The Joseph Stories: Desperate Measures


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.


Desperate Measures

Read: Genesis 43:1-15

As for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.

(v. 14, NRSV)

If Jacob/Israel had written in his diary after the events in this passage, what might he have said? DIARY: Once I had twelve sons; soon I may have none. First I lost Joseph. Now they insist on taking Benjamin with them to Egypt. They left Simeon there the last time—who knows if he’s still alive. Who knows if any of them will come back alive? Judah tried to reassure me before they left. He said he’d stand as “surety” for Benjamin. What good would that do, I ask you, if they all die? It made about as much sense as when Reuben offered to kill his two sons if he didn’t bring Benjamin back. Did he think it losing two of my grandchildren would make up for losing my son? None of us are thinking straight. It’s all one long nightmare.

If Jacob/Israel had written in his memoirs years after this experience, what might he have said? MEMOIR:  All I could think about when I saw them riding off to Egypt was, “What will become of me if they are lost?” No one could blame me for asking that question. In retrospect, though, I should also have asked:  “What will become of the covenant?” God had promised my father Abraham that we would one day become a great nation.  That promise did not look promising at that point. So much was at risk!

Prayer: Help us to hang on to your promises, O God, especially when we feel like we have nothing to hold on to.