Lxxxviivi

1. A. "And although she spoke to Joseph [day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie with her or to be with her. But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, 'Lie with me.' But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house]" (Gen. 39:10-13):

B. R. Yudan in the name of R. Benjamin bar Levi: "As to the sons of Levi, the trials affecting them were the same, and the greatness that they achieved was the same.

C. "... the trials affecting them were the same: 'And although she spoke to Joseph [day after day.' 'Now it came to pass, when they spoke to him day by day' (Est. 3:4). [Mordecai, descended from Benjamin, was nagged every day.] 'He would not listen to her.' 'And he did not listen to them' (Est. 3:4).

D. "... and the greatness that they achieved was the same: 'And Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it upon Joseph's hand' (Gen. 41:42). 'And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman and gave it to Mordecai' (Est. 8:2).

E. " 'And arrayed him in fine linen clothing and put a gold chain about his neck' (Gen. 41:42). 'And Mordecai went forth from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold and with a robe of fine linen and purple' (Est. 8:15).

F. " 'And he made Joseph ride in the second chariot which he had' (Gen. 41:43). 'And cause Mordecai to ride on horseback through the street of the city' (Est. 6:9).

G. '"And they cried before him, Abrech' (Gen. 41:43). 'And proclaimed before Mordecai, "Thus shall it be done to the man'" (Est. 6:11)."

The parallel drawn between Joseph and Benjamin, that is, Mordecai, permits the exegete to draw a parallel between the life of Joseph and the history of Israel. No. 2 expands on the base verse, and No. 3 presents an argument in favor of its authenticity, at the same time linking the present story to the two preceding ones. God of course governed Joseph's destiny, detail by detail, and as this becomes clear, the Jewish reader concludes that God's providence and benevolence continue to dictate what is to happen to Israel, even though that fact does not always prove self-evident.

Sages had also to account for the present condition of Israel, not only make promises about future redemption. An established explanation held Israel responsible for its fate. When the nation did God's will, it enjoyed security, and when it violated God's will, it suffered. That basic theological conviction, familiar from ancient times, translated into quite specific statements on what sorts of sins had caused Israel to suffer in later times. The tribes would suffer punishment because of the misdeeds of their ancestors, a point we noted with reference to Abraham as well.

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