The Joseph Stories: Turnabout


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.



Read: Genesis 42:1-17

And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.

(v. 6, NRSV)

If Joseph had written in his diary after recognizing his brothers, what might he have said? DIARY: You’ll never believe who showed up to buy grain today! If they hadn’t been so busy bowing they would surely have seen the shock on my face. And if they had recognized me, they would also have recognized the exquisite irony of their bowing down to me—just like the sheaves and the stars of my youthful dreams! But since I was the last person they expected to see as the governor of Egypt, they just kept bowing and begging. Can you blame me for enjoying it? In that moment I made up my mind to make them suffer. So, I accused them of being spies, and I tossed them in jail. Let’s see how they like it!

If Joseph had written in his memoirs years after this experience, what might he have said? MEMOIR: I suppose it was small of me to put them through all that. But it was just too big a temptation. If they hadn’t been so frightened they might have stopped to wonder why I didn’t ask about the twelfth brother. There were ten of them, after all, and they had said there was one more back home. That’s eleven…. It just goes to show that I wasn’t as smart—or as wise—as I thought I was.

Prayer: Interrupt our urge to punish those who have hurt us, gracious God. Help us to leave such matters to you.