Literature Sample Essay on Joseph: The Peoples’ Hero

Joseph: The Peoples’ Hero

            If one reads the book of Genesis, all through from the start to the end, a clear line of difference is drawn between what is good and that which is bad. In every section of Genesis, there exists a hero and a villain, to mean individuals that are right and those that are wrong respectively. For instance, the stories of Isaac versus Abimelech, Esau versus Jacob, and Jacob versus Laban all illustrate the difference that exists between individuals that are right and those that are wrong, thus the stories of heroes versus villains (Genesis, New King James Version, 25: 19-34; 27:1-46; 31:1-55). The Story of Joseph illustrates that a hero is calm, gracious and embraces forgiveness and redemption, while a villain displays characteristics of jealousy and betrayal. This paper uses the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, versus his brothers to demonstrate who is wrong and who is right; a villain versus a hero.

            While in Canaan, Jacob loved his son Joseph more than his other sons and even made him a coat of many colours, “Now Israel loved Joseph… a coat of many colours” (Genesis, New King James Version, 37:3). Because of this, and Joseph’s dream to dominate over his brothers, his brother’s hated him or became jealous of him even more. As illustrated in the bible, “And when his brethren saw that their father loved him [Joseph] more than all his brethren, they hated him,….” (Genesis, New King James Version, 37: 4) and “And Joseph dreamed a dream,… and they hated him yet the more”, his brothers were very jealous of him [Joseph].

The jealousy portrayed by Joseph’s brothers later made them conspire to sell him [Joseph] to Ishmeelites as a slave and take back his [Joseph’s] coat of many colours (dipped in the blood of a goat they [his brothers] had slain) to Jacob, who then concluded that Joseph had been torn into pieces by a wild animal (Genesis, New King James, 37: 18-33). Joseph is clearly betrayed by his own brothers, and they additionally lied to Jacob [their father] concerning the whereabouts of Joseph.

            While Joseph was serving as the head of officials for Pharaoh in Egypt, there was anger in Canaan and Jacob sent ten of his sons to go and fetch corn from Egypt, excluding Benjamin, his last son, for fear of mischief befalling him after Joseph (Genesis, New King James Version, 42:1-5). Joseph recognized his brothers when they arrived in Egypt, but they did not recognize him, and as the Bible states, “And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.”  Joseph remained calm, gave his brothers corn, and additionally returned the money they used on their journey. However, Joseph decided to bring his brothers to their senses concerning what they [his brothers] did, and as such, he ordered that Benjamin be brought to him (Genesis, New King James Version, 42:33-34). When this happens, Joseph creates a whole plan that frames Benjamin of stealing from him a cup of silver [Joseph] (Genesis, New King James Version, 44:1-12). Joseph wanted his brothers to repent in action, and not words, concerning what they did. When Benjamin is brought back before Joseph, he insists on retaining him as a slave and setting the rest of them free, but Judah chooses to remain behind and face the penalty with Benjamin, saying, “… God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found” (Genesis, New King James Version, 44:16).

            From the analysis, Joseph remained calm and welcomed his brothers In Egypt despite what they did to him. He feeds them, gives them enough corn and money to take back home as a sign of forgiveness. Joseph says to his brothers that, “Now be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves,…”, to prove forgiveness, thus a hero. Joseph’s brothers now know the value of a brother, and cannot betray their brother Benjamin anymore. For a while, the jealousy and betrayal that Joseph’s brother portrayed towards Joseph made them villains, while the hospitality, redemption, and forgiveness that Joseph displays in return make him [Joseph] a hero.