Saturday, March 5, 2011

Genesis 37:31-36 We Found This

"Then they got Joseph's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood.  They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, 'We found this.  Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe.' "
He recognized it and said, 'It is my son's robe!  Some ferocious animal has devoured him.
Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.' "
(Genesis 37:31-33 NIV)

"We found this." (v.32)  Can you think of words that are any less concerned or upset?  You can almost see the studied indifference in their expressions as Joseph's brothers hand his bloody robe over to his father.  Hopefully they are not somehow enjoying the fact that this sign of their father's favoritism is now bloodied and torn.  There is a certain cruelty in the way they approach telling their father Jacob of the tragedy.  They use very few words -- probably so that they do not accidentally slip up and reveal something which might bring their account into question.  However, their clipped words and guilt-subdued tone might be mistaken by Jacob as something else:   I think it would lead Jacob to believe that the incident was somehow his fault for having sent his young son, their brother, off alone.

"Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days.  All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. 'No,' he said, 'in mourning will I go down to the grave to my son.'  So his father wept for him." (Genesis 37:34-35 NIV)

Tearing the clothes and wearing of sackcloth (coarse, uncomfortable clothing) were signs of mourning in that culture.  Jacob's mourning carried on, and nothing that anyone could say would persuade him to stop.  In fact, he insisted that he would be in a state of mourning until he died and rejoined his beloved son.

You may have heard the expression that "Two wrongs don't make a right."  Sin is destructive and can never bring about any lasting positive results (apart from God's intervening to restore the situation, of course).  Their brother and his dreams are gone; the coveted robe is destroyed.  Still, their father can only think of his beloved Joseph.  The brothers' sin has accomplished nothing.

"Meanwhile, The Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt
to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials,
  the captain of the guard." 
(Genesis 37:36 NIV)

Unknown to Joseph's brothers, God is already at work at restoration.  In His great wisdom, God can use all things for His own purposes and glory.  In this case, he will use the one whom they believe is gone forever to bring about a great salvation for the brothers and their families.  

Once again, Joseph seems like a type/symbol for another One who was dead and yet lives, and brings salvation.] 

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