Negative Characteristics of Joseph: Bloodshed, Anger, False Reports (Conspiracy Theories) (29 May, 2013, Sivan 20, 5773)
Duration ca. 17 minutes
The Book of Numbers chapter 13 relates how Moses choose 12 representatives (one from each tribe) to enter the land, traverse it, and return with a report. They did so. Ten of the Spies brought back a negative impression being fearful of the powerful inhabitants of the Land. The people consequently rebelled and did not want to continue but wished to chose a leader and return to Egypt. Consequently God was angry with them. HE decreed that all that generation would have to wander for 40 years in the wilderness and would not merit to enter the land. Their children would do so. The ten spies were stricken with plague and died. The Two other spies, Joshua (Hoshua) from the Tribe of Ephraim and Caleb from the Tribe of Judah, who had given a favorable account were not killed by the plague.
Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Both ofb thse sons became Tribes. Both Ephraim and Manasseh sent representative spies. The spy of Ephraim (Hoshia later called Joshua) brough back a good report. The spy of Manasseh gave a negative account. In the List of the Names of the Spies who went out, we find Joseph linked with the spy of Manasseh but not with the spy of Ephraim.
The two relevant verses are:
Numbers 13: 8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun;
Numbers 13:11 from the tribe of Joseph, that is, from the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi;
Hoshea is Joshua. He was from the Tribe of Ephraim and he together with Caleb from the Tribe of Judah was to bring back a favorable report of the Land.
Gad son of Sussi was from the Tribe of Manasseh. He was destined to join the other spies and bring back an evil report. He is mentioned as "from the tribe of Joseph, that is, from the tribe of Manasseh". We find descendants of Manasseh predominant amongst descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes in the USA today. The spy of Manasseh was called Gaddi the son of Susi whose name probably means something like Good Fortune son of Horse of the Almighty. It is interesting that Manasseh is here linked with a name meaning Horse since horses and the culture surrounding them were to be especially important in the USA.
Joseph is here mentioned in association Gaddi the son of Sussi the spy who was about to bring the evil report. Fishel Mael ("Shivtei Yisroel") quotes different commentators (Alshick, Rabbeinu BaChai) together with his own analysis and comes to the following conclusions: Joseph had brought back a bad, apparently untrue and misrepresentative, report about his brothers to his father (Genesis 37:2). That was one of the reasons they hated him. This was apparently one of the negative traits of Joseph. Gad son of Sussi was from the Tribe of Manasseh. When (together with the other spies) Gaddi son of Sussi brought back a bad report about the land he gave expression to the bad trait he had inherited from his forefather. Joseph had good traits and bad ones. Fishel Mael analyses the characteristics of Joseph and notes certain negative inclinations that the descendants of Joseph were to have. They should be aware of these, recognize them in themselves when they appear and deal with them. We all have faults and weaknesses. We should learn what our bad points are and avoid them when we can.
The bad points that are liable to appear in the descendants of Joseph include anger, jealousy, and homicidal tendencies. Fishel Mael points out that the Sages (Arakin 15;b cf. Proverbs 18:21) saw a connection between homicidal tendencies on the one side with Evil Gossip and Slanderous Speech on the other.
This tendency to believe and spread calumniation and falsehood is reflected in Conspiracy Theories. Most Conspiracy Theories give false reports and negative depictions of Jews, or the USA, or Britain. Sometimes they homicidal intentions. False stories and Conspiracy Theories about the Jews helped spread Nazism and increased anti-Jewish sentiment before WW2. Because of this less assistance was given to the Jews than otherwise may have been given.
We find the traits of murderous intentions, mentioned in the Book of Hosea where the Prophet describes the nefarious behavior of the inhabitants of Gilead and Shechem both of which were important centers in the Territory of Joseph.
8 Gilead is a city of evildoers
And defiled with blood.
9 As bands of robbers lie in wait for a man,
So the company of priests murder on the way to Shechem;
Surely they commit lewdness.
10 I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel:
There is the harlotry of Ephraim;
Israel is defiled.
Joseph (see the Book of Obadiah) is destined to defeat Edom (i.e. the Europeans and certain Asian entities). This is one of the tasks of Joseph. Joseph is also similar in many respects to Edom as we have discussed elsewhere.
So too, Edom the arch-enemy of Israel, was also characterized by similar evil tendencies of slander and murder. Doeg the Edomite said bad things about David to Saul and caused Saul to persecute David
16 But to the wicked God says:
What right have you to declare My statutes,
Or take My covenant in your mouth,
17 Seeing you hate instruction
And cast My words behind you?
18 When you saw a thief, you consented with him,
And have been a partaker with adulterers.
19 You give your mouth to evil,
And your tongue frames deceit.
20 You sit and speak against your brother;
You slander your own mother's son.
21 These things you have done, and I kept silent;
You thought that I was altogether like you;
But I will rebuke you,
And set them in order before your eyes.
Doeg told Saul that David had received help for the priests in the city of Nob.
Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. (1 Sam 22:9)
16 And the king said, You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father's house! 17 Then the king said to the guards who stood about him, Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled and did not tell it to me. But the servants of the king would not lift their hands to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 And the king said to Doeg, You turn and kill the priests! So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck the priests, and killed on that day eighty-five men who wore a linen ephod. 19 Also Nob, the city of the priests, he struck with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen and donkeys and sheep, with the edge of the sword.
20 Now one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the Lord's priests. 22 So David said to Abiathar, I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have caused the death of all the persons of your father's house. 23 Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe.
The End of the Wicked and the Peace of the Godly
To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of David when Doeg the Edomite went and told Saul, and said to him, David has gone to the house of Ahimelech.
52 Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The goodness of God endures continually.
2 Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
3 You love evil more than good,
Lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah
4 You love all devouring words,
You deceitful tongue.
5 God shall likewise destroy you forever;
He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place,
And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
6 The righteous also shall see and fear,
And shall laugh at him, saying,
7 Here is the man who did not make God his strength,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
And strengthened himself in his wickedness.
8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
9 I will praise You forever,
Because You have done it;
And in the presence of Your saints
I will wait on Your name, for it is good.
We need to be aware of our faults and potential weaknesses. We can make ourselves and others better by acknowledging that we have negative propensities in certain cdirections and countering them.
We identify the Tribes of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) with the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Historically, as well as at present, unecessary violence has indeed often been a problem. Other faults of Joseph also exist. One of these faults is excessive consumption of alcohol and the Bible does mention the drunkards of Ephraim (Isaiah 28:3). This is a subject we may return to.