A Bunch of Dudes Crying: Genesis 45

Fiiiinally Joseph reveals himself as their long-lost brother, just as the story was beginning to drag along and get repetitive (although I guess I’d better get used to repetitiveness if I’m going to read another 1144 chapters of this shit). Joseph has another good cry when he breaks the news, weeping so loudly that “the house of Pharaoh heareth.” I don’t know where Pharaoh lives, but anytime your neighbors hear you crying, you might want to dial down the theatrics a bit. With all this crying I’m starting to think Joseph may have been converted to a eunuch like every other servant of Pharaoh and is experiencing some serious hormonal blowback.

His brothers are rendered speechless by the news, and they are “troubled at his presence,” so he has to beckon them closer and tell them again. They’re probably scared of this fucking crazy person who has been alternately throwing them feasts and throwing them in the dungeon, bawling like a drunk sorority girl the whole time. 

He invokes the first “don’t worry, this bad stuff was part of God’s plan” bullshit that Christians are so fond of dispensing when they are trying to be helpful but are just being insensitive.

and now, be not grieved, nor let it be displeasing in your eyes that ye sold me hither, for to preserve life hath God sent me before you.

`Because these two years the famine [is] in the heart of the land, and yet [are] five years, [in] which there is neither ploughing nor harvest;

and God sendeth me before you, to place of you a remnant in the land, and to give life to you by a great escape;

Honestly, “things happen for a reason” is the least productive advice possible for someone when something bad has happened (with the possible exception of “I’ll pray for you”). No wonder religious people start resenting God when bad stuff happens; they’ve set themselves up for that by spreading the notion that there everything has meaning and God is behind it all. Not everything “happens for a reason” people. Sometimes shit just happens. Start trying to put yourself back on the right track instead of trying to intuit God’s master plan and suss out how this shit fits into his scheme.

Anyway, back to the story, Joseph tells his brothers to go bring their father back (even though they never actually confirmed he was alive), and tells them they can settle nearby in the land of Goshen. Then, of course, he has a good cry with his brother Benjamin, the two of them weeping on each others’ necks, then he kisses all his brothers and cries on them. It’s unclear whether Simeon was released from the dungeon to attend the emotion-party.

Pharaoh overhears the commotion and hears that

16 `Come have the brethren of Joseph;’

which is strange, because that’s in quotation marks but I’m certain Pharaoh wouldn’t call Joseph by his Hebrew name, but by the Egyptian name he gave him a couple years back: Zaphnath-Paaneah. Curious. Well, Pharaoh is happy for Zap-P and tells him to bring his whole family to Egypt. Most importantly, he gives them all riches and promises of more riches, but gives Benjamin the most, including some fucking extra special garments and silver which couldn’t possibly cause any problems, right?

They hit the road for Canaan, with asses and she-asses loaded with bounty, and deliver the happy news to Jacob, who is like “fuck this promised land and its fucking famines and rapists. I am THE FUCK out of here.”

Seriously, though, isn’t it a bit strange that there were twenty-five fucking covenants for the land of Canaan but the land is so shitty that they have to leave? Oh, and they never really owned it in the first place? If this was God’s plan, he is a profoundly shitty planner. Let me summarize:

God’s Super-Awesome, Totally Reasonable Plan

(1) Promise land of Canaan to Abraham

(2) Repeat Step One

(3) Promise land of Canaan to Isaac

(4) Repeat Step Three

(5) Promise land of Canaan to Jacob

(6) Repeat Step Five

(7) Alienate Joseph so his brothers sell him into slavery in Egypt

(8) Make Potiphar’s wife accuse Joseph of rape so he gets thrown in the dungeon

(9) Make sure Joseph rots in the dungeon for a while

(10) Get Joseph out of the dungeon and elevate him to a position of power

(11) Use Joseph’s powerful position to save his family from the incredibly shitty land that cannot even sustain life that was promised in Steps 1-6.

Cool plan. I totally see the work of the supernatural, wise hand of God there.


1 And Joseph hath not been able to refrain himself before all those standing by him, and he calleth, `Put out every man from me;’ and no man hath stood with him when Joseph maketh himself known unto his brethren,

and he giveth forth his voice in weeping, and the Egyptians hear, and the house of Pharaoh heareth.

And Joseph saith unto his brethren, `I [am] Joseph, is my father yet alive?’ and his brethren have not been able to answer him, for they have been troubled at his presence.

And Joseph saith unto his brethren, `Come nigh unto me, I pray you,’ and they come nigh; and he saith, `I [am] Joseph, your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt;

and now, be not grieved, nor let it be displeasing in your eyes that ye sold me hither, for to preserve life hath God sent me before you.

`Because these two years the famine [is] in the heart of the land, and yet [are] five years, [in] which there is neither ploughing nor harvest;

and God sendeth me before you, to place of you a remnant in the land, and to give life to you by a great escape;

and now, ye — ye have not sent me hither, but God, and He doth set me for a father to Pharaoh, and for lord to all his house, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

`Haste, and go up unto my father, then ye have said to him, Thus said Joseph thy son, God hath set me for lord to all Egypt; come down unto me, stay not,

10 and thou hast dwelt in the land of Goshen, and been near unto me, thou and thy sons, and thy son’s sons, and thy flock, and thy herd, and all that thou hast,

11 and I have nourished thee there — for yet [are] five years of famine — lest thou become poor, thou and thy household, and all that thou hast.

12 `And lo, your eyes are seeing, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that [it is] my mouth which is speaking unto you;

13 and ye have declared to my father all my honour in Egypt, and all that ye have seen, and ye have hasted, and have brought down my father hither.’

14 And he falleth on the neck of Benjamin his brother, and weepeth, and Benjamin hath wept on his neck;

15 and he kisseth all his brethren, and weepeth over them; and afterwards have his brethren spoken with him.

16 And the sound hath been heard in the house of Pharaoh, saying, `Come have the brethren of Joseph;’ and it is good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants,

17 and Pharaoh saith unto Joseph, `Say unto thy brethren, This do ye: lade your beasts, and go, enter ye the land of Canaan,

18 and take your father, and your households, and come unto me, and I give to you the good of the land of Egypt, and eat ye the fat of the land.

19 `Yea, thou — thou hast been commanded: this do ye, take for yourselves out of the land of Egypt, waggons for your infants, and for your wives, and ye have brought your father, and come;

20 and your eye hath no pity on your vessels, for the good of all the land of Egypt [is] yours.’

21 And the sons of Israel do so, and Joseph giveth waggons to them by the command of Pharaoh, and he giveth to them provision for the way;

22 to all of them hath he given — to each changes of garments, and to Benjamin he hath given three hundred silverlings, and five changes of garments;

23 and to his father he hath sent thus: ten asses bearing of the good things of Egypt, and ten she-asses bearing corn and bread, even food for his father for the way.

24 And he sendeth his brethren away, and they go; and he saith unto them, `Be not angry in the way.’

25 And they go up out of Egypt, and come in to the land of Canaan, unto Jacob their father,

26 and they declare to him, saying, `Joseph [is] yet alive,’ and that he [is] ruler over all the land of Egypt; and his heart ceaseth, for he hath not given credence to them.

27 And they speak unto him all the words of Joseph, which he hath spoken unto them, and he seeth the waggons which Joseph hath sent to bear him away, and live doth the spirit of Jacob their father;

28 and Israel saith, `Enough! Joseph my son [is] yet alive; I go and see him before I die.’


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