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Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh, watercolor by James Tissot (ca. 1900).

Joseph or Yosef (Hebrew: יוֹסֵף ‎, Standard Yosef Tiberian Yôsēp̄, Arabic: يوسف‎, Yusuf ; "May Yahweh add"[1]) was the eleventh of Jacob's twelve sons.[2] According to the biblical narrative he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, but rose to become the most powerful man in the land after Pharaoh. He then brought his brothers and father down to Egypt where they were settled in the land of Goshen.

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Name

The Bible relates the birth of Joseph at Genesis 30:23-24:

God remembered Rachel: God heeded her and unclosed her womb. She conceived and bore a son, declaring, "God has removed my disgrace." She named him Joseph, meaning "May Yahweh add another son for me!"[3]

The verse gives two explanations of Joseph's name: the first, from the Elohist source, bases it on the root /'sp/, meaning "taken away," while the second, from the Jahwist, cites the similar root /ysp/, meaning "add."[4]

Biblical narrative

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Family

Joseph was the eleventh of the twelve sons of Jacob and the first of the two sons of Rachel. He was favorite son of his father, who arrayed him in a "coat of many colors,"[5] but his brothers' hatred was excited by his father's favouritism and Joseph's own dreams which predicted that they would one day bow down to him.(Genesis 37:2-11)

From slavery to viceroy

Joseph interprets the dream of the Pharaoh by Peter von Cornelius.

One day, when Joseph was seventeen,[6] his brothers plotted to kill him. But Reuben, the eldest brother, advised them to throw Joseph into a pit, intending to rescue him later.[7] And so the brothers stripped Joseph of the coat of many colours and threw him into the pit. A caravan of Ishmaelites passed by, and Judah, another of the brothers, suggested that they sell Joseph to the merchants. Some Midianites were passing by and took Joseph out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver and they took him to Egypt.[8] When Reuben came back to the pit he found Joseph gone. The brothers dipped Joseph's coat in the blood of a goat and showed it to Jacob, who mourned for Joseph, believing him dead.[9] The Midianites (or Ishmaelites, at 39:1) sold Joseph to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard.[10] (The confusion as to the events leading to Joseph coming to Egypt as a slave exists in the biblical text itself, and is also reflected in the Septuagint.)

Potiphar appointed Joseph superintendent of his household, and they both prospered.[11] But Potiphar's wife conceived a passion for Joseph, and, when her advances were repulsed, brought a false accusation against him before her husband, and Joseph was thrown into prison.[12] The warden put Joseph in charge of the other prisoners,[13] and soon afterward Pharaoh's chief cup bearer and chief baker, who had offended the king, were thrown into the prison.[14] One morning they both told Joseph their dreams of the previous night, which they were unable to interpret, and Joseph told them that the chief cup bearer would be reinstated within three days but that the chief baker would be hanged.[15] Joseph requested the cup bearer to mention him to Pharaoh and secure his release from prison,[16] but the cup bearer, reinstalled in office, forgot Joseph.[17]

After Joseph was in prison for two years, Pharaoh had several dreams which disturbed him. He dreamt of seven lean cows which rose out of the river and devoured seven fat cows; and, of seven withered ears of grain which devoured seven fat ears. Pharaoh's wise men were unable to interpret these dreams, but the chief cup bearer remembered Joseph and spoke of his skill to Pharaoh. Joseph was called for, and interpreted the dreams as foretelling that seven years of abundance would be followed by seven years of famine, and advised Pharaoh to store surplus grain during the years of abundance. Before Joseph was 30 years old, Pharaoh made him viceroy over Egypt, renamed him Zaphnath-Paaneah and married him to Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah, priest of On. (Genesis 41:44-46) Joseph had two sons with Asenath, Manasseh and Ephraim,(Genesis 41:50-52) and Egypt became prosperous under his care.

Family reunited

Joseph gave orders to his servants to fill their sacks with wheat: illuminated Bible by Raphaël de Mercatelli, Ghent, late 15th century

The years of famine arrived, and people came from the surrounding lands to Egypt to buy grain. (Genesis 41:53-57) Among those who came were ten of Joseph's eleven brothers, the youngest, Benjamin, remaining with their father Jacob in Canaan.(Genesis 42:1-5) Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. Joseph received them roughly and accused them of being spies, and sent them back to their father, demanding that they return with Benjamin. And so the brothers returned to Jacob in Canaan, with Reuben lamenting that they had not listened to him and spared the life of their brother Joseph. (Genesis 42)

Jacob sent his sons again to Egypt for grain. As Joseph had commanded them not to appear before him again without Benjamin, Jacob was compelled to let Benjamin go with them. And they were amazed when this time the viceroy received them kindly, and took them to feast in his own house, inquiring after their father and their youngest brother Benjamin. (Genesis 43:47) But while they feasted, Joseph gave orders to his servants to fill their sacks with wheat and put his silver goblet in Benjamin's sack. On the following morning the brothers departed, but before they had gone far a messenger overtook them, accusing them of stealing the goblet. And when the messenger searched their sacks he found the goblet in Benjamin's sack, and ordered them to return. In front of Joseph, whom he still did not know, Judah pleaded that Benjamin be allowed to return to his father, and he himself kept in Benjamin's place.[18]

Joseph identified by his brothers by Charles Thévenin.

Overcome by Judah's appeal, Joseph disclosed himself to his brothers, assuring them that in treating him as they did they had been carrying out the will of God. He then urged them to return home quickly and bring all their families to Egypt, to live in the land of Goshen. And Pharaoh, when he heard of this, rejoiced, and gave to Joseph and his brothers the best that Egypt could offer.[19]

And so Jacob and all his family came to Egypt, seventy persons plus their wives, [20] and Joseph met his father in the Land of Goshen.[21] Then he presented five of his brothers to Pharaoh, and also his father Jacob, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and Joseph gave them the land of Ramesses. And as the famine continued in Egypt Joseph bought up all the land, which became Pharaoh's, and the people farmed it for Pharaoh, giving him one-fifth of the produce.

The blessing of Jacob

After being settled for 17 years in Egypt, when Jacob felt his end was approaching he called Joseph to him, and made him swear to bury him not in Egypt, but with his fathers. (Genesis 47:28-31) Jacob blessed Manasseh and Ephraim, the sons of Joseph, giving them equal inheritance with his own sons. But despite protests by Joseph, Jacob blessed Ephraim the younger first above Manasseh. (Genesis 48:1-22)

Jacob then gave his blessing upon all his sons. (Genesis 49) Though he blessed them in order by their age, the blessing he gave Joseph was greater than the others:

'Joseph is a fruitful tree by a spring, whose branches climb over the wall. The archers savagely attacked him, shooting and assailing him fiercely, but Joseph's bow remained unfailing and his arms were tireless by the power of the Strong One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd of Israel, by the God of your father-so may he help you! By God Almighty-so may he bless you with the blessings of heaven above, and the blessings of the deep that lies below! The blessings of breast and womb and the blessings of your father are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains and the bounty of the everlasting hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of him who was prince among his brothers.'

Joseph had Jacob's body embalmed and taken back to Canaan, with the twelve sons carrying their father's coffin and many Egyptian officials accompanying them, (Genesis 50:1-14) and Jacob was buried in the cave of Machpelah, which Abraham had bought, and in which Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac and Rachel, and Jacob's first wife Leah were buried.

Then Joseph's brothers implored his forgiveness for their past actions, but Joseph allayed their fears and promised that he would continue to provide for their wants. (Genesis 50:15-21)

Epilogue

Symbol of the Tribe of Joseph.

Joseph lived to the age of 110, living to see his great-grandchildren. Before he died, he made the children of Israel swear that when they left the land of Egypt they would take his bones with them, and on his death his body was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt. (Genesis 50:22-26)

The children of Israel remembered their oath, and when they left Egypt during the Exodus, Moses took Joseph's bones with him. (Exodus 13:19) The bones were buried at Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, (Joshua 24:32) before Jacob and all his family moved to Egypt. Shechem was in the land which was allocated by Joshua to the Tribe of Ephraim, one of the tribes of the House of Joseph, after the conquest of Canaan.

Later traditions

In one Talmudic story, Joseph was buried in the Nile, as there was some dispute as to which province should be honored by having his tomb within its boundaries. Moses, led there by an ancient holy woman named Serach, was able by a miracle to raise the sarcophagus and to take it with him at the time of the Exodus.

Joseph is commemorated as one of the Holy Forefathers in the Calendar of Saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 30. In the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, he is known as "Joseph the all-comely", a reference not only to his physical appearance, but more importantly to the beauty of his spiritual life. They commemorate him on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (two Sundays before Christmas) and on Holy and Great Monday (Monday of Holy Week). In icons, he is sometimes depicted wearing the nemes headdress of an Egyptian vizier. The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod commemorates him as a patriarch on March 31.

Joseph ("Yusuf") is regarded by Muslims as a prophet (Qur'an, suras vi. 84, xl. 36), and a whole chapter (sura xii.) is devoted to him. He is believed to have been very beautiful. Prophet Muhammad once said, "One half of all the beauty God apportioned for mankind went to Joseph; the other one half went to the rest of mankind." One significant departure in the Qur'an is the use of an unspecified King in place of the Biblical Pharaoh. The story has the same general outlines as the Biblical narrative, but with a wealth of additional detail and incident.[22] In the Qur'an the brothers ask Jacob to let Joseph go with them.[22] The pit into which Joseph is thrown is a well with water in it,[22] and Joseph was taken as a slave by passing-by travellers (Qur'an 12:19). In one account, Joseph's face possessed such a peculiar brilliancy that his brothers noticed the different light in the sky as soon as he appeared above the edge of the well, and came back to claim him as their slave.[22] This same peculiarity was noticeable when they went to Egypt: although it was evening when they entered the city, his face diffused such a light that the astonished inhabitants came out to see the cause of it.[22]

In the Bible, Joseph discloses himself to his brethren before they return to their father the second time after buying corn.[22] The same in the Islamic story but they are compelled to return to Jacob without Benjamin, and the former weeps himself blind.[22] He remains so until the sons have returned from Egypt, bringing with them Joseph's garment healed the patriarch's eyes as soon as he put it to his face (Qur'an 12:96).[22]

Biblical criticism

Understanding of the origins and nature of the Joseph story has undergone considerable modification in the last hundred years. Nineteenth century source criticism divided it between the Jahwist, Elohist and Priestly sources of the documentary hypothesis.[23] In the early 20th century Hermann Gunkel demonstrated that, unlike the Abraham-Isaac-Jacob stories, the Joseph story formed a single unitary story with literary rather than oral origins,[24] while in 1953 Gerhard von Rad made a detailed assessment of its literary artistry and drew attention to its identity as a Wisdom novella,[25] and in 1968 R.N. Whybray argued that unity and artistry implied a single author.[26] All three insights are now widely accepted.[27] There have been many attempts to trace the story's redaction history, and that of Donald Redford may be taken as one influential example: an original "Reuben version" from the northern kingdom of Israel intended to justify the domination of the “house of Joseph” over the other tribes, followed by a later “Judah-expansion” (chapters 38 and 49) elevating Judah as the rightful successor to Jacob, and finally various embellishments placing the novella as the bridge between the Abraham-Isaac-Jacob material in Genesis and the following story of Moses and the Exodus.[28] Since the 1980s there has been an emerging consensus that this final version is a product of the Exile and the Jewish diaspora, dating from the 5th century Persian era at the earliest.[29]

Literature and culture

Thomas Mann retells the Genesis stories surrounding Joseph in his four novel omnibus, Joseph and His Brothers, identifying Joseph with the figure of Osarseph known from Josephus, and the pharaoh with Akhenaten.

The long-running musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice is one of the few major British musical theatre shows with hardly any spoken dialogue, being sung-through almost completely

References

  1. ^ verse, note and commentary on Genesis 30:24, The Anchor Bible, Volume 1, Genesis, 1964, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York
  2. ^ JewishEncyclopedia.com - JOSEPH
  3. ^ Genesis 30:23-24, The Anchor Bible, Volume 1, Genesis, 1964, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York
  4. ^ Richard Elliott Friedman, "The Bible With Sources Revealed", HarperSanFrancisco, (2003), p.80
  5. ^ A more accurate translation would be "coat with long sleeves" - see "A Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature", 1903. ISBN 1-932443-20-7
  6. ^ Genesis 37:2
  7. ^ Genesis 37:18-22
  8. ^ Genesis 37:25-28
  9. ^ Genesis 37:29-35
  10. ^ Genesis 37:36
  11. ^ Genesis 39:1-6
  12. ^ Genesis 39:7-20
  13. ^ Genesis 39:21-23
  14. ^ Genesis 40:1-4
  15. ^ Genesis 40:5-22
  16. ^ Genesis 40:14-15
  17. ^ Genesis 40:23
  18. ^ Genesis 44, ESV
  19. ^ Genesis 45, ESV
  20. ^ Genesis 46:26-27
  21. ^ Genesis 46, ESV
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h Differences of Tradition
  23. ^ Hermann Gunkel, “Genesis” (Mercer University Press, 1997 trans. ed. Mark E. Biddle) pp.387 ff.
  24. ^ Herman Gunkel, “Genesis” (Mercer University Press, 1997 trans. ed. Mark E. Biddle) pp.387 ff.
  25. ^ [http://www.jstor.org/pss/1585564 Michael V. Fox, “Wisdom in the Joseph Story” (Vetus Testamentum, Brill, 2001)
  26. ^ R.N. Whybray, “The Making of the Pentateuch: A Methodological Study” (Sheffield Academic Press, 1999) pp.54-55
  27. ^ E.g. J.A. Soggin, “Notes on the Joseph Story”, in “Understanding Poets and Prophets: Essays in Honour of George Wishart Anderson” (JSOTSupp 153, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993)
  28. ^ Donald Redford, “A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50)” (VTSupp 20, Brill, 1970)
  29. ^ J.A. Soggin, “An Introduction to the History of Israel and Judah” (1998, trans. John Bowden, SCM Press, 1999) p.102-3

See also



File:Peter von Cornelius
Joseph interprets the dream of the Pharaoh. Painting by Peter von Cornelius.
Biblical longevity
Name Age LXX
Methuselah 969 969
Jared 962 962
Noah 950 950
Adam 930 930
Seth 912 912
Kenan 910 910
Enos 905 905
Mahalalel 895 895
Lamech 777 753
Shem 600 600
Eber 464 404
Cainan 460
Arpachshad 438 465
Salah 433 466
Enoch 365 365
Peleg 239 339
Reu 239 339
Serug 230 330
Job 210? 210?
Terah 205 205
Isaac 180 180
Abraham 175 175
Nahor 148 304
Jacob 147 147
Esau 147? 147?
Ishmael 137 137
Levi 137 137
Amram 137 137
Kohath 133 133
Laban 130+ 130+
Deborah 130+ 130+
Sarah 127 127
Miriam 125+ 125+
Aaron 123 123
Rebecca 120+ 120+
Moses 120 120
Joseph 110 110
Joshua 110 110

Joseph or Yosef (Hebrew: יוֹסֵף ‎, Standard Yosef Tiberian Yôsēp̄, Arabic: يوسف‎, Yusuf ; "He (The Lord) increases/may add"), is a major figure in the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). He was Jacob's eleventh son and Rachel's first.[1] He is also mentioned favourably in the Qur'an.

Joseph, son of Jacob, is one of the best-known figures in the Torah, famous for his coat of many colors (although this may be a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for "stripes") and his God-given ability to interpret dreams. Due to jealousy, his brother Judah sold him into slavery for 20 pieces of silver. Eventually he worked under the Egyptian official Potiphar, but was freed and became the chief adviser (vizier) to the Egyptian Pharaoh, allegedly during either the Hyksos Era or, according to Kenneth Kitchen, the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.

The shrine called Joseph's Tomb in [Nablus] is traditionally considered to be his tomb.[1]

Contents

Biblical tradition

The eleventh son of Jacob and the elder of the two sons of Rachel was born at Haran. The meaning given to the name (l.c.) is "shall add": "The Lord shall add to me another son." It seems probable, however, it has God as its first element, and is a contraction, the original form being "Jehoseph", while in Gen. 30:23 there is an allusion to the connection of "Joseph".
File:Bilinska-Jozef sprzedany przez
Joseph sold by his brothers, by Anna Bilińska-Bohdanowiczowa, 1883.

Upon Joseph centered the love of his father, Jacob (Matthew 1:16) or Heli (Luke 3:23), who showered upon "the son of his old age" many tokens of special favor, and arrayed him in a "coat of many colors". This favoritism, however, excited the envy of his older brothers, and Joseph increased their envy by telling them of two dreams which prognosticated his ruling over them (Gen. 37:2-11).

When a lad of seventeen, Joseph was sent by his father to inquire after his brothers, who were pasturing the flocks in Shechem. He found them at Dothan, and when his brothers saw him approaching they planned to kill him. Reuben, however, took his part, and, in order to remove him from the fury of the others, advised them to throw Joseph into a pit (Gen. 37:13-24). He intended to rescue Joseph and return him to Jacob later.

Detailed accounts are given of the sale of Joseph, which immediately followed; according to one, the brothers, while eating at some distance from the pit, sighted a caravan of Ishmaelites, to whom they decided to sell Joseph. In the meantime some Midianite merchants passing the pit drew Joseph out and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took Joseph to Egypt (Gen. 37:25-28 ). The last statement is repeated in Gen. 39:1, while in Gen. 37:36 it is said that the Midianites (Hebr. "Medanites") sold him to Potiphar in Egypt. Midianites and Ishmaelites are interchangeable terms.

Imprisonment

In Potiphar's house Joseph fared well, for, seeing that he prospered in all that he did, his impressed master appointed him superintendent of his household.[2] But Joseph was "a goodly person and well favored", and his master's wife conceived a passion for him.[2] Her repeated advances being repulsed, she finally attempted compulsion; still failing, she brought a false accusation against him before her husband, and Joseph was thrown into prison.[2]

File:Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
Joseph Accused by Potiphar's Wife, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1655.

There, too, God was with Joseph; the keeper of the prison, seeing that he could place confidence in him, committed the other prisoners to his charge (Gen. 39).[2] Soon afterward, two of Pharaoh's officers, the chief butler and the chief baker, having offended the king, were thrown into the prison where Joseph was, and Joseph was appointed to serve them.[2]

One morning both officers told Joseph their dreams of the previous night, which they themselves were unable to interpret.[2] Joseph concluded from their dreams that the chief butler would be reinstated within three days and that the chief baker would be hanged.[2] Joseph requested the chief butler to mention him to Pharaoh and secure his release from prison, but that officer, reinstalled in office, forgot Joseph (Gen. 40).[2]

Joseph remained two years in prison, at the end of which period Pharaoh had an uneasy dream of seven lean kine devouring seven fat kine on the Nile, and of seven withered ears devouring seven full, ripe ears.[2] Great importance was attached to dreams in Egypt, and Pharaoh was much troubled when his magicians proved unable to interpret them satisfactorily.[2]

Then the chief butler remembered Joseph and spoke of his skill to Pharaoh.[2] Accordingly he was sent for, and he interpreted Pharaoh's dream as foretelling that seven years of abundance would be followed by seven years of famine and advised the king to appoint some able man to store the surplus grain during the period of abundance.[2] Pleased with his interpretation, Pharaoh made him viceroy over Egypt, giving him the Egyptian name of Zaphnath-paaneah and conferring on him other marks of royal favor.[2]

Shortly afterwards, Joseph was married by Pharaoh to Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah, priest of On, through whom he soon had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen. 41:1-52).[2]

Viceroy of Egypt

During the seven years of abundance, Joseph amassed for the king a great supply of grain, which he sold to both Egyptians and foreigners (Gen. 41:48-49, 54-57).[3] The famine, having extended to all the neighboring countries, caused Joseph's brothers, with the exception of Benjamin, to go to Egypt in search of wheat.[3] Joseph recognized his brothers, who prostrated themselves before him and therein fulfilled, in part, his dreams.[3] He received them roughly and accused them of being spies, thereby compelling them to give him information about their family.[3]

Desiring to see Benjamin, Joseph demanded that they substantiate their statements by sending one of their number for Benjamin while the others remained behind.[3] He accordingly imprisoned them for three days, and then sent them away with wheat, retaining Simeon as a hostage (Gen.42:1-25).[3]

The famine in Canaan continuing, Jacob was again obliged to send his sons to Egypt for corn.[3] As Joseph had commanded them not to appear before him again without Benjamin, Jacob was compelled to let Benjamin go with them.[3] He sent also a present to Joseph in order to win his favor, together with the money which had been, by Joseph's orders, put into their sacks.[3]

Revelation to brothers

The second time Joseph received them very kindly and prepared a feast for them, but paid special attention to Benjamin (Gen. xliii.).[4] Desiring to know what his brothers would do if under some pretext he retained Benjamin, Joseph gave orders to fill their sacks with wheat, put their money into their sacks, and put his silver goblet in Benjamin's.[4] On the following morning the brothers departed, but before they had gone far a messenger overtook them, accusing them of stealing the goblet.[4] The messenger searched their sacks and found the goblet in Benjamin's sack; this compelled them to return.[4]

Joseph reproached them for what they had done, and Judah, speaking on behalf of his brothers, expressed their willingness to remain as slaves to Joseph.[4] The latter, however, declined their offer, declaring that he would retain Benjamin only (Gen. 44:1-17).[4]

Overcome by Judah's eloquent appeal (Gen. 44:18-34) and convinced of his brothers' repentance, Joseph disclosed himself to them.[4] He inquired after his father, but as they were too much amazed and startled to answer him, he assured them that in treating him as they did they had been carrying out the will of God. He then urged them to return home quickly, loaded them with presents for his father, and supplied them with vehicles for the transportation of the whole family (Gen. 40).

Joseph met his father in the Land of Goshen.[5] He recommended his brothers to represent themselves as shepherds so that they might remain in Goshen unmolested. Then he presented five of his brothers to Pharaoh, who granted them a domain in Goshen; and, after having introduced Jacob to Pharaoh, Joseph domiciled the whole family, at Pharaoh's command, "in the land of Ramesses", where he supplied them with all they needed (Gen. 44:29-47:12).

As a ruler, Joseph changed the system of land-tenure in Egypt. The famine being severe, the people first expended all their money in the purchase of wheat, then they sold their cattle, and finally gave up their land. Thus all the cultivated land in Egypt, except that of the priests, became the property of the crown, and the people farmed it for the king, giving him one-fifth of the produce (Gen. 47:14-26).

Hearing of his father's sickness, Joseph went to him with his two sons, whom Jacob blessed, conferring upon Joseph at the same time one portion more than the portions of his brothers (Gen. 48). Joseph carried Jacob's remains to the land of Canaan, where he gave them stately burial. His brothers, fearing that he had only been waiting until after their father's death to avenge himself upon them, sent to implore his forgiveness. Joseph allayed their fears and promised that he would continue to provide for their wants.

He lived to the age of one hundred and ten, and saw his great-grandchildren grow up. Before his death, he made the children of Israel take an oath that when they left the land of Egypt they would take his bones with them. His body was embalmed and placed temporarily in a coffin. At the Exodus his bones accompanied Moses, and were finally buried in Shechem (Gen. l. 25; Ex. 13:19; Josh. 24:32).

Blessing

Jacob, before he died, blessed all his sons and included blessings for Joseph's sons. He first blessed Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Though Manasseh was the older brother, Jacob blessed Ephraim with a greater ambition than his older brother.

He then gave his blessing upon all his sons. Though he blessed them in order by their age, the blessing he gave Joseph was greater than the others:

'Joseph is a fruitful tree by a spring, whose branches climb over the wall. The archers savagely attacked him, shooting and assailing him fiercely, but Joseph's bow remained unfailing and his arms were tireless by the power of the Strong One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd of Israel, by the God of your father--so may he help you! By God Almighty--so may he bless you with the blessings of heaven above, and the blessings of the deep that lies below! The blessings of breast and womb and the blessings of your father are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains and the bounty of the everlasting hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of him who was prince among his brothers.' (Genesis 49:22-26)

Timeline

In his book, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, Kitchen writes:

"...the story of a young Joseph sold off [into slavery] into Egypt fits in easily, especially in the early second millennium, in the overall period of the late Twelfth/Thirteenth and Hyksos Dynasties. After a good haggle, his brothers got 20 shekels for their young brother (Gen. 37:28). This we know to be approximately the right price in about the eighteenth century. This is the average price (expressed as one-third of a mina) in the laws of Hammurabi (§§116,214,252) and in real-life transactions at Mari (exactly) and in other Old Babylonian documents (within a 15- to 30-shekel range, averaging 22 shekels).[6] Before this period slaves were cheaper, and after it, they steadily got dearer, as inflation did its work...After the eighteenth/seventeenth centuries, prices duly rose. In fifteenth-century Nuzi and fourteenth/thirtenth-century Ugarit, the average crept up to 30 shekels and more. (cf. replacement price of 30 shekels in Exod. 21:32.)[7] Then in the first millennium, male slaves in Assyria fetched 50 to 60 shekels.[8]"[9]

The controversial Egyptologist David Rohl, in his book Pharaohs and Kings, proposes an alternate chronology for the Old Testament. Dr. Rohl believes that Joseph was vizier during the reign of Pharaoh Amenemhat III.[10] Christian scholars point to Apopi, Thutmose III or Amenhotep III, the last of these being the father of the monotheistic "heretic" pharaoh Akhenaten, as a possible Joseph's Pharaoh.[11]

Christian view

Joseph is regarded as a saint by several Catholic churches. He is commemorated as one of the Holy Forefathers in the Calendar of Saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 30.[citation needed] In the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, he is known as "Joseph the all-comely", a reference not only to his physical appearance, but more importantly to the beauty of his spiritual life. They commemorate him on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (two Sundays before Christmas) and on Holy and Great Monday (Monday of Holy Week). In icons, he is sometimes depicted wearing the nemes headdress of an Egyptian vizier. The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod commemorates him as a patriarch on March 31.

Joseph's life has been seen as a type of Jesus' death and resurrection.[citation needed]

Islamic view

The story of Joseph or Yusuf as it is told in Qur'an has the same general outlines as the Biblical narrative; but in the Arabic account there is a wealth of accessory detail and incident. One significant departure in the Qur'anic account of the Joseph story is the use of an unspecified King in place of the Biblical Pharaoh. Joseph is regarded by Muslims as a prophet (Qur'an, suras vi. 84, xl. 36). He is beleived to have been very beautiful. In the Qur'an a whole chapter (sura xii.) is devoted to Joseph.

Differences of tradition

There are certain points in which the Islamic story differs from the Biblical.[12] In the Qur'an the brothers ask Jacob to let Joseph go with them.[12] The pit into which Joseph is thrown is a well with water in it,[12] and Joseph was taken as a slave by passing-by travellers (Qur'an 12:19).

In one account, Joseph's face possessed such a peculiar brilliancy that his brothers noticed the different light in the sky as soon as he appeared above the edge of the well, and they came back to claim him as their slave.[12] This same peculiarity was noticeable when they went to Egypt: although it was evening when they entered the city, his face diffused such a light that the astonished inhabitants came out to see the cause of it.[12]

In the Bible, Joseph discloses himself to his brethren before they return to their father the second time after buying corn.[12] The same in the Islamic story but they are compelled to return to Jacob without Benjamin, and the former weeps himself blind.[12] He remains so until the sons have returned from Egypt, bringing with them Joseph's garment healed the patriarch's eyes as soon as he put it to his face (Qur'an 12:96).[12]

In one Talmudic story, Joseph was buried in the Nile, as there was some dispute as to which province should be honored by having his tomb within its boundaries. Moses, led there by an ancient holy woman named Serach, was able by a miracle to raise the sarcophagus and to take it with him at the time of the Exodus. There is no mention of that in the Bible or the Qur'an.

House of Joseph

Literature and culture

Thomas Mann retells the Genesis stories surrounding Joseph in his four novel omnibus, Joseph and His Brothers, identifying Joseph with the figure of Osarseph known from Josephus, and the pharaoh with Akhenaten.

Joseph figures prominently in Anita Diamant's novel The Red Tent, which retells the story of Dinah, his sister.

The musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is about Joseph's story.

The 1995 miniseries "The Bible: Joseph" is a dramatic retelling of the Biblical story of Joseph. It stars Paul Mercurio in the title role, and received an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries.

In the video game "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night", there is an item called "Joseph's Cloak" which allows the player to change the colors of Alucard's cape.

In 2000, DreamWorks produced an animated film based on the story of Joseph called Joseph: King of Dreams.

See also


References

  1. ^ a b JewishEncyclopedia.com - JOSEPH
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n JewishEncyclopedia.com - JOSEPH
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i JewishEncyclopedia.com - JOSEPH
  4. ^ a b c d e f g JewishEncyclopedia.com - JOSEPH
  5. ^ http://www.divreinavon.com/pdf/Vayigash_YaakovYosef.pdf Joseph meets Jacob
  6. ^ 'The Hammurabi information is in ANET, 170, 175, 176; CoS II, 343,348,350. For Mari, see G. Boyer, ARM(T) VIII (1958), 23, No.10:1-4. On the other Babylonian tablets, see (eg.) M. van de Mieroop, AfO 34 (1987), 10, 11. For a list of other Old Babylonian slave prices within fifteenth/thirty Derhams, see A. Falkenstein, Die Neusumerische Gerichtsurkunden I (Munich: Beck, 1956), 88 n.5 end.'
  7. ^ For Nuzi, see B.L. Eichler, Indenture at Nuzi (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973) 16 and n.35, and texts listed on 17-18. On Ugarit, cf. I. Mendelsohn, Slavery in the Ancient Near East, (Greenwood Press, 1978) 118 and 155 n.181'
  8. ^ For Assyria, see list in C.H.W. Johns, Assyrian Deeds and Documents III (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1924) 542-546'
  9. ^ Kitchen, op.cit., pp.344-345 & p.576
  10. ^ Rohl, David M. Pharaohs and Kings. (New York, 1995). ISBN 0-609-80130-9
  11. ^ Pharaoh (WebBible Encyclopedia) - ChristianAnswers.Net
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Differences of Tradition



Simple English

In the Bible, Joseph was a son of Jacob. His brothers hated Joseph, because he was their father's favorite son, and his father gave him a coat of many colors. One day they decided to kill him. Then they changed their minds, and instead sold him to businessmen who took Joseph to Egypt as a slave.



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