So here’s the thing about the Bible. Even if you don’t believe the Creator of the Universe revealed himself (or herself) to an ancient Near Eastern tribe of nomadic pastoralists, the Jewish Bible still represents an amazing mirror into pre-modern society. Turns out those folks had exactly the same types of problems we face today: lying, stealing, drunkenness, worship of false gods, prostitution, poverty, adultery and unprovoked violence. Of course, that the one true God had a hair trigger temper of his own, exemplified by his napalming of Sodom and Gomorrah, is best glossed over.

Somewhat less well known than the spectacular theatrics of many Biblical events is the story of Joseph. You remember Joseph, the guy with the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from that whole Jesus Christ, Superstar Andrew Lloyd Weber we’re all groovy period of the late 1960s – early ‘70s, don’t you?

Here’s a quick refresher, in case you weren’t paying attention in Sunday school (or even worse, didn’t attend, may the Good Lord have mercy on your soul). Joseph was Jacob’s youngest son, and his favorite. To demonstrate his love for Joseph, Jacob gave him a special coat of many colors. Today we would refer to Joseph as being “pimped out.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, Joseph told his brothers about two dreams he had, one in which everyone had a sheaf of wheat and their sheaves all bowed down to Joseph’s, which was the tallest, and another in which Joseph was the moon and the brothers were eleven stars who bowed down  to him.

As you can imagine, the brothers got mighty ticked off, and did what any rational set of siblings would do in a period when disputes were often settled by running a sword through someone’s gizzard: while out in the fields during the day, the brothers ganged up on Joseph, threw him into a pit, and sold him into slavery to a passing band of traders. They took Joseph’s coat, a source of extreme irritation to them, covered it with blood from a sheep of the flock, and then brought the garment back to Jacob, telling the poor old man his beloved son had been killed by a wild beast, another one of those relatively commonplace annoyances which made the “good old days” a source of such unending misery.

Through a series of adventures, Joseph ended up in Pharaoh’s dungeon in Egypt. While there, he developed a bit of a reputation as someone who was good at interpreting dreams (must be a Jewish thing, as this was a gift of Freud’s, as well). Eventually, he was summoned by Pharaoh himself and asked to provide an explanation for a very troubling dream, as recounted in Chapter 41 of Genesis:

And Pharaoh spoke unto Joseph: 'In my dream, behold, I stood upon the brink of the river And, behold, there came up out of the river seven cattle, fat-fleshed and well-favored; and they fed in the reedgrass. And, behold, seven other cattle came up after them, poor and very ill-favored and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness. And the lean and ill-favored cattle did eat up the first seven fat cattle And Joseph said unto Pharaoh: The seven good cattle are seven years; … Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land.

In other words, the business cycle: good years followed by bad years. Can you even begin to imagine how much money Joseph could make trading the stock market if he were around today? He would have shorted Pets.com like nobody’s business during the dotcom meltdown. 



Don't believe me? It says so, right in the Bible, so there.

 


Comments

02/20/2017 11:44pm

I've already read the story of Joseph. I pity him because he was betrayed by his brothers. Fortunately, he landed to Egypt where he found his worth. And I agree with you, Joseph would be rich if he was around today. Good point. Anyway, thanks for sharing this. Keep blogging!

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