Why Stories of Genesis 38 are between those of Genesis 37 and 39

Why Stories of Genesis 38 are between those of Genesis 37 and 39

Genesis 37
Genesis 37 talks about 17-year-old Joseph living at home where he was loved by his father and hated by his brothers because of his father's love, his dreams, and his words. 

This chapter of the Bible tells us how his father Jacob sent him to check on his brothers as they were herding and when they saw him approaching, they conspired to kill him, throw his body into a pit and lie to their father that he had been killed by a wild animal.

When his brother Reuben heard of this plot, he told his younger brothers that they should just throw him into the pit without killing him because he wanted to save Joseph and return him to his father. 

However, when Joseph arrived, they stripped him of his coat and threw him into a waterless pit. As the brothers were eating, they saw some Midianite traders coming from Gilead and carrying balm, spices, and myrrh.

Judah, another brother of Joseph, suggested that it was not profitable for them to just kill Joseph. He said they should instead sell him to the Midianites traders who were going to Egypt and they did just that for 20 shekels of silver.

It seems that Reuben was not part of this plot because when he returned to the pit, he was distraught and tore his clothes because Joseph was not there.

The brothers then took Joseph's tunic, dipped it in goat's  blood and took it to their father. They told him they had found it and asked him if it was his son's.

Jacob recognized it and said a wild animal had torn his son to pieces. He then tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned for many days. His other children tried to console him but they could not for he wept saying he would go to his grave mourning Joseph.

Genesis 37 concludes by telling us that the Midianite traders sold Joseph to Potiphar who was an officer of Pharaoh in Egypt. 

We are not ignorant of his devices

Genesis 38
We would expect Genesis 38 to continue with the story of Joseph's life in Egypt as a slave but this is narrated in Genesis 39.

Genesis 38 instead talks about the troubles of Judah. 

His first son Er was killed by God because he was evil.

His second son Onan was also killed by God because when he was asked to marry Er's wife Tamar so that he could raise an heir for his brother as per their tradition, he emitted to the ground. 

As if those were not enough problems for Judah, his wife Shua died. 

After her death, Judah went in to his daughter-in-law who was disguised as a harlot and she took his signet, cord, and staff as insurance until he sent a goat to pay for her services.

Genesis 38 ends with public humiliation for Judah when he asked his daughter-in-law Tamar to be burned because she was found to be pregnant out of wedlock and she produced the evidence that proved he was responsible for her pregnancy. 

We are not ignorant of his devices

Genesis 39

Genesis 39 talks about Joseph's life as a slave in Egypt. It tells us how Potiphar's wife falsely accused him of rape and he was imprisoned because of her allegations.

We are not ignorant of his devices

When I inquired of the Lord why the events are described like this in the Bible with Judah's problems being placed between the selling of Joseph into slavery and his life as a slave, the revelation I received was that this was to suggest that Judah had something to do with Joseph's problems.

This is because if Judah had not suggested that Joseph should be sold as a slave, he would have been left in the pit and Reuben would have saved him and taken him home to his father. 

However, because of Judah's words, Joseph was sold and he suffered because of being wrongfully accused and imprisoned.

As he was suffering in Egypt, his brother Judah was also suffering in the land of Canaan because of all the "misfortunes" happening in his house. These problems could have even given his father an inkling of suspicion that he may have done something wrong and possibly even be involved in Joseph's disappearance.

We are not ignorant of his devices

This story is two-sided because even though Joseph's brothers meant to harm him by selling him into slavery, God turned it around for his good (Genesis 50:20) and ensured that he fulfilled the destiny he had dreamed about. This good was also for his brothers since they were saved from starvation by Joseph. 

However, the same principle that is in Matthew 26:24 of The Son of Man will go just as it has been written about Him but woe to the person who betrays Him! also applies here.

This principle is that some bad things must happen to good people for various reasons but you should ensure that you are not the one through whom they happen.

Therefore even if Jesus had to be betrayed to fulfill his destiny and Joseph had to be sold to Egypt to fulfill his destiny, ensure that you are not the person who opens their mouth to betray him or lifts their hand to sell him.  

This is because there are consequences for doing bad things to good people for Judas experienced a lot of woe until he committed suicide and the things happening to Judah's house could have been part of the woe he had to live through as a result of betraying his brother and selling him as a slave.

We are not ignorant of his devices

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