Ancient Secrets Revealed. The Bible as you have never heard it! What really Happened?
Part 2 (Continued from Part 1).
Judah drew close, in Hebrew "VaYigash," to Joseph.
Genesis (ESV) 44:
18 Then Judah went up to him and said, Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, Have you a father, or a brother? 20 And we said to my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother's children, and his father loves him. 21 Then you said to your servants, Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him. 22 We said to my lord, The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die. 23 Then you said to your servants, Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not see my face again.
24 When we went back to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 And when our father said, Go again, buy us a little food, 26 we said, We cannot go down. If our youngest brother goes with us, then we will go down. For we cannot see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us. 27 Then your servant my father said to us, You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28 One left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces, and I have never seen him since. 29 If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in evil to Sheol.
30 Now therefore, as soon as I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy's life, 31 as soon as he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol. 32 For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.
33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father?
Judah draw close to Joseph. Spoke in defence of Benyamin and offered himself as a slave in place of Benyamin.
Rabbi Moshe David Valley comments:
Judah intended to accept servitude in order to atone for his sin in having sold Joseph.
Genesis (ESV) 45:
1 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, Make everyone go out from me. So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, I am Joseph! Is my father still alive? But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.
4 So Joseph said to his brothers, Come near to me, please. And they came near. And he said, I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. He spoke gently unto them, calming them, and in a reconciliatory manner.
We find later, when their father Jacob died that the brothers feared that Joseph would go back on his word and take vengeance from them.
Genesis (ESV) 50:
19 But Joseph said to them, Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones. Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Joseph then said to them,
"you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today."
When the brothers sold Joseph they genuinely thought he was plotting to lord it over them, and possibly even dispossess them with his false mistaken reports (Genesis 37:2), and his dreams predicting rulership.
The Commentary of "Saforno" (Ovadia ben Jacob Sforn, 1475-1550, Bologna, Italy) opined that the brothers had suspected Joseph of wanting to mislead them and of falsely accusing them of capital offences. As evidence Saforno adduces the reaction of the brothers when they fist met Joseph as ruler in Egypt.
Genesis (ESV) 42:
21 Then they said to one another, In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us. 22 And Reuben answered them, Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood. 23 They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them.
The brothers recriminated one another for not having hearkened to the pleadings of Joseph for mercy. They did not however express remorse over the substance of their claims against Joseph. They still believed them.
Rabbinical Commentators (Or HaChaim, Malbim, Paltiel, etc.) stress this point:
The brothers had condemned Joseph because in their eyes he was pursuer, a plotter, a deceitful conniver intending to deprive them of their inheritance and livelihood and bring them and their families to ruin. They took counsel together and held the equivalent of a judicial hearing. As far as they were concerned they had done what had to be done and they were in the right.
Exodus (ESV) 22:
2 If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, 3 but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
We saw here a difference between a thief who comes in the night and one who arrives by day. In the one case he can be killed in action and in the other cannot. The difference said the Sages is that a thief who comes by night is considered to be prepared to kill if interfered with. He is therefore a prospective murderer. From this they learnt by extrapolation that someone that engages in action by which it is clear he has homicidal intentions can be put to death by those who are threatened by his actions. The brothers considered themselves in such a situation. They first decided to kill Joseph but then changed their mind and sold him.
This is what Joseph was referring to when he said:
"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20).
Concerning the expression " you meant evil against me," the Hebrew original merely says: "Concerning me, you thought badly."
"But God meant it for good" shows that the mistaken calculation of the brothers, even though it was wrong, was not entirely their fault and did not emanate from malice on their part.
There is also a related principle that when a High Court of Law such as the Sanhedrin make a Torah-binding decision they have to obeyed even if they are thought to be mistaken (cf. Deuteronomy 17:11-12).
To Be Continued.