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Scriptural Reasoning (RELJ 575

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Dennis Beck-Berman

The Story of Joseph: A Partial Paradigm of Conflict Resolution Introduction Throughout the Book of Genesis we read of human conflict. Indeed, Genesis begins with several stories of fratricidal behavior: Cain kills Abel, Esau threatens Jacob, and Joseph is nearly killed by his brothers. Scripture seems to suggest that since we are all brothers, all murder is fratricide. But we also read tales of reconciliation. Genesis ends with Joseph’s firstborn Manasseh evincing not the slightest jealousy toward his younger brother Ephraim, despite their grandfather’s blatant favoritism (Gen. 48:13-20). The Joseph saga is a

paradigmatic example. Scriptural Reasoning (henceforth SR) tries to read Scripture as a guide for right living. This essay will explore some lessons that the Joseph saga may teach us today about resolving conflict and living together in harmony. Assuming that the Joseph saga (Gen. 37-50) is a polished, coherent narrative, we must reasonably interpret the tale so that all the details present in the story — as well as those inexplicably absent — merge into a meaningful tale. We should carefully analyze the plot (Why do certain things happen — or not happen — which are unexpected?) and the dialogue (Why do characters express themselves in certain ways?). There are several questions which arise from the plot. (1) Why does he conceal his identity upon meeting his brothers? (2) Why does he accuse them of being spies? (3) Why doesn’t Joseph contact his family after rising to prominence? (4) What are the dynamics of divine providence? (5) Why do the brothers never seek Joseph’s forgiveness? (6) Why does Joseph never ask forgiveness from his brothers? There are lines of exegesis dealing with these questions, found in the traditional Jewish commentators1 as the result of a close reading of

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For traditional Jewish commentators, I rely primarily on Nehama Leibowitz, Studies in Genesis, transl. Aryeh Newman, 4th rev. ed. (Jerusalem, 1981) and Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, The Beginnings of Desire: Reflections on Genesis (New York, 1995); for early Jewish sources, on James L. Kugel, The Bible As It Was (Cambridge, 1997). 1

265-269. 38:24-26). remain as a slave. and it lies within his power to commit the sin again. Indeed. and instead insists that he. This time the brothers would be faced with a valid excuse to abandon their little step-brother. and his virility is unabated. this is a true penitent (Mishneh Torah. which reveal Scripture’s internal logic in a way that makes sense of all the details in the story. After exploring these questions I will attempt to extrapolate a limited scriptural paradigm of conflict resolution. Joseph is simply overwhelmed (Gen. But on this occasion their behavior demonstrated that the brothers were true penitents. and [they are] in the same place where they previously sinned. He arranged to bring his younger brother into a similar situation. and his father’s favorite (Gen. still in the throes of his passion for her. Question 1: Why does Joseph conceal his identity upon meeting his brothers? Many Jewish commentators use Maimonides definition of true repentance as a hermeneutic to answer the first question. Kugel.the text. since he is responsible for Benjamin and fears that their beloved father might die from grief (Gen. 2 See Leibowitz. How so? If he had relations with a woman forbidden to him and he is subsequently alone with her.2 Scripture implies that Joseph put his brothers to the test. What constitutes complete repentance? When one is confronted by the identical situation wherein he previously sinned. whose moral growth is highlighted in the embedded story of Tamar (Gen. a son of Rachel. 44:20). 457-461. 45:1). The Bible As It Was. It seems to me that this approach genuinely emerges from a close reading of the text. 44:30-34). rejects Joseph’s just offer to punish the guilty one and set the others free. the youngest. 2 . Laws of Repentance. 2:1). Studies in Genesis. They could not fight the entire Egyptian empire to save Benjamin from punishment for theft. while Benjamin and the other brothers are set free. the innocent one. Benjamin was just like him. yet he nevertheless does not succumb because he wishes to repent — not because he is too fearful or weak [to repeat the sin]. if he abstains and does not sin. Judah.

but afterwards. “My money has been returned! It is here in my bag!” Their hearts sank. secretly returning their money) to rouse them to remorse and to punish them “measure for measure. “Alas. the remorseful brothers remember their lack of compassion towards Joseph and realize that this unexpected turn of events is divine retribution.5 Indeed.” 4 3 . 5 Zornberg.3 After being cast into the Egyptian prison. “Do not be quarrelsome on the way. That is why this distress has come upon us” (Gen. And he said to his brothers. seemingly a major instigator for what happened to Joseph. Gen. Joseph’s pleas well up not from the pit. like Joseph. 49:5 ff. Question 3: Why doesn’t Joseph contact his family after rising to prominence? Jewish commentators convincingly demonstrate that Joseph does not contact his family after liberation from slavery because he is paralyzed by the prospect of his brothers shame. Its literary purpose is to reveal the feelings of remorse arising in the consciousness of the brothers.). saying. they turned to one another. but from the depths of their hearts. “What can we say to my lord? How can we plead. Here we are. It occurs not in the prison. 6 Cf.” Simon. trembling. Cf. 333-337. not knowing what would be their fate at the hands of strangers.Question 2: Why does Joseph accuse them of being spies? Jewish commentators address the second question by explaining that Joseph concealed his true identity and used various stratagems (accusing them of spying.” albeit only to a limited degree. Studies in Genesis.4 They said to one another. 462-68. how can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered the crime of your servants. Joseph engages in a therapeutic project designed to 3 See Leibowitz. The Beginnings of Desire. slaves of my lord. yet paid no heed as he pleaded with us. this adds another dimension to Joseph’s reluctance to reveal himself to his brothers right away. Gen. he told them. and. The flashback in the narrative at this juncture represents the awakening of the brothers’ conscience. when they were faced once again with the prospect of returning home to their father with one brother missing. Kugel. the ensuing guilt and shame on his family would tear them apart. ibid. 42:24. suffers for several months in prison (Gen. we are being punished on account of our brother. 45:24. 44:16. 42:21). then. 42:28. 48:5. Judah replied. As he sent his brothers off on their way. because we looked on at his anguish. the rest of us as much as he in whose possession the goblet was found.6 But once his brothers appear before him. “What is this? God has done (it) to us!” Gen.

9 Zornberg. By this you shall be put to the test … that your words may be put to the test whether there is truth in you…” Gen.10 Joseph insists that the lives 7 Gen. 42:21.). though it may have ended prematurely (see below). The Beginnings of Desire. The brothers allude to the workings of divine justice (see n. Apparently. that your words may be verified and that you may not die. they had already come to realize that they were changed men who truly regretted their younger misdeeds. an afterlife. Joseph hopes to provide his brothers with a transformed group narrative to tell their father and defuse the shame and “ground the electric furies of their own humiliation. 44:16. By articulating a transformed personal narrative of his own life based on Providence. the brothers had grown spiritually and recognized the workings of divine justice in their lives. Moreover. Joseph’s plan demonstrated that the brothers would not abandon Benjamin. the brothers kept drinking merrily. 42:20. When Joseph showed blatant favoritism toward Benjamin at dinner.” 8 Gen.8 By the time Joseph revealed himself. 4 .”9 Question 4: What are the dynamics of divine providence? Scripture says little about the dynamics of divine providence in our story. his brothers. Benjamin is to provide physical evidence of their authenticity. even at the risk of their own imprisonment (Gen. Much of his project succeeds. 42:15-16. without a hint of jealousy (Gen. Providence seems to be a spiritual law of nature. subsequent reincarnations. and his father with empirical evidence that his brothers are truly changed men. 43:33 f. similar to karma. 44:13-16). or to one’s descendents. 28. wherein good is rewarded and evil punished in a perfect system of divine justice.7 Joseph hopes to provide himself. Joseph wants to experimentally validate the truth of the brothers words with proof. 10 It is unclear whether the full measure of reward and punishment occurs in this life. 335. 5).allow his family to endure his “resurrection” without shame. the author of the Joseph saga assumed that his ancient Israelite readers were quite familiar with such beliefs.

they did 11 Gen. when he interprets dreams (Gen. God’s name comes readily to Joseph’s lips at critical moments: when he confronts Potiphar’s wife (Gen. it was not you who sent me here. 42:18). God intended it for good (Gen. 50:20). God intended it for good. Now. 28). The Lord is with Joseph in Potiphar’s house (Gen. 37:15). come down to me without delay. Until his prediction came true. seems to imply that Joseph accepted his imprisonment in Egypt as the will of God. sold into slavery. Joseph. 41:16 ff. 39:2) and in prison (Gen. So. 45:5. So. Joseph is not denying the truth of his brothers previous family narrative. to teach his elders wisdom. 50:1920. Now. 37:25.). the decree of the Lord purged him. but God (Gen. The Psalmist also seems to allude to Joseph’s therapeutic project: to discipline/imprison his [Joseph’s] princes [brothers] at will. 8). lord of all his household. “God has made me lord of all Egypt. and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. God has sent me ahead of you to ensure your survival on earth. although you intended me harm. the theme of God’s guiding hand underlies the entire story. it was not you who sent me here. and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. He sent ahead of them a man. although you intended me harm. so as to bring about the present result — the survival of many people. the decree of the Lord refined/purged him. His feet were subjected to fetters. He is saying more than that. Although harmonization of these ideas may be humanly impossible (see below). See Psalms 105:17-23. When Joseph is lost he meets someone who knows exactly where his brothers are (Gen. Truth is not objective. to teach his elders [older brothers] wisdom. 12 When Joseph says.). Behind this scriptural tension is a relational understanding of truth. do not be distressed or reproach yourselves because you sold me hither. but God. Gen.” Gen. hurry back to my father and say to him: Thus says your son Joseph. Only that can enable reconciliation. and He has made me a father to Pharaoh.11 Indeed. 40:8. to discipline his princes at will. 5 .of people and nations are under the control of a caring God. 39:9). The king sent to have him freed … empowered him over all his possessions. an iron collar was put on his neck. the divine intention is what should be the focus. “Have no fear! Am I a substitute for God? Besides. The cryptic expression. 45:7-8). and when he tests his brothers (Gen. rather than the result of the evil scheming of Potiphar’s wife or the misdeeds of his brothers. 39:21 f. 45:7-9. The trading caravans happen to be going down to Egypt (Gen. and ruler over the whole land of Egypt. Joseph gives the ultimate interpretation of events at the dramatic conclusion: God has sent me ahead of you to ensure your survival on earth. 12 Perhaps the Psalmist also understood the Joseph story in these terms. it was to save life that God sent me ahead of you. He is arguing that although you sold me. 45:5. he is not simply arguing that God can transform wicked actions to bring about some gracious end. from the beginning it was really God who sent me here (Gen. But Joseph said to them. The tension remains as to how the brothers’ wickedness and God’s intentions work together.

only then were his brothers able to talk to him. Joseph’s descends into Egypt as a powerless slave and eventually ascends to freedom and power. and Esau said to himself. one that he suggests is better suited at this time. they maintained an unbroken silence. 45:1). The Joseph saga starts a chain of events that leads to the Israelite captivity in Egypt and their eventual freedom and empowerment at Mount Sinai. flows naturally from the Israelite idea of divine providence. Darkness will always give way to light. Question 5: Why do the brothers never seek Joseph’s forgiveness? It is shocking that Scripture makes no mention of the brothers ever seeking Joseph’s forgiveness. 50:15.” 6 .indeed behave sinfully toward him and he toward them. family cohesion collapsed and the brothers feared Joseph’s revenge for the terrible crime they committed against him. God will always redeem the oppressed. must come up. which is the central motif of biblical theology. Gen. In fact. they recounted all that Joseph had said to them (Gen. Apparently they revealed to him all (or most) of 13 See Gen.13 Yet during the seventeen years that passed since the fateful day of reconciliation. under different circumstances. He proposes to them an additional truth. because he could no longer control himself (Gen. aside from Gen. and I will kill my brother Jacob.14 Joseph was not entirely successful in achieving a genuine reconciliation with his brothers. in light of the perspective of divine Providence — a truth with the transformative power to heal the past and change the future. 27:41. Now Esau harbored a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing which his father had given him. 45:27). Scripture reports that when the brothers returned home to Jacob. He kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. 45:15. “Let but the mourning period of my father come. This paradigm of oppression and redemption. 45. 14 Gen. the nagging voice of conscience was not quieted. When Jacob’s death removed the commanding presence of the patriarch. It a karmic universal law of gravitational reversal: What goes down. Cf. But more than one truth is possible. It seems that he may have unintentionally ended his project prematurely.

and loneliness.). they put the request into the mouth of their deceased father. like the sheaves in Pharaoh’s dream (Gen. Joseph suddenly realized the meaning of his childhood dreams. do not be distressed or reproach yourselves because you sold me hither. I urge you. who was suspicious all along (Gen.’ Therefore. the offense and guilt of your brothers who treated you so harshly. The sheaves in the field bowing down to him (Gen. they fear to do so directly. (Gen. and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. Scripture tells us that at that time he recalled the dreams that he had dreamed about them (Gen. he concealed his identity and accused them of being spies. Joseph was not an expert dream interpreter. and the terrible results (Gen. At that moment. they flung themselves before him. As a child.the family’s sordid secret. While Scripture never explains their silence. 42:4). They have never forgotten Joseph’s pretentious dreams. 41:22 ff. it seems to imply that they feared approaching Joseph to beg forgiveness lest he insist on fulfilling his childhood dream and make them his slaves. and said. When they approached Joseph. this is what he tried to explain to them: Now. This is implicit from their action after Jacob’s death: So they sent this message to Joseph. God has sent me ahead of you to ensure your survival on earth. his family proffered their interpretation. 50:16-17). it was to save life that God sent me ahead of you. “We are prepared to be your slaves” (Gen. Note that he did not bring to mind all the years of suffering. Even when they finally beg forgiveness from Joseph. please forgive the offense of the servants of the God of your father. 37:7 ff. and there are still five years to come in which there shall be no yield from tilling. 42:4). 45:5-7). It is now two years that there has been famine in the land. 37:5-11). They knew Joseph’s divinely inspired power to interpret dreams and they also knew that resistance or flight would be futile. would surely demand to know what happened. ‘Forgive. “Before his death your father left this instruction: So shall you say to Joseph. He recalled his dreams.” And Joseph was in tears as they spoke to him (Gen. privation. He did not offer an interpretation then. When Joseph first met his brothers. their hatred at the notion of Joseph ruling over them. Indeed.) foretold how his family would depend upon Joseph to provide food for their survival. 7 . 42:9). Jacob.

Question 6: Why does Joseph never ask forgiveness from his brothers? The Joseph saga. flaunting his status as father’s favorite. At Beer-sheba. but by his actions he has demonstrated his true intentions. 46:2-3). They may distrust his words.15 But it may hint at this when it states: So there was no one else about when Joseph made himself known to his brothers (Gen. 15 See Gen. they all departed for Egypt. “he made himself known. 50:20-21). it seems. Years later. Jacob. Fear not to go down to Egypt. Surely Jacob’s fear was the prophecy to Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved and oppressed in a foreign land (Gen. I will sustain you and your children. they were still unable to absorb the idea that Joseph had no intention of making them his slaves. Unfortunately. the God of your father. 15:13).But the brothers were in a state of shock (Gen. Jacob realized that this journey was part of the divine plan. The Hebrew hitvada‘. keeps silent throughout the story. Once again. 8 .” Scripture stresses that this critical reunion occurs in privacy. is full of unexpected silences. fear not. And so. 45:1). God intended it for good. so as to bring about the present result — the survival of many people.” Thus he reassured them. Scripture never explicitly describes Joseph asking forgiveness from his brothers for his own misbehavior. although you intended me harm. After Jacob learned the truth from his sons.” is homonymous with hitvadah. It is understandable that confession and asking forgiveness are private matters. When their fears rise again to the surface he reiterates his original point: Besides. arrogantly publicizing his dreams. “he confessed (his sin). and that the future enslavement of his children was in some measure punishment for their treatment of Joseph. too. 37 on Joseph’s bad reports about his brothers. No wonder he bore this knowledge in silence. for I will make you there into a great nation” (Gen. Joseph’s earlier stratagems of imprisoning them and threatening them with slavery had the effect of making them afraid and distrustful. speaking kindly to them (Gen. Joseph stresses his concrete actions in sustaining them and their families. God called to Israel in a vision by night:… “I am God. 45:3) and did not understand the full import of Joseph’s words.

17 His brothers could not respond to him because they were dumbfounded before him (ibid. Could this be the reason for Scripture’s silence on these matters? Then why a veiled reference? Why not simply state that “Joseph confessed to his brothers” without revealing the dialogue? Scripture will not reveal her secret here. Then Israel said. and we have demonstrated that we are changed men. 11:30. the money mysteriously returned to our sacks. 45:4). “I am Joseph your brother. You can now face my father without shame and bring him the joyful news. his interrogation and accusations. at first all he can say is. not revenge. Joseph said to his brothers. it appears here to be an emphatic declaration rather than a question. he has been testing us. The reader is left to imagine the thoughts running through their minds at this moment: Our brother did not die. whom you sold into Egypt (Gen. Gen. “Come closer to me. “Is my father still alive?”. “Is your father still alive?” (Gen. cf. 27) and Judah has just pleaded that unless Benjamin is released.They told him. is still alive! My scheme has succeeded. nor is he a slave. 17 Cf. but why this scheming when he easily could have punished us. who has mourned me all these years. Sensing their nervousness and confusion. What is the point of asking it again? For the rhetorical use of the interrogative to express the conviction that a statement is true. 45:28. their father would die (Gen. §150 e. but excited rather than angry. even though you sold me into slavery. he tried to reassure them that his goal is reconciliation. 16 While usually translated. his demand for Benjamin — all these bizarre events have been part of a secret scheme. Then he said. Joseph has already asked his brothers. My father is still alive!” 16 My father. he is the viceroy of Egypt and we have bowed before him. It was all too overwhelming. see GeseniusKautzsch-Cowley.). He is so overcome with emotion. I am still your brother. 45:3).shared only between the aggrieved parties. “Joseph is still alive and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned. Deut. 44:36-44). Ruth 1:11. Gen. but what will we now say to our father?! I imagine a pause as the reality sinks in and the brothers realize: Joseph is still alive! Then Joseph continues. It is possible that there is a hint of Joseph asking forgiveness when he reveals himself to his brothers. he yearns to be close to them. 43:7. he wants the family rupture healed.” so they came near. “I am Joseph!” (Gen. “My son Joseph is still alive! 9 . just as Joseph predicted in his childhood dreams. I still love you. 45:26. he seems flustered.

and have shown by my actions that I have forgiven you in my heart for selling me into Egyptian slavery. Hence. 43:34 [jealousy]. 44:13-16 [abandonment]). ceasing the patterns of sinful action to which one was addicted (Gen. Blumenthal. he does not act arrogantly or insensitively toward his brothers as he did in his youth. 1998) [http://www. not theirs (Gen. we can only extrapolate a partial paradigm. Since only a victim can grant forgiveness. 41:21-22.htm]. There are several elements of conflict resolution that emerge from Scripture:18 (1) recognition of one’s wrong actions as sins as an act of intelligence and moral conscience (Gen. “A Partial Paradigm of Conflict Resolution. Scripture seems to suggest that Joseph was telling his brothers. so you too. (2) remorse. 42:24. There is a hint that Joseph. feeling regret at failure to maintain one’s moral standards (ibid. 19 If we assume that behind his tears lay some remorse (Gen. the brothers do not actually murder Joseph. between the lines: Just as I am still your brother. too.). and he apparently fulfilled the other two elements of reconciliation toward his brothers. my brothers. Repentance and Forgiveness. See David R. instead of dumbfounded silence.crosscurrents. Once he reveals himself. and (3) desisting from sin. should forgive me for the wrongs I did which provoked your misdeed. 45:5. 10 . 43:30. fulfilled the first element.19 18 These are similar to the elements of repentance (teshuvah) — “return” to one’s inner self — in the rabbinic tradition. 45:14-15). 8). What would/should have happened if the brothers had not changed? What if they still envied Benjamin? What if they abandoned him? What if. In our story.But then Joseph proceeds to argue that it was all God’s doing. Crosscurrents (Spring. they greeted Joseph’s self revelation with rage and violence? Scripture is silent. 44:16).” reflects the structural limitations of the Joseph saga in addressing conflict resolution. Joseph’s therapeutic program is unexpectedly aborted. What else would/should he have done to effect complete reconciliation? Again Scripture is silent. we do not know what would/should have happened in such circumstances. A scriptural paradigm of conflict resolution The title.org/blumenthal.

however. those who caused our suffering were agents of God’s will. Probably the most powerful element in conflict resolution. Each party should empathize with the victimization of the other. It is said that not to forgive imprisons one in the past and yields control to another. mean admission of equal guilt. it is part of a perfect divine plan for our lives. it actually can redeem suffering. Despite their evil intentions. Joseph’s crimes were far less severe than those of his brothers. although you intended me harm. as they expect it for themselves. 11 . whereas forgiveness frees the forgiver and allows one to change the circumstances of one’s life. God intended it for good (Gen. and must struggle to feel remorse for the harm they caused. Yet each party should show compassion towards the other (ibid. a lesson Joseph taught his brothers in prison (Gen. This was certainly true for Joseph. without rationalizations or justifications. (3) to absolve someone from punishment or penalty entailed by an offense. both parties must admit wrong for their own misdeeds. Acceptance of mutual responsibility does not. in any conflict. though this exists only in communities of faith which share this Scriptural tradition. Once Joseph realized the part his brothers played in God’s plan. Providence not only has the power to provide inspiration and hope to those who suffer.). Providence can provide suffering with cosmic meaning.Certainly. “Forgive” — from Old English “give up (anger)” — can mean: (1) to excuse someone for an offense. unlike Edmund Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo. is the belief in divine providence. who was not consumed by anger and desire for vengeance. 42:21). (2) to renounce anger or resentment against someone for an offense. Joseph apparently forgave his brothers in all three senses. he forgave them. The Joseph saga shows that it is possible to frame past evil within a paradigm of a divine plan. 50:20). however. The belief in Providence allows Joseph and his family to transform the way in which they deal with suffering and those who caused it: Besides.

some (all?) of our mistakes are not simply crimes awaiting punishment. then engaging in retributive actions — often deemed defensive — that lead to an unending cycle of violence. Nor would Jews interpret the Holocaust as a refining suffering within a providential plan (though a few ultra-Orthodox thinkers have done so). Hence. Both parties must acknowledge past wrongs and struggle to feel remorse for the suffering they caused. by the victim. it may be useful for Jews. If we change our selves. and Muslims to move forward in dialogue and reconciliation. Avot 3:16. without any rationalizations or justifications. Providence can only be invoked in the communities of faith which share this Scriptural tradition. The conflict is maintained by transforming the perpetrator into an inhuman. but freedom of choice is given. The scriptural elements of conflict resolution can provide valuable and effective tools in addressing such conflicts. They are lessons to be learned. however. unaware of the roles we are playing? This is an ancient paradox: “All is foreseen (by God). Christians. God prefers repentance and human moral and spiritual growth to punishment. we can change our future and transform how we view the past. 12 . Nearly all conflicts are ultimately rooted in perceptions of unjust wrongs and conflicting narratives. mean admission of equal guilt. Furthermore. Scripture does not imply that a stranger can invoke Providence to explain the suffering of others by human evil or natural disaster. Providence should only be invoked. Acceptance of mutual responsibility does not. Each party should empathize with the victimization of the other and show compassion towards the 20 Mishnah. But are we then simply actors on a divine stage.From the viewpoint of divine providence.”20 Conclusion Clearly. as it is in the Joseph saga. and only by one for whom it is spiritually meaningful. there are limits to framing human events in a providential paradigm. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a typical example. evil other.

to see the humanity of the other. to respect the reasonable goals and deep desires of the other. When Messiah Builds a Temple.21 This would enable each side to appreciate the justice on the other’s side. and allow for the possibility of reconciliation and peace. and we will continue to fight one another for the right to claim her.other. In the case of the Arab-Israeli conflict. rather than obsess on justice or vengeance for their perceived unjust suffering. God wishes the mosque to become a shared Temple. children of Adam and Abraham. Conflicting scriptural promises may necessitate a creative compromise in understanding the divine plan that allows them to share the Promised Land. Both parties must demonstrate their sincerity and changed attitudes by concrete actions. as they expect it for themselves. Both sides must seek reconciliation as brothers. An example of this approach is Art Waskow’s midrash in which the Messiah appears and declares that instead of destroying the Golden Dome Mosque to make way for the Third Jewish Temple. including a cessation of violence and provocations.org/node/309.22 Genesis begins with a story of fratricide and ends with a story of brotherly love and reconciliation. http://www. we will each say ‘she is my wife’. Abdul Abad. a Palestinian spokesman for Islamic religious councils. both sides must struggle to articulate transformed national historical narratives which reframe their conflict. articulated a first step toward such a reframing: “If we see the Holy Land as a wife.” 22 Arthur Ocean Waskow and Phyllis Ocean Berman. both sides should consider the possibility that Scripture assigns the Land of Israel to both peoples. 13 . I have tried to show in this paper how the Joseph saga provides Scriptural Reasoners with a partial yet valuable and effective paradigm for conflict resolution. but as our mother — so that we may live in peace as brothers. 21 Dr. The Bible is an ongoing source of divine guidance for human life. But perhaps most importantly. let us see the Holy Land not as a wife to claim. My friends. shalomctr.