Gotta give props to Andrew Lloyd Webber for the title of this post, and for those who didn't know, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" was one of his first productions, perhaps even THE first, depending on your interpretation. Two brief comments before I dive into my comments for today:
1. Ever run across a part of the Bible and ask yourself "What the heck is THAT doing here?" Well, you just did--it's called Genesis 38.
2. For those who asked "What did they DO back then?" Apparently, have sex with anything that moved.
For those of you who grew up with siblings, you're all too familiar with the natural jealousies that arise over the pettiest of notions. As the youngest, I can freely state that I got away with murder, but I never tried to put myself in a position of advantage over my brothers and sister. I also never told them that they would eventually bow down and worship me (I let them reach that conclusion on their own--this is a joke--feel free to laugh). Having said that, I was fairly arrogant and self-satisfied, and I'm sure there were moments when selling me into slavery crossed their minds.
Joseph wasn't so lucky. In a patriarchal society, son number 11 is usually pretty far down the food chain, yet clearly Jacob favored him. It's probably not a good idea for parents to show favoritism, and it's certainly a REALLY bad idea to to it in such an ostentatious display (what did we ever do before spell check--do you know how many times I had to type ostentatious before I got it right?). Those activities lead to envy, and what happens from there can get dicey when you're far from home and surrounded by ten jealous brothers.
They sold him for 20 shekels of silver. You read the note, that's the equivalent of around eight ounces, which is worth about $220 (the price I saw was $26.98 and ounce, or $215.84) today. You discount that back 4,000 years and that's about a penny. They basically gave him away, which I guess is better than killing him. Since this is a story we all know already, we know that this will eventually be to their benefit. This is just our introduction to Joseph--the moral of the story will come on Sunday (and that's in our Bible reading, not during our Bible study, although I won't speak to what Pastor Fay will say).
One of my younger daughter Alison's favorite movies is called "Labyrinth," (thanks again, spell check!) an oddball 1986 movie that starred David Bowie and a very young Jennifer Connelly. In the movie, she wished her brother gone, and POOF! Away he went into a strange netherworld that I've never fully comprehended. Connelly's character quickly realized she had acted rashly and went into the netherworld to rescue her brother from David Bowie and the awful songs he sang in that movie. This ain't Jean Genie/Diamond Dogs/TVC15 Bowie, but I highly doubt you're reading this to get an insightful critique into the influence that David Bowie has had on music over the past 40 years (short answer--HUGE). Just as in that movie, Joseph's brothers came to realize their mistake, and how that story plays out will have tremendous meaning.