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Joseph: The Reunion: Joseph tells the story of his reunion with his brothers in Egypt
Posted by Douglas, May 21, 2008. 1933 views. ID = 1325

Joseph: The Reunion

Posted by Douglas, May 21, 2008. 1933 views. ID = 1325
This post was written in 58 minutes.
This post has been awarded 28 stars by 6 readers.
This post is Part 15 of a writing series titled Joseph's Story.

When my brothers first appeared before me, down in Egypt, I thought I was seeing ghosts. Or maybe that is backwards; maybe I was the ghost. I appeared before them, but I was entirely invisible; they hadn't a clue who I really was. To them I was just Zaphenath-peneah, the great Egyptian ruler who would save mankind from starvation.

I confess: I wanted to hurt them. That was my first and overwhelming reaction. I wanted to make them suffer for what they had done to me, all those long, painful years ago. But God did not put me here for vengeance. My purpose was salvation. So I put behind me thoughts of revenge.

My next thought was: I should bring my entire family down to Egypt, where I can watch over them and keep them safe. Oh! To see my father again! And, oh! To see my brother Benjamin once more!


And yet, how could I trust these men - these violent, dishonest men - who stood before me as though they were simply innocent sufferers? I knew better. If I revealed myself to them, what would they do? What kind of men had they grown to be?

All this went through my mind so quickly, as my brothers stood waiting for me to speak. As they waited, fidgeting uneasily, it occurred to me that I needed to put a test before them, in order to find out how things really stood in my father's household. So I trumped up an excuse to have them all locked in prison, which gave me time to think through how I could lay a trap to test my brothers' true mettle.

In the end, I decided to leave only one of the brothers in prison. It seemed fitting; I had been left in a pit, so Simeon would be left in a pit. I was unjustly tossed into jail, so too was Simeon.

But the real test was this: what would the remaining nine brothers do? Would they leave Simeon to rot, telling our father that Simeon had met a tragic demise en route to Egypt? The brothers I knew from long ago would not hesitate to abandon a brother to his fate. If they had not changed, I would never see them again.

I held out hope, though, that my brothers had changed. I heard them speak of their past sins with shame. They didn't know I understood their language, but I heard, and I understood, and I hoped.

So I waited. And waited. Weeks passed, and the weeks turned into months. I had almost despaired that they were never coming back, when I saw the nine brothers - and Benjamin! - standing before me once again.


I nearly cried out for joy! In part because I was seeing my beloved brother Benjamin once more, and in part because my older brothers had passed my first test.

I say, first test, because I was not through with them. I'm not stupid; I know that Simeon is one of them. The real test is this: what will happen when the outsider is in trouble? What will they do when the favorite son, the one for whom they harbor strong jealousy, is arrested?

So I laid my trap carefully. I knew that Benjamin was favored at home, but to incite even more jealousy, I made it clear that he was favored even here in Egypt. I offered to him the blessing of God, a blessing I had never given to his brothers. I heaped his plate with enough food for five men, while his ten brothers had only a normal serving.

What will you do, my brothers? What will you do when the brother who has father's affection is arrested and tried for crimes he did not commit? Will you let him be sold into slavery as I was? Will you take my steward's invitation to simply walk away? Will you return to your home without regret, telling my father that another son has been lost?

What kind of men are you, my brothers?

As they stand before me now, they are terrified, but they are unwilling to leave my brother to slavery as they had left me so long ago. How easy it would have been for them to walk away, yet there they stand, and their pleas break my heart. How can I stand to listen any longer to their begging? How can I bear to watch their tears pour down their cheeks? In my heart I know the pleas are real, the tears are real, and oh! Judah! Would you really trade your life for Benjamin's? This is not the brother I knew so long ago! How you have changed! You have become a man of whom any brother, any father could truly be proud.

And now my own tears begin to well up, and I know that I cannot bear to listen to their begging any more. I cannot let them suffer another moment because of my cruel test; they have passed the tests I have set, and it is time to put their torment to an end.

Slowly, and with much trembling, I stand from my throne and demand that the hall be cleared. Bewildered, my servants, my guards, and all the onlookers leave the room. As the last door closes, I am left alone with these men who are no longer the spiteful children I once knew. I break into a shrill weeping cry that is sorrow, and shame, and great joy all mingled together at once.

My brothers stand there, horrified, astonished, and amazed; they don't know what to think of this, even when I say to them, in their own language - in my own language - "Brothers! It's me! Joseph! Your brother!"

They are struck dumb with fear, as though they have seen a ghost. So it must seem to them, for I have returned from the dead. I gather them close to me and say, through my tears, "Do not be afraid, my brothers. I am truly your brother, alive and well. Long ago you sold me into slavery, and you intended me great harm, but don't be afraid, because God intended something great; he has brought me here before you to preserve your lives!"

I see that they do not believe I have forgiven them, so one by one I wrap my arms around each of my brothers, and cling to them, covering them with my tears and my kisses, until at last they believe me.

"Now go," I say. "Return home and tell my father what you have seen and heard. Tell him that he must bring the entire family and all its possessions to Egypt, for the famine will last yet another five years. Come to Egypt and I will see that the family is cared for."

Now, as I sit on my throne, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my father, I think about my brothers, and how time has changed them, how time changes all things. And then I realize, to my astonishment, that time has changed me as well.

I remember with shame those younger days when I was so proud, so smug in the knowledge that all my brothers would one day bow down to me. I am no longer that boy. Of all the dreams I ever had, that dream once seemed most important. Now that it has come to pass I realize that it does not matter at all, compared to all the wondrous things which have been accomplished in my life. I feel both silly and ashamed to think that I once thought it would be my crowning moment to see my brothers bow before me.

I know, for God Himself has promised it, that even my aged father will bow before me when he arrives. And yet, even if my father should never bow, why should I care? God has blessed me beyond all imagining, and has fulfilled all my dreams that truly matter. In blessing me He has, in turn, made me a blessing.

Once, long ago, God promised to my great-grandfather Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his family. If I have taken part in fulfilling that dream, then my past, with all its sorrow and pain and tragedy, has been worth every terrible moment. I would not trade a bit of it for any other dream.

I, Joseph, am content at last.

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. FifteenMinutesOfFiction.com has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.
 


   
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This post has been awarded 28 stars by 6 readers.
This post is Part 15 of a writing series titled Joseph's Story.
This is a revised version of a post. Click here to view the original version

Comments


Josiah T.
May 21, 2008
Wow... Is this the last piece?
   ~Posted by Josiah T., May 21, 2008

Douglas
May 21, 2008
I think so. I'm toying with doing an epilogue, which would give a five-hundred-year-later perspective of the events of Joseph's life.

But if I don't do that, I think this is not a bad way to end the piece.
   ~Posted by Douglas, May 21, 2008

Katie
May 21, 2008
I think it's a great way to end the piece! Er, series of pieces. I love the fact that you gave us Joseph's point of view. It kind of brought everything together and explained it all. Well done! :-)
   ~Posted by Katie, May 21, 2008



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