My illusion posts have carried through the first 35 chapters of Genesis. The remaining Genesis chapters tell the story of Joseph. It is a very rich and multi-layered story. I am not going to probe this story but I do want to make two observations.
The scheming, deception, and mind games in the story are ….. well …. of biblical proportions. The key verses in the whole saga for me is 50:19-20. Joseph’s brothers, upon the death of their father, are fearful of what Joseph might do to them. Joseph assures them.
Gen 50:19-20 NRSV
19 But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.
Joseph began as a cocky spoiled brat. God gave him a dream of the future where he would be in authority. You have to wonder if Joseph would have been so thrilled about the dream if he knew what he would go through on the way to the dreams fulfillment. At the end of the journey he could look back and see God’s involvement in every aspect. It appears that as he matured he was disillusioned from his youthful arrogance and found his identity in God.
Finally, back in Genesis 10, we counted seventy nations that had filled the earth. Seven and ten were perfect numbers and seven multiplied by ten signified a large perfect number. In Genesis 46, we find the following:
Gen 46:27 NRSV
27 The children of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two; all the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.
Scholars believe that “seventy persons” refers back to the seventy nations in Genesis 10. Israel was to become a symbol, a microcosm of what God intended for the whole world. The seventy people represented the seventy nations and Gods plan to bless them all. Symbolically, the whole world had become refugees from their home (symbolized by Israel entering Egypt.) But one day God would miraculously bring them home to a place he had promised (From Egypt to Canaan through the Red Sea.) A foreshadowing of things to come?