Exodus 1: This chapter quickly moves into the rising hatred the Egyptians have towards the Israelites. This happens when a new King of Egypt steps in who didn’t know Joseph. He wanted to fight them and destroy them. But, they kept reproducing even as more and more challenging tasks were imposed on them by the Egyptians. The Pharaoh then charged the Hebrew midwives to kill any newborn boys, but they didn’t because they feared God. They lied to the Pharaoh about why they didn’t do it, so God protected them. So, Pharaoh told his people to throw any newborn boy into the Nile.
I’m looking forward to starting Exodus. As a first time reader of the Bible, what I know about Exodus comes from what others have told me, the bits and pieces I’ve read, and from movies. The cartoon, Prince of Egypt, was pretty good and the movie Exodus: Gods and Kings, was definitely entertaining. However, I can’t rely on those films as my primary source of information.
Genesis 49: This chapter is about Jacob’s (Israel’s) final blessings to his 12 sons, who end up being the 12 tribes of Israel. The blessings vary, but it seems that Judah and Joseph end up with the more favorable blessings. The oldest, Reuben, doesn’t because he slept with Jacob’s concubine in Genesis 35. The next two brothers, Simeon and Levi, don’t take his place because they killed Shechem, the one who raped their sister in Genesis 34. Judah is elevated to the “firstborn” status. Joseph ends up with a more favorable blessing as well. This chapter finally ends with Jacob telling his sons again that he wants to be buried with his ancestors (Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, etc.) in Canaan. After this Jacob (Israel) dies.
Genesis 46: Israel and his entire family are on the move to join Joseph in Egypt. I noticed again that the text uses Israel and Jacob interchangeably. Even when it is God speaking to him. For example, “When Israel set out on his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. ²God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob.’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’” (Gen. 46.1-2) I’m still a little confused as to why this happens? I understand that it’s probably not that important, I just find it interesting.
Genesis 43: Reading this chapter reminded me that God renamed Jacob Israel, yet the text refers to him as Jacob in Gen. 42. The text refers to him as Israel in this chapter. It’s interesting how this one starts out. Apparently some time has passed because they are now out of grain again. They seem to have forgotten about the brother who is still in prison. Israel charges them with returning to buy more grain, but they declined because they were told they had to return with the youngest brother, Benjamin. At first Israel says no, but Judah convinces him saying “Then Judah said to his father Israel, ‘Send the boy with me, and let us be on our way, so that we may live and not die—you and we and also our little ones. ⁹ I myself will be surety for him; you can hold me accountable for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.’” (Gen. 43.8-9) Israel agrees and tells them to all bring gifts for the man (Joseph) along with the money from the first trip and more money to pay this time.
Genesis 40: This is where we first learn that Joseph has the ability to interpret dreams. He correctly interprets the dreams of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker for the Pharaoh, who are both in prison because they offended him. The chief cupbearer will be elevated back to his post while the chief baker will be executed. Joseph requests for the cupbearer to remember him when he is back in the Pharaoh’s favor. Joseph’s interpretations end up being correct, but the cupbearer forgets about Joseph, so he stays in prison. Again, at times it seems like Joseph has a lot of bad luck.
Genesis 37: This chapter is about Joseph, Israel’s first son with Rachel. He is also his favorite son, which upsets his brothers. He describes two dreams he has, both showing domination over his family. As can be expected, this upsets his brothers even more. After he continues to receive more favoritism from his father, some of his brothers plot to kill him when he travels to where they are tending their livestock. But instead of killing him, they tear off his special cloak and throw him in a pit. Their brother Judah convinced them to sell him as a slave. They then trick their father, Israel, and make him think Joseph was killed by a wild animal. Israel goes into mourning. The ends with Joseph being sold to even more people.