Genesis 43-44 B

“Is not this the one from which my lord drinks and which he indeed uses for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.” (44:5)

“Joseph said to them, ‘What is this deed that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?’” (44:15)

Here are a couple other verses I’ve always breezed over, because… what?! The perfect Jospeh of my youth didn’t practice divination! Why would he? It’s super against the rules!

“’You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying.” (Leviticus‬ ‭19:26‬)

I first had this pointed out to me in a Worldview class. The teacher asked, “Where did you think Jospeh learned divination?” To which many of us responded, “Certainly from those polytheistic Egyptians!” She suggested another place:

“Laban said to [Jacob], ‘If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the Lord has blessed me on your account.'” (Genesis 30:27)

Jospeh more likely learned it from his mom, because she stole from her father, who practiced divination too. Which reminds me… Suddenly, this hiding-spiritual-stuff-in-people’s-bags sounds familiar.

“The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them. So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two maids, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddle, and she sat on them. And Laban felt through all the tent but did not find them.” (Genesis‬ ‭31:32-34‬)

So many parallels! A secret, stowed in a saddle bag, a promise that the one it’s found with shall pay, Rachel, and now her son!

Since he and his brothers would have been alive for that, I wonder if Jospeh was making the parallels on purpose to jog his brothers memories. I wonder if all this time it was supposed to jog our memories too, but we were made uncomfortable by all the divination, and ignored it.

This time through Genesis, I’ve really had to slow myself down and stop viewing Jacob’s family through the lens of the Mosaic Law. That was not a thing when they were around. All of this friendship with God that Abraham experienced was brand new, and no one–by any stretch of the imagination–was blameless in the way we imagine blamelessness.

Also, it’s funny to me how long they leave Simeon in prison. Dude had it coming.

What stood out to you today?


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