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Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Meditation - Who sold Joseph into Egypt?

Last week, if you had asked me to tell the story of Joseph being sold into Egypt, I probably would have said...  Joseph's had 11 brothers.  Many of them (probably not Benjamin) didn't like that he was their father's favorite.  So one day, when he came to visit them while they were tending the flocks, they desired to be rid of him and threw him into a pit.  While they were eating, the decided that instead of leaving him there to die, they would sell him to a group of Ishmeelites who were passing by.  They took him out of the pit and sold him and the Ishmeelites then took him to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar.

Friday, as I was reading in Genesis, I discovered a major difference in the facts of this story.  Joseph's brothers came up with the plan to sell him but when they went to get him out of the pit, he wasn't there.  While they had been eating, a group of Midianites came along and found him in the pit.  They had the same idea as Joseph's brothers and sold him to the Ishmeelites.

Yesterday, I was still pondering this and thinking of how many times I've read that verse (Genesis 37:28) and yet never caught that piece of information.  Then I had the reminder pop into my head that the intent to sin is a sin.  We've been taught that you commit the sin in your heart before you commit it in action.  Joseph's brothers did not commit the sin in action but they had in their hearts (and would have committed it in action if given the opportunity).  And yet, probably most people would tell the story similar to the way I would have last week.  Joseph's brothers have the reputation of having committed this sin thousands of years later!

What does that teach us?  Not only do we need to be careful of our actions, we need to be careful of our thoughts and intents to do evil.  When new in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we tend to focus on our actions, not committing sins.  As we progress in our testimonies, we are taught to control our thoughts.  This story has reminded me that as much as Satan can tell us that no one will know our sins, others not only can not our sins, but they can know our intent to sin.  It is so important to give a wide berth to that cliff!  Or we may gain a reputation that we do not desire.

Update:  A friend just let me know that her version of the Bible (waiting to hear which one) says that the brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit when the Midianites passed by.  Maybe later today, I'll try to find the different versions and see how they compare, including some translating from the original Hebrew.

4 comments:

Melissa R. Wolfe said...

Joseph's brothers sell him to the Midianites/Ishmaelites. The two words are talking about the same group of people. They were passing by, and Joseph's brothers sold him to them. See verse 36 for further clarification--the Midianites are selling him to Potiphar. Not all of the brothers were doing the selling, because Reuben is devastated when Joseph is gone. Also see Genesis 45:4 where Joseph reveals that he is their brother, which they sold.

Melissa R. Wolfe said...

I think your conclusions still apply. We are much better filling our lives with positive things, rather than walking as close to the edge of a sin as we can.

Eden said...

Melissa - thanks for the comments. Another friend said that her scriptures say The brothers sold him to the Ishmeelites when the Midianites passed by. I don't profess to be a bible scholar. I go by what I read in the scripture and some resource books (which they only references I saw were to point out the quantity he was sold for).
What is great is that even when the different translations can be confusing or misleading, we can still gain insight and reminders on living closer to the Spirit.

Melissa R. Wolfe said...

I don't consider myself a bible scholar either. I just started teaching Gospel Doctrine and that was one of my first lessons. I remembered some confusion about that verse too. One of the things I am learning even more is that every story in the Old Testament seems to point to Christ. There are signs in most stories-Joseph's story is one of betrayal for money, which parallels Judas' betrayal of Christ. I think that is why the sum of money is so often mentioned.