12. “Fruitful in the Land of My Affliction”

Narratives of evil, envy, and injustice are common in the Old Testament. Not many of the narratives end with forgiveness and rejoicing as does the story of Joseph and his brothers.

Joseph Smith Translation Appendix
Take note of the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 50:24-38: “Joseph in Egypt prophesies of Moses freeing Israel from Egyptian bondage; of a branch of Joseph’s descendants being led to a faraway land, where they will be remembered in the covenants of the Lord; of God calling a latter-day prophet named Joseph to join the records of Judah and of Joseph; and of Aaron serving as a spokesman for Moses.”

“Joseph as a Type of Christ in Syriac Literature,” Kristian S. Heal, BYU Studies, Vol. 41, no. 1
Syriac theologians (circa fifth century) found numerous parallels between the life of Joseph and the life of Jesus. A chart in this article shows their many points, including: Both were shepherds. Joseph was sold into Egypt by the advice of Judah; Jesus was delivered up by Judas. Reuben petitioned for the life of Joseph; Pilate petitioned for the life of Jesus. Joseph was cast into a pit; Jesus was cast into death.  Both were condemned unjustly.

“Why Bad Things Happen at All: A Search for Clarity among the Problems of Evil,” John S. Welch, BYU Studies, Vol. 42, no. 2
This article deals with the meaning of evil, suffering, and injustice in our fallen world and how we can see it as part of God’s plan to help us learn to be creators. Forgiveness, such as Joseph had for his brothers, plays a key role in this learning process.

Tradition and Transformation: Genesis 37 and 39 in Early Syriac Sources, Kristian S. Heal, PhD Dissertation
Historians of biblical texts will be interested in this study of Joseph in Syriac sources. This study examines the figure of Joseph and his experiences at home and in Potiphar’s house as construed in several early Syriac sources.

“Origin of the Welfare Plan of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” by Leonard J. Arrington, Wayne K. Hinton, BYU Studies, Vol. 5, no. 2
Pharoah and Joseph prepared for a famine. This article discusses how modern Latter-day Saints have prepared for famine.