Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The End of Gensis

Well, we've come to the end of Genesis, and here are a few things that stand out to me from the last few chapters:

1) Building off of my reflections from the last post, Jacob blesses Ephraim over Manasseh, yet another reversal of top to bottom/bottom to top.

2) Jacob ends his life happy.  Jacob had faced quite a bit of diversity in his 130 years (Egyptians saw dying at 110 as a sign that an individual had lived a perfect life and died at a perfect age.  So in the end, Jacob, the Hebrew shepherd, was greater than all the Egyptians, even the Pharaoh himself.).  He fled from home afraid for his life.  He didn't want to marry his first wife but was tricked into it.  His daughter had been raped, his son supposedly killed, and then two others thrown into prison, but now at then end, he can not only look upon his lost son but upon his lost son's sons.  God has been faithful to Jacob.

3) It may not seem like it at the time, but consequences have a funny way of sneaking up on you and biting you on the butt.  Remember when Reuben tried to lay claim to one of Jacob's wives and Jacob didn't say anything about it?  He does on his death bed.  Reuben, the firstborn, will no longer lead this family.  Simeon and Levi, the two brothers that slaughtered an entire city of men in retaliation for the prince raping their sister...their descendants will live by violence and be scattered among the rest of their people.  The sons of Jacob (other than Joseph and Benjamin) have gotten through on their "get out of jail free" cards up until this point.  With Joseph's dying breath, he brings an end to the delusion that how they have chosen to live their lives didn't really matter.

4) Joseph's brothers are schemers till the very end.  They keep lying to Joseph after their father passes away, even after all Joseph has done for them, and how does Joseph respond?  He forgives them again.  Joseph has truly become the transitional figure for this family.  Without him, they have no redeeming qualities.

5) Joseph died at 110, in the Egyptian mind, the perfect age to die.  In spite of all he had been through, in spite of all the wrongs committed against him, he rose above them all; although it must be acknowledged, not by his own power.  God truly was with Joseph through it all, and even at his death he was a witness to everyone around him of what it meant to live a good, faithful life.

Stopping point: Genesis 50

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