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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Another view of Joseph (part II)

As you read this week's verses, notice the way Jacob dominates the story -- even when he's off stage! (And if you doubt this, then count the number of times Judah mentions his father when he's speaking to Joseph.)

Then too, you may find it helpful to compare the Bible's version of Joseph's story with that found in the Koran. (For the source of this story, click on the title of this post.)

58 And his brethren came to Joseph, and they entered in unto him and he knew them, but they recognised not him. 59 And when he had equipped them with their equipment he said, "Bring me a brother that ye have from your father; do ye not see that I give good measure, and that I am the best of entertainers? 60 But if ye bring him not to me, no measure shall ye have with me, nor shall ye come nigh me."

61 They said, "We will desire him of our father, and we will surely do it."

62 Then he said to his servants, "Put their chattels in their packs, haply they may know it when they are come back to their family; haply they may return."

63 And when they returned to their father, they said, "O our father! Measure is withheld from us; so send with us our brother that we may get measure, and, verily, him we will keep!"

64 He said, "Shall I entrust you with him, save as entrusted you with his brother before? but God is the best of keepers, and He is the most merciful of the merciful."

65 And when they opened their goods they found their chattels restored to them. Said they, "O our father! What more can we crave? Here are our chattels restored to us, and we shall guard our brother, and shall have an additional measure beside that- a small measure."

66 He said, "I will by no means send him with you until you give me a compact from God that ye will surely bring him to me, unless ye be encompassed." So when they had given him their compact he said, "God over what ye say has charge." 67 And he said, "O my sons, enter not by one gate, but enter by several gates; but I cannot avail you aught against God. Judgment is only God's; upon Him do I rely, and on Him do the reliant rely."

68 And when they had entered as their father bade them, it availed them nothing against God, save for a want in Jacob's soul which it fulfilled; for, verily, he was possessed of knowledge, for that we had taught him;- but most men do not know.

69 And when they entered in unto Joseph, he took his brother to stay with him, and said, "Verily, I am thy brother- then take not ill that which they have been doing."

70 And when he had equipped them with their equipment he placed the drinking cup in his brother's pack; then a crier cried out, "O ye caravan, verily, ye are thieves!"

71 They said, approaching them, "What is it that ye miss?"

72 Said they, "We miss the goblet of the king, and whoso brings it shall have a camel-load, and I am guarantee thereof."

73 They said, "By God! Ye knew we came not to do evil in the land, and that we were not thieves."

74 They said, "And what shall be the recompense thereof if ye be liars?"

75 They said, "The recompense thereof is he in whose pack it is found- he shall be the recompense thereof; thus do we recompense the unjust."

76 And he began with their sacks before the sacks of his brother; then he drew it forth from his brother's sack.

Thus did we devise a stratagem for Joseph. He could not take his brother by the king's religion except God pleased;- we raise the degrees of whomsoever we please, and over every possessor of knowledge is one who knows.

77 They said, "If he has stolen, a brother of his has stolen before him."

But Joseph kept it secret in his soul and disclosed it not to them. Said he, "Ye are in a bad case, and God knows best about what ye describe."

78 They said, "O prince! Verily, he has a father, a very old man; take then one of us instead of him; verily, we can see that thou art of those who do good."

79 Said he, "(I seek) refuge in God from taking any save him with whom we found our property; verily, we should then be certainly unjust."

80 And when they despaired of him they retired to consult privately. Said the eldest of them, "Do ye not know that your father has taken a compact from God against you? Aforetime ye exceeded in the matter of Joseph- I will surely not quit the land until my father give me leave, or God judge for me, for He is the best of judges. 81 Return ye to your father and say, 'O our father, verily, thy son has committed theft, and we bore testimony to naught but what we knew; for of the unforeseen we were not keepers!' 82 Ask then in the city where we were, and of the caravan in which we approached it, for, verily, we tell the truth."

83 Said he, "Nay, your souls have induced you to do this thing. But patience is fair. It may be that God will give me them all together;- verily, He is knowing, wise." 84 And he turned away from them and said, "O my lament for Joseph!" and his eyes grew white with grief, for he repressed (his woe).

85 They said, "By God, thou wilt not cease to remember Joseph till thou art at the point of death, or art of those who perish!"

86 Said he, "I only complain of my emotion and my grief to God, for I know that from God which ye know nothing of. 87 O my sons, go and enquire concerning Joseph and his brother, and despair not of God's comfort; for, verily, none need despair of God's comfort save a misbelieving people!"

88 And when they entered in unto him they said, "O prince, distress has touched both us and our families, and we have brought trifling chattels. So give us full measure and bestow upon us in charity; verily, God rewards the charitable."

89 He said, "Do ye know what ye did with Joseph and his brother, while ye were ignorant?"

90 They said, "Art thou then indeed Joseph?"

He said, "I am Joseph, and this is my brother; God has been gracious towards us. Verily, whoso fears God and is patient,- verily, God wastes not the hire of those who do good!"

91 They said, "By God, God has chosen thee over us; and we indeed were sinners."

92 He said, "No reproach against you to-day! God will pardon you, for He is the most merciful of the merciful.93 Take this my shirt, and throw it over the face of my father, he will become able to see; and bring me your families all together."

94 And when the caravan departed, their father said, "Verily, I find the smell of Joseph, unless ye think I dote!"

95 They said, "By God, thou art in thy old error."

96 And when the herald of glad tidings came he threw it on his face, and he was restored to sight. Said he, "Did I not tell you that I know from God that of which ye know not?"

98 They said, "O our father, ask pardon for us of our sins;- verily, we were sinners!"

99 He said, "I will ask pardon for you from my Lord; verily, He is the pardoning and merciful."

100 And when they entered in unto Joseph, he took his father to stay with him, and said, "Enter ye into Egypt, if it please God, safe." 101 And he raised his father upon the throne, and they fell down before him adoring.

And he said, "O my sire! This is the interpretation of my vision aforetime; my Lord has made it come true, and He has been good to me, in bringing me forth out of prison, and bringing you from the desert, after Satan had made a breach between me and my brethren;-verily, my Lord is kind to whomsoever He will;- verily, He is the knowing, the wise!

102 "O my Lord, thou hast given me dominion, and hast taught me the interpretation of sayings; O originator of the heavens and the earth! Thou art my patron in this world and the next; take me to Thyself resigned, and let me reach the righteous!"

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