Joseph (Sir 49:15-49:15)

“Nor was anyone born

Like Joseph,

The leader of his brothers,

The support of the people.

Even his bones

Were cared for.”

Sirach gives Joseph only one verse, as he seems to have an odd spot here. The story of Joseph and his activity in Egypt can be found in 13 chapters of Genesis, 37-50. Although abandoned by his brothers, he turns out to be their leader and the support of his people. He wanted his bones returned to Canaan, but they were buried in an Egyptian tomb until Moses took them in Exodus, chapter 13. They were finally buried at Shechem in Joshua, chapter 24. Two of his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, make up part of the 12 territorial tribes since Levi did not get any territory.

The sins in the desert (Ps 78:17-78:22)

“Yet they sinned still more against him.

They rebelled against the Most High.

In the desert,

They tested God in their heart.

They demanded the food they craved.

They spoke against God.

They said.

‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?

Even though he had struck the rock

So that water gushed out,

The streams overflowed.

Can he also give bread?

Can he provide meat for his people?

Therefore, when Yahweh heard this,

He was full of rage.

A fire was kindled against Jacob.

His anger mounted against Israel.

They had no faith in God.

They did not trust his saving power.”

This complaint is based on Exodus, chapter 16. The Israelites rebelled against God in the desert. They wanted to test God. They demanded their food. They complained that things were better in Egypt. How was God going to provide food for them in the desert wilderness? They already had water from rocks, but that was not good enough. They also wanted bread and meat. This got Yahweh angry and mad at Jacob that is Israel. They had no faith in God and were not trusting in his saving power.