Thursday, July 29, 2010

Genesis 41:1-57 (Joseph Handed Keys to the Kingdom)

Two years later, Joseph was still running the prison, and the Pharaoh had this weird dream where he was standing by the Nile watching seven fat cows come up out of the river. Then seven more cows, which were skinny and ugly, came out of the waters and ate the fat ones. Wha? Pharaoh woke up.

When he went back to sleep, he dreamt of seven heads of grain growing on a single stalk, healthy and fat. But seven other heads sprouted while he watched and 'swallowed up' the seven fat heads. You know, like the cows. Except I can't picture grain eating anything. When the Pharaoh woke from this dream he was troubled. Like me reading it.

The Pharaoh sent for all his 'magicians' and such, but they didn't know what the dream meant. Or the stories they came up with were lame.

Then the cupbearer remembered having his dream interpreted by the prison guy, Joseph, and told the Pharaoh about him. About how Joseph told the future. So the Pharaoh sent for Joseph.

When the Pharaoh asked Joseph if he could tell him what his dreams meant, Joseph said, no. But, he said, god will tell us. Which I think means yes.

So Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams and Joseph said, you will have seven years of plenty. And after that, you will have seven years of famine.

So symbols in the dreams of the cupbearer and baker stood for days, but in the Pharaoh's dream they stand for years. Check.

So Joseph counseled the Pharaoh to put someone in charge of taking a fifth of the harvest in the next seven years so that there would be enough to go around when the famine strikes. Put someone in charge, eh? And what middle-management guru do you think Joseph had in mind?

Pharaoh had nothing to lose by implementing the plan, and, of course, put Joseph in charge of everything immediately. Wow, this totally sounds like a true story. So the Pharaoh gave Joseph charge of all of Egypt, and even gave Joseph his signet ring, and got him a new wardrobe, and jewelry. He let him ride as second in command in his chariot and everything. All because of the dreams he had that Joseph seemed to know the meaning to.

The Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and married him to Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, who was a priest. Joseph was thirty years old.

During the years of plenty, Joseph got busy making children, and had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

When the famine hit, right on the money seven years later, Joseph opened the store houses and sold grain to everyone, and even other countries lined up to buy grain 'because the famine was severe in all the world.' The whole world. Right.

Now, there are fish stories, and then there are holy fish stories. The way this story is written. . . if you read it somewhere else you know you'd be suspicious. This is why I don't like the bible. People are supposed to turn off their bullshit detectors when they read it. Well, by golly, if it's the word of god you shouldn't have to.

I guess this is one of those stories--and it gets even fishier in the next chapter--that makes me want to say, 'pull the other one!'

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