We shift from Jacob to Joseph now. Joseph is 17 which means he’s kind of dumb and kind of a dick. I mean it’s really easy to overlook that in light of how really horrible his brothers are to him, but the very first thing we learn about Joseph is that he rats out his brothers to his dad. He’s dad’s favorite and he’s going to keep it that way.
Then he goes and tells his brothers his dreams in which he claims they will all bow down to him and serve him. If you’ve ever been 17 and had siblings you fought with, try and imagine saying Joseph’s lines in the most snotty obnoxious way your 17 year-old self could have said them.
Yeah, Joe, I know you have issues with your brothers, but remember that two of them are definite killers and slavers, so you might want to temper that… oh, and his brothers have thrown him into a pit, sold him to slavers, and taken his special coat and smeared it with blood to convince their dad that animals ate him, breaking their father’s heart.
Please note that it is Judah who comes up with the idea to sell their brother into slavery. This will be important in the next chapter. Also note that there appears to be two different accounts of this story that were edited into one narrative as in one verse the slavers are referred to as Midianites and in another verse referred to as Ishmaelites.
Judah marries a Canaanite girl and has three sons. He marries off his firstborn Er to Tamar. But Er was wicked in the sight of the Lord, so God killed him.
Judah: “Hey, God…”
“I was wondering something… you know I just sold my brother into slavery and broke my father’s heart, right?”
“And Simeon and Levi just massacred a town, kidnapped and enslaved the women and children and I don’t know… maybe raped a few of the pretty ones, and stole all of the loot the town had.”
“And up until two chapters ago, all of us were idolatrous pagans worshipping idols…”
“What the hell could my son have possibly done that was worse than that to get himself killed?”
So there was a custom that if your brother died childless, the next closest relative would have to marry his widow and knock her up and those kids would be considered your dead relative’s kids legally. The next kid Onan doesn’t want to do that, so while climaxing in bed, he pulls out. So God kills him.
God’s really kind of all over the place with the smiting and lack thereof.
Judah’s next son is still a little young to be having sex, so Judah tells Tamar to wait until he’s older and then his next son can knock her up. Tamar waits around, but Judah never fulfills his word, so she dresses up like a prostitute, hangs out on the route that Judah frequents, and Judah is, in fact, looking for a good time. So he offers her a goat that he’ll totally bring tomorrow. She asks him for his seal and his staff as a pledge. They knock boots, she gets knocked up. And they go on their way. Judah later goes to deliver the goat, but the “prostitute” is gone. Judah’s like, “Score!”
A few months later…
“Your daughter-in-law is pregnant.”
“Bring her out here and burn her to death!”
“Really? Because you frequent prostitutes and you’re cool with that, but she goes out and has sex and you want to kill her?”
“Yes. What’s the problem?”
Tamar: “The problem is you’re the father. See this staff and seal?”
Judah: “Ooooooooh… uh… awkward….”
Tamar has twins. Judah has to put with a lot of awkward Thanksgivings.
Joe’s down in Egypt and gets sold to Potiphar. Potiphar puts him in charge of everything. Potiphar’s wife is a cougar and wants to seduce the new kid. Joe says no. She arranges a situation where they will be alone and grabs his coat and demands sex from him. Joe sheds his coat and runs away. She accuses him of rape, and Joe is thrown into prison.
Joe does so well in prison that the warden makes him the prison administrator.
“And everyone saw how awesome and cool and handsome Joe was and they totally loved him and wanted to be with him and girls would throw themselves at him, but he was too good to take advantage of them…”
Geez… Joe sounds an awful lot like he might just be the first use of a Mary Sue.