Post 340

Family Counselling, Part 16:
Goodbye for Now

BLOGGER: My assistant told me that you have come to say goodbye.
JACOB: Indeed, we have come to say goodbye, and to thank you once again for your assistance many years ago.
BLOGGER: So, you will tell me where you are going?
JACOB: Egypt. We go to Egypt.
BLOGGER: Oh! To Egypt!
JACOB: This is where my son is. Joseph is there! He is not dead! All of this time, he has been alive!
JUDAH: We saw him ourselves! We all saw him!
BLOGGER: You did?
JUDAH: Not my father — he hasn’t seen him yet — but he also will!
BLOGGER: What happened?
LEVI: We met him again. We met him when we went the first time, and then we met him again. The second time we dined with him at his own house!
REUBEN: Levi, start from the beginning!
GAD: Tell her about when I found the money in my bag even though we thought we gave it!
LEVI: That isn’t the most important part!
BENJAMIN: Tell about how Joseph wanted to see me, and how you had to leave Simeon behind as a ransom.
SIMEON: Indeed! And why don’t all of you tell her how it took you forever to come back to get me?
JUDAH: No quarrelling! Remember what he told us?
JUDAH: Joseph told us not to quarrel when he sent us back to get our father.
BLOGGER: Joseph wanted you to bring Jacob, your father, back to him?
BENJAMIN: Joseph cannot leave because he’s in charge of Egypt.
SIMEON: He’s not in charge. The Pharaoh is in charge.
BENJAMIN: Well, practically, our brother is running everything.
SIMEON: But the Pharaoh is in charge, still the leader.
BENJAMIN: But Joseph is the one who gives all the orders.
SIMEON: Joseph is the governor; he’s not the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh is almost a god for the Egyptians.
REUBEN: Alright, alright. We all understand the idea.
JACOB: My son is a very powerful man in Egypt.
BENJAMIN: Second only to the Pharaoh.
SIMEON: Here we go again.
JACOB: And he manages everything, including the stores of grain.
LEVI: Egypt has massive piles of every kind of food that can be stored.
ZEBULUN: The Pharaoh had a dream in which the Lord showed him to store the grains.
REUBEN: The dream did not tell him what to do.
ZEBULUN: It basically did.
LEVI: The Pharaoh did not understand what the dream was telling him to do at all. That’s how Joseph got involved.
SIMEON: The Pharaoh was looking for someone to interpret the dream.
LEVI: And Joseph told him that the dream meant that there was going to be a famine after the years of plenty, so Joseph told him that he should store grain in order to prepare.
ZEBULUN: That’s basically what I said.
REUBEN: Not quite.
ZEBULUN: Basically.
LEVI: So Joseph was storing up grain even before anyone realized that there was going to be this famine.
DAN: And the famine will continue for five more years from now, according to our brother.
BLOGGER: Joseph said there will be five more years of famine?
DAN: Yes.
BLOGGER: Tell me about how it was when you realized that Joseph was Joseph.
LEVI: Oh! It was —
GAD: He started crying!
ASHER: Really loudly!
GAD: Everyone would have been able to hear him!
REUBEN: We were all in shock!
LEVI: He cried, “Everyone leave my presence!” and all of his attendants left the room. Then he said, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?”
JUDAH: But none of said anything. We were too frightened, too confused.
SIMEON: Especially me! I had seen him more than my brothers, because I was held prisoner there, and yet I never recognized him.
JUDAH: I was dumbfounded. I thought he was Egyptian. He spoke perfect Egyptian.
LEVI: Yes!
ASHER: Not that YOU could know whether his Egyptian was perfect.
JUDAH: How can you say that? He spoke really smoothly. Everyone understood him and did what he said.
ASHER: That doesn’t mean it was perfect, though.
JUDAH: It was probably flawless.
LEVI: Look. He lived in Egypt long enough to learn it, surely?
SIMEON: He has been in Egypt since he was 17, and now he’s 37.
BLOGGER: He’s spent more than half his life in Egypt, then.
JACOB: His sons were born there. He has an Egyptian wife and two sons.
BLOGGER: And how did you feel, Benjamin, once you realized that he was your brother, and not a stranger?
BENJAMIN: What can I say? Even now, I don’t know how to describe it. I thought he had died, and now he was alive.
ZEBULUN: You should have seen how much food he gave him! Plates all over the table, with no space extra, each plate piled like this.
BENJAMIN: I didn’t understand it.
BLOGGER: But you understand now?
BENJAMIN: He missed me.
ASHER: And what about all the gifts he gave you?
BENJAMIN: He gave all of us gifts.
ASHER: But he gave you extra. He gave everyone one set of new clothes, but he gave you five sets of clothes, and three hundred shekels of silver.
GAD: Ha! It’s clear who he favours!
ASHER: Who needs five whole outfits?
REUBEN: Don’t be envious. We are but half-brothers. Benjamin is his full brother. And besides, our mothers are alive, and their mother is gone.
JACOB: But at least I have Benjamin back, and soon I will lay my eyes on Joseph too.
ZEBULUN: I cannot wait to return. The food!
IS’SAHAR: Pharaoh’s household has as much meat as it wants, because some people are starting to sell their livestock to him in exchange for rice and grains.
ZEBULUN: Not just meat! Everything! Fresh fruit! Wine!
IS’SAHAR: You’re always thinking of food.
ZEBULUN: And you do not?
JACOB: We will load up the carts after two days and depart.
GAD: Joseph gave us the carts!
ASHER: So that we could all travel there.
LEVI: That’s actually how we were able to convince our father that Jacob was alive.
JUDAH: When he saw all the carts, he finally believed what we were saying.
JACOB: What they say is true. When they returned, the eleven, they said to me again and again, “Joseph is alive!” but I thought they were deceiving me, or that they were somehow mistaken.
JUDAH: Your were shaking your head, no, no.
JACOB: What they said, it was too much.
LEVI: And so we were pointing to all of the donkeys.
GAD: Ten male donkeys and ten female donkeys!
LEVI: These were presents from Joseph.
GAD: Carrying all kinds of grains and dried fruits!
ASHER: And all sorts of other gifts!
LEVI: We were asking him to look, to understand that it was real.
JACOB: I could not comprehend, not at first.
LEVI: We told him, look Father! Joseph has sent all of these to you, and he wants us to all return.
ZEBULUN: The famine is going to continue for five more years. That’s what Joseph told us.
LEVI: He wants us to settle in Egypt, so that he can take care of us.
REUBEN: And those were his words to us. He said “It was to save lives that the Lord sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But the Lord sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
JACOB: The Lord has shown his goodness to us!
BLOGGER: What else did Joseph say?
REUBEN: He said, “Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.”
JUDAH: He said, “Tell my father about all the honour accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. The Lord has made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”
BLOGGER: And you all understood that it was really Joseph, and not a stranger?
REUBEN: Yes, we believed. We could see that it was really Joseph.
JUDAH: Not a stranger. He said to us, “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you.”
BLOGGER: And then what?
JUDAH: We all just wept. Twelve brothers. We were all weeping and embracing him. He embraced Benjamin, and wept more, and we were all overcome with emotion.
JACOB: How I wish I had been there as well!
REUBEN: We will bring you there swiftly. Only two days and we will leave!
JACOB: I will not let my old age prevent this meeting!
BLOGGER: Of course! So who is going? Is everyone leaving?
JUDAH: All of us. We will bring our wives, our sons, our daughters, our grandsons and grandchildren, just as he said. We will bring our livestock and everything we might need.
LEVI: Though Joseph did say, “Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.”
SIMEON: Joseph said to us, “You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there.”
BLOGGER: Yes. And how long will you stay?
REUBEN: We will stay as long as we must. With Joseph in power, no harm will come to us.
JACOB: Where my sons are, I will be also. We shall never again be separated.