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Program Descriptions Exile

Sunday, December 15, 1996 at 6 p.m. (E.T.)
(Check local listings.)

Thrown into a pit by his brothers and then exiled and later imprisoned in Egypt, Joseph saves himself and rises to prominence by interpreting the Pharaoh's troubling dreams. Bill Moyers says: "We learn in life that most blessings are mixed blessings. Joseph, who is precocious, learns it early. He is blessed with the gifts of reading dreams, physical beauty, and his father's love. But these very gifts cause his downfall, and he winds up in slavery and exile. Our discussions of Genesis began with the story of Abraham on the move toward the promised land. We end with Joseph in a foreign land. But far from home, he is never far from his roots. This is a familiar refrain in Genesis, from beginning to end."

Featuring Dianne Bergant, Norman Cohen, Francisco Garcia-Treto, P.K. McCary, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Phyllis Trible, Burton Visotzky. See Biographies for more information about the participants.

Francisco Garcia-Treto and Norman Cohen

Audio Tales:

©Duane Michals
Alfre Woodard
Play: RealAudio

See more information on audio downloads or on obtaining a RealAudio player. For RealAudio, we recommend 2.0 or later.

Actress Alfre Woodard has lent her voice to the GENESIS television series as a storyteller. You may listen to the actual sound recording of this story either as RealAudio or as a download.
Narrative written by Elizabeth Swados.

Jacob had many sons, but Joseph was the son of Jacob's old age and he loved him more than all and gave him a coat of many brilliant colors. Joseph's brothers saw this and they hated him even more when he told them, "I had a dream and in my dream we were binding grain in the field. My sheaves stood very straight while your sheaves bowed to mine."

One day the brothers saw Joseph walking in his coat of many colors. They tore it off him and threw him in a pit, and then sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver.

Joseph was brought down into Egypt. And Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard, brought Joseph to his house and put him in charge of all he owned. Joseph was young and beautiful to look at. Potiphar's wife had eyes for him and one day she called out to him, "Lie with me!"

Time and time again Joseph refused. "My master has given me everything he owns except you. How could I do this and sin against God?" But Potiphar's wife didn't give up.

One day when they were alone in the house, she grabbed Joseph by his coat. As Joseph fled, the garment tore off in her hand. That evening Potiphar's wife showed it to her husband saying, "that Hebrew servant tried to lie down with me." Potiphar was furious and sent Joseph to prison.

But the Lord was with him and because of this the chief jailer put all the other prisoners in Joseph's hands. And Joseph interpreted many dreams for them. In time, Pharaoh himself had a troubled dream and Joseph was brought up from the dungeon to interpret it.

Seven cows came up from the Nile, and they were fat and fair. Seven other cows came up from the Nile, and they were lean and straggly. The seven lean cows devoured the fat ones. Seven ears of corn grew on a stalk, and they were full and healthy. Seven ears of corn shriveled and scorched by the east wind, sprung up and devoured the good ones. This was Pharaoh's dream.

Joseph told Pharaoh it was a message from God. "Seven years of abundance are coming to Egypt. But seven years of famine will follow and destroy the land. Pharaoh must appoint a discerning and wise overseer so the people will store food in the good years and keep it for the bad. That way Egypt will not perish."

And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "No one is as wise as you. You will come to my house and I will put you in charge of the land of Egypt.

Pharaoh gave Joseph his signet ring, a gold chain, and a chariot. And during those years Joseph had two sons by his Egyptian wife. The first was named Manassah which means "God made him forget his toil in his father's house," and the second was Ephraim because Joseph said, "God made me fruitful in the land of my affliction."
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