Severed from his family, he is sold into slavery in a foreign country with people none too friendly to the Hebrews, and then is cast in prison. The odds are stacked up against him and all hope is cut off.
In these utterly bleak circumstances comes into play divine power and, all of a sudden, Joseph finds himself at the pinnacle of fame and power. The dominance of God has been established. A verb from the root GhLB is used in S. But this verse speaks only of one kind of dominance, the victory of God and His messengers in their struggle against disbelievers.
This leads to a brief consideration of two other attributes. Their function is to show that divine purposes, as also the ways to achieve them are characterized by the profound h ikma "wisdom" of an omniscient Being. As all the important events are yet to take place Jacob's remark is a statement of hope.
In the middle part of the story 83 Jacob repeats the remark which since the worst possible situations have already occurred, becomes a statement of trust. At the end of the story Joseph makes the same remark, which, now that every problem has been resolved, becomes a statement of gratitude. Besides expounding certain divine attributes, therefore, it also explains how man should conduct himself toward a God possessing those attributes. Working in Harmony with the Purposes of God: Requisite Qualities The first of these themes is that man, instead of opposing God, should work in harmony with His purposes, or, what is the same thing, in harmony with the moral laws He has prescribed for man's guidance.
To certain chosen individuals who are supposed to guide mankind - to prophets, that is - God gives a special understanding of His laws. Jacob and Joseph are such individuals. As for ordinary people, they must acquire this knowledge from those who have been blessed with it by God: it is this knowledge that Joseph tries to impart to his prison-mates and which, in a different context, Joseph's brothers refuse to acquire from Jacob.
The second quality is tawakkul.
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The word occurs in vs. Tawakkul thus supplies the deficiencies of human knowledge and serves as an emotional ballast in situations in which cognitive knowledge fails to complete solace. Joseph, too, possesses this quality. And, again, as borne out by the whole story and hinted subtly but powerfully in 67 , the brothers lack it.
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The two are complementary opposites and together sum up all the trials and tribulations Joseph goes through successfully, the reason why he so eminently deserves the title of mu h sin. To the theme of working in harmony with the purposes of God is related the theme of striking a proper balance between divine decree and human freedom.
Jacob has complete trust in God, and yet he realizes that he must make use of his judgment and discretion. When the brothers request him to send Benjamin with them to Egypt, he takes more than one precaution. First he makes them pledge that they will try their best to bring Benjamin back. Then he advises them to enter Egypt in several small groups, each from a different gate, for as a large group of possibly rich foreigners they could attract the unwelcome attention of lawless elements at a time when conditions of famine have probably resulted in an increased incidence of crime.
When he interprets the dreams of the two prison-mates, he asks one of them, the one he thinks will be released to mention him to the king. He rightly thinks that it is not irreligious or improper for him to think of ways and means of securing his release from a situation in which he has been placed through no fault of his own.
The last subsidiary theme is composed of three subthemes, those of trial, recompense, and repentance. The very purpose of human life is conceived in terms of trial S. When the story opens, Joseph has yet to become a prophet, but he is made to go through a series of ordeals. Jacob is already a prophet, but he, too, is tried in several ways.
But this does not mean that no recompense is given in this world at all, or that it is wrong to work and hope for worldly success in accordance with the principles of religion and morality. Repentance: The third subtheme is also related to the first. As long as a person lives, he remains subject to the sunna "law" of trial and is put to one test after another;. But failure on a test should not cause despair, for there is always hope: the door of repentance is open.
The point is driven home in one of the final episodes of the story in which Joseph's brothers realize their mistake and sincerely repent, asking their father to pray for their forgiveness, Jacob agreeing to do so. The distinction drawn here between the principal and the subsidiary themes is obviously not absolute. Ultimately, all these themes interpenetrate, and it is possible to lay greater stress on one of them rather than on the other.
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Not only the bad, but also the good characters of the story are real. The latter in particular come alive with full force, facing the ups and downs of life like the rest of humanity. As already noted, every individual must go through a series of trials. But success or failure in these trials is not predetermined in the sense that a good character will necessarily succeed, while an evil character will necessarily fail.
Success or failure in a moral struggle is the result of independent choices made and executed during the struggle itself.
Joseph does not succeed in the crises he finds himself in simply because he possesses innate goodness. In each situation he has to wage a struggle, acutely conscious that unless he calls forth all his moral strength, he might very well yield to the temptations that are being thrown his way.
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If it is true that a person succeeds in a moral struggle because he possesses a good character, the converse is equally true: a man comes to possess a good character because he faces the moral struggle with vision and resolution. As can be seen, it is a dynamic relationship in which nothing is taken for granted. But while on the one hand a person might fail in a given situation because he has conducted himself poorly, there is, on the other hand, no reason why he should not succeed if he acquits himself in a satisfactory manner.
The point is that the characters are placed in situations involving a genuine test of their moral fiber and affording an equal opportunity of meeting with success and failure; success must be no less possible than failure. The starting point of the dramatic conflict in the story is Jacob's love for Joseph, or, more accurately, the brothers' perception of this love.
Jacob, then, is perceptive. He is extremely sensitive, too. He loses his eyesight from grief at the loss of Joseph. Another aspect of his sensitive nature is that he possesses what we may call telepathic powers: he is able to "smell" Joseph when Joseph's tunic is on its way to Canaan 94 ; he regains his eyesight when the tunic is put over him He refuses to believe the brothers' story about Joseph's death 18 actually, as vss.
But when his precautions fail, he, bears the misfortune resolutely, crying his heart out, yes, but to God only As a young boy, Joseph is shy, modest, and respectful. While telling his father about the dream, he uses the word ra'aytu 4 twice.
This has dramatic significance  and also gives a clue to his character. He knows the interpretation of the dream  and is therefore hesitant to report the dream to his father because the latter might think he is being presumptuous. That is why, after having begun to relate it, he breaks off in the middle. And yet he realizes that he must go on, and so he repeats the word ra'aytu , completing the statement.
During his prison term we observe a few other traits of his personality. First, we see him as a remarkable interpreter of dreams. Second, we see him as a person who takes his beliefs seriously and propagates the truth he believes in When the prison-mates approach him for an interpretation of their dreams, he takes it as a good opportunity to acquaint them with the fundamentals of the Abrahamic faith. Mealtimes must have been an exception to the otherwise unrelieved monotony of an Egyptian prison, and the prisoners, one can imagine, looked forward to them.see url
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Joseph assures the two young men that he will interpret their dreams before the next meal arrives. This must have convinced the two men that Joseph considers their dreams important enough to devote some time reflecting on them. At the same time, Joseph creates for himself an excellent opportunity to share his convictions with them.
He was thrown into prison because he put honor over immorality. After many years' imprisonment, his spirit remains indomitable; he refuses to come out of prison without making sure that the plot of which he is an innocent victim is laid open.
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He would like to have his freedom, but not at the cost of honor.