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Christian Natural Health

with Dr. Lauren Deville

Joseph Goes from Prison to Palace: Retelling from Genesis 37, 39-45

00:00 01:21:09
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This retelling comes from Genesis 37, 39-45, and it appears in Blood Covenant Origins: Biblical Retellings.  Introduction:  Joseph is one of my favorite biblical characters; he’s such a great example of faith. It took thirteen years for his reversal of fortune to finally occur, and another nine years after that for the complete fulfillment of God’s promise to him. Yet if he ever wavered in his faith that God would fulfill what He showed him in his two dreams, we have no record of it. This is even more incredible when you consider that Joseph had no written scriptures to cling to like we do. He wouldn’t have even had an oral tradition of previous faith heroes similar to himself. While Abraham his grandfather had to wait 25 years for the promised child, the circumstances had little in common with Joseph’s own circumstances. He couldn’t read about the 13-17 years between King David’s anointing and when he finally became king, for instance. Moses had not yet written Deuteronomy, telling him all the blessings he could expect if he remained faithful to the Lord. All Joseph had to go on were two cryptic dreams… but it was enough. It’s fitting that the first dream showed his brothers’ sheaves of grain bowing down to his, considering it was the famine and grain distribution that propelled him to second in command of Egypt in the end.  The one charge leveled against Joseph by some is that he started out arrogant: after all, what was he thinking, telling his brothers (whom he knew already envied him, due to his father’s blatant favoritism) that God had told him he would rule over them? Maybe this was arrogance, or at best, a decided lack of wisdom. He was only seventeen at the time, after all. Also, with the exception of the death of his mother when Benjamin was born, Joseph had presumably lived a charmed life: the coat of many colors that Jacob had given him was the attire of a great landowner, even though Joseph was the second youngest of twelve brothers. (Pretty foolish of Jacob, too.) It’s no wonder this galled them. Even so, their response to him shows how evil his brothers were, at that point. Had they not sold Joseph into slavery, they very well might have killed him—that was what they meant to do at first, after all. Despite this, despite slavery and then imprisonment, God said Joseph was prosperous and successful (Genesis 39:2-3, 23). Even though Joseph himself was not paid for any of his work, the blessing of the Lord was upon him, and therefore his master got blessed because of him. This is an interesting concept, that the overflow of God’s blessing upon us (Deuteronomy 28:2) can affect those around us who just happen to be in the way—including our bosses in this case, or our families as well (1 Corinthians 7:14).  Joseph also happened to be very handsome (Genesis 39:6)—ordinarily a blessing, but under the circumstances it was a curse, as he drew the eye of Potiphar’s wife. If she was this aggressive, probably this wasn't the first time she had cheated on Potiphar. I suspect that the other servants, and maybe even Potiphar himself could compare what they knew of her and what they knew of Joseph and deduce the truth. But if Potiphar did not choose to believe Joseph, what could the other servants do? And wouldn’t it have disrupted Potiphar’s life more to have believed Joseph? He surely couldn’t have kept Joseph in his house with his wife; he had to get rid of one of them. So in my retelling, I assumed that Potiphar’s pride forced him to believe his wife, even though deep down he knew the truth. I would imagine that if he had truly believed his wife’s accusation, he would have had Joseph killed, rather than merely thrown into prison.  So Joseph started out with two dreams of greatness, which led directly to his being sold into slavery for a decade (deduced from his age at the time he was sold, the number of years he was in prison, and his age when he was finally promoted). At the end of the decade, Joseph refused to commit adultery and sin against God (very interesting that he phrased it that way, Genesis 39:9)—yet for his integrity, he got thrown into prison. Most people would be bitter at this point, but“until the time that His word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested [Joseph]” (Psalm 105:19). Joseph was holding fast to the word that the Lord had given him through those dreams, even when it looked like every circumstance in his life was heading in the wrong direction. He did not yet know Galatians 6:9, but he seemed to understand the principle: “let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Joseph continued to exhibit diligence and faithfulness in prison, and he must have even kept up a contagious good attitude—we can intuit this because when the butler and baker each had dreams, Joseph said to them, “Why do you look so sad today?” (Genesis 40:7). You’d think they would look sad because they were in prison without cause! But apparently their distress
November 05, 2021
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Meet Your Host
Dr. Lauren Deville is the owner of Nature Cure Family Health in Tucson, Arizona. She received her NMD from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ, and she holds a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Arizona, with minors in Spanish and Creative Writing. She is the author of The Holistic Gut Prescription and How to Be Healthy: Body, Mind, and Spirit.

In her spare time, Dr. Lauren writes young adult science fiction and fantasy novels as well as Biblical retellings under the pen name C.A. Gray, and she maintains a movie review blog with her cinephile husband.
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