Archive for the ‘brothers’ Category

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
 15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
– Genesis 50:15-21 (NIV)

Joseph and His BrothersPaybackJoseph’s brothers feared him.  In fact, they believed that Joseph would take revenge on them and seek payback for all that they had done to him.  They even discussed it and sent word to Joseph via messenger.

When their message came to him, Joseph wept. (v. 17, NIV).

Cruel IntentionsJoseph wept based upon their message.  He reassured them and spoke kindly to them, according to verse 21.  Joseph had said to them that he was in the place of God.  He stated that he did not seek to harm them, even though they had harmed him.  He shared that God used their evil intentions to accomplish His perfect will.

Just Like Jesus DevotionalJoseph showed mercy.  In fact, Joseph showed his brothers mercy on more than one occasion.  He said that he was in the place of God, in a position to either harm them or help them.  He chose to help them instead of seeking revenge upon them and exercising his authority as an Egyptian governmental official.

Doing Justice, Showing Mercy: Christian Action in Today's World (Bible Study Guides)Lord, Teach Us To PrayComplete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer, The: Experience the Wonders of God through PrayerTake a moment today and see about ways to show mercy towards others.  Do you have an opportunity to show mercy at work or home? Pray to the Lord for discernment in dealing with those who wrong you.  Do all that you can to do like the Lord.

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And Joseph situated his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. Then Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with bread, according to the number in their families. – Genesis 47:11-12 (NKJV)

The Prince of EgyptJoseph assisted his family.  He advised his family on what to say when they entered into the presence of Pharaoh.  He approached Pharaoh with news of his family’s arrival in Egypt.  He advocated for his family.  He made allowances for his family to survive by giving them bread.

In the land of Rameses, Joseph’s family was better off for the time being than they had been in the land of Canaan.  Based upon how God had favored Joseph, his family was able to benefit.  They were blessed based upon Joseph’s favor and blessing.

Grace: Gods Unmerited FavorThink on that for a moment.  Joseph’s blessing allowed Joseph to provide for his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household.  Joseph’s favor helped his father and his family. Picture that happening today.  What if you used your blessing to bless others? What if you used your favor to grant others favor? Imagine how much of a blessing that would be for others.

We need to see Joseph’s character coming alive right here.  Joseph, the same dreamer that his family had despised and questioned, was now living the dream.  However, Joseph’s dream did not just benefit and bless Joseph.  The Bible makes it obvious that Joseph did not simply sit in a position of power and prestigeHis heart allowed him to forgive and give to those who had even sold him into slavery

Forgive to Live Devotional:: 8 Weeks of Daily Readings on Forgiveness That Could Change Your LifeJoseph depicts the epitome of forgiveness and favor in a man.  He obviously could have let his family live without any contact or consideration, still being okay with it as many Christians do so daily.  He could forgive and never allow himself to forget how they wronged him and set him up for failure.  No, that is not the path that Joseph took.  He did not allow it to harden him.  He did not allow it to turn him sour.  He forgave.  He gave to his father and his family.

How to Forgive...When You Don't Feel Like ItDo you need to forgive someone? Have you made the first move beyond saying so? How have you shown that person that you have truly forgiven them?

Praying the PsalmsLook at Joseph.  The Bible doesn’t say he had to fast for 40 days to get ready to forgive.  It doesn’t say that he needed to meditate on verses in Psalms to prepare to forgive.  He showed his forgiveness.  He said it.  He demonstrated it.  He did it.

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Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘My brothers and those of my father’s house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. And the men are shepherds, for their occupation has been to feed livestock; and they have brought their flocks, their herds, and all that they have.’ So it shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ that you shall say, ‘Your servants’ occupation has been with livestock from our youth even till now, both we and also our fathers,’ that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”- Genesis 46:31-34 (NKJV)

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings

The Jungle (Enriched Classics)The Grapes of Wrath (Penguin Classics)Joseph did something with his family that many in Western culture may not be able to relate in recent generations.  Too many of us may be so far removed from our families being immigrants that we have no real understanding of what it took to be outsiders in a new land.  Upton Sinclair conveyed the concept in his classic The Jungle  and John Steinbeck shared a similar story in The Grapes of WrathImmigrants have long come into lands of opportunity, willing to do the work that others regarded as below them.

Joseph Advised His Family: He shared with them and spoke them.  He gave them advice from having some experience from being in the land during the recent “lean years” and before then.  He had some understanding and insight into how the Egyptians viewed shepherds.  Joseph shared what he knew and understood about the culture and circumstances that his family was embarking on living within at that time.

The Grapes of Wrath1931 Ford Model A PickupHe offered keen advice to his family members on how they would be viewed by the Egyptians.  He seems to have gathered them together before they unloaded their carts.  It is like seeing the Joads packed altogether with their belongings piled up on their Model A Ford in the 1940 classic film “The Grapes of Wrath” inspired by Steinbeck’s novel.  Most probably, Joseph huddled his family together to speak in a hushed voice or with whispers of wisdom in order to make sure that everyone was on the same page. 
He coached them on what to say.  He prepared them for being called before the king of Egypt.  He wanted to ensure that all of his people had their stories straight before they ever encountered or interacted with Pharaoh or any of his other officials.  He wanted to make sure that no one made a mistake or brought about any trouble due to ignorance of what they had come into when they entered into Egypt.
Prince of Egypt & Joseph: King of Dreams (Double Feature)Pharaoh Adult - Standard One SizeJoseph Advocated for His Family:  Joseph stated that he would vouch for them.  He shared with his family that he would inform Pharaoh of their arrival and their occupation.  He would alert Pharaoh so that the king would not be taken by surprise when he discovered that more foreigners had arrived in his land.
He would speak up for his family in the royal court and share what they all did for a living.  Joseph had a prominent position and could share such information with Pharaoh without the ruler feeling that these outsiders would present a threat to his kingdom.
In The Jungle, that is how the newcomers were able to join other family members in the factories and mills after their arrival into the city.  When you watch “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye and his family are forced out of the land with other Jews during the Russian Revolution and, just like many other characters in the play, they plan on going to America where other relatives have settled.  The Joads were viewed as Okies and met obstacles in their travels as they sought to escape the dust bowls of Oklahoma and find work in California.  In many cases, foreigners, immigrants and refugees face opposing forces upon their entry into a new place.
The Shepherd Trilogy: A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm / A Shepherd Looks at the Good Shepherd / A Shepherd Looks at the Lamb of GodJoseph Assured His Family: Based upon his position, Joseph was able to assure his family that they would live in Goshen as shepherds.  They would be able to herd their livestock.  Even though every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians, they would be able to tend to their flocks freely in Goshen. 

These people would be able to practice their trade in this new land.  The occupants of the land would not care for them,according to Joseph, due to their occupation.  Yet, they would not bother them either.

Joseph gathered his family together to inform them.  He brought them together to prepare them.  He huddled them together to coach them.  He did all of this to protect and support them.

Look at Joseph’s family leadership example.  He did not seek to usurp any authority from his father.  He did not claim to stand in the stead of his eldest brother.  He did not seek to break any cultural traditions or forsake any religious practices.  He simply spoke up and shared some advice that could help his family survive in a foreign land. 

We sure could use a reminder of how to do likewise these days.

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Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV)3Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. 4And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

-Genesis 45:3-8 ( NKJV )

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
Joseph took his brothers through some hoops before revealing his identity to them.  He gave them grain,but told them not to return without their other brother, Benjamin. He played a trick on them and had them returned to his presence for questioning.  He used some deceptive measures in dealing with them.
He could have done more and worse.
Finally, Joseph cannot contain himself.  He orders everyone else out of the room, leaving him alone with his brothers.  He reveals his true identity.  He addressesthe elephant in the room before going any further.  He tels them to have no fear of him.  He assures them that God has ordained things to happen as they did in order to position him in Egypt.  He appears to be content with all that has transpired.
Soul Brothers: Men in the Bible Speak to Men Today 
Joseph’s brothers had every right to fear him.  He was sold into slavery by them.  The Bible doesn’t say how they got hold of him.It doesn’t tell us if Judah or one of the others grabbed the coat from him as the others pounced upon him.  We are not given the gross details of the incident.  However, I believe that the scenes of that incident played back in the minds of those men as they stood before Joseph that day. 

I figure that these guys probably trembled with fear.  Despite all of Joseph’s assurances, these men had every reason to legitimately fear their own brother.  They probably felt that Joseph was ready to take full advantage of them and lord over them.  They probably realized how real his dreams had become on that day.

Deja VuReciprocity is one of those things that arises when we least expect it.  It comes about when we have let our guard down and we think that we have gotten away with whatever it is that we have done.  We believe that all is good until it shows up.  It borders somewhere between de ja vu and karma.  That’s when we somehow catch our breath and simply submit to the will of God in whatever the situation.
Payback - The Director's Cut (Special Collector's Edition)Live without guilt and regrets.  Don’t make the mistakes of these young men.  Just when they think that their plot has worked out for them, Joseph appears alive and in a position of power.  You don’t know what the future holds for you or anyone else.  Your best bet would be to hold to the Golden Rule, live up to the first commandment and uphold the Law of Christ which is love.  Otherwise, you would have to watch your back every single waking moment of every single day.  Payback could be around the corner.  Fear and anxiety can wear you out and wear you down.  You don’t have to live in fear.  Just live right.  Live right now.

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>Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.
Genesis: Translation and Commentary– Genesis 42:6 (NIV)

Did you remember that Joseph had a dream? Yeah.  I am talking about the dream that he shared with his brothers.  That’s the one.  In verse 4, it says that they hated him and couldn’t find a good thing to say about him.  then, in verse 5, it escalates a notch and it says that they “hated him even more.”  Yet, when you get to verse 8, it ends with these words: So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words
Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1992 Canadian Cast)Their hate went so far as to hate the dreamer, his dreams, and his words.  These were his blood, his family, and his brothers.  Yet, they hated him.  Imagine the unsettled hostility at the dinner table.  Think about how their seething hatred towards him must have kept growing as he talked among them.  They truly hated Joseph.

Fast forward some years and enter into Genesis 42A famine strikes the land of Canaan.  No Burt Lancaster cannot come into the land of Canaan with his dividing rod and find water buried beneath the earth.  Jacob directs his sons to do something to preserve their family, seeking grain in Egypt.  So, when this band of brothers arrive, minus their “dead” brother and Jacob’s other favored son Benjamin, the find the man who has charge over all of the grain in the land.  They come to that man and bow their heads.

What Dreams May Come
Joseph’s dream came true.  He may not have been ready for it, but it came true.  He may not have thought that his day would involve an interaction with those who had told his father that he was dead, but it came upon him in an instant.  Joseph’s dream came true as he stood over his brothers who bowed and prostrated themselves with their faces to the ground before him.


He Restores My Soul: A Forty-Day Journey Toward Personal RenewalTake note that others may despise and hate you all that they want to, but you don’t have to buy into it.  You don’t have to do the same.  You can uphold the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Set yourself apart from the fray and the ruckus of low level thinking and behavior.  Be a model of patience and obedience for others.  Surely, as we see with Joseph, your day will come.  Hopefully, you will be able to say like Joseph: 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.

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. – Genesis 37:4 (NIV)
Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.
Genesis 37:5 (NIV)

Joseph’s brothers hated him.  They outright despised their brother Joseph. 

There were a few good reasons for this:

  1. Jacob showed favoritism towards Joseph over his brothers.
  2. Joseph brought a bad report about his brothers back to his father.
  3. Jacob adorned Joseph with a coat of many colors.
  4. Joseph shared his dream with his brothers and father.

Put yourself in the shoes of Reuben or Judah.  How would Joseph’s dreams sound to you? Would they plague your ears to no end? Just picture being one of those brothers as they saw Joseph coming their way.  Think hard about how you might have joined in when one of your other brothers brought up killing “the dreamer.”

To Kill and Take Possession: Law,Morality, and Society in Biblical Stories
There is a sociological phenomena called “mob rule.”  It occurs when people find themselves caught up and swept away in the moment of intensity.  They literally go out of their minds, following the crowd mentality.  It happens at sporting events, rallies, marches and concerts.  Couldn’t it happen among brothers out with their father’s flocks near Dothan?

In verses 19 and 20, we see the pronouncement for Joseph’s arrival and the spoken idea of killing him.  It even says in the following verse that Reuben tried to dissuade them from taking the young man’s life.  However, verse 18 reads: “But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.” Before they even talk it up in verse 19 and 20, the plot was unfolding.  It was on at first sight of their brother Joseph.  They had it in their minds to take him out.
The Holy Bible - American Standard Version

We can look down upon these men, the other sons of Jacob, but we should be careful in our judgment of them.  Yes, they thought what would seem unthinkable and did what seems to be downright dirty and dastardly.  Unlike Cain, they did not murder their brother.  They sold him into slavery and lied to their father about what happened to him.  Essentially, they rid themselves of what they considered to be their biggest problem.

Take another perspective on all that happened with this family.  They said they plotted against Joseph because of his dreams, but what about Jacob’s role.  Did he offend Judah or Reuben by overlooking them as elder brothers and favoring Joseph?  How did the part that Jacob played out impact the depth of these young men’s disdain for their own brother? We cannot overlook the fact that Jacob played a role in the way things happened.

I am not sure what each and every person’s tipping point may be, but I can assure you that no one expects the father to be the reason for one brother to seek to kill another brother.  That’s not our normal outlook on things, so when we see and hear such things in the daily news, we are in shock and we basically cannot understand how something like that can happen.

Forged By Fire

If you are not close to it, then you most probably don’t know.  If you have never seen a father vehemently chastise his child in public, you probably don’t know about it.  If you have never heard a mother berate her child with cuss words and demeaning words without losing her breath or batting her eyes, then you probably don’t understand the horror of such upbringing.  Until you hear the little girl who has grown up retell of living in fear when Daddy went on a drinking binge or Mama never had anything good to say, you may not recognize it until the monster that emerges out of the depths of dysfunction as a John Wayne Gacy or the Son of Sam.  You may not even recognize the Sunday school teacher or soccer coach, even the nice, quiet mom, who have lived under such conditions and survived to live differently

You just may not know.

Growing Wise in Family Life: Bible Study Guide

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Now Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.
– Genesis 37:1 (NKJV)
The Tribes of Israel in Palestine - Panoramic Map Collections Giclee Poster Print, 9x12
Ancient Canaan and Israel: An IntroductionIn the previous chapter, we learn about Esau as the “father of the Edomites” and how Esau lived in Edom. However, this chapter starts out with the pronouncement of Jacob living in the land of Canaan, where his father lived as a stranger.
Jacob may not have been at his best when he deceived his father with wool-covered arms and venison, soup, but he eventually dwelt in the land of promise.  He became one of the three major patriarchs of faith in the Judeo-Christian religious system.  We name him right after Abraham and Isaac

Abraham & Isaac
Jacob lived in a place where his daddy wasn’t wanted, the very place where they filled his father’s wells every time he tried to dig one.  Jacob took residence there and settled in, raising his family there.  Jacob’s sons shepherded his flocks in Canaan.  Jacob’s sons from his many different wives lived in Canaan with Jacob.  These were the sons who would make the tribes of Israel.
Jacob's Dozen: A Prophetic Look at the Tribes of Israel
Where you live may not dictate how you live.  Live to your best and live at peace wherever you are.

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28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
It is the death of Isaac that brings these brothers together again.
Well, That may be in most cases, but not here.
The Brothers Karamazov (1958) [VHS]Isaac’s death brought these brothers together and they did not end up fighting.  They did not start a civil war of brother against brother.  The buried their father together.  They did not call each other out.  They buried their daddy in peace.  Imagine that.  This was a family at peace and able to put their father to rest in peace.
Healing From Family Rifts : Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off From a Family Member

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>Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings

When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.
– Genesis 34:5 (NIV)

Jacob depicts a peculiar picture as a father figure.  His daughter “Dinah had been defiled” by Shechem the Hivite, and he did nothing.  It wasn’t until his sons returned home that anything was done regarding the matter.  However, what was done was done by the brothers, not Jacob.

13 Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 14 They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15 We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. 17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.” – Genesis 34:13-17 (NIV)
Jacob’s sons dealt with Shechem and his father deceitfully as the Word says.  They sought revenge for their sister being dishonored and disgraced.  They did not confront the man on his actions.  They entered into a deceptive arrangement under the guise of an agreement that carried the condition of circumcision.  Rather than truthfully deal with the matter, these men utilized deception and sought to get their payback through this false arrangement.
Simeon and Levi, the brothers of Dinah, attacked the men of the city as they recovered from their circumcision.  Immediately following this attack, the remaining brothers joined in and looted the city.  They took what they pleased, including women, children, flocks and herds.  They had gained their revenge despite their methods for doing so.
Courageous Christians: Devotional Stories for Family Reading
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.” 31 But they replied, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?” – Genesis 34:30-31 (NIV)
The Bible is clear when it notes that Jacob only offers objection to the outcome of his sons’ deceptive deeds.  He objects on the merits of his own preservation.  He speaks of the trouble that the sons have brought upon him and his own household. He does not offer another way to handle the matter.  Verse 6 tells us that the offender’s father went out to talk to Jacob in order to settle the matter.  However, reading the entire passage reveals that Jacob’s sons took over the matter, hearing of it and becoming enraged by the act of disgrace on Shechem’s part.
I Will Bring You Back: The Story of Jacob, His Sons, and His God
Jacob leaves the Bible reader wondering about his parenting style.  The issue of Dinah being raped by Shechem does not appear to be a priority for Jacob, but his ability to live at peace with neighboring people does appear to be a major concern for him.  He does not appeal to his sons to act reasonably or fairly.  He does not share with them the wrong of their cruel intentions.  No, Jacob leaves one to question his parenting style and just what his sons learned under their father’s leadership.
Lead By Example

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>Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings

Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.
Sukkoth means “shelters.” Jacob just had a run-in with the man who wanted to kill him.  Jacob just had to face the man who had sworn to kill him for stealing his birthright and blessing.  Jacob just stood face to face with his own flesh and blood, his brother Esau.  After all that Jacob had tried to do, he still had to face Esau.  He was in need of some shelter.
He organized his own people in such a way that each wife walked with her children, Rachel and Joseph taking up the rear just before himself.  He bowed and humbled himself before Esau, considering himself Esau’s servant and rendering respect due to the eldest son.  He went out of his way to offer himself in humble submission to his brother whom he had betrayed.

Jacob is allowed to go on about his business without any retaliation from Esau.  The brothers embraced and wept.  Esau offered his brother company and protection, but all Jacob wanted was to find favor in the eyes of Esau.  With that, the brothers parted ways and Jacob went on to Sukkoth (Succoth).

Finding Favor With the King: Preparing For Your Moment in His Presence
At times, we will simply need to find favor

How many of us need to find our own Sukkoth? I’m talking about a definitive place to go and find shelter.  I mean a place where the slings and arrows of the enemy do not penetrate its borders.  I mean a place of both safety and serenity, where we can simply be at peace.  Even if it is only for a moment, we need to discover where we might find our own Sukkoth.

Today you can start on your journey and seek out Sukkoth.  Truly, this can be the embarking of an endeavor to discover that place for yourself.  Perhaps, like many of us, you need to hear from the Good Shepherd in order to know which way to go.  Listen and discern.  His voice beckons you.  Will you be at peace with Him?

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