(5) “FEAR NOT”

“And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭43‬:‭23‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Fear not” is recorded (click on) 63 times throughout the whole KJV Bible. I covered four of them already in chronological order: the Angel of the LORD said it two times — once to Abraham, once to Isaac. In the same story of Abraham, “Fear not” was said, once again, to Hagar as she couldn’t see her only son, Ishmael, die of thirst which was a possibility due to the conditions they were in.. Further, it was recorded that the handmaiden of Rachel said it once as Rachel was giving birth to Benjamin, which caused the death of Rachael. Yet, I’ll be covering another one which was recorded by the servant of Joseph who said, “Peace be to you, fear not.”

Concerning this verse, in the middle of the last commentary, (click on) BibleHub.com states:

“The steward, who was initiated into Joseph’s plans, replied in a pacifying tone, “Peace be to you (לכם שׁלום is not a form of salutation here, but of encouragement, as in *click on* Judges 6:23): fear not; your God and the God of your father has given you a treasure in your sacks; your money came to me;” and at the same time, to banish all their fear, he brought Simeon out to them. He then conducted them into Joseph’s house, and received them in Oriental fashion as the guests of his lord. But, previous to Joseph’s arrival, they arranged the present which they had brought with them, as they heard that they were to dine with him.”

However, let’s go back in the story of Joseph and his eleven brothers since it is crucial for one to get a proper understanding of the episode. It starts off when Joseph received a special coat from his father (click on) Jacob, earlier renamed to Israel by God. If one goes ahead and reads (click on) Genesis 37, one will see that it picks up with the story of Joseph when he was seventeen. I think that his half brothers had some jealousy upon him before he turned seventeen. That’s my guess and my suspicion because each generation does similar things according to (click on) Ecclesiastes 1:4-9.

Now, it says in verse 2 that Joseph was seventeen years old meaning his half brothers of Rachel’s handmaiden, Leah and Leah’s handmaiden, drummed up something for Joseph to report back to his father, Israel. However, it doesn’t seem like Israel’s love for Joseph was affected in any way. Rather, the next thing one knows is Israel sewed together a special coat — a coat of many colors. And, apparently, Joseph liked it.

I don’t know how long it was between the vibrant coat and the telling of the dreams to his brothers, but Joseph dreamed a couple of dreams. The first one he told to his half brothers and his younger brother, Benjamin,and the other one he told to both his brothers and his father which his father said in astonishment and partial sarcasm as Israel retorted:

“. . . What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭37‬:‭10‬b ‭KJV‬‬

All ten brothers envied him the more as his father”observed” what Joseph was saying. Later on in the story of Joseph, one will see that his dreams did come true. And I would have imagined that some time went by before his brothers went to Shechem without Joseph. His father, Israel, sent Joseph to check up on his brothers.

It was in the year that Joseph turned seventeen that all of his brothers first went to Shechem but ended up in Dothan. All of the murderous anger had been directed towards Joseph. The Bible tells us that Joseph was wearing his coat of many colors, which means that it must have been cold enough to wear a coat, although that area of the world has a different style of dressing. But first, Joseph aims to find his brothers in Shechem, as he was wandering in a field looking for his brothers as his father instructed. And behold, a man noticed that Joseph was seeking for something or somebody, so he asks him, “Whom seekest thou?” So, he tells the man — my brothers. And Joseph gives him a little bit more that he can go on: “And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks”
‭‭(Genesis‬ ‭37‬:‭16‬ ‭KJV‬‬
).

And the man, who doesn’t know this person or his “brethren” just happens to remember there was a group of men looking to feed their flocks of sheep in Shechem; however, Joseph’s brothers decided to move on to Dothan as the man told Joseph. And so Joseph moved on to Dothan.

When Joseph came from a far off, his brothers saw him by declaring “this dreamer cometh, so they decided to kill him. However, a bit of guilt came over Reuben of shedding his brother’s blood, and Judah convinced his brothers to sell Joseph as a slave to a “company of Ishmaelites.” Yet they didn’t sell him to just any purchaser of slaves; rather, the Lord wanted us to know that it was a company of Ishmaelites.

Why would the Lord want us to know that the Ishmaelites (a descriptive word) bought Joseph as a slave? I think that “a company of Ishmaelites” was purposely placed in there so we would know the strife between Isaac and Ishmael. After all, Isaac’s mother, Sarah, was the one responsible for the hardness of life that existed between Sarah and his mother, Hagar. As immediate descendants of both, where both of their fathers were Abraham, I am sure there was hostility between them. For, the rest of Joseph’s brothers knew what they were doing — if they couldn’t kill Joseph, they would do the next best thing. They would sell him to a Ishmaelite posse because of the grudge and hatred each party had towards the other.

His brothers’ conspired a plan to tell a lie to their father, Israel, which involved killing a baby goat and using the blood from it to drench the coat of many colors into it to make it look like Joseph was dead. However, Israel’s sons and daughters tried to comfort their father from suffering over losing his favorite son, Joseph. As much as they tried they couldn’t distance themselves from the deception of the lie they told Israel.

However, the next chapter is oddly placed as Genesis 38 serves as an early chapter break. Genesis 38 is all about Judah, his wandering, gets married to a Canaanite woman (which was looked down upon), then Judah marries the Canaanite woman, and had three sons. Er, was the name of the first born; and “Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar,” but the Lord “slew” Er because he had done so much evil. Judah must have been devastated, so he relies on Onan to fulfill the responsibility of the custom of that day as one can see in the following verses.

After Er was “slew” by the Lord, Judah made haste and told his second son, Onan, to marry Tamar. Yet, this didn’t turn out so well, as Onan had a problem with that idea. The spilling of semen would have devastating consequences for Onan since (click on) Genesis 38:9-10 as he went up into Tamar but spilled his semen on the ground. The Lord wasn’t to happy with that as the Lord “slew” him too.

Then Tamar was told to wait until Judah’s third son, Shuah, grows up at Judah’s abode. Apparently, after going through the loss of Er and Onan, I think she was desperate to have children, so she took it upon herself (only after the wife of Judah died) to make it so that she tricked Judah into sleeping with her. See, Judah thought she was a prostitute, which one would have to figure that she did not merely take off her widow’s garments but got dressed up as a prostitute in full array so as to trick Judah.

Ok, just a side note: how couldn’t you know it was your daughter-in-law, even with playing the trickster that Tamar was? I don’t know because I wasn’t there. All I have is the true words of the Bible, and apparently, that piece was left out meaning that it is not a crucial piece to this oddly placed chapter. However, let’s get back to the chapter.

In the latter half of the nine months, Tamar could no longer hide that she was pregnant. And this concerned Judah so much “Tamar played the harlot and she is with child by whoredom, not considering his own guilt in the matter. Yet, Tamar had another trick up her sleeve and presented the items that Judah left with the “whore.” Judah must have recoiled at this since he knows whom the items that Tamar presented to him; they were his. In embarrassment, Judah relents that she is more righteous than he is. Within a couple of months, Tamar had the birth of twins: Phareh and Zarah.

To me, this is a misplaced chapter in the Bible of the story that is dedicated to Joseph, his father Israel, and his brothers. However, it does belong in the story of Israel’s sons mainly to show that sin, especially sexual sin, is no respecter of persons. Yet the following chapter begins back up with the story of Joseph, his eleven brothers, and his father Israel.

Now, according to Genesis 39-41, while in prison with the chief butler and baker, Joseph gives the interpretation of the two dreams. And they turn out to be true as Joseph gives the credit for interpreting these dreams to the Lord. It turns out that the chief butler was restored to his place, but the chief baker was hung with birds landing on him to get a “snack.” Yet, the chief butler could not be more happy as he gets to live under the kingship of Egypt. While at the same time, however, he forgets about Joseph for two years until the king of Egypt (Pharaoh) had two dreams which he or his magicians could not interpret. Then the chief butler had a recollection: a recollection of who interpreted his dream — Joseph. Then the chief butler told Pharaoh.

Immediately, Pharaoh sent someone to the jail to get this Joseph, the interpreter of dreams. After changing and freshening up, Joseph went into see Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. After hearing Joseph’s interpretation of the two dreams, he promotes him to the second in command.

Those seven years of plenty came first, followed by the seven years of famine. It was some time before the famine affected Israel’s family before his brothers (except Benjamin) traveled to Egypt to see Pharaoh and ask him for some corn. Instead, his brothers didn’t recognize that the person they would be asking corn from was their brother, Joseph. For Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him as Joseph made himself look “strange” unto them, and put all ten of his brothers in prison while Joseph decided what to do with them.

It turns out that on the third day, Joseph called his ten brothers back, and had a change of heart since he was going to let nine of his brothers return, fed their families and return with Benjamin. The brother that was staying back, though, was Simeon. The brothers agreed as nine brothers returned to the land of Canaan to their families.

Once the nine brothers had gone back to Canaan, they made a plea to their father, Israel, to let Benjamin come back with them to Egypt to face the cruel assistant dictator, (click on) Zaphnath-paaneah (Joseph), although they still haven’t recognized him as their brother because they thought he was still a slave or dead if he was alive.

Far from dead, Joseph was full of his mind and capacity since he relied on the Lord. Now, he was second in power over the land of Egypt. Once his brothers returned, they were greeted by Joseph’s steward for they were deathly afraid. Then the steward said:

“. . . Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.” (Genesis 42:23)

It was clear that Joseph had to go through some very rough times being the favored son of Israel. The culmination was when Joseph told of his dreams, and his brothers planned to execute him. Rather than executing him, they sold Joseph as a slave to not just any common passer by but to a band of Ishmaelites who were the descendants of Ishmael, and Isaac and Ishmael had problems due to Sarah throwing Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, out into the wilderness.

Instead of Joseph being bitter and angry over his treatment by his brothers, Joseph chose to show his brothers mercy. Even after their father dies, the brothers think he is going to take real revenge. Yet, Joseph doesn’t — showing his great compassion and mercy. Sort of like Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ voluntarily came from the third heaven where He had the holy dwelling of the Father to come down to this earth. He chose a miraculous way of being born — through a virgin. We know little about Jesus’ physical life except when He was twelve. On a visit to the synagogue, Jesus stayed behind asking questions of the synagogue leaders in the temple. It was eighteen years before He began his public three year ministry which ultimately led to His death on the cross at Calvary. And, while hanging there with all prophecy being fulfilled concerning His death, Jesus Christ cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they no not what they do” (click on) Luke 23:24, thus showing us His greatest act of compassion and mercy for all of humanity.

~ Darren L Beattie, The Soul Blogger of TrueLifeChristianity.com ~


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