The Joseph Stories: Poetic Justice?


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.


Poetic Justice?

Read: Genesis 42:18-38

What is this that God has done to us?

(v. 28, NRSV)

If Reuben had written in his diary during the events in this passage, what might he have said? DIARY: What a nightmare. That governor is like a dog with a bone. For some reason he’s gotten it into his head that we’re spies. He said he’d only believe we’re innocent if we bring back our youngest brother as proof of our story. It would kill my dad to lose Benjamin after having lost Joseph, too.  But the governor wouldn’t budge, so we left poor Simeon in Egypt as collateral and reluctantly headed for home. Then to our horror, the money we’d paid for the grain reappeared in our bags! Now the governor will assume we’re thieves as well as spies. Part of me feels like it’s poetic justice. We’re not guilty of stealing the money, but we are guilty of stealing our brother Joseph’s life, so….

If Reuben had written in his memoirs years after this experience, what might he have said? MEMOIR:  As the firstborn, I always felt like I was responsible for the rest of my siblings. So, you can imagine how I felt when everything started to go south. As if “losing” Joseph wasn’t enough! It’s no wonder we didn’t recognize him. We still thought of him as the boy who we’d last seen begging for his life. He put us all through the wringer during that whole “spy” fiasco. But looking back on it, I can’t really blame him.

Prayer: Sometimes family relationships seem hopelessly complicated, O God.  Bring healing, hope, and peace.