The Joseph Stories: Once More, With Feeling


This series takes a creative approach to the Joseph stories. Each day’s reflection imagines what one of the characters might have written in both their diary and their memoirs about the events in that day’s Scripture passage. While this approach sometimes requires us to “fill in the blanks” a bit with regard to what the characters are thinking and feeling, every effort has been made to stay as close to the Bible’s details as possible. The diary/memoir approach underscores how we often perceive—or don’t perceive—God’s hand in our lives.

Once More, With Feeling

Read: Genesis 39:19-23

And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison….

(v. 20a, NRSV)

If Joseph had written in his diary while he was in prison, what might he have said? DIARY:  Is it me, or do I always seem to get thrown into pits? Truthfully, the accommodations here in the king’s jail are a considerable step up from the pit my brothers threw me into. But a pit is a pit, after all. At first I just sat in my cell and obsessed the injustice of it all. But then I remembered how God had rescued me from the last pit I was in. So, I just made up my mind to be the most helpful prisoner in history. And sure enough, the jailer has taken a shine to me. He’s given me all sorts of responsibilities. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s lazy, or if it’s a sign that God has plans to break me out of this joint.

If Joseph had written in his memoirs years after this experience, what might he have said? MEMOIR: Looking back on it, I can’t help but wonder why Potiphar chose to put me in the king’s prison. It wasn’t luxurious by any means, but it was better than a chain gang—or a gallows, for that matter. I wonder if he had doubts about his wife’s story. Oh well, I guess I’ll never know. What I do know is that God was with me. How else can you explain the fact that I wasn’t left there to rot?

Prayer: Be with all those who are held captive in any way.