Joseph and his brothers
The basis of the work is the biblical tales of the kind of Israel. Isaac and Rebekah had two twin sons – Esau and Jacob. The first to appear was the hairy Esau, Jacob did not have hair on his body, he was considered the youngest and had a favorite with his mother. When Isaak, who was weakened and almost blinded by old age, called for his eldest son and ordered to cook a dish of game, so that his father’s blessing was preceded by a meal, Rebekah went on a fraud: tied the goat skins with open parts of Jacob’s body, she sent him to her father in the guise of an older brother. Thus, Jacob received the blessing that was destined for Esau.
After this, Jacob was forced to flee. The son of Esau Eliphaz rushed after him in pursuit, and Jacob had to plead with his nephew to save his life. He spared his uncle, but took all the luggage from him. Jacob, who spent the night in the cold, had a divine vision.
days of the journey, Jacob arrived in Harran, where he began to live with the family of Laban, his mother’s uncle. He immediately fell in love with his youngest daughter Rachel, but Laban signed a written contract with him, according to which Rachel would become his wife no earlier than seven years after her father’s service. For seven years Jacob served Lavan faithfully – he was not only a skilled cattle ranger, but he also managed to find a source on the arid land of Laban, thanks to which he was able to break the lush gardens. But Laban had an older daughter, Leah, and his father believed that he should first be married to her. However, Jacob flatly refused the ugly Leah.
After a lapse of seven years, they played a wedding. Under cover of night, wrapping Leah in Rachel’s wedding veil, Laban let her into the bedroom to Jacob, and he did not notice anything. The next morning, finding a forgery, Jacob was furious, but Laban expressed his willingness to give him and the younger, provided that Jacob will stay in the house for another seven years. Then Jacob set out his condition – to
divide the herds.
So years went by, and Leah each year brought to Jacob’s son, and Rachel could not get pregnant. Jacob took her maid Valla as a concubine, and the latter had two sons, but Rachel was still barren. At this time, Leah ceased to give birth, and advised Jacob to take in the concubines and her maid, Zelf. She also brought him two sons. Only in the thirteenth year of marriage, Rachel finally became pregnant. In the grievous torments she brought to the light of Joseph, who at once became a favorite of his father.
Soon Jacob began to notice that the brothers of his wives were looking askance at him, jealous of his fat cattle. He heard a rumor that they were planning to kill him, and Jacob decided to leave with the whole family and rich belongings. Wives immediately began to collect, and Rachel secretly took from the father’s sanctuary clay gods. This was the reason for the chase. However, after overtaking Jacob and having made a real search in his camp, Laban did not find what he was looking for, since the cunning Rachel managed to hide the clay figures in a pile of straw on which she lay down, telling the patient. Then Ladan took an oath from Jacob that he would not offend his daughters and grandchildren, and left.
Towards the caravan of Jacob came Esau with a detachment of four hundred horsemen. However, the meeting was friendly. Esau invited Jacob to settle together, but he refused. After taking the cattle given by Jacob, Esau returned to himself, and his brother continued his journey.
Jacob spread out the tents not far from the city of Shekem and arranged with the elders about the payment for the wedge of the earth. Four years Jacob lived with his family at the walls of Shekem, when his only daughter, thirteen-year-old Dean, laid eyes on the prince’s son Shechem. The old prince appeared to be a matchmaker. Jacob summoned ten older sons to the council, and they set the condition: Shechem must circumcise. A week later, he came to say that the condition was fulfilled, but the brothers announced that the rite was not carried out according to the rules. Shechem retired with curses, and four days later, Dean was kidnapped. Soon, the people of Shechem appeared to Jacob, offering to pay a ransom for Dean, but the brothers demanded that all men circumcise, and on the day appointed by the brothers. When all the men of the city came to their senses after the rite, Dina’s brothers attacked Shek and liberated her sister,
Jacob fell into a rage from the actions of his sons and ordered to go away from the place of bloodshed. Dina was pregnant; by the decision of the men, the baby was thrown, as soon as he was born.
Pregnant at this time was Rachel. The birth began on the road and was so heavy that the mother died, having only glanced at the boy he had produced. She hung out to name him Benoni, which means “Son of Death.” The father chose Benjamin for his son. Rachel was buried near the road; Jacob was very sad.
He reached Migdal Eger, where Leah’s son Reuben sinned with his father’s concubine, Valla. Jacob, who learned of his deed from Joseph, cursed his first-born. Reuben hated his brother forever. Meanwhile, Isaac died, and Jacob barely managed to attend his father’s funeral.
Until the age of seventeen, Joseph cattle with his brothers and studied with the senior slave of James Eliezer. He was both prettier and smarter than older brothers; was friends with the youngest, Benoni, and cared about him. The older brothers disliked Joseph, seeing that his father singled him out.
One day, Jacob presented Joseph with the wedding veil of his mother, and he began to brag without bothering them, causing irritation and anger of older brothers. Then, while working in the field, he told the brothers a dream: his sheaf is in the center, and around him are the sheaves of brothers, and everyone is bowing to him. A few days later he dreamed that the sun, the moon and eleven stars bow to him. This dream brought the brothers into such fury that Jacob had to punish Joseph. However, the indignant elder sons decided to go with the cattle to the Shekem valleys.
Soon Jacob decided to make peace with his sons and sent Joseph to visit them. Secretly from his father, Joseph took Rachel’s veil with him, so that he could show off before the brothers. Seeing him in a sparkling sequins, they fell into such a rage that they almost tore him to pieces. Joseph miraculously survived. To crown it all, the brothers tied him up and threw him to the bottom of a parched well. They themselves hastened to retire, so as not to hear the heart-rending cries of Joseph.
Three days later, the merchants who passed by the Ishmaelites rescued Joseph. Later they met brothers. Those who presented Joseph as their slave, were told that they threw him into the well for unworthy behavior, and agreed to sell at a fair price. The deal took place.
The brothers decided to notify the father of the fact that he would never see his pet again, and sent two messengers to him, giving them smeared with sheep’s blood and the tattered veil of Rachel.
Having received a physical confirmation of Joseph’s death, the old man Jacob fell into such grief that he did not even want to see his sons who appeared to him a few days later. They hoped to win their father’s position, but they incurred even more displeasure, although the father did not know about their true role in the disappearance of Joseph.
And Joseph walked with a merchant caravan and with his learning and eloquence so positioned himself to his master that he promised to arrange it in Egypt to a noble house.
Egypt made a strong impression on Joseph. In Oise (Thebes), he was sold to the house of the great nobleman Petepry, the bearer of the king’s fan. Thanks to natural wit, Joseph, despite all the wits of the servants, quickly moved into the assistant manager, and when the old manager died, he became his successor.
Joseph served in Petipry’s house for seven years, when the mistress of the house became his passion. In order to bewitch Joseph, the mistress for three years resorted to various tricks, without even trying to hide her passion. However, Joseph considered himself not entitled to succumb to temptation. Then Mutam-anet seized the moment when all the households went to the city for the holiday, and lured Joseph back early to his bedroom. When he rejected her harassment, she cried out to the whole house that Joseph wanted to take her by force. The proof was the piece of his dress that remained in her hand.
Joseph did not justify himself before the master and found himself in the dungeon of the pharaoh, where he spent three years. To him, the chief of the dungeon, Mai-Sahmi, immediately became very sympathetic, and appointed him a warden.
Once, two high-ranking prisoners were brought to the dungeon – the main butler and the chief baker of the pharaoh. They were accused of high treason, but the verdict was not yet passed. Joseph was assigned to them. Three days before the announcement of the verdict, both dreamed and asked Joseph to interpret them. He thought that the baker’s dream speaks of an imminent execution, and that of the cupbearer-of the highest pardon. So it happened, and, saying goodbye, Joseph asked the cupbearer on occasion to put in a word for him before Pharaoh. He promised, but, as Joseph had assumed, he immediately forgot his promise.
Soon the old pharaoh died and the young Amenhotep IV ascended the throne. Once he dreamed of a dream about seven fat and seven skinny cows, and then – about seven full and seven empty ears. The entire courtyard fought in vain over the solution of the dream, until the chief cupbearer remembered his former supervisor.
Joseph was called to Pharaoh, and he explained that ahead of Egypt wait seven harvest and seven hungry years and we must immediately begin to create in the country grain stocks. Joseph’s reasoning appealed to Pharaoh so much that he immediately appointed him minister of food and agriculture.
Joseph was very successful in the new field, undertook reform of agriculture and promoted the development of irrigation. He married an Egyptian who gave birth to his two sons – Manasseh and Ephraim. Pharaoh continued to favor his minister, and he now lived in a large beautiful house with many servants. He made his former jailer and great friend Mai-Sahme the manager. For several years the crops in Egypt were indeed unprecedented, and then a drought came. By that time, Joseph had managed to create large reserves of grain in the country, and now Egypt has become the breadwinner of all neighboring lands, from which caravans for foodstuffs constantly arrived. The treasury grew rich, and the authority and might of the state were strengthened.
At the direction of Joseph, all arriving in the country were registered, recording not only the place of permanent residence, but also the names of grandfather and father. Joseph was waiting for the brothers, and at last he learned from the list delivered to him that they had come to Egypt. It was the second year of a drought. Jacob himself sent his sons to Egypt, however much he disliked it. All sons by that time had already got their families, so now the tribe of Israel numbered seventy-odd people and everyone had to be fed. Only Benjamin left the old man with him, since after the death of Joseph especially valued the youngest son of Rachel.
When the ten sons of Jacob appeared before the Egyptian high minister, he concealed who he was and made strict interrogation, pretending to suspect them of espionage. Despite all the brothers’ assurances, he left one hostage, and the rest sent off on the return journey, punishing him to return with Benjamin. Together with the manager Joseph came up with another trick – he ordered to put in bags of grain money that the brothers paid for the goods. Discovering this at the first halt, the brothers were astonished. Their first impulse was to return the money, but then they decided that it was a sign from above, and began to pray, remembering their sins.
Jacob at first cried sons, but when the supplies bought in Egypt were exhausted and it became clear that he would have to start again, Jacob changed his anger to mercy and released his sons, this time with Benjamin.
Now Joseph received the brothers at home, said that he had removed suspicions from them, and treated them to dinner. He seated Veniamin beside him and during the meal he constantly talked with him, asking about the family and discovering knowledge of such details that no one, except Benjamin and Joseph, could know. Then the younger brother first had a suspicion that before him was the missing Joseph. Joseph himself decided not to open yet, but decided to return the brothers from the middle of the road.
He ordered that a torchboy should be placed in the Tori Benjamin, which he showed to the guest during dinner. When the caravan was returned in disrepute, the brothers again appeared before the angry Joseph. He demanded to leave Benjamin with him, to which Judas, the fourth of the brothers according to seniority, decided to propitiate Joseph and, repenting for his sins, confessed that many years ago they beat him to death and sold his brother Joseph into slavery. Reuben, who did not participate in that bargaining, and Benjamin, who was also not involved in the atrocity, this news was horrified.
Then Joseph named himself and took turns embracing the brothers, showing that he had forgiven them. He promised to move the whole race of Israel to the land of Gosin, to the outskirts of the Egyptian possessions, where on the fat pastures you can graze the myriad flocks of Jacob. Pharaoh approved this plan, because he sincerely rejoiced at the happiness of his friend.
On the way back, the brothers could not decide how to inform the old James happy news. But not far from the destination they met the daughter of one of the brothers, who was instructed to prepare the grandfather for the joyful news. The girl went to the village, writing a song about the resurrection of Joseph. Hearing her singing, Jacob was angry at first, but the brothers unanimously confirmed the truth of the girl’s words, and then he decided to immediately set off to see his beloved son before he died.
Crossing the Egyptian border, Jacob broke up the camp and sent for Joseph a son of Judas. When Joseph’s chariot appeared in the distance, the old man got up and went to meet him. There was no end to the joy.
Pharaoh appointed Joseph’s brothers as caretakers of the royal cattle. So Jacob with his kind settled in the land of Gosin, and Joseph continued to do business.
Feeling that he was dying, Jacob sent for Joseph. He, along with his sons, appeared before the old man. Jacob blessed the young men, accidentally confusing which one was the oldest, so that the birthright was again violated.
Soon Jacob called to himself all the sons. He blessed one of them, and cursed someone, much surprising the audience. The elder’s rights were given to Judas. They buried Jacob in a family cave, and after the funeral, the sons of Leah, Zelfa and Valla asked Benjamin to say a word to Joseph before them. Benjamin asked his brother not to hold on to them evil, Joseph only laughed, and all together they returned to Egypt.