Jeremiah in the muddy cistern (Jer 38:6-38:6)

“Thus the officials

Took Jeremiah.

They threw him

Into the cistern of Malchiah,

The king’s son.

This was

In the court of the guard.

They let Jeremiah down

By ropes.

There was no water

In the cistern,

But only mud.

Thus Jeremiah sank

In the mud.”

These officials, with the blessing of the king, went and took Jeremiah. They threw him down into a well or cistern that was called Malchiah, after the name of some king’s son. There is no indication that it was the son of King Zedekiah. However, this well was in the court of the guard, or where this royal prison was. They then let Jeremiah down into the cistern with ropes, instead of throwing him down. This indicates that there were no steps or ladder to get up. They probably meant for him to starve to death. This is somewhat reminiscent of the brothers of Joseph who wanted to throw him into a well in Genesis, chapter 37, so that they would not have his blood on their hands. This well, however, had very little if any water. It really was a mud hole that Jeremiah sank into.

The death of Joseph (Gen 50:15-50:26)

“Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him.’  So they approached Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died,  `Say to Joseph, I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’   Now, please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.’  Joseph wept when they spoke to him.  Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’  But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid!  Am I in the place of God?  Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.  So have no fear.  I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’  In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.”

After the death of Jacob, the brothers of Joseph went to him and begged forgiveness for what they had done to him.  They wanted to be his slaves.  He responded that they had nothing to fear.  It all worked out for God’s will.  He was going to provide for them.

“So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s household.  Joseph lived one hundred ten years.  Joseph saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation.  The children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph’s knees.  Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die.  But God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’  So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, ‘When God comes to you; you shall carry up my bones from here.’  Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old.  He was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.”

Joseph lived 110 years, seeing his grandchildren born. He made the Israelites swear to move his bones, but when he died he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.   He never returned to Canaan.


The audience with Pharaoh (Gen 47:1-47:6)

“So Joseph went and told Pharaoh, ‘My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan.  They are now in the land of Goshen.’   From among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh.  Pharaoh said to his brothers, ‘What is your occupation?’  They said to Pharaoh, ‘Your servants are shepherds, as our ancestors were.’  They said to Pharaoh, ‘We have come to reside as aliens in the land.  There is no pasture for your servants’ flocks because the famine is severe in the land of Canaan.  Now, we ask you let your servants settle in the land of Goshen.’  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Your father and your brothers have come to you.  The land of Egypt is before you.  Settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land.  Let them live in the land of Goshen.  If you know that there are capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.’”

When five of the brothers came to Pharaoh, he asked them their occupation, and they said that they were shepherds like their ancestors.  They wanted to reside as aliens.  Due to the famine, they wanted to settle in Goshen.  Pharaoh said okay and that they could be in charge of his livestock also.  This seems to working out fine.

The return of the sons of Jacob to Canaan (Gen 42:25-42:38)

“Joseph then gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to return every man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. This was done for them.  They loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed.  When one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money at the top of the sack.  He said to his brothers, ‘My money has been put back.  Here it is in my sack!’  At this they lost heart and turned trembling to one another, saying, ‘What is this that God has done to us?’”

Joseph gave orders to fill their sacks with grain and return their money in the sacks.  When they feed their donkeys at the resting stop on the way, one of the brothers realized that there was money in the grain sacks.  Now they were even more afraid of what God had done to them or was going to do to them.

“When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying, ‘The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us, and charged us with spying of the land.  But we said to him, `We are honest men, we are not spies.   We are twelve brothers, sons of our father.  One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in the land of Canaan.’  Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, `By this I shall know that you are honest men.  Leave one of your brothers with me, take grain for the famine of your households, and go your way. Bring your youngest brother to me.  Then I shall know that you are not spies but honest men.  Then I will release your brother to you, and you may trade in the land.'”

When they arrived home, they told Jacob in detail everything that had happened.

“As they were emptying their sacks, there in each one’s sack was his bag of money.  When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed.  Their father Jacob said to them, ‘I am the one you have bereaved of children.  Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin.  All this has come upon me!’   Then Reuben said to his father, ‘You may kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you.  Put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.’   But he said, ‘My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he alone is left.  If harm should come to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.’”

Jacob and his sons were dismayed by the money in their sacks.  Jacob said he had already lost Joseph and Simeon and now the Egyptian wants Benjamin.  Reuben said, he would bring him back so that Jacob could have his two sons.  However, Jacob refused to let Benjamin go.  Jacob was going to die in Sheol, the abode of death.