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HUMA 1110
Stephen Ford

February-4-09 Genesis 37 – 50 1. Historical background of Torah • Torah or Pentateuch (means ‘five books’) • The general concensus is that Moses wrote all five books between the 16 and 15 century BCE th th • Joshua (15 – 14 century BCE) • Two different views on the creation of the torah; Traditional, and Documentary Hypothesis…these views are at odds with who the authors of the Torah are and when it was last edited. • Documentary Hypothesis: the Torah is comprised of 4 main sources; it was last edited in the 6 Century. • 4 Sources are: • ‘J’ source (God is referred to as ‘Yahvist’ or ‘Jahwist’) • ‘E’ source (God is referred to as ‘Elohist’) • ‘P’ source (Priestly source) • ‘D’ source (Deuteronomist) • Doublets also exist (several versions of the same story) 2. Characters and Summary of Genesis 37-50 Story of Joseph: Joseph – main character, favourite son of Jacob, and Rachel Jacob/Israel – Joseph’s Father Rachel – Joseph’s mother, Jacob’s favourite wife Joseph’s 11 brothers: Reuben – tries to save Joseph Judah – was his idea to sell Joseph into slavery Simeon – is held captive in Egypt by Joseph Benjamin – Jacob and Rachel’s youngest son Ishmaelites – bought Joseph for 20 pieces of silver and took him to Egypt Potiphar – courtier of the Pharaoh, buys Joseph from the Ishmaelites Chief Jailer – in charge of the Pharaoh’s jail, befriends Joseph Cupbearer – his dreams are interpreted by Joseph in jail, he later tells the Pharaoh about Joseph’s skill for interpreting dreams Baker - his dreams are interpreted by Joseph in jail, he is later executed • Joseph is 17 years old, he lives in the land of Canaan with his immediate family, where he helps to tend the flocks • Joseph is Jacob’s favourite son, for Joseph was born in Jacob’s late age to Jacob’s favourite wife; Rachel. • Jacob presents Joseph with an ornamented tunic, which makes Joseph’s older brothers so jealous that they cannot even speak to him • Joseph tells his brothers of two dreams he has had, which makes his brothers hate him even more • DREAM #1 – Joseph and his brothers are binding sheaves in the fields when suddenly Joseph’s sheaf stands up tall, and the brothers’ sheaves gather around and bow to Joseph’s sheaf • Joseph’s brothers interpret this dream as meaning that Joseph intends to rule/reign over them • DREAM #2 – the sun, the moon, and 11 stars bow down to Joseph • This dream, he also tells to his father, who berates him…interpreting it as meaning that himself, Rachel, and his sons must bow down to Joseph. • One day while working in far off fields, Joseph’s brothers conspire to kill Joseph • Reuben, one of the brothers, convinces the rest not to kill Joseph, but to throw him in a pit…Reuben later intends to rescue Joseph from the pit, and return him to his father • When Joseph gets to where his brothers are, they strip him of his ornamented tunic and throw him in an empty well/pit • After doing so, the brothers sit down to a meal • A caravan of Ismaelites approaches, and Judan, one of the brothers, convinces the other brothers to sell Joseph into slavery instead of killing him • Joseph is sold to the Ishmaelites for 20 piecesof silver • To cover this up, the brothers slaughter a goat and cover Joseph’s tunic with goat blood, and present it to Jacob • Jacob assumes that Joseph has been devoured by a wild beast, and mourns his son for many days • Meanwhile, the Ishmaelites reach Egypt and sell Joseph to Potiphar; a courtier of the Pharaoh Story of Judah and Tamar: Judah – Joseph’s brother, who tried to save Joseph Tamar – widow of Judah’s eldest son, tricks Judah into having sex with her, so that she may conceive the son that she had been promised • While Jacob mourns Joseph, and Potiphar buys Joseph from the Ishmaelites, Judah decides to leave his brothers • Judah finds a wife and has 3 sons • Judah finds a wife for his first born son (Er) her name is Tamar • Er was displeasing to the Lord, so the Lord took his life • Judah tells his second son, Onan, that he must do right buy his older brother and provide Tamar with a son • Onan sleeps with Tamar but doesnot want to provide his older (dead) brother with a son, so he ‘wastes his seed’ • This is displeasing to the lord, so Onan’s life is taken as well • Judah tells Tamar, his daughter-in-law, to remain as a widow and to go live with her father until Judah’s youngest son is old enough for her • Judah’s youngest grows up, but Judah does not fulfill his promise to Tamar • Judah’s wife dies, and after a period of mourning Judah sets out on the road • Tamar hears of this and devises a plan…she veils her face and waits by the road for Judah • When Judah passes Tamar, he doesnot recognize her, and assumes that she is a prostitute • Judah agrees to provide Tamar with a goat if she sleeps with him • They have sex and Tamar conceives • Since Judah must send for the goat he agrees to leave his staff, seal, and cord with Tamar until she gets her goat • Judah sends a man to deliver the goat and collect his belongings, but the prostitute cannot be found • Later Judah gets word that Tamar is with child, Judah asked that she be brought out to be burned for her harlotry • But when he finds out that Tamar
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