Posts Tagged ‘Reuben’

Genesis 37:25-36 – DIARY OF A DREAM KILLER – Part 6 

Dreamer © Image by Ross Cochrane

I imagine that this is the diary of Judah, writing about the events of his brother Joseph, extrapolated from the Biblical narrative, and with my personal reflections.  

Diary of Judah: I noticed their camels from a distance while we were eating our meal. Traders. Even before meeting them I could tell from their clothing that they were distant relatives. Ismaelite and Midianite traders. We spoke the same language. Ismael and Midian were sons of our ancestor Abraham. I had heard their families had joined together for commercial reasons and for protection as they travelled.  

Solved 

It solved my dilemma with the dreamer in the well. I didn’t like the idea of Joseph starving to death in the bottom of a well. I would have preferred to just kill him but even that was a little distasteful, because as much as I don’t like it, he is my half-brother. Now he will see his visions of grandeur crushed by the realities of life because he did not truly embrace the honour of belonging to his brothers.  

I said to my brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? His blood would just give us a guilty conscience. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” It was clear that all my other brothers agreed (Genesis 37:26). Reuben was looking after the flocks while we all ate so he was not here. 

Code 

Since Shechem we brothers have had to live by certain rules in order to survive … 

  1. We defend our freedom.  
  2. We make our own decisions. We don’t let anybody tell us what to do. We do what seems right in our own eyes, not what outsiders may think.  
  3. Spur of the moment, gut reactions are often the best way to deal with a problem. Live for the moment. Accept the outcome, whatever it is. 
  4. The right thing is not always the best way to go.  
  5. We are ready for a fight and if necessary, we will go down fighting. Survival is the true test of the rightness of any conflict. 
  6. We don’t trust anyone with authority. 
  7. Life is full of tragedy. (Ask my little sister.) Life is a struggle.  
  8. Honor is important. We look after each-other. We stick together and don’t get too high and mighty. We don’t tolerate anybody who threatens us or betrays us (including those within our ranks). No-one gets away with reporting on our activities or betraying us or trying to hold us accountable to others without consequences. No spying. No exceptions. 

Joseph has to pay the consequences for acting as a spy to our father. No exceptions. So, when the Midianite traders came by, we pulled Joseph out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. He deserves what he gets. We rid ourselves of a usurper and betrayer.  

If it hadn’t been for Reuben, Joseph would already be dead. The traders paid us 20 pieces of silver. Win, win. Two pieces of silver each. Reuben won’t get his share, since he wasn’t here.  

It was a good idea. Was it right? … Not exactly. But it solved a problem, and we will finally be rid of Joseph’s influence. What will happen to him? … Not our problem. His dreams of rulership threatened the fabric of our family relationships. Now they are dead and gone. His so-called God-given dream has realised his worst nightmare. From ruler to slave. 

Reuben 

After the Traders left, Reuben came running into camp. His clothes were torn as if he had been grieving. He was shouting, “The boy is gone! What will I do now?”  

“What will you do now?” I said. “What do you mean, Reuben? Were you intending to do something? Did you have some kind of plan, perhaps to let Joseph go secretly? He pulled himself together and said nothing. I explained what had transpired and he stood there with his eyes wide.  

We devised a suitable plan on the spur of the moment. We killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood. We sent a servant back with a message to our father. “Look at what we found. Doesn’t this robe belong to your son?”  

Grief 

We arrived home yesterday. Our father had already been mourning for many days. He had taken the bate. He surmised that a wild animal had eaten Joseph. Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!” 

He had torn his clothes as an act of mourning and distress and dressed himself in burlap. He refused to be comforted. “I will go to my grave mourning for my son,” he would say, and then he would weep. 

Responsibility 

Our father is understandably upset with the apparent death of his favourite son, but then he’s also responsible, getting him to betray his own brothers by spying on us and reporting back to him all the time. That doesn’t work for us.  

My father once deceived his father by killing a goat to receive the family blessing and birthright. Now he gets his own back. What goes around, comes around.  This is kind of like God’s judgment on him. We are not responsible. 

Joseph could have been part of us, but he insisted on his dreams of grandeur. He brought it on himself. We’ll be a better family without him. Now, the Dreamer and his dream are dead to us, finally.  

TO BE CONTINUED … 

Note from Pastor Ross: Dream killers are victims of their past and their own flawed laws. They take no responsibility, and continually justify their actions.  

Your God-given dream will often threaten others, even those closest to you. Courage to dream is often tested by Dream Killers. Hold onto your dream. Challenges are part of the adventure of a God-given dream. Trust in Christ, see your circumstances, and even the dream killers, through the eyes of the Cross, and you will find perspective and continue to see your God-given dream realized. 

Pastor Ross 

Genesis 37:18-24 – DIARY OF LOST DREAMS – Part 5 

Joseph the Dreamer © Image by Ross Cochrane

I imagine that this is the diary of Reuben, writing about the events of his brother, Joseph, extrapolated from the Biblical narrative, and with my added personal reflections woven in. 

Diary of Reuben (Firstborn son of Jacob): We saw him coming in the distance, his colored coat like a beacon of cacophonous dissonance flowing around him. Our half-brother, Joseph, with his irritating dreams of self-importance and his constant reconnaissance of our activities, was not welcome here. Father’s spy. We thought we’d be free of this under-aged, opinionated usurper.  

Shechem 

We had been talking about the vermin of Shechem before he came and how they died for their reckless presumptions at our hands. It was a reckless, perverse conversation, I admit, carelessly trivializing and justifying the horror of our actions. If only the prince of Shechem had not raped and kidnapped our sister, Dinah, this would never have happened. He deserved to die, but then Dinah’s brothers, my half-brothers went on a murdering rampage through the village until every man was dead.  

When we saw the carnage, we all rationalised it as part of our vengeance and even I participated, to my shame, by going further. We seized their livestock—everything we could lay our hands on, both inside the town and outside in the fields. We looted and plundered their houses. We took all their little children and wives and made them our captives. My father was only concerned about his reputation.  

Bonded with Rage 

We have become hardened men since then, morose and a little negative, easily aroused to anger, but only because we have become disillusioned by the circumstances of life. We have an ongoing hatred, since that day, of anyone who uses their authority to do whatever they want.  

We are simple men, not aspiring to big-note ourselves with the aspirations of corrupt leaders. We are bonded by the trauma of our past. If anyone confronts or seeks to lord it over us, they will feel the force of a marauding army.  

Joseph walked into our rage, the stupid boy, with his princely dreams of power over us and almost got himself killed.  

“We’ll see what becomes of his dreams!” My brothers would have beaten him to death if I hadn’t quelled their rage by an alternate plan. 

I stepped in just in time and came to Joseph’s rescue. The boy was too young to feel the full force of our hatred of authority. “Let’s not kill him,” I said. “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him, slowly.”  

The well was narrow at the mouth, but widened as it descended, so Joseph would have no way to get out. I let my brothers rough Joseph up a bit and then we ripped his coat from him and threw him into the dry cistern. A cold night in the well will deal with his pride and arrogance. 

Possibilities of Forgiveness  

He’ll soon come down to our level. I am secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father. Hopefully, my father will see the foolishness of Joseph as our overseer and give me back my birthright as his firstborn son.  

I know I have behaved disgracefully with Bilhah (Genesis 35:22). I was trying to usurp his power. Of course, he would find out. How stupid can I be? Maybe returning Joseph to him will make amends for my actions. I hope so. 

I have excused myself from my brothers for a while to write this journal while my brothers eat. I will wait until my brothers are asleep …   

TO BE CONTINUED … 

Pastor Ross