all my life.’ 33Now therefore, please let your servant remain as a slave to my lord in place of the boy; and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the suffering that would come upon my father.”

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Music:

“Have Mercy on Me, O Lord God,” by Johann Sebastian Bach (BWV 721), played by American organ virtuoso Carlo Curley.   A beating heart — “Have mercy, Lord, my sin forgive, for Thy long-suffering is great!”

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from John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible:

Now, had Joseph been, as Judah supposed, an utter stranger to the family, yet even common humanity could not but be wrought upon by such powerful reasonings as these;  for nothing could be said more moving, more tender;  it was enough to melt a heart of stone:  but to Joseph, who was nearer a-kin to Benjamin than Judah himself, and who, at this time, felt a greater passion for him and his aged father, than Judah did, nothing could be more pleasingly nor more happily said.  Neither Jacob nor Benjamin needed an intercessor with Joseph, for he himself loved them.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Brombacher.  http://www.chabad.org/media/images/255/OmsD2556072.jpg

silver chalice.  https://www.catholicchurchsupply.com/items/11454xl.png

Ivanov.   http://static.artbible.info/large/jozef_beker.jpg

Judah pleads for Benjamin’s release.   http://www.classicalhebrew.com/images/newsletter/tribes_4_2008/image2.gif

Rembrandt.   http://www.stanfieldfineart.com/common/imgpiece.php?galleryId=18C5-ECFH-6E59&titleId=2270&whichimage=1


36.) Genesis 43:1 – 34

June 22, 2009

The Ballroom fo Buckingham Palace was set up for a State Banquet and then opened to tourists in the summer of 2008.  The actual experience of eating with the Queen at such an event is reserved for only a small number of people.  Certainly Joeseph's brothers never imagined that they would have such an experience.  And for us -- just imagine what it will be like when Revelation 19:9 comes true:  "Then the angel said to me, 'Write, "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!"'"

The Ballroom of Buckingham Palace was set up for a State Banquet and then opened to tourists in the summer of 2008. The actual experience of eating with the Queen at such an event is reserved for only a small number of people. Certainly Joseph's brothers never imagined that they would have a similar experience. And for us -- just imagine what it will be like when Revelation 19:9 comes true: "Then the angel said to me, 'Write, "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!"'"

Genesis 43:1 – 34   (NRSV)

The Brothers Come Again, Bringing Benjamin

43) Now the famine was severe in the land. 2And when they had eaten up the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little more food.”

3But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food; 5but if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.’“

6Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?”

7They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?”

8Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me, and let us be on our way, so that we may live and not die—you and we and also our little ones. 9I myself will be surety for him; you can hold me accountable for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. 10If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”

11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry them down as a present to the man—a little balm and a little honey, gum, resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds.

This gift basket includes roasted almonds, roasted pistachios, and honey peanut butter crunch.

This gift basket includes roasted almonds, roasted pistachios, and honey peanut butter crunch.

12Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the top of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight. 13Take your brother also, and be on your way again to the man; 14may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, so that he may send back your other brother and Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

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Proverbs 18:16 (New Living Translation)

Giving a gift can open doors;
it gives access to important people!

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15So the men took the present, and they took double the money with them, as well as Benjamin. Then they went on their way down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.”

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Revelation 3:20 (English Standard Version)

Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

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17The man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18Now the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, replaced in our sacks the first time, that we have been brought in, so that he may have an opportunity to fall upon us, to make slaves of us and take our donkeys.”

Yes.  Joseph, the second most powerful man in Egypt, wants to take their donkeys!

Yes! Joseph, the second-most powerful man in Egypt, wants to take their donkeys! -- How skewed our outlook can become when all we think about is ourselves! Any "donkeys" in your world recently?

19So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the entrance to the house. 20They said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food; 21and when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each one’s money in the top of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it back with us. 22Moreover we have brought down with us additional money to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.”

23He replied, “Rest assured, do not be afraid; your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your sacks for you; I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.

24When the steward had brought the men into Joseph’s house, and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, 25they made the present ready for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they had heard that they would dine there.

26When Joseph came home, they brought him the present that they had carried into the house, and bowed to the ground before him.

"Joseph and his brothers," a woodcarving by contemporary Canadian artist Robert Whitehead

"Joseph and his brothers" a woodcarving by contemporary Canadian artist Robert Whitehead

27He inquired about their welfare, and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”

28They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and did obeisance.

29Then he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” 30With that, Joseph hurried out, because he was overcome with affection for his brother, and he was about to weep. So he went into a private room and wept there. 31Then he washed his face and came out; and controlling himself he said, “Serve the meal.”

Egyptian food: falafels, hummus, baba ghanoush, pita bread - from Pharoah's Restaurant in Seoul

Delicious Egyptian food: pita bread, baba ghanoush, hummus, falafels with mixed vegetable salad - from Pharoah's Restaurant in Seoul

32They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33When they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, the men looked at one another in amazement. 34Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.

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Music:

Table grace.  “Be Present at our Table, Lord”  sung by the Purduettes, a women’s choir from Purdue University.  

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Buckingham Palace banquet table.  http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/06qa2LM4Et045/610x.jpg

Gift basket.  http://www.giftbasketdropshipping.com/members/images/regular/Nuts_Gift_Packs=refresher-course=SKU-GB0244-.jpgWhitehead.  http://www.whiteheadcarvings.com/images/gallery/Joseph_and_his_Brothers.jpg

donkeys.   http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2008/04/25/donkeys10d.jpg

Whitehead.   http://www.whiteheadcarvings.com/gallery.php?cat=7

Egyptian food.  http://www.seoulstyle.com/images/restaurants/itaewon/pharoahs-food.jpg