Doing What Is Right-Genesis 37:2-4

Genesis 37:2-4 “Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.”
Genesi 37:2-4 Questa è la discendenza di Giacobbe. Giuseppe, all’età di diciassette anni, pascolava il gregge con i suoi fratelli. Egli era giovane e stava con i figli di Bila e con i figli di Zilpa, mogli di suo padre. Giuseppe riferì al loro padre la cattiva fama che circolava sul loro conto. Israele amava Giuseppe più di tutti gli altri suoi figli, perché era il figlio della sua vecchiaia; e gli fece una veste lunga con le maniche. I suoi fratelli vedevano che il loro padre lo amava più di tutti gli altri fratelli; perciò lo odiavano e non potevano parlargli amichevolmente.”
 
     The interaction between Israel and his sons reads like a modern-day novel. In this drama, there is jealousy, pride, anger, hatred, deception and ultimately reconciliation. It covers the latter part of Genesis and sets the stage for Israel’s development from a tribe to a nation.   
     As the narrative unfolds we see Joseph, firstborn of Rebecca and the eleventh son of Israel who is now seventeen years old, working (implying he was the head shepherd) with his brothers tending sheep. Joseph was responsible for tending the flock as well as managing the personnel. Israel knew all his boys and since Joseph was sort of an outsider in the group, he believed that Joseph was the one most trustworthy of this task. He knew if something displeasing were to occur among the other sons, they would keep their code of silence between themselves.
     Upon returning home, Joseph tells his father a bad report about his half-brothers. What is not told is what the scandal was but it was important enough to make a report. Some have viewed Joseph as a gossiper or a tattletale looking to score extra points with his dad but in reality he was a faithful son reporting a bad incident while at his post. As a consequence, Joseph’s brothers, who despised him anyway, now transition to hating him. Even those who are of the opinion that Joseph could have handled this differently or presumed he was seeking revenge on his brothers must understand that he was simply doing his job and was faithful in his report to his father. 
     Joseph knew the consequences of having 10 half-brothers go against him but doing what was right has never been applauded by wrongdoers. Could we stand up for a cause when the tide of public opinion goes against us? Or have we found that the easiest route to take is to remain silent, avoid other people’s displeasure and look the other way? May God help us to be like Joseph and be faithful! 
Pray with me: Lord, I struggle at times with how to react to situations that disturb me. Help me with Your wisdom to say what needs to be said in love and help me to accept it from others when I am the guilty one.


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