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Coats, Dreams and Jealousy
Video 5 of 21
Anyway, so let’s continue. So he says, “Go check on the peace of your brothers and bring me back word” – v’hashiveini davar. And so he sends him from Hevron vayava Shechemah– “And Joseph comes to Shechem.” So now, what’s going to happen next? We are about to hear, this is the climactic moment when the brothers are going to see Joseph coming and we’re going to have the sale of Joseph, and you can hear the kettle drums in the distance and the tension is building and it’s all going to happen. But strangely, it doesn’t happen. Look at the next verses.
In the next verses, we get one of the strangest digressions in the entire Book of Genesis it seems to me. We get verses right at the juicy part of the story when the tension is going to break that just doesn’t even belong here at all, just this complete digression of incredibly trivial materials. Watch what happens over here in verses 15-17.
Basically vayimtzaehu– Joseph is looking around, he is in Shechem, he can’t really find his brothers, and he finds a certain guy and he asks for direction v’hineh toeh basadeh. Joseph is wandering around in the field, he us kind of lost, vayishalehu haish, So the guy asks him, mah tevakesh?– “Who are you looking for?” So Joseph says,” vayomer et-achai anochi mevakesh – “I’m checking out my brothers. I want to see where they are” hagidah-na li eyfoh hem roim– “Did you see my brothers? Do you know where they are?” To which the man says, “Oh, your brothers? Nasu mizeh– They are not here anymore. Ki-shamati omrim nelchah dotayna – I heard them saying they are going to Dothan.” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.
Why am I hearing about all of this? Why is there anything important here? Who cares about the geography lesson now? So he found them in Shechem, he found them in Dothan, he went a little bit further, saw this guy, he asked for direction. I mean, if the Bible would record all the time when someone stops to ask for direction, you know how long this book would be? Why am I hearing about someone checking his map and seeing, “Am I in Shechem? Am I in Dothan?” I mean, who really cares? The geography seems to be incredibly irrelevant. Why do I have this digression here? It’s just a big question I think. And immediately after that, you get to the actual story of the sale of Joseph.
I think all of these clues add up to a very fascinating possibility, a possibility which we are about to hear echoes of in the next few verses. I want to show you those echoes in a moment; they are really quite bone-chilling I think. We will see what we make of them. If you want to try them yourself, start reading from verses 18 through the end of the story and ask yourself this question, “Where have we heard this before?” Do you hear any echoes in the language of the sale of Joseph that reminds you of another story in the Book of Genesis? I think the echoes are there, the echoes are very strong; and the question is, “What does it all mean?” So let’s come back and we’ll talk about that, maybe research it if you can and we’ll come back and compared notes.
1. What Were They Thinking?
2. Building Tensions
3. From Hatred to Jealousy
4. What Was Jacob Thinking?
5. A Break From the Action
6. The Original Internet
7. The Hidden Hyperlinks
8. A Confluence of Echoes
9. Where Have I Heard This Before?
10. The Brothers' Perspective
11. When Three Are One
12. Will the Real Firstborn Please Stand Up?
13. Bechor: A Tale of Twos
14. Rabbi Soloveitchik's Theory
15. Joseph's Undershirt
16. The Meaning of the Second Coat
17. Four Links
18. Double Entendre
19. The Riddle of the Bowing Moon
20. The Hidden Angel
21. Chain of Words
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