Genesis 50 15 21 Thesis

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Genesis 50: 15-21

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.

His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said.

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.(New Revised Standard Bible).

And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, "Joseph will perhaps hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him." 16 and they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, "Thy father did command before he died, saying, 17'So shall ye say unto Joseph, "Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren and their sin, for they did unto thee evil." And now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father." And Joseph wept when they spoke unto him.

And his brethren also went and fell down before his face, and they said, "Behold, we are thy servants."

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And Joseph said unto them, "Fear not; for am I in the place of God? 20 but as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good to bring to pass as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not; I will nourish you and your little ones." And he comforted them, and spoke kindly unto them. (21st Century King James)

Thesis on Genesis 50 15 21 Assignment

15 but now that their father was dead, Joseph's brothers became fearful. "Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him," they said. 16 So they sent this message to Joseph: "Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: 'Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you -- for their sin in treating you so cruelly.' So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin." When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. "Look, we are your slaves!" they said.

19 but Joseph replied, "Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don't be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children." So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them. (New Living Translation).

When Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Perhaps now Joseph will hate us and will pay us back for all the evil we did to him. 16 and they sent a messenger to Joseph, saying, Your father commanded before he died, saying, 17So shall you say to Joseph: Forgive (take up and away all resentment and all claim to requital concerning), I pray you now, the trespass of your brothers and their sin, for they did evil to you. Now, we pray you, forgive the trespass of the servants of your father's God. And Joseph wept when they spoke thus to him. 18 Then his brothers went and fell down before him, saying, See, we are your servants (your slaves)! 19 and Joseph said to them, Fear not; for am I in the place of God? [Vengeance is His, not mine.] 20As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid. I will provide for and support you and your little ones. And he comforted them [imparting cheer, hope, strength] and spoke to their hearts [kindly].(Amplified Bible)

Overview of Passage and Translations -- Essentially, the passage from Genesis 50:1-15 is a culmination of a substory from Genesis. Jacob, father of Joseph, has died, and now the brothers who treated him so cruely, and fearful that they will be persecuted. Joseph has risen to a position of power, and could certainly avenage himself upon his brothers for their spite and jealousy. Instead, they send a message to him pleading forgivness and he weeps, in the Spirit of the Lord affirms that he loves his kin, and is able to forgive them for any past transgressions.

The translations studied are all quite similar in regard to this passage; there is frank and honest admitting that the brothers did evil/harm/wrong to Joseph, and Joseph's maturity and understanding of the larger picture in that God had a different plan, that it was all meant to be. However, what is interesting regarding the storyline regarding Jacob and Joseph, is the way it merges both from and to a pscyholgoical nexus (Alter, 1996).

For example, one of the pscyhological maxims of Buddhism is "know thyself." In all the texts reviewed for this passage, one of the predominant themes in word usage deals with the evolution of both sides of the original conflict -- Joseph has evolved psychologically, the brothers as a group (symbol of society) have also evolved. Each major grouping is struggling to "know" themselves, and within this passage, finds new meaning for that journey. For example, there are three major themes involved in the death of Jacob and the dialog with Joseph:

Building of two stories -- This can be interpreted as either the dual storyline or the literary vs. psychological view of the event. It would be possible, but difficult to understand this passage out of context, since so much happened to get the players to the current "place." Similarly, the pscyhological perspectives of the events deal with serious child-abuse, deceipt, dysfunctional family situations, and essentially, selling one's family member into slavery.

Imposing alien ideas -- Using a Jungian approach, some scholarship believes that much of Genesis is an expression of the duality of humans -- a struggle between generations (e.g. Abraham and Issac, Jacob and Joseph), and the way that younger generations "test" the parent-child relationship. Contrast this with the juxtaposition of God as a parent and humans his children, an archytpal theme, and this struggle is repeated often in Genesis (and other parts of the Pentateauch -- Numbers and Job for example).

The need for a broader horizon -- the Joseph story, like much of the Pentateuch, involves many themes about humanity: good vs. evil, individuation, paternal love and mistrust, filial love and mistrust, the use of power, and the theme of forgiveness. Genesis starts off positive, and then the ensuing weave of stories not only complicate the psychology of the patient (i.e. humans) but the fall from grace seems almost predestined. What would God (the parent) do with perfect children in a perfect environment; what biographical archytypes do the major characters of Genesis represent in their predelection for human foilble? A psychological approach to these passages might indicate that like most great art, Biblical interpretation varies; it is the message behind the words that carries one through the ages, and while the symbology and standards of the story must remain, the true ability for the work to transcend time is in the knowing that the struggles we face today are nothing new -- but that the relationship with God can mitigate even the most difficult of circumstances (See: Brodie, 2001; Adar, 1990; Abela, 2001).

Passage in Story Context -- Within the context of the complete story, Genesis 50 is really the culmination of one story and the beginning of another. In its most simplistic manner, the Story of Joseph is one of forgiveness and redemption. Jacob is a patriarch of the Tribes of Israel, who, because of his age and personality, seems to favor one of his younger sons, Joseph, including allowing him to wear a "coat of many colors." This causes the other sons to be jealous of their father's favortism, and they plot against Joseph, selling him into slavery. However, many years later, a rich and powerful Joseph teaches his brothers the meaning of forgiveness. Joseph's power comes from his undying faith in God, and his riches from the services he performs for the Egyptian King.

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