Let's do our best to reach out to our fathers on this Father's Day.
When I think of Father’s Day, I always think of Jacob and his relationship with his son, Joseph. Jacob loved Joseph. I know we may be critical of Jacob for showing his love for Joseph above and beyond his love for his other children, but he did love him. I’m sure we all remember the coat of many colors that Jacob (Israel) gave to Joseph. “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him.” (Genesis 37: 3) But, in this blog, I want to look at the other side of this. Joseph loved his father.
Remember in the account of Joseph, his brothers faked his death, and sold him in to slavery. Joseph became a slave in Egypt, later imprisoned and finally rose to a position of power in Pharaoh’s court. Many years have passed by. A famine in Canaan force Jacob to send his sons to Egypt to purchase food supplies. Little did the brothers realize that it was their brother, Joseph who was in charge of the nation’s grain supply. Joseph recognized them, but they didn’t recognize him. Joseph gave them food, and sent them on their way, but it wasn’t long before the brothers once again needed grain, so father Jacob told them to return to Egypt. “They replied, ‘the man (Joseph) questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. Is your father still living? He asked us…” (Genesis 43: 7) After all these years, Joseph wanted to know about his father.
So, the brothers returned to Egypt to purchase more grain. When the brothers met Joseph for the second time, “He (Joseph) asked them how they were, and then he said, ‘how is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?’” (Genesis 43: 27) Now Joseph gave the brothers the grain they sought, but devised a plan whereby he planted some silver in the sack of Benjamin, the youngest of the brothers. As the plan unfolded, Joseph’s servants discovered the silver ‘hidden’ in Benjamin’s sack, and the brothers were filled with fear. Surely they would face the wrath of Egypt for ‘stealing’ silver. The brother named Judah, pleaded with Joseph, “…the boy (Benjamin) cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die…so now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, sees that the boy isn’t there he will die…” (Genesis 44: 22, 30-31)
Without realizing it, Judah had perfectly touched Joseph’s heart. Joseph could no longer continue the ruse, and told his brothers who he was. After a short reunion, the brothers were sent to retrieve their father. “And Israel said to them, I am convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go to him and see him before I die.” (Genesis 45: 28) Joseph provided them with the best land in Egypt, and Israel lived there the rest of his days. When Israel died, “Joseph threw himself upon his father and wept over him and kissed him. Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel, so the physicians embalmed him.” (Genesis 50: 1-2) Joseph than fulfilled his promise to Israel, and transported him back to Canaan where he was buried.
Now Joseph’s brothers recognized this special relationship between father and son, and feared that now that Israel was dead, Joseph would seek vengeance on them. “So they sent word to Joseph saying, ‘your father left these instruction before he died: this is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they have committed in treating you so badly. Now please forgive the servants of the God of your father…” (Genesis 50: 16) Joseph had no intention of harming his brothers, and they were forgiven.
Let’s take note of that special father/child relationship, and do our best to reach out to our fathers on this Father’s Day. “The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.” (Proverbs 20: 7)
With help from an article by Theologian John J. Blunt
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.