The relationship between father and child is deep. Cherish every minute.
Last Sunday was Father’s Day, a day when we paused to remember the contributions father’s make to the family. We remembered just how important fathers are. I trust most of us have fond memories of life with father. In the Bible, we get the story of Joseph, and the special relationship he had with his father. “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age…” (Genesis 37: 3) In addition, Joseph’s mother died while he was still young, so father Jacob would have had to do double duty raising him. It was Joseph that received a special coat from his father. It was Joseph who stayed home with his father while his brothers tended the sheep. When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, they told their father that Joseph had been killed. “Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted.” (Genesis 37: 34-35) This father loved his son.
Many years pass by. Joseph is raised in slavery, but through a series of events, he rises to the number two position in Egypt. Now his brothers come to Egypt for relief from a famine in the region, and amazingly, it is Joseph who they had to deal with. Joseph recognized them, but the brothers did not recognize Joseph. One of the first things Joseph asked of his brothers was about their father. “Is your father still living?” Eventually the brothers return home and then return to Egypt for a second time. Again, Joseph asked about his father. “He [Joseph] asked them [brothers] how they were, and then he said, ‘how is your aged father you told me about? Is he living?’” (Genesis 43: 27).
Joseph had a plan. He planted a silver cup on the youngest of the brothers (Benjamin), and when Joseph “discovered” the cup, everyone knew punishment for the “thief” would follow. Judah came to the defense of Benjamin, and touched Joseph in the softest spot of his heart. Not knowing the connection, Judah made several references to his (and Joseph’s) father. Judah said, “We have an aged father…his father love’s him…How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? NO! Do not let me see the misery that would come upon my father.” This was more than Joseph could bare, and is was at this time that he made himself known to his brothers.
Now father Jacob travels to Egypt and sees his son, Joseph. What a reunion that must have been. Soon after, Jacob became ill. He lived long enough to give Joseph a blessing and died. “Joseph threw himself upon his father and wept over him and kissed him.” (Genesis 50: 1) Now Joseph gave his father, this humble man from Canaan, a lavish funeral. In addition to the family, all the dignitaries of Egypt were in attendance. This special bond between father and son was obvious to all. We shouldn’t be surprised that Joseph’s brothers now feared that Joseph did not pay them back for their treachery because of the father, and now feared they were in serious trouble. “So they sent word to Joseph, saying, ‘your father left these instructions before he died: This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sin and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly…’” (Genesis 50: 16-17) Joseph assured his brothers they would not be harmed.
A long period of time passed between Joseph being sold into slavery and his reunion with his father. During that time, Joseph had two sons. “Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, ‘It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’” (Genesis 41: 51) It’s as if this son was needed to help fill the hole in Joseph’s heart. Yes, the relationship between father and child is deep. Cherish every minute.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.