Today we begin Genesis Chapter 37.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
We have now reached a very significant milestone in the Torah.
The era of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is now coming to a close and from this point on till the end of Genesis, we will be focusing on the life of Joseph, the first born from Rachel, Jacob’s most beloved wife.
We will also notice that Israel, while not yet attaining nation status, is now being painted as a separate people group.
The Joseph story is in so many ways very different from the material that came before it.
First, while the patriarchal narratives consist of primarily bite-sized, self-contained passages, the story of Joseph reads like a sweeping novel complete with all the dramatic highs and lows of a well-crafted plot.
Second, whereas the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob take place in Canaan and Mesopotamia, the story of Joseph and his brothers takes place mostly in Egypt.
The events that result in the return to the promised land will begin only after Joseph’s death.
Third, the way God deals with His people seems to have changed with Joseph.
I believe this marked change provides us the answer to the following head scratching question:
If Joseph plays such a central role in the 13 remaining chapters of Genesis, why is he not considered a Patriarch like his father Jacob?
While I certainly can’t be dogmatic about this, one major difference is that God had direct, two-way communication with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
On the other hand, Joseph never sees or hears God or His messengers.
Rather God seems to be working behind the scenes secretly guiding the course of human events, even bringing good out of human evil.