Theology & Worldview

Joseph in the Pit

So, for “April Fools” this time around, I’ve decided to write a fictional story based on the Bible. It’s still a Bible Spotlight, but it’s a spin-off of fancy and personal interpretation.

Based on Genesis 37:

“These are the generations of Jacob… 

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers… But when his brother saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him… They said to one another, ‘Here comes this dreamer’… And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty, there was no water in it…”

It was a cool morning. Joseph shuddered in the shadows of the pit. The rim of the pit cut off the sunlight just beyond his reach. He slammed his fist into the stone and dropped down onto the cold, dusty bottom, stifling a cry of pain.

The scoundrels… he gingerly laid his puffy ankle on the rocky bottom. Just wait.

They’d done it again. They’d neglected Father flocks. Joseph scoffed. How could Father put up with them like this? Last time, all Father did was sigh and scold. He could have at least suspended some of their privileges.

“They’ve grown up now,” Father had shaken his head, “they’ll learn.”

“But–” 

“Just because you cannot see the consequences, it does not mean there are none. Son, the LORD will deal with them.” Father had stated firmly, dismissing him.

That was only one of many times Father took their side–even when it came to his dreams–my dreams, Joseph grinned triumphantly up at the cold, blue sky. Just you wait. Father might be a coward, but I’ll show you someday

Just then, the muttering voices above him burst into laughter as they moved away–Simeon’s cackles, Levi’s sniggers, Judah’s roars–Joseph started up and opened his mouth in defiance, but his swollen ankle gave way. He collapsed and was left sucking his dry, bleeding lips.

Your evil deeds will catch up to you. Even Father will have to do something to you for abandoning me in a pit like this and stealing my coat.

//

By the time he woke up, the sun was streaming in on the other side of the pit. He touched his cheek. A single tear had worked its way out. 

What if they find me like this… But it was too late. Disarmed by his restless doze and the silence and the sunlight and the pain in his ankle, he pressed his face to his dusty shirt, and for a moment, his fear, anger, doubt, hunger, self-righteousness, and homesickness surfaced in tears and apprehension. He laid sprawled on the ground. 

If Father were here, they wouldn’t dare.

If only I could beat all of ‘em, they wouldn’t dare.

But I can’t, so they’ll kill me.

Yes, they’ll try to kill me. Then they’ll get it. They’ll get what they deserve, and I will be the only one left. 

He fell to musing as he coiled into a lump. Then, in the distance, he heard the faint bleating of sheep. He involuntarily shivered. Lifting his eyes, he watched dust float about in the sunlight, and he remembered Father’s words: “Remember Abraham and Lot. Remember my father, Isaac, and his wells. Remember the tale of me and Esau.

Abraham, his great-grandfather, had been chosen by God out of his grace and his loving kindness. He would have just been Mister Abram living in Ur and worshiping the idols had not God given Abraham grace.

And Lot? He was Abraham’s nephew–no one special. He split with Abraham on the account of quarrels. Father said that some suspect he got rich off of Abraham as well…

Yet Abraham pursued and rescued Lot when Lot was captured and pleaded for him when Sodom and Gomorrah were to be destroyed…

Joseph’s stomach rumbled. But Lot did not do to him as they have done to me.

… Isaac. His father’s father. Father often told the story of the wells, but he never understood.

His grandfather was at the peak of his prosperity when Father was a young man. In fact, he was so rich that the king of the Philistines, Abimelech, asked them to move away, so they did. In their new home, Isaac commanded a well to be dug. Father remembers distinctly the joy at having found a spring of fresh water. However, the neighboring Philistines claimed it for their own, so they moved on. 

This is what I do not understand. He yielded his own wealth to those who had no share in it… Joseph stretched his legs under the warm sun. Multiple times! Time and time again. He who had been chosen by the LORD and been promised great things! Yet… he just moved away from those who were jealous of the blessings he received with no retaliation…

Joseph shifted uncomfortably. Above him he heard the clamoring voices of his brothers. He shut his eyes and fought desperately with the resentment within him. They can’t see me like this. The best way to remain aloof was to think about something else. Father’s words…

The last one. Father and Esau. From the beginning Father had been shown God’s favor. God had chosen him instead of Esau, and Jacob had used deceit to work his way up at the cost of alienating his older brother. It had all come to a climax when Jacob left Laban for independence and faced Esau. “I knew I could never beat him by force. It was then that my pride shattered, and I went humbly before the LORD in desperation,” Father had explained.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob… they all, like himself, had been chosen by God. God had spoken to them all. Joseph hadn’t ever heard God, but he had had visions of his family bowing down to him. But what had Joseph done to deserve a standing among them? And what had they done to receive favor from the LORD? 

A warm aroma surrounded him, carried by a breeze. Joseph gripped the rocky ground, and his stomach rumbled. At least they are leaving me alone. He deliberately turned his face away but caught a glance of the sun. It’s midday now. I’ve been in here for hours… Desperate to escape these thoughts, Joseph sifted through his thoughts. Where was I?

But the eloquent chain of thought had vanished. Joseph was left only with a deep understanding of Father’s words. It wasn’t a mere “only,” however, for he had been humbled and he knew what to do.

O God of my fathers… I am not worthy… Please teach me to forgive my brothers and to show love toward them… 

Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead… on their way to… Egypt… “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother… And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver… They took Joseph to Egypt.


Title image from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/277675133262029646/

8 Comments

  1. Haha, I never actually thought of what Joseph might be doing, waiting in that pit! Nice job!

  2. This is really cool! I love it!

  3. Wow! I loved this!

  4. Naomi Hochstedler

    This is really good!

  5. Thank you so much, you all. (:

  6. Nice work– New perspective.

  7. You do a very good job of highlighting his thoughts from his own perspective. Well done Hannah! x)