Monday, March 6, 2017

Day 32: Joseph and a donkey ride

Genesis 36, 37, 38 & Matthew 21:1-22

These passages introduce us to the world of Joseph and show us the beginning of Jesus’ journey to the cross in Matthew. Both pieces of scripture deal with how God’s work is perceived by others with power or expectations of power.

Genesis 36

This chapter is a synopsis of the lineage of Esau. Esau is known as the father of the Edomite tribes. I find it interesting that the grandsons are categorized by which of Esau’s wives were their grandmother, but it makes logical sense to divide them that way as they all have the same grandfather.

Genesis 37

Here we are introduced to an arrogant seventeen year old Joseph. He knew he was his father’s favorite, and so did all of his brothers. Joseph did not act graciously and this helped lead to an animosity developing between Joseph and his brothers. I often wonder what advise grown Joseph might offer teenage Joseph.
The brothers have been off with the herds, farther than they had said they would go, and Jacob/Israel sends Joseph to find them. The brother’s see Joseph from a far distance and hatch a plan to kill him. Reuben concocts a plan to throw Joseph into a cistern and retrieve him later. However, before Rueben can rescue Joseph, traders come along and Judah comes up with the idea to sell Joseph rather than kill him themselves. Joseph is sold for 20 pieces of silver.

Genesis 38

I just have to say, for Judah to be the mighty lion and line of David, Judah made some pretty poor choices. Here we learn of Judah’s mistreatment of his daughter-in-law Tamar. The whole point of levirate marriage was to provide for a widow without children. The idea was that the brother would marry the widow and give her a son. That son would inherit the dead father’s portion and would be able to provide for the widow. By not allowing Tamar to get pregnant, Judah’s second son was doing two things. One, keeping her from the protection she was entitled to, and two using her for his sexual gratification without risking his portion of his brother’s inheritance.
Judah adds insult to injury by sending Tamar back to her parents’ house in mourning cloths. She must live as a widow without the benefits of protection. She is essentially captive, unable to marry someone else because she is promised to the youngest son. Judah does not let his youngest son marry Tamar, so Tamar takes matters into her own hands.
Through an awkward and bizarre set of events, Tamar and Judah sleep together and Tamar gets pregnant. When it is revealed that she is expecting the people wish to punish her. She however provides proof that the child is Judah’s and Judah calls her more righteous than he. And people say the Bible is boring!!

Matthew 21:1-22

This passage is the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem during what will come to be called Holy Week. Jesus is honored by people who have little honor in society. He then goes into the temple and cleanses it from people doing business rather than helping with worship.

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