12: Joseph (Part IV — God lies)
Here’s the first in the series of posts I’ve been working on. It was done at the airport on the day I left. To all the Paki fundos who emailed asking if I’d like to meet up to discuss religion in person…no thanks! To everyone who wanted to make sure I wasn’t in the earthquake region, I’m not. I’m a-OK. Super homesick and pining away for the old ball-n-chain, but otherwise OK. Thanks for the well wishes. I’ll be back on a plane tomorrow night and should be back by Saturday morning. Expect a ton more posts.
You know what I hate the most about airports? Bad coffee. It’s always either Starbucks (which tastes like charred feet) or the gas station style DIY stuff (water with a little coffee flavor). And they have the audacity to charge $2.50 for the stuff. Traveling is a goodnfast way to remind myself how wonderful my home life really is. What with the shadegrown, organic, pays-workers-even-more-fairly-than-Fair-Trade java we spoil ourselves with. *Le sigh*
Anyway, where were we? Oh I know. I was taking my sweetass time getting through chapter 12, taking things line by line and really savoring the newness of it all. Two more segments, and I swear we’ll move on. Just let me enjoy this story while I can, plzkthnx.
So far we’ve watched poor Joseph get screwed over by his own brothers, accused of rape, and sent to prison, where he interpreted some dreams that eventually won him his freedom and landed him a cushy government job. And that’s when the story gets really interesting. Lets jump right in.
(58) The brothers of Joseph came (to Egypt) and visited him. He recognised them, though they did not recognise him.
(59) When he had supplied their provisions, he said to them: “Bring your (half) brother with you. Have you not seen that I have given full measure, and that I am the best of hosts?
OK, so Joseph is working for Mr. Egypt now (which must be pretty awkard for that wiley old vixen, Mrs. Egypt). His half brothers just arrived in town to business with him. Joseph, of course, recognizes them right away, but they don’t recognize him. This is the stuff movies are made of. Really, really bad movies.
Joseph goes on to tell his brothers that if they don’t bring their half brother to him, they won’t be able to do business together. Which, what the fuck, should be setting off some serious alarms for the half brothers. Here’s what would happen if I was a half brother and Joseph had just made the same demand:
A) How did you know we have a half brother?
B) Hang on a sec. Your name is Joseph?
C) OMFG you’re the guy we threw in a well all those years ago.
D) Run away! Run away!!
But no. That’s now how the brothers roll. Here’s what they say:
(61) They said: “We shall request his father, and will certainly do that.”
Not the brightest bunch, Jacob’s kids. Joseph is a pretty clever guy, though. Just to make sure they come back, he puts their money back in their packs. In other words, he pretends to be a generous guy to trick them into coming back. That’s the kind of shit a man of God would do!
Anyway, Joe’s bros go to their father and ask his permission to take thier other half brother back to Joseph. (Was that confusing enough for you?) Now, knowing what happened the last time these yo-yo’s took a kid somewhere, I’d probably say, “Fuck no, you’re not taking him anywhere!” But that’s not quite what daddy says:
(64) He replied: “Should I trust you with him as I did his brother? But God is the best of guardians, and most merciful of all.”
That’s right. God’ll take care of him. Just like he took care of the last one, you fucking moron. It’s like having sex with a hooker and not using a condom. “I could get genital warts, but what the hell. God’ll take care of me.” Newsflash for you religious types: There is no God. Take care of yourself.
(65) When they unpacked their goods they said: “O father, what more can we ask? Look, even our money has been returned. We shall go and bring a camel-load more of grain for our family, and take good care of our brother. That will be an easy measure.”
You know what? Maybe this is just because I’m a city girl, but this is some retardedly suspicious stuff. As in if you don’t find this suspicious, you must be retarded. The guy knows they have a half brother. He tells them to bring the half brother or else there will be no more grain for them. He gives them a camel-load of grain but he doesn’t charge them for it. What the fucking fuck? That’s the kind of shit the mafia does right before they pull out the Quick Mix cement and buckets. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably fucking is. Then again, a little common sense never gets in the way of religious stupidity. Joseph’s father shrugs it off, just so long as the boys will — get this bullshit — swear to God that they’ll bring their brother back.
(66) He said: “I will never send him with you until you swear by God that you will bring him back to me, unless all of you are overtaken (by misfortune).” When they had given their promise, he said: “God is witness to our conversation.”
Hell-oh? These are the same guys who threw a kid down a well, found some goat or camel blood to smear on his shirt and then lied about a wolf eating him. They’re liars. Swearing to God is good for two things: jack and shit.
Anyway, they go back to Joseph with their half-brother in tow. Joseph reveals his secret to his real brother, and then he does this:
(70) When he had given them their provisions he put his goblet in his brother’s saddle-bag. Then a crier announced: “O men of the caravan, you are thieves.”
He lies to them. He tricks them. He decieves them. He’s supposed to be a man of God, pious as fuck, flawless in every way. And he’s a liar. Here’s how it does down:
1. Joseph puts the goblet in his “real” brother’s bag.
2. His servants cry thief.
3. Everyone agrees that the owner of the bag which the goblet is is will be held in punishment.
4. They search for the goblet, starting with the half-brothers’ bags for dramatic effect.
5. They find the goblet in the real brother’s bag and keep him prisoner.
This is what God has to say about the whole thing:
(76) That is how We planned an excuse for Joseph, for under the law of the king he could not detain his brother unless God so willed. We raise the status of whom We please. Over every man of knowledge there is one more knowing.
That’s right: God condones lying! He’s a-OK with planting false evidence and accusing people of shit they didn’t commit (which, come to think of it, is how Joseph ended up in prison the first time around, right?).
I’m cutting in here to share what I hate most about airplanes: children. Babies. Toddlers. Pretty much anyone under the age of 16. Not a fan. Especially when they kick my seat and / or cry and / or make noises. Even more than the screaming, crying child thrashing about wildly, I hate parents who don’t do anything about it. They just sit there with a blank expression as their little asshole of a child makes everyone else’s life miserable for, I dunno, a 19 hour flight. I have vivid fantasies about sneaking some Benadryl in the baby bottle but I’m pretty sure there are laws against that sort of thing, even in airspace. Sad.
Anyway, back to the story. The half-brothers call the guy a thief and ditch his ass, although there is an attempt at trying to cover their asses somewhat.
(78) They said: “O Minister, he has an aged father, so keep one of us in his place. We see you are a virtuous man.”
Joseph doesn’t let them get away with that sort of thing. The “thief” doesn’t get off the hook for anything. The brothers have to go back to the father minus one more son. And he’s so pissed that he beats the shit out of them and throws them all down a well. OK, not really. This is what he says:
(83) “No,” said (the father). “You have made up the story; but patience is best; God may bring them back to me. He is all-knowing and all-wise.”
(84) He turned away from them and cried: “Alas for Joseph!” And his eyes turned white with grief which he bore in silence.
He does what good religious people are supposed to do: nothing. It’s the same impotent “God knows best” bullshit he’s been spouting all along. Also, he goes blind from the stress, which kind of reminded me of this episode of “Band of Brothers.” Apparently stress will do that to you, and it’s temporary. I’ll believe “Band of Brothers” over the Quran any day.
Check out how sensitive Joseph’s half-brothers are:
(85) “By God,” said they, “you will never stop thinking of Joseph till you are consumed or perish.”
Wow. What a bunch of assholes. I bet Joseph just died when they had to go back to him and beg for food:
(88) When they returned to him, they said (to Joseph): “O Minister, calamity has befallen us and our people. We have brought but a meagre sum, but give us full measure as alms bestowed. God surely rewards those who give alms.”
Aww sad. Nobody should have to beg. But, erm, quick question: what happened to all that money Joseph put back in their bags? Just sayin’. I wouldn’t put it past these guys to blow all that money on booze and lottery tickets on their way back to Joe’s. They have a reputation for lying, you know.
At this point in the story, Joseph finally (FINALLY!) reveals his true identity:
(89) He said: “Do you know what you did to Joseph and his brother in your ignorance?”
(90) They said: “Surely you are not Joseph!” “I am Joseph,” he said, “and this is my brother. God has been gracious to us; for God does not verily deprive those who fear Him and are patient of the recompense of those who are good.”
The fuck? Where has Joseph been this entire story? God’s graciousness has been pretty hit or miss so far. But that’s just like religious folks. If God bends you over and fucks you black and blue, you’re supposed to say “Thank you,” and hope for more. It’s Stockholm syndrome through and through. Not that they see it this way.
Anyway, the half-brothers finally realize that Joseph is not only their father’s favorite, but also God’s favorite.
(91) They said: “By God, God has favoured you above us, for we have indeed been sinners.”
(92) “There is no blame on you today,” he said, “May God forgive you. He is the most merciful of all.
We suck, Joseph, you rock. We get it, we get it. We’re not worthy. At least the little shit was halfway decent about the matter. If he was at all bitchy or snarky, I wouldn’t blame the bros for punching him in the nuts.
This next part caught me off guard because it’s exactly what happened in “Band of Brothers”:
(93) Take my shirt and put it on my father’s face; his eyesight will be restored; and bring your entire family to me.”
…ok, not really. The guy’s eyesight came back on its own once he rested up. No magic shirt necessary.
Coming up next: more Joseph. More brothers. Does this chapter ever end? Stay tuned to find out!