Tuesday, March 08, 2016

History - The fictional stories of Muhammad - Joseph (Part 1)

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. You can also find the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The Koran give a rather detailed account of the life and times of Joseph. It starts with Joseph receiving dreams and visions in the night.
"When Joseph said to his father, 'Father, I saw eleven stars, and the sun and the moon; I saw them bowing down [make obeisance] before me.' He said, 'O my son, relate [tell] not thy vision to thy brothers, lest they devise [plot a plot] against thee some guile. Surely Satan is to man a manifest enemy." (Koran 12:4-5)
The dream about the starts, sun, and moon bowing down before him was actually the second dream he had. The first was a dream about his brother's sheaves of wheat bowing before his sheave. In both dreams, Joseph told his brothers before he told his father.
"Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, 'Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.' He related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, 'What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?'" (Genesis 37:9-10)
In this account, Joseph's father rebuked him, not because he was afraid lest he should tell his dream to his brothers, for he had already done so, but because of the disrespect it showed him and Joseph's mother. Joseph's father never warned Joseph about the possible jealousy of his brothers if he revealed to them his dream and we have no indication that Joseph's father ever considered that perhaps the brother's jealousy had anything to do with the accounts of Joseph's disappearance.

In the Koranic story we see the brothers hatching a plan while they were still at home; a plan to rid themselves of Joseph.
"They said, 'Father, what ails thee, that thou trustest us not with Joseph? Surely we are his sincere well-wishers [we mean him well]. Send him forth with us tomorrow, to frolic and play [that he might enjoy himself and sport]; surely we shall be watching over him [keep him safely].'" (Koran 12:11-12)
Again, there is the intimation that Joseph's father knew something was up with the brothers. However, in the Jewish story, Joseph's brothers were already out in the field and Joseph's father sent Joseph to find them and check up on them.
"Then his brothers went to pasture their father's flock in Shechem. Israel said to Joseph, 'Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.' And he said to him, 'I will go.' Then he said to him, 'Go now and see about the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock, and bring word back to me.' So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem." (Genesis 37:12-14)
The Koranic story says that, as the brothers went with Joseph, they plotted to put him in the bottom of a well.
"So when they went with him, and agreed to put him in the bottom of the well, and We revealed to him, 'Thou shalt [yet] tell them of this their doing [deed] when they are unaware [shall not know thee].'" (Koran 12:15)
However, in the Jewish story, they plotted against him as they saw him approaching them, and they plotted to put him to death! Also, there is no record of God ever speaking to Joseph in the well or that, at anytime up until he saw his brother again, that he understood what God was doing in his life and the wonderful things God would do through him.
"When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death. They said to one another, 'Here comes this dreamer! Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, "A wild beast devoured him." Then let us see what will become of his dreams!'" (Genesis 37:18-20)
The Koran says that travelers came by and found Joseph in the well and rescued him, only to keep him for their own profit.
"Then came travelers [wayfarers], and they sent one of them, a water-drawer, who let down his bucket. 'Good news!' he said. 'Here is a young man.' So they hid him [kept his case secret] as [to make] merchandise [of him]; but God knew what they were doing [did]." (Koran 12:19)
In the Jewish story, the brothers saw the caravan approaching and decided not to kill Joseph but to sell him. At least this way they would get a profit for their troubles.
"Then they sat down to eat a meal. And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, 'What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.' And his brothers listened to him. Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt." (Genesis 37:25-28)
Joseph is now bound for Egypt. Next time we will take up our story there.

More to come...
David Robison

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