The version of Joseph in Egypt I got growing up was shaped heavily by Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Despite the delightful music and vivid color, there’s far more to the Joseph narrative than even Donny Osmond can share in 90 minutes. In today’s episode of Abide: A Maxwell Institute Podcast, we explore several key themes in the story of Joseph in Egypt.
The version of Joseph in Egypt I got growing up was shaped heavily by Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Even the delightful music and vivid color, there is far more to the Joseph narrative than even Donny Osmond can share in 90 minutes. In today’s episode of Abide: A Maxwell Institute Podcast, we explore several key themes in the story of Joseph in Egypt. My name is Joseph Stuart. I’m the Public Communications Specialist at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. Kristian Heal is a research fellow at the institute. And each week, we will be discussing the week’s block of reading from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ Come, Follow Me curriculum. We aren’t here to present a lesson, but rather hit on a few key themes from the scripture block so as to help fulfill the Maxwell Institute’s mission to inspire and fortify Latter-Day Saints and their testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and to engage the world of religious ideas. Today we are joined by one of our research assistants, Dorie Cameron. Dorie is a junior at BYU from Great Falls, Montana, studying art and creative writing. She has a strong interest in literature, culture, media and language. Welcome to the show Dorie.
Dorie Cameron: It is great to be here.
Joseph Stuart: We are glad to have you here. Now Kristian in Genesis 37 through 41 there’s a lot going on that we need to understand before we can discuss Joseph, the son of Jacob. Can you please tell us more about what’s going on in these chapters?
Kristian Heal: When we think of the scriptural narratives that we’ve encountered thus far, one of the things that becomes clear is that scriptural stories are paradigmatic. In other words, we can learn about ourselves, and better understand our place in this world and our relationship to the next if we live our lives into one of these seemingly remote and alien biblical stories. Interestingly it is the Old Testament narratives that are most thoroughly read with paradigmatic details. Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Enoch, Noah, Rebeckah, Jacob, and Joseph. These are our teachers. There’s the lives that plot the trajectories for our own spiritual development. We are to do the works of Abraham, seek the Zion of Enoch, prepare for the flood like Noah, and stand in the Garden like Adam and Eve. And we often think about Joseph in precisely these terms, he is an exemplary figure whose life we are to follow and emulate. As early Christians and Jews read these stories, they also saw other ways that the lives of Biblical figures are teaching us. Now, the story of Joseph is one of descent and ascent. Joseph is the favored son of the House of Israel, he seems to have inherited the good looks of his mother, and he’s loved by Jacob but envied and hated by his brothers, yet he’s sent out to check on their welfare. This begins Joseph’s descent first into a pit, then into slavery in Egypt. In Egypt it becomes clear that Joseph is not only favored by his father, but also by God and whatever he puts his hand to, prospers. The initial cause of his descent was the enmity of his brothers. Now, he is subjected by the lust of his master’s wife. Joseph resists a harassment and runs when he is assaulted but is still cast into prison. Joseph’s descent begins in large part because he was dreaming dreams that promised him a glorious future. Now, in the bleakest of circumstances he becomes an interpreter of the dreams of others. This spiritual gift eventually catalyzes his ascent from prison to viceroy of all Egypt. Claus Westermann, a great Bible commentator called the Old Testament story of Joseph, “…a work of art of the highest order.” And the Harvard scholar, John Levinson claimed that the story of Joseph in Genesis is, “…arguably the most sophisticated narrative in the Jewish or Christian Bibles.” As we begin the story of Joseph this week, we know that we are encountering something special. What is clear immediately, is the storyness of this story. There is a compelling narrative art. It’s not only consistent and dramatic in its own right but is also feeding off the themes that we have seen previously in the patriarchal narratives. There’s favoritism and deceit, plans of fratricide and a famine, a search for hidden stolen goods, and a trip to Egypt where someone turns out to be not who the Egyptians thought they were. Ultimately, the result of the story of Joseph is the salvation of the House of Israel and the reconciliation of lost brothers. Early Christians could not help but read the story of Joseph as a foreshadowing of the story of Jesus and we’ll want to look a little bit more closely at that. Interestingly, Jews and Christians did not only read the story of Joseph, but they retold it in dramatic and compelling ways. This story almost demands to be retold and it has been enacted in a variety of genres for more than two millennia, from narrative poems to a Western musical, from animated movies to works of high literature, such as Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers. Stories want to be retold and as they are, new aspects are often revealed. The story of Joseph is interrupted by the tale of Tamar. This is another one of those difficult stories, but as one Syriac author wrote, “Tamar’s faith was beautiful to God.” So there may be more to Tamar than meets the eye.
Joseph Stuart: I’m intrigued by the idea of Joseph as a type of Christ. What is a literary type?
Kristian Heal: A type is a figure which represents in one place, what is fulfilled in another place. And so we see with Joseph that he was prefiguring, foreshadowing, looking like something else and that something else, for a Christian reading it, is Jesus.
Joseph Stuart: Thank you for that definition. Now, the Book of Mormon has several prophecies from Joseph. What does our sacred scripture say about him there?
Kristian Heal: This is an interesting thing. Before we talk about Joseph as a type of Christ. It’s interesting to recognize that Joseph, a figure of great importance in our own Latter-day Saint scripture, in our own kind of scriptural imagination, we’re told in Second Nephi 3:2, that Joseph wrote prophecies and there were not many greater. So, when Joseph Smith acquired the Egyptian papyri in 1835, one of the exciting things that people were talking about shortly afterwards is the promise that they contained not only the writings of Abraham that we have, but the writings of Joseph in Egypt that we don’t have. William Phelps for example, wrote to his wife, Sally Phelps and said that when they received these writings quote, “…he soon knew that what they were,” that’s Joseph and said, “The rolls of the papyrus contained the sacred record kept of Joseph of Pharaoh’s court in Egypt and the teachings of father Abraham.” So we know right from the getgo that when Joseph received these records that on the horizon was the story of Joseph in its fullness about to come. And one of the great tragedies of the many great things that we lost with the early death of Joseph Smith was this story of Joseph. So these prophecies that we get hinted at have not yet been revealed. However, it seems to me that there’s another body of prophecies that we do have that may be even more important. And these are the prophecies not written by Joseph but lived by him. And so when ancient Christians read the story of Joseph, they saw his life as a prophecy of Jesus. And so, they celebrated his life and devoted a great deal of effort to tease out the ways that Jesus was seen as a type in Joseph’s life.
Joseph Stuart: I find that interesting as a Christian reading the Old Testament, an ancient Israelite or Jewish text, are there some things that we should keep in mind as we are reading Hebrew scriptures as Latter-Day Christians?
Kristian Heal: We of course want to be respectful of the Jewish reading of the Hebrew Bible. This is vital. I try in my own reading to understand how Jews are interpreting these texts. But of course, the Hebrew Bible becomes the Old Testament, the First Testament for Christians because the Hebrew Bible is like the first three acts of a Shakespeare play where the New Testament is the end. So without both of them together, they are incomprehensible. But they’re fulfilled in the end story. Early Christians understood Christ to be veiled throughout the Old Testament, and so they use this wonderful story of Moses coming down from the mountain after talking with God and having to put this veil on his face because his face shone so brightly and everyone was afraid. And the way early Christians understood this story is that Jesus was this bright light shining through, and this veil was this veil over the Old Testament as it were, sort of veil is rent. So they’re understanding this metaphorically, that now that Jesus has come and His work is done and we can see fully, we can now understand the whole Old Testament. So when Jesus comes to his disciples, on the road to Emmaus and they don’t recognize him he says, “Oh fools and so have heart to believe.” And he goes back to the Old Testament and tells them all the stories about himself that are written there. This is the way that we want to read, or one of the ways we can read, the Old Testament as Christians.That Jesus is as it were, this eye of prophecy, not only the thing that we see when we read the Old Testament but the thing through which we are seeing so that we can understand what the Old Testament is doing.
Dorie Cameron: Besides which early Christians did not have access to the New Testament despite it being considered New Testament times. That particular document would not be compiled for over a hundred years, so those early Christians only had the Old Testament, the Torah, by which to learn about Jesus Christ.
Kristian Heal: Yeah, you’re exactly right Dorie. The scriptures which they taught from, that Jesus taught from, that Paul taught from, the scriptures for the early Christians are the Old Testament. And they, it seems to me, saw Jesus in the Old Testament in three different ways. First of all, Jesus descended from the figures in this book, and the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew is the place where we kind of see that played out most clearly. We’re laying out his lineage. The second way, is that they saw prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament, whether it be in Psalms or in Isaiah or in other places, so there are prophets seeing this. And the other place that they saw Christ was Christ being foreshadowed in the stories and lives and events and actions of Old Testament figures, and there are all kind of figures who foreshadowed Christ in an early Christian reading. But no other figure did this more extensively than Joseph. In a few centuries after Jesus, as the early Christian tradition developed its reading, at Easter time for example, they would read one of two stories. They would read the story of Genesis 22, the binding of Isaac. This is clearly a story that can be read as foreshadowing Christ, and they read the story of Joseph, which I found particularly interesting. One fourth century christian decided that he would write a list of comparisons to show all the ways in his reading that Joseph and Jesus were similar and he produced a list of 18 comparisons. Let me read a couple of those, “Joseph’s father loved him more than his brothers and Jesus was the darling and beloved of His father. When Joseph’s father sent him to visit his brothers, they saw him coming and planned to kill him. And when his father sent Jesus to visit his brothers, they said this is the heir, come, let us kill him. Joseph’s brothers cast him into a pit and the brothers of Jesus sent him down in the grave. Joseph came up from the pit and Jesus rose from the grave. After Joseph came up from the pit he ruled over his brothers and after Jesus rose from the grave his father gave him an excellent and great name so that his brothers were subject to him and his enemies were laid beneath his feet. When Joseph saw his brothers they were ashamed and afraid and marveled at his majesty. And when Jesus comes in the latter time, when he is revealed in his majesty, his brothers who crucified him will be ashamed and afraid and greatly alarmed in his presence.”
Joseph Stuart: We will be sure to put this document in the show notes, which you can sign up for at mi.byu.edu. I’m sure as it struck this fellow as well, there are a lot of similarities that we can read into Joseph of Egypt as a type of the coming Savior. How did these early Christians come to the point where they could see all of these parallels of Joseph in Egypt and Jesus Christ?
Kristian Heal: I think early Christians read the scriptures attentively and carefully. They were very interested in each individual word, each individual story and Jesus was the light through which they read the Old Testament. They meditated, as one tells us, on this story day and night and through that, began to see Jesus in, as one scholar noted, every line of the Old Testament. And I think this is a beautiful approach for a christian reader of the Old Testament.
Joseph Stuart: Moving forward in thinking about the story of Tamar. Dorie, who is Tamar and why is she important to our narrative?
Dorie Cameron: Ah, so the Joseph narrative – such a complete, beautiful narrative in the modern sense of the word, but the narrative is interrupted right as we’re getting into the good part with this completely off the wall family drama involving Judah and his sons and his daughter-in-law. Tamar is Judah’s daughter-in-law, and would eventually his wife and the mother of the Jewish nation. It’s an awkward story, a lot of questionable decisions made by many people, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be an exemplary story. First, I think it’s important to talk about levirate marriage. It is a custom practiced in ancient times. We are not completely certain how widespread this particular practice was, but what it means is if a man were to die without having any children, if he was married, he left a widow behind, but no children, this woman would be in a very difficult position in society at this time and in this culture. She would not be able to get a job, she would not be able to support herself, she doesn’t even have a home or a family to call her own, so levirate marriage is an optional practice. The brother of the deceased, essentially the woman’s brother-in-law, would have a child with her and that child would be considered the son of her deceased husband. The idea now is that she has someone now looking out for her. The brother-in-law and later when her son grows up, a child who can take care of his mother. It also ensures that the deceased has lineage.
Joseph Stuart: With Tamar, I see her not only as being this interesting figure or this spectacle as someone participating in a levirate marriage, but as a significant figure in the Biblical narrative. Where else does she come in?
Dorie Cameron: Tamar is very important in the Biblical narrative. We’re really interested in Joseph, as Latter-Day Saints, for the prophecies he did and he was the father of the Nephite nation. But the Bible is not written from Joseph’s perspective, the Bible is a Jewish document, it’s written from Judah’s perspective. And this actually explains why the Tamar story interrupts the Joseph narrative because this is Judah’s story. Jews obviously want to glorify their origins through the Bible and the Old Testament. They’re talking about their ancestors and where they come from and so in a lot of Jewish commentary, Tamar gets some particular reverence.
Joseph Stuart: Yeah, I think in the same way that as modern Latter-Day Saints we are interested in the pioneer settlers who came to Utah. We can understand that maybe there can be a little hyperbole or extra love shown to our spiritual forebearers. Is that –
Dorie Cameron: Exactly. Tamar, in particular, is the ancestor of King David and for Christians, the ancestor of Jesus Christ. She’s listed in Jesus Christ’s genealogy in Matthew Chapter 1, one of the only women listed in his genealogy. And many Jewish expansions, they make her a particular holy figure as if she is acting by God’s will, as if she understands her role in the divine plan. Is there evidence of that in the Bible? Not particularly. I don’t necessarily endorse Tamar’s particular actions but, I think with a sympathetic reading we can understand that she had reasons for doing it. The story of Tamar, let’s actually go back a bit, let’s go back a little bit farther. Joseph was tossed in the pit, his brothers threatened to kill him and they instead sold him as a slave. That’s a traumatic incident for everyone involved, not just the guy who got tossed into the pit. Think of this from Judah’s perspective, this is a story told from Judah’s perspective. He watched his brothers commit this atrocity to one of his other brothers and he had to stand by and let this happen, to an extent, participate in this violent episode. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that immediately after this part of the narrative, Judah separates himself from his family. He goes to Canaan and he starts his own family. We don’t get a lot of information about his wife. There’s a lot of indication that he’s not interested in fulfilling his covenants in his marriage. He has at least three sons. There may have been more and from what we know in the Bible, they did not necessarily turn out to be great fellows. His first son was married to Tamar, Judah picked her out. He liked her I guess, I don’t know. The first son, it specifically says, “He did evil before the eyes of God.” We don’t know. There’s a good chance there’s not a healthy relationship between him and Tamar. The oldest son dies and Tamar is left a widow and childless. Following the custom of levirate marriage, Judah marries her to his second son. His second son is also a stinker, and he refuses to follow through on this custom. Now again, it’s not entirely clear how important the custom of levirate marriage was at this time or even in the context of the gospel, but the writer of this particular gospel clearly seems to think it’s important that this custom is followed through because it says the second son is killed by God for his unwillingness to treat Tamar with the respect that she deserves. That’s a really horrible situation. Two sons dead, childless, Judah’s wife has also died. I’m sympathetic to Judah in that he has lost two of his sons, and his wife. In some ways he can empathize with his own father, Jacob, by this point has also lost a wife and supposedly a son. However, Judah in his grief is also neglecting Tamar’s needs. Tamar is left in a very difficult position, but rather than follow through on his promise to take care of her, to make her a part of the household to marry her to his third son, he sends her back home, which is a particular kind of dishonor. It means she can never marry again. It means she can never really have any place in society. Tamar’s not particularly happy with that, hence she decides to make Judah follow through on his promise to support her and allow her to have a child. I’m sympathetic to her desires, not so much her methods. In the Bible it reads that she dressed as a cult prostitute and waited on the side of the road. I want to clarify that the specific term used in Hebrew, which is kadesha, which is not actually a cult prostitute. If it were taking about a prostitute, the writers would have more likey used the Hebrew word zona. Kadesha is more closely associated with a consecrated woman, someone who would have worked at a temple or a shrine doing chores, cleaning. Ironically, what we Latter-Day Saints would now think of as a temple worker. Again, this is still weird, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. It says she had a veil. If she were pretending to be a prostitute, the veil would be counterproductive. But clearly, she does not want Judah to recognize her. But the idea is she has made herself into a person that is approachable by Judah. She does not have any place in society. She does not have any particular family relations so he does not need to consult a guardian or parent if he wants to hang out with her.
Joseph Stuart: So how does the rest of the story play out then, after he impregnates his daughter-in-law, who as you know, is one of the founders of the line that produces Jesus Christ?
Dorie Cameron: Tamar is discovered to be pregnant and that obviously is a no no. She’s not supposed to be doing that sort of thing. She’s a widow. Here, Judah exercises some major hypocrisy. Obviously it takes two to tango. He himself has indulged in improper relations. Yet, he decides that Tamar’s sentence will to be burnt to death, which contextually is far more than the crime calls for by the laws they are living by. Not to mention, Judah explicitly sent her back to her father’s house, meaning he washed his hands of her, yet now in this instance, he chooses to be her judge as if he still held authority over her. Tamar chose when she encountered Judah to ask tokens of him. This makes some sense, it’s a receipt I guess. It’s evidence that they interacted, what you might collect in a paternity suit. She specifically asked for his seal, his cord, and his staff. Now the seal is what Judah would use to sign contracts. Think of it like a stamp or a carved enamel thing. You roll it onto a piece of clay and it leaves a unique design. It’s signature. That contains all of his legal power and his financial power. The cord would be attached to a seal. When we get a little farther into the Old Testament, the cord would become associated with the blue fringe that priests would wear on the edges of the robes. So in some ways it signifies religious authority. And the staff, what Judah uses as a shepherd, has very obvious Messianic connotations. But anyways, she asks for these three things, then presents them to Judah and says, guess what. At this point Judah has a horrific realization: he goofed.
Joseph Stuart: And impregnated his daughter-in-law and then had sentenced her to death. Seems to me that Judah’s heart changes to some degree by the end of the narrative of Joseph in Egypt though. Is that correct?
Dorie Cameron: Yes. I want to compare this particular scene, Tamar about to be sentenced with Joseph being cast into the pit. I think Judah saw the parallels as well. Someone fairly innocent who he was supposed to be taking care of. In this case it was his daughter-in-law, before it was his little brother cast into the pit, imprisoned, about to be sentenced to some horrible thing. The first time around, Judah suggested that they sell him as a slave, which is a particular kind of cruelty. Now he finds himself again, about to sentence someone to something cruel and seeing these tokens, he realizes he is responsible here in this situation. He can’t walk away from this situation and it was him walking away from his responsibilities to take care of Tamar that led to this situation in the first place. From here on out, Judah learns that he needs to be willing to take responsibility. Fast forward to when they are in Joseph’s court in Egypt, the third time someone innocent who Judah was supposed to be taking care of, his youngest brother Benjamin, has been imprisoned, is being charged, is about to receive a cruel sentence. This time, Judah does not shunt responsibility. He stands up and takes responsibility. He says take me in Benjamin’s place, I can’t do this again. And that confession is what allows the entire resolution of Joseph’s trauma, his strange relationship with his family. So this story with Tamar, if we’re looking at the story of Joseph from Joseph’s perspective it makes no sense, but with Judah as the main character, with Judah learning lessons. Tamar is essential to the story.
Joseph Stuart: Thanks so much Dorie for explaining why Tamar is so critical for Latter-Day Saints to understand. Kristian, another character that is often understood in a poor light, is Potipher’s wife. Who from the narrative, tries to seduce Joseph. Can you tell us more about Potipher’s wife?
Kristian Heal: Potipher’s wife is a woman that Christians early in the Christian tradition love to hate. She was a person thrust into Dante’s hell where she sits with other liars and was definitely somebody who they felt unambivalent about. And so she is Potipher’s wife, so the mistress of the house, a person with authority besides Potipher, the only person who Joseph didn’t have any authority over when Potipher gave Joseph authority over his house because of how competent he was. And yet, she in this position of power sees Joseph, sees his beauty, and begins to pursue him. She not only in contemporary parlance is guilty of sexual harassment, but also sexual assault. So this is a woman who we don’t really feel good about. And then she compounds her problems by lying to her husband and getting Joseph cast into prison. But she’s also a woman who is herself a character and by that I mean, this is a story that has been told often in world literature, from ancient Egypt all the way through to medieval times. This story of a handsome young man falsely accused of adultery because of his virtuous refusal to sort of participate. One scholar who wrote a wonderful article on this that we’ll link to in the show notes says, “Of these stories that exist in world literature, our basic story is does the same. A handsome but virtuous youth,” he says, “…consequently deaf to the tunings of a wicked lady. The revenge she takes may differ in each case according to the ingenuity of the author. Always however, the path of innocence is plentifully sprinkled with briars and stones and always the hero emerges victorious to the discomfiture of his temptress and the glory of whatever god he happens to be serving.” What’s interesting in the Genesis story of Potipher’s wife is that she disappears. There’s no sort of follow up. There’s no retribution. There’s no acknowledgement of guilt. And in Jewish and Christian tradition they kind of deal with this conundrum also when this story is told in Surah 12 of the Quran. They deal with this conundrum of Potipher’s the guilt, of Potipher’s wife in different ways. Sometimes Potipher identifies and recognizes that she’s guilty, which is sort of interesting. But when we’re telling the stories, we can’t bear the thought – these are sort of narrative cruxes that need to be resolved. This is why when I started first studying the ancient traditions about Joseph about 20 years ago, I was really struck by a text which is called the Syriac History of Joseph, we’ll link to this text in the show notes. Because in this text, alone of all the texts which retell the story of Joseph, Potipher and his wife reappear in that moment when Joseph is being driven around Egypt and heralded as Pharaoh’s new viceroy, that we read about Genesis 41-43, we think to ourselves, Potipher and his wife must have known, they must have heard. And in this story alone, that desire to know what happened is answered. And what we find summarizing and quoting a little bit is the following: There’s panic in the house because Potipher immediately thinks that Joseph is going to act retribution he says, to quote the text, “I knew from the very first day that Joseph was not a slave and because of this I made him the ruler of all I had. I knew that he didn’t do anything wrong.” This is sort of classic man behavior. He knew all along but he was just going along with his wife to make peace. His wife responds, “Truly I have sinned and wronged him.” So we have a faint acknowledgment of her sins and desire to make restitution and now she says to her husband, “Now don’t be upset, for I will appease him and he will honor you more than all of your friends and he will make you a great ruler over all the freemen and nobles of Pharaoh.” Now we have a bit of a plot twist here because what we’re expecting is kind of, abject repentance by having done something wrong to this person who is now in extraordinary power. Instead, Potipher’s wife writes to Joseph and says, in this quite long letter, “To the pure and clean and chaste and humble man, the son of freemen, lover of chastity and purity, the wise man who is full of the fear of his God, who guards his chastity and flees from wickedness and sin, the valiant hero and warrior, greetings.” Now that’s how you open a letter, especially when you know you’re in the wrong. “No one can blame me that I longed for your beauty, my lord, for who does not desire the light and hate the darkness or love the daytime and flee from the night, who my lord does not long for the pearls.” So she kind of justifies herself but goes on and repents and asks, “In the name of the Lord,” in the name of Joseph’s God, for Joseph to forgive her.
Joseph Stuart: Well, that is certainly one way to approach someone that you’ve wronged, and Joseph as we’ve seen throughout the story, always seeks to be the bigger person. He’s not only seen to survive but to improve upon all the circumstances that he’s found in. How does he respond to this letter from Mrs. Potipher?
Kristian Heal: So this is what the text says, “And Joseph made haste and wrote and sent a letter to his former mistress saying, ‘To the honorable woman, full of modesty, to the daughter of freemen, far from blame, my own mother, who lo, conceived me with her love and gave birth to me with her compassion,” We’re wondering if Joseph is writing to a completely different person at this point. “My lady, be joyful and exalt and rejoice and glorify God for he gave honor to your son and exalted position to your beloved. And for whom is the pride and joy for not for you and my father. You are the mistress of all the free women that are in Egypt and my father, the head of all the freemen of Pharaoh’s house, and that you may believe my words, behold, I have sent you magnificent clothes, dress yourselves, and come to me.” And he does all of this because he acknowledges that without her doing the thing that she did, Joseph would never have been put in a position to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and to see the fulfillment of his own dreams. And so, we have something akin to what we hear at the end of the Joseph story. Which we’ll talk about in the next episode when Joseph forgives his brothers and says if it wasn’t for them, he would not have been sent to Egypt and be able to save them. It’s extraordinary. I’m kind of shocked by this and shocked by, and perhaps, challenged by this extravagant grace that we see enacted in the story. This is somebody who we feel is guilty of punishment, and yet is blessed in this remarkable way.
Joseph Stuart: As I was listening to that, I think you could see my face grow more and more skeptical as I’m seeing what Joseph had done. But as soon as you framed it in terms of grace, I too saw the illusion, the type of Christ that completely unearned, He offers us His grace that we can become not only co-equal with Him and co-equal with the Father, but that we can continue to be and to choose at all.
Kristian Heal: Yeah, it’s a really remarkable thing.
Dorie Cameron: I like to think that Joseph made these decisions a long time ago to forgive these people in his life. He didn’t make this decision upon receiving her letter. He decided long ago while he was still in prison, I believe.
Kristian Heal: Yeah, I think that’s a lovely way to see Joseph, as somebody who didn’t carry around with him this desire of revenge. But I think it was really motivated by this desire to see these dreams that have been given by God, fulfilled and that everything else kind of fell away. And I think of Jesus, we often think of the second coming and Joseph’s — this moment when Joseph has made regent. We saw earlier as a type of Jesus coming at the second coming. I think many people feel that this is a time of vengeance, this is a time to get one over all those people who made the Christians suffer, or made the people of God suffer. But this is the same Jesus that said we should love our enemies and do good to those who despitefully use us. So I wonder if in this story, we are not seeing something surprising about our own gospel as well and that is it ultimately, when Jesus comes again, He’ll see us all as sons and daughters of God. He’ll see us all in our weakness and frailty, our desires to do good and the circumstances that brought us to do bad. And He’ll instead of thinking to punish us, seek to love us and console us and heal us. That seems to me to be a beautiful lesson that comes out of this unusual and unexpected expansion in this ancient restory. This ancient retelling of this story of Joseph.
Joseph Stuart: That’s the perfect place to stop this week. Have a blessed week y’all.
Thank you for listening to Abide: A Maxwell Institute Podcast. Could you please, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you are listening to this podcast? And follow us on social media at @byumaxwell on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, FaceBook and sign up for our newsletter at mi.byu.edu and have a great week.
The views expressed here and in Maxwell Institute publications are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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