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I Have Questions About the Story of Joseph — 18 Comments

  1. I imagine that Joseph did send spies to check on his father and Benjamin and would have sent help if they needed it when he was in a position to do so.
    I think he was asking his brothers those questions to see if their attitude had changed, after all when they sold him they knew it would upset Jacob and Benjamin but they didn't care.

  2. If the brothers and their sons had not changed their attitude it would have been dangerous for Joseph to go there alone - there were nearly 50 of them from Leah & Zilpah.

  3. I have several theories as to why Joseph didn't go to find his father.
    1. Joseph was a slave and not privileged to go out freely, despite his position.
    2. Joseph was so very busy, he could not be spared to go.
    3. God orchestrated the situation so that the brothers would come to him, rather than he to go to them.

  4. At our house we considered another question about Joseph: How is it that Joseph developed such a solid character in a household of dysfunctional people?

    Then we considered the fact a child's character is largely set by the age of three. Joseph was the only child of Rebeca Rachel for probably up to seven years. During that time, he had his mother's full attention, and she and Jacob must have been diligent in teaching their child about the God of heaven and His character. They must have told him all the stories that we now read in the Bible, particularly the covenant promises.

    That is why, after having a major self-pity party on the way to Egypt, Joseph resolved in his heart to be true to the God of heaven, come what may.

    We just read the two chapters in Beginning of the End(digest of Patriarchs and Prophets in modern English) dealing with Joseph. The second chapter, "Joseph and His Brothers," particularly moved me.
    I highly recommend reading these in conjunction with the lesson. You can read these free online at EGWWritings.org. (Be sure to hide the bottom bar that covers the print. The new site doesn't work well yet.)

    • Joseph knew in his heart that he was on a mission trip to Egypt for God (Genesis 45:8; Genesis 50:20). I think it is reasonable to conclude that he decided to continue to serve God at this appointment rather than serve himself by returning to Canaan.

      I don't really think he had reason to fear anyone or that he would be in any danger. As second in command in Egypt, he could have taken a battalion of Egyptians with him to visit his father.

      He chose to serve God rather than himself. That was the character of Joseph as evidenced by almost everything he did.

    • I don’t think credit can be given to Rachel for Joseph character when she was a thief and idol worshiper, yes Leah was the righteous one that’s why her womb was opened and not Rachel’s and yet the bad sons came from Leah, like Levi and Simeon, the latter being the worst and was why he was held in prison. Here is what is said about Rachel from Gen 31, showing she was a thief and idol worshiper.

      30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
      31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.
      32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.
      33 And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent.
      34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.
      35 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.

      Yes I think the credit needs to be given to Isaac, who was still alive when Jacob returned from his uncle Laben’s. And it was the timing to as well for Joseph who was about 8 years old and he learned about God for the next 4 years and heard all the stories and most of all how God had delivered him on mount Moriah, and that one of Gods names was Jehovah-Jiriah, meaning God will provided, He will see to it, and this is what he carried with him down into Egypt, and so I give credit to Issac mostly, and Joseph who was born with a spiritual nature, of which can be seen so many times, it’s like how does good come from bad? Or bad come from good? You can see this many times with the kings of Israel.

  5. Why Joseph didn’t return to his father:
    I can think of these two…
    1. Seeing his father meant seeing his brothers too. Like David, who’d been anointed King but had to wait patiently and not take matters into his own hands (twice letting Saul go when he could have killed him) he probably was not willing to force events to fulfill the ‘shears bowing down to him’ dream. It had to happen ‘organically’. Returning home with the splendor and pomp of governorship may have been to him a ‘premature’ fulfillment.

    2. Perhaps Joseph was not emotionally ready to meet his whole family as seeing his father meant seeing everyone too - the spiteful brothers, their wives, his mother, sisters and now grandkids. It may have been overwhelming. Through the increasing interaction with his brothers as he sends them on a wild goose chase(s) you get the sense that he is steeling himself /holding it together in their presence. The Bible notes that at one time he firstly breaks down in secret and secondly when he finally reveals himself to them.

  6. My idea about Joseph not taking a step to reach out to his family was his strong faith is God. When we pray: Lord guide my steps and my stops, we need to wait for a divine interference because God has a perfect timing. Otherwise we would mess up with the outcome. I had that experience when I converted to Christianity, I was ostracized by my parents and 5 siblings. I prayed for 17 years for reconciliation and God made it happen in a miraculous context. However, only my parents (father moslem, mother Catholic) were willing to and passed away few years later. My sisters and brothers now since 40 years are still at enmity with me. Yet I believe God is always the author of our life, when we surrender fully to him.

    • Thank you so much Amina for sharing your experience of waiting for loved ones that was really special. And I to can attest to that, I prayed 14 years for my Grandfather to come back to church, as well as my Mother and Dad. And I saw after a bitter divorce of my parents, the hard feelings and separation of not only my parents but my Grandparents dropped at Thanksgiving when my mother invited all to come and eat together and what a joyous time that was and little did we know that it would be my Grandmother’s last Thanksgiving. Yes God hears prayers and answers them at the right time.
      So yes I am of the thinking that Joseph knew that in God’s time He would bring things about and so he would not run before him and this text proves that Joseph did this, it’s found in Gen 41:51 Joseph named his first born Manasseh and said, it is because God has made me forget all my toil and all my fathers household. NKJV

  7. I Have Questions About the Story of Joseph.

    There are several questions I have about Joseph, his older brothers, his brothers families, and Joseph living in Egypt.
    Joseph was seventeen when all this began, he had a knowledge of the Most High during family worship and whatever form of communication the Lord communicated with his father. Joseph was like the keeper of his brothers so they will not go astray. Joseph meant well for his brothers while the Lord was working behind the curtains doing his thing. As children of the Most High, what role do we see our selves in this great scheme of things? How are we responding to the working of the Holy Spirit? I knew several times I am sent to work other places just to find out that I met with someone who I can tell about Jesus or the work is much more easier. Let us cont. to depend on the Lord.

    • Lyn, you wrote

      Joseph was like the keeper of his brothers so they will not go astray.

      I wonder if that is why the Lord allowed him to be a slave for 13 years. He started out as a spoiled boy, but his determination to serve the Lord, no matter what, made him into a man of God. He likely needed to learn lessons of humility before God could use him in the high position of prime minister of Egypt.

      • Sr Anderson, Joseph story is my favorite because he was a type of Christ and his whole story speaks of what Christ basically has done for the human race, only he did not willing leave home, after all Joseph was not sinless. But for along time, I to thought he was spoiled and was dealing with pride, until I read this:
        “ Joseph listened to his father’s instructions, and feared the Lord. He was more obedient to his father’s righteous teachings than any of his brethren. He treasured his instructions, and, with integrity of heart, loved to obey God. He was grieved at the wrong conduct of some of his brethren, and meekly entreated them to pursue a righteous course, and leave off their wicked acts. This only imbittered them against him. His hatred of sin was such that he could not endure to see his brethren sinning against God. He laid the matter before his father, hoping that his authority might reform them. This exposure of their wrongs enraged his brethren against him. They had observed their father’s strong love for Joseph, and were envious at him. Their envy grew into hatred, and finally to murder. – {1SP 126.2}
        The angel of God instructed Joseph in dreams which he innocently related to his brethren: “
        So I think yes even if his father did spoil him, it did not go to his head and cause pride but like Jesus who was hated by his brothers for being so righteous, we can see how it happened to Joseph.

  8. Wow, I enjoyed reading all the perspectives. This fascinating story has taught me a major lesson in life and that is 'be patient' and wait on the Lord. Who knows what would have happened if Joseph had gone to Egypt on his own accord. Joseph had learned from remaining in prison after the butler had been released, that it is better to wait on God's timing because it is perfect. He makes all things beautiful in His time.


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