Not Getting Revenge

This is from Genesis 37-45.

Joseph was a good kid. He often pointed out what his older brothers did wrong. His older brothers didn’t like this. Their father favored him over them.
One day, Joseph had a dream. He dreamt that his brothers would bow down to him. Later, he had a dream that his parents would bow down to him. This made his brothers mad. Even his father criticized the dream. One day, they met with Joseph when he went looking for them. They were going to kill him. However, his oldest brother Reuben, who appeared to be somewhat more decent than the others, talked them out of it. He planned to send Joseph back to his father. (Perhaps less so he could be nice and more so he could be more favored with his father. The Bible doesn’t say exactly.)
His brothers attacked him and took his coat that his father had given him. They put him in a dry well. Reuben had planned to save him. However, he was gone. However, some slave traders came by.

His brother Judah decided that it would be more profitable for them to sell him into slavery than to kill him (some brother, huh?). So they sold him. They got 20 pieces of silver (seems really low!).

Reuben came back. He was upset. He likely was in on the brothers’ schemes somewhat as he didn’t rat them out. They tore the coat, put goat’s blood on it, and came back and told their father that a wild animal had killed Joseph. Jacob grieved hard. Joseph, meanwhile, was sold to Potiphar, the captain of the guard in Egypt.

In chapter 38, Judah shows that he has even bigger character flaws than just what he did to Joseph. He hooks up with a harlot (or so he thinks). He seems to be fine with that. Later, he finds out that a relative of his is pregnant. He was going to have her burned (double standard alert!) but then he realized that she was the “harlot”. He says that she was more honorable than him (she had done it as he was supposed to have a child with her or something via custom anyway. Oddly enough, Christ seems to have been through the line of Judah and through the line of the child of Judah and Tamar.)

Meanwhile, Joseph was a slave to Potiphar. However, God was with Joseph. It didn’t take long for Potiphar to see that God was with Joseph and he was blessed. Potiphar eventually had Joseph in charge of most of his house. Potiphar’s house was blessed. When someone godly is working for someone else, often times the other person gets blessed by God as well.

However, the Devil had a scheme to bring Joseph down. Potiphar’s wife, for whatever reason, wanted to have an affair with Joseph. She said “lie with me”, and she didn’t mean “lie” as in what almost always comes out of Obama’s mouth, but the other kind of “lie”. Joseph refused, saying that it was a wicked thing to do and that his master had entrusted him with everything and that she alone was beyond his grasp. He was more focused on what he had than what he didn’t have.

However, she didn’t give up. One day, when everyone but them was gone, she tried again. He said no and ran. She grabbed his coat, and he took off without it. She accused him of trying to rape her. Potiphar, most likely to save face, sent Joseph to jail for life. It seemed that Joseph had had his life ruined for doing the right thing.

However, as with when he was sold into slavery, God blessed him. Joseph was soon the lead prisoner in charge of the jail.

One day, the Pharaoh apparently got ticked at his butler and wine bearer. He put them in the brig. They ended up in the same cell as Joseph.
One night, they had a dream. Joseph was able to interpret their dreams. Things happened as Joseph had predicted. Joseph asked the wine bearer to mention him to the Pharaoh. However, the wine bearer forgot about Joseph. Joseph stayed in the brig for a long while afterward.

Then, one night, the Pharaoh had a dream. The wine bearer must have heard about it. He mentioned Joseph. The Pharaoh brought in Joseph. As always, with the help of God, Joseph was able to interpret the dream. The dream meant that Egypt would have 7 years of plenty and then 7 years of famine that would be very bad.

The Pharaoh appointed Joseph as his second in command, with power second only to his. Things were looking up for Joseph. Joseph was able to gather enough during the years of plenty. When the famine came, everyone came to Egypt to get grain, as they had enough there.

So far, Joseph doesn’t seem to have taken revenge. He didn’t have the wine bearer thrown back into jail for forgetting about him. He didn’t try and have Potiphar and his wife killed for having him thrown in jail. However, another test would come for him. His brothers came one day seeking to buy grain in Egypt. They bowed before him, hence fulfilling the dream.

Joseph accused them of being spies. He had them thrown into jail for three days. He at first said that he was going to have them all but one remain in jail and the other had to go back and get Benjamin. Later, he changes it to just one of them staying.
The brothers thought that God was punishing them for what they had done to Joseph. As Joseph was using an interpreter to talk to them, they could have had no clue that he understood them. He was overcome with emotion that they appeared to have some remorse or feel some guilt for what they had done. Simeon remained behind. Unknown to them, Joseph had put their money back in their sacks.

Simeon had a hard time talking Jacob into sending Benjamin. However, in the end, Benjamin was sent. They had been afraid to go back because of the money. However, the famine got so bad that they had to go. They sent gifts, plus double the money, hoping to please Joseph.

Surprisingly, for them, Joseph had them eat with him in his house. They thought that they were found out about the money and that Joseph intended to make them slaves. However, that was not the case, as they soon found out. (The thought must have occurred to Joseph, but he didn’t actually repay their mistreatment to him.) Joseph’s servant said that he remembered that they paid for it last time and that their God must have put the money back in the sack as a gift. They were surprised that Joseph had seated them according to their birth. (Though they couldn’t have known that he was their brother.) Joseph wanted to reveal himself to his younger brother Benjamin, and he had to leave the room to weep so that he wouldn’t give himself away.

Joseph put his cup in Benjamin’s sack. Joseph then set his guys after them. He said that he wanted to get the thief. He said that he would only enslave the culprit and let the rest go. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. Joseph was going to enslave Benjamin. However, Judah spoke up and agreed to take his place, saying that his father would be heartbroken if he lost Benjamin. (It appears that Judah had changed from the guy that sold his brother into slavery and solicited prostitutes.)
It should be noted that Joseph was testing his brothers’ character. It appears that they had changed.

Joseph sent everyone away but his brothers. He revealed himself. They were confused at first. He said that what they intended for evil, God meant for good. Eventually, they realized that he was their brother. They became friends. He then sent for his father. His father eventually believed that Joseph was alive (what he said when he realized that his sons had lied to him about Joseph, we never find out.) Joseph had forgiven those who had done wrong to him and didn’t seek revenge.

In the New Testament, Jesus talked about turning the other cheek and loving your enemies. Joseph is a perfect example of what Jesus was talking about.


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