"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Joseph in Egypt
Genesis 39:1-23; 40:1-23 Commentary
by Rolf Jacobson
Introduction: The Context of Joseph's Story
The story of Joseph (Genesis 37, 39-50) is one of the longest sustained narratives in the Old Testament, and is the longest in the Book of Genesis.
This week's narrative lectionary picks up midway through the story of Joseph. We drop in on Joseph after he has been betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt. Worship planners will need to decide whether they read Genesis 39, or Genesis 40, or both chapters. But no matter which decision planners make, Joseph will remain in prison at the end of the reading.
In the wider context of the book of Genesis, Joseph's story brings the "family" story of Abraham and Sarah to a culmination. In Genesis, the people who God elected in order to be blessed to be a blessing are a family. This family has grown from a childless old couple into a fairly large, extended family -- but they are still a family. This family has grown by marriage (to such "righteous" outsiders at Tamar in chapter 38) and by procreation -- but it is still a family. When the Book of Exodus starts, the family has become a nation. . . but that story is for next week.
Theological Theme: Human Unfaithfulness
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 003: Joseph in Egypt
September 25, 2011
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's reading is Joseph in Egypt, Gen. 39:1-23 [40:1-23]