Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Slavery Isn't So Bad, Really...

We rejoin Joseph in Egypt, where he is discovering that slavery is pretty fine and dandy if God likes you, and your owners aren't his great-grandparents. God's favoritism is apparent to all, including Joseph's master, and Joseph is shortly made Boss of Everything. Thus we get a more explicit description of what being a Chosen One actually means: crazy awesome luck. This explains why the various surrounding tribes didn't wipe out Joseph's family, or his ancestors, for unbelievably dickish behavior. Why God favors these schmucks to begin with is certainly a puzzling matter, but let's recall that God's judgment has been far from reasonable and move on.

Unfortunately for Joseph, he is a little too sexy and his master's wife takes note. Considering the amount of sex our beloved patriarchs have with their slaves, the double standard here is staggering (but not surprising). It is clearly a given that a man's female slaves are his property, and a woman's female slaves are her husband's property; if it weren't for this, Joseph would only have about half as many brothers to sell him into slavery, and there wouldn't be any Ishmaelites for them to sell to in the first place. But when a female owner tries to seduce a male slave, it is Big Trouble, because a pious vagina can only have one owner. Joseph understand this and refuses his master's wife's advances, so she frames him for attempted rape and the next thing he knows he's in prison.

My point here is, one side of the double standard gets him enslaved in the first place, and just when he's making the best of it, BAM, he gets whacked upside the head with the other side of the double standard. IRONY. It is DEEP.

However, God's favoritism is still glaringly obvious, and soon Joseph is the boss of the jail. Joseph also gains a good reputation for being a dream interpreter; surprisingly, he can interpret dreams that have nothing to do with him being the boss of everything. He interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh himself, predicting agriculture for the next fourteen years, and on the spot Pharaoh makes him the boss of Egypt. I don't know, this strikes me as strangely trusting of Pharaoh. I don't know what the hierarchy was like in ancient (fictional) Egypt, but going from a slave in jail to Pharaoh's right hand man I'd have guessed would require more than giving an opinion on what a couple of weird dreams mean. I suppose I am just underestimating how very obvious God's favoritism is?

Pharaoh renames Joseph "Zaphnathpaaneah" which leads me to believe Pharaoh put a little bit more thought into it than God's "I don't know, just stick a few 'h's into it" approach when he renamed Sarai and Abram.

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