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Echoes of the Future
Video 5 of 17
In connection with that, I want to introduce one more background text. Because I don't think it's the case that the only piece of biblical literature of the Five Books of Moses that is being cross-referenced in Psalm number 30 is the Joseph story, there is another background text also. There's another text in which we're hearing echoes as well, it's also in Genesis, it also has to do with the Joseph story. But it's not the beginning of the Joseph story, the story of Joseph being thrown into the pit by Judah and the other brothers that we've been looking at before. But it's at the very end of the Joseph story, which is the story of Jacob's blessings. This is at the very, very end of the book of Genesis, it's after the whole Joseph story is complete, after Joseph has revealed himself, after Jacob has come down back to Egypt and Jacob actually blesses his children. Then he gets a chance to actually bless the actual protagonists, the actual conspirators we might say, in the Joseph story. Those who were most responsible for, again, throwing Joseph in the pit.
One of the interesting things is when you read those blessings, he blesses all of his children, he blesses those children as well, one of the interesting questions is, does he know? Does he know what happened to Joseph way back when, those decades before, in the pit? Does he know what these brothers did to him? That's a question which is left dangling, we don't actually get any explicit answers to that in the text, it never says whether the brothers ever revealed to Jacob what really happened. We kind of get a sense that the answer is no. Yet if you read these blessings carefully there are these eerie, kind of dark suggestions of language that goes back to that dark day at the pit. Especially when we talk about Jacob's blessing to three of his children, and those are, Shimon, Leivi and Yehuda - or in English, Judah.
Judah of course is the one we know about most from the original text, as we've seen before, when it comes to the story of the sale of Joseph, it is Judah who does the talking to his brothers. But the question is who are these brothers that Judah is interested in convincing? They are brothers who are intent on actually killing Joseph and Judah convinces them not to kill him but to sell him as a slave instead, and to that we hear; Vayishme'u echav - and his brothers listened to him. His brothers were convinced. Who were those brothers that needed to be convinced? Those who were older, more senior than Judah, were really three brothers, there was Shimon, Leivi and the oldest was Reuven.
Now if you look carefully at the text you'll find that Reuven, the very oldest brother was, actually on Joseph's side, he was secretly plotting to bring Joseph back, he was the one who originally convinced the brothers not to kill him outright but to throw him in the pit. Ostensibly so that Joseph should die in the pit but really as the text tells us, so that Reuven could go back and save him. So Brother Number 1 over here, we know that he is not involved in the conspiracy. He actually is going to be very easy to convince, he doesn't need to be convinced at all. The ones that needed to be convinced, the ones that Judah tries to convince and succeeds, are Shimon and Leivi. These are the people who seem to be the main actors in the story other than Judah.
With that in mind, let's go back and let's read Jacob's blessing to these brothers, Shimon and Leivi and Judah. Okay, so right up here on the screen you have the text, this is Genesis 49, verses 5 to 9. What I want you to do is look at this and see is there any hints, can you detect any hints in this kind of language of the original sale of Joseph? Now I warn you, you're going to be better off if you can read Hebrew over here, because some of it is wordplay in Hebrew. So if you can read Hebrew look at the Hebrew even if your Hebrew is not that great, try looking at the Hebrew section and you could look at the English for help. But try looking at the Hebrew and see is there any kind of language that reminds you of the sale of Joseph? If you can't, you'll find some of it in English as well. See what you find, is there is any hint that Jacob kind of knows what's going on? We're going to come back and look at this text carefully and then relate it to the Psalm we've been looking about, the Psalm for the dedication of the Temple. I'll see you on the other side of this video.
1. What Does the Book of Psalms Have to Do With the Joseph Story?
2. A Curious Dedication
3. Profit Motive
4. Blood Money
5. Did Jacob Know?
6. A Father's Ambivalent Blessing
7. The Ruthlessness of War
8. The Lion and the Cub
10. To Redeem an Ancestor's Pledge
11. The Lion and the Lamb
12. Moving Up
13. Memories of Father
14. First Cries
15. Where Would I Be Without You
16. What Could Kill Me--But Then What?
17. A Palpable Presence
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