Two Questions About Joseph

I heard two sermons on the life of Joseph recently, which got me thinking about his life story. Two questions emerged.

Why didn’t Joseph seek out his father after he had risen to power in Egypt? Joseph rose to power twice in Egypt. The first time in Potiphar’s household and then later as ruler of Egypt with Pharoah’s signet ring. I wonder why he didn’t hunt down his family? The search could stem from noble or ignoble desires. The noble being reassuring his father he was alive and well, the ignoble being revenge on his brothers.

Perhaps the answer is found in Genesis 41 when Joseph names his oldest son. He calls him Mannasseh, which sounds like “forget” in Hebrew, stating “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”

How did Joseph’s brothers tell Jacob that Joseph was alive? When the brothers break the news to Jacob did they tell the whole truth? We sold him to slave traders, there never was a wild animal attack. Or did they try to spin it as an animal attack, kidnapping, or not even try to explain? I can’t imagine Jacob would have no reaction to this revelation. Jacob is reported as stunned and reluctant to believe them, yet there is no mention of anger. That could have made for one awkward dinner conversation when Jacob asked Joseph how he ended up in Egypt.

Another thing that crossed my mind: the multicolored jacket, though bloodstained, was probably not considered out of fashion at the time of the family being reunited. I suspect garments remained in style longer than they do now. Today a flashy piece of clothing from more than a decade ago is probably going to look very dated and somewhat comical.

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