Master of Memory V
“But Joseph said to them, ‘It is just as I have declared to you: you are spies! By this shall you be tested: By Pharaoh’s life you will not leave here unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother while you shall remain imprisoned, so that your words may be tested whether truth is with you; but if not, by Pharaoh’s life, surely you are spies!’ Then he herded them into a ward for a three-day period (Genesis 42:14–17).”
The viceroy repeats his refusal to believe their denial. However, this time he offers them a way to prove themselves: He will imprison nine of the brothers, while sending one back to Canaan to bring Benjamin. The Viceroy then proceeds to imprison all of them!
Who is the liar now? “I thought you were going to allow one to return to Canaan!”
How did the brothers allow themselves to be imprisoned?
They were feeling defensive. They had been manipulated into a position of having to prove their innocent intentions. However, surely they wondered why the Viceroy imprisoned all of them without allowing one of them to return home and collect Benjamin.
It was clear that the Viceroy considered them a threat, and that he wanted to exhibit his power before allowing just one to go and fetch Benjamin. They knew that they were not a threat. They knew that all their intentions were good. But it didn’t matter; the Viceroy considered them a threat, sufficiently so, that he had to display his power and throw them into prison.
Sound familiar? Was this not exactly how they had treated Joseph? They considered Joseph a threat and they certainly made a strong display of their power over him. For the first time, they reconsidered their relationship with Joseph not because of Jacob’s agony, but because they were beginning to understand that their perceptions of Joseph’s intentions led them to assert their power over him in a disastrous way. They had ended up in a prison just as Joseph had ended up in a pit.
“Then he herded them into a ward for a three-day period,” also resonated in their minds: “And it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and they came upon the city confidently, and killed every male (Genesis 34:25).” The people of Shechem spent three days in total confidence and security recovering from circumcision. Disaster struck on the third day. The brothers certainly did not spend their three days in quiet confidence and security. The brothers waited three days before attacking Shechem, without informing their father, Jacob, of their intentions. They were now learning to wait three days under entirely different circumstances.
Once again, Joseph managed to manipulate his brothers into a situation in which they would have to reevaluate past actions and decisions. Joseph knew that the only way his brothers could become the unified gatherers they were in his first dream, and from there become the great beings they were destined to be, represented by their appearance as stars in his second dream, was for them to reflect on their actions of the past and learn to repair them.
Joseph, the Master of Memory, was guiding his brothers to become all that he had dreamed of them becoming.
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