September 6, 2020 – Genesis 37:2-11, 23-24a, 28 – Post 2 – ISSL Reflections

V.
Let’s review this week’s passage regarding Joseph and his family.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis%2037&version=NRSV,NABRE

What do we notice?

Joseph’s father (Jacob/Israel) loves Joseph more than his other sons. (37:3)

Joseph’s brothers take notice of Jacob’s love for Joseph and “hate” him. Apparently they don’t even try to hide their feelings and cannot talk civilly with him. (37:4)

Joseph doesn’t mind “telling on” his brothers to their father when they fail to be the kind of shepherds Joseph thinks they should be. (37:2)

Joseph the dreamer decides to share his dreams with his family. (37:6-7, 9)

Now they find more cause to hate Joseph. (37:8)

When he shares his second dream with the family, his father ”rebukes” him for claiming the entire family will “bow down” to him. (37:10)

This does not do anything but increase the hostility the brothers feel for Joseph. (37:11)

Now the brothers hatch a plot to deal with this annoying younger brother. They plot to kill him. (37:18-32)

Reuben intervenes and prevents the murder of Joseph, further ploting to rescue Joseph and taking him back home. (37:21-24)

Then Judah proposes a plot to rid them of Joseph and make a profit by selling Joseph into slavery. (37:25-28)

Our attention returns to Reuben when he sees he has been outsmarted by his brothers. (37:29-30)

They return home with Joseph’s blood soaked robe and plunge their father into mourning, while Joseph is being resold. (37:31-36)

A lot of conflicting emotions can exist in a family. Understatement?

VI.
I recall a remark Jesus made to his disciples about love – “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

VII.
Allow me to propose a thought experiment.

Think of a scale. It goes from +10 to 0 then on to -10.

Let us imagine this is a “love” scale and on the scale +10 is the “greatest” kind of love Jesus mentioned – the willingness to die for others.

On the scale “0” is apathy, indifference. It is “I don’t care about you. I don’t even notice your existence.”

And that takes us on to -10, hatred. The kind of hatred that is as far from the willingness to die for others as a person can get to.

VIII.
On our imaginary scale of -10 to 0 to +10, where do you see Joseph, his father, and his brothers falling. What of Reuben and Judah?

Give that some thought.

We’ll talk later.

Charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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