Matthew 2: The wise men

Three dudes showed up in Jerusalem and went before King Herod and was all, So where’s the crown prince that was born recently? We saw this star that totally meant that the future King of the Jews was born and we have traveled for months to bring him these awesome presents.

This freaked Herod out–he was barely hanging on to power with the Roman war machine demanding tribute and obedience. The last thing he needed was some sort of magic competitor. So he put the visitors off with something noncommittal and started asking around.  Everyone told him that the prophets promised that the messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Then he summoned the wise men and was all, The baby you’re looking for is in Bethlehem. When you find him, let me know so I can go worship him too! Continue reading “Matthew 2: The wise men”

Exodus 12: Smiting of the Firstborn

Then Moses told the Hebrews that God gave them the following instructions, and that it was crucial that they follow these orders to a T to avoid being smote along with the Egyptians. He told them that everyone needed to sacrifice a lamb at twilight and then smear its blood all over the lintels and doorposts of their houses. Also that night, everyone was to eat a feast of unleavened bread and bitter herbs and to burn whatever wasn’t eaten. After dinner everyone needed to be dressed, packed and ready to flee, because the orders from Pharaoh to drive them out would be shortly forthcoming.

Moses also told them that in the future, the Hebrews would always celebrate this holiday for a week, and hold the main feast on the tenth day of the first month of every year. In the future, Hebrews would not be allowed to eat or even possess any leaven during that whole week. Continue reading “Exodus 12: Smiting of the Firstborn”

Genesis 50

After Jacob died, Joseph had him embalmed. Then he got permission from Pharaoh to take his father’s body to Canaan to bury. So all the brothers traveled together with a huge entourage of servants and mourners to bury Jacob in the cave Abraham had bought for Sarah’s tomb.

After they all got back to Egypt, Joseph’s brothers started worrying that Joseph would finally seek revenge on them for the whole selling him into slavery incident. But Joseph was all, really guys? Why would I do something now. Honestly, that was the best thing that ever happened to me.

In this version, Joseph lived to see his great-great grandkids and he made them swear that when the Hebrews left Egypt, they’d remember to take his bones with them.

Well, folks, that’s the end of Genesis. We will start Exodus next time! 

Genesis 48

A short time later, Joseph was told his father was on his death bed, so he took his two sons to be blessed. Jacob blessed them and then symbolically adopted them as his own sons. Joseph got a little irritated with is father, however, because Jacob blessed the second born more than the firstborn (which, if you haven’t noticed, is a real trend in the Bible). Jacob told Joseph that he was leaving Joseph a particular mountain slope rather than his brothers. This particular legacy seems a bit moot, since they were all living in Egypt and there was no centralized government or keeper of deeds under which to support a title claim, but whatever.

Genesis 47

Next day, Joseph took the five brothers he deemed most polite and polished before Pharaoh, and they genuflected and explained how the famine had destroyed all the pastureland in Canaan, and begged Pharaoh to let them stay until things got better. Pharaoh gave them a hearty welcome and told them Joseph’s family was always welcome. He instructed Joseph to settle them in Goshen and to hire those who needed work to tend Pharaoh’s ever-growing herds of livestock. Then Joseph brought his father before Pharaoh. Pharaoh was like, Ra be praised, just how old are you? And Jacob answered that he was 130 years young and then blessed Pharaoh.

So Joseph settled everyone comfortably in Goshen and made sure everyone was well-provided for and employed. Continue reading “Genesis 47”

Genesis 46

So the whole gang–Jacob, his 11 sons, their wives and kids (around 66 people), plus everyone’s slaves–set out for Egypt. They stopped at Beersheba to camp for the night and for Jacob to make ritual sacrifices. That night God told Jacob that going to Egypt was the right decision.

After everyone got settled into Goshen, Joseph went in his best chariot to see his father. They hugged and cried for a long time, and then Jacob was all, I’m ready to die now that I’ve seen you again. Then Joseph coached his brothers on how to greet Pharaoh and how to interact with Egyptians, because Egyptians really disdained shepherds.

Genesis 45

At that, Joseph burst into tears and ordered all his underlings to leave the room, while the brothers stood there aghast and embarrassed. After Joseph was alone with his brothers, he told them who he was.

At first, his brothers just stood there stupefied, dread roiling their bellies at this new trick. But Joseph kept assuring them that he really was their brother and that he had no hard feelings–that it had all been part of God’s plan to keep them from starving during the famine. Eventually he convinced them, and then told them to go get their dad and their families and that he’d set them up real nice in Goshen. So they all hugged and kissed and made up and then the brothers returned to Canaan to get Jacob. Continue reading “Genesis 45”

Genesis 44

After lunch, Joseph told his steward to load the brothers up with grain, to put all their money back in their saddles, and oh yeah, to hid this silver cup in the youngest man’ s saddle bags.

The next morning, Joseph waited until the brothers had made it several hours out of the city, and then he ordered his men to pursue them for stealing his silver cup. Continue reading “Genesis 44”

Genesis 43

After a while, however, when all the food was gone, Jacob started bugging his kids to go back down to Egypt to buy more. But they were all, um, no, that dude will kill us if we don’t take Benjamin and you said he couldn’t go. Then Jacob got petulant and whiny about starving to death, and was all why did you have to tell him about Benji anyway? It’s because you hate me isn’t it? And his sons were all, come on dad. Dude was interrogating us for being spies, and the Geneva Convention isn’t for another several millennia. We would have told him about that time we caught you wearing Zilpah’s veil if he had thought to ask about it. Besides, how’d we know he’d ask to see Benjamin?

Finally, Judah was all, look dad, Benji’s almost 30, he’s got to grow up sometime. Entrust him to me, and if I don’t bring him back I will pay whatever consequences you deem just. But if we don’t hurry up and go down there, we’re all going to starve. Including Benji. So Jacob was all, fine. Here, take lots of presents to that Egyptian dude, and maybe he will spare you all. Take some balm and some honey, some myrrh, gum, pistachios and almonds (hey why aren’t we eating these things? whatever). Oh and take back the money from last time, plus more for this time. Maybe if we give him all this, he won’t hurt my Benji and maybe he’ll even give us back Simeon. He is my son, too, I guess. Continue reading “Genesis 43”

Genesis 42: Joseph and his Brothers, the First of Several Parts

One day, Joseph’s ten older brothers–the ones who beat him up and sold him into slavery–were in the line to buy food. Joseph recognized them, but they didn’t recognize him, so Joseph was really rude to them and accused them of nefarious intentions and threw them into prison.

Three days later, Joseph went to them and said, here’s what you have to do to prove you’re not spies. You say you have a younger brother? Maybe if I see him, I’ll believe your story. One of you has to stay here as collateral while the rest of you go back and get him. I’ll give you the grain you claim you came here to buy so you all don’t starve in the meantime. Continue reading “Genesis 42: Joseph and his Brothers, the First of Several Parts”