People always talk about the Song of Solomon being explicit and graphic.
I have yet to find any such example. There is, in fact, nothing in the Song of Solomon that even so much as causes me to raise an eyebrow.
Now I do take it to be about the King (God) and the temple (Israel/Church). I mean, come on, the woman’s name is Solomonette. The King is a tree with branches that other folks come to hide under its shade. The woman has towers and wheat fields for anatomical descriptions. Sounds like geography to me.
But whatever. Let’s say it is about one man and one woman enjoying marriage. Which verse is it that is supposed to be so uncomfortable? Which verse is so “parental advisory?”
I haven’t found it yet. If you have one, please leave it in the comments. I’d like to see what bothers people.
Frank Turk has employed the “What about the Mormons?” reductio to baptism and the objectivity of the covenant. I’ve tried to challenge the validity of this. I think the discussion reveals many of the larger issues involved in the paedo/credo debate.
There’s also been some really fine discussion on the intentions and limits of the Bible over at Evangelical Catholicity. Jim Jordan and Peter Escalante are always gold, and this account is no different. If I could start a Seminary, these dudes would be my charter faculty, and then I’d enroll myself in all of their classes.
Joseph shows us Jesus in a number of ways. His going down into the pit and then being raised unto glory prefigures Christ’s resurrection. His converting the gentile empire is analogous to the growth of the Church.
His relationship with Pharaoh in Gen. 41:39-46 is also analogous to the Son’s relationship to the Father.
Joseph is given right-hand status. He is in charge over all of Pharaoh’s kingdom. If you want to see Pharaoh, you’ve got to go through Joseph.
At Joseph’s name, the servants all bow.
Joseph is a representation of Pharaoh throughout all of the empire.
And so, in the New Testament, when the apostles go about proclaiming a new king and a new image of God, they’ve got a new Joseph in mind. When Paul says that every knee now bows at the name of Jesus, he is thinking of the greater Joseph.
Of course, there’s also the job of telling people who the true Pharaoh-Caesar is, and showing them his visible image is the place to start.
Genesis 39:1 tells us that Potiphar was the captain of the guard. Genesis 40:2-3 tells us that the king’s cup-bearer and baker were thrown into the prison where Joseph was imprisoned, which was in the house of the captain of the guard.
As head of the house, Potiphar was head of the prison too. His status as chief guard was something like chief sheriff.
This sheds more light on his light punishment of Joseph. We would have thought that a foreign slave accused of attempted rape of a noblewoman would receive death. Instead, Joseph gets jail time in a cushy resort prison. All the celebrities are there. He’s also given the same sort of privileges that he had in Potiphar’s house. To top it off, we find out that he’s still got the same master: Potiphar.
Potiphar knew Joseph was a righteous man. He did not believe his wife’s accusation, though he knew he was in a politically inconvenient position. So he used wisdom and “punished” Joseph by making him head of his own prison.
Bruce Waltke’s commentary on Genesis is especially strong when it comes to the Joseph narratives. He points out that the entire story is built on a series of pairs. All of the dreams come in twos. Jacob’s favorite sons come in twos. Joseph goes down into two pits. He is given “right hand rulership” two different times, once under Potiphar and once under Pharaoh.
Waltke also shows that Joseph is paired with Judah. If we’re looking for the two brothers motif (Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau), then these are the two brothers.
Genesis 38 and Genesis 39 are obviously parallels. Judah sins in giving in to Tamar’s seduction, while Joseph resists the seduction of Potiphar’s wife. In both accounts, the women take tokens from the men to use as proof.
Judah also emerges as the leader of Jacob’s sons. While Reuben’s plan to save Joseph proved unsuccessful, Judah is able to pull off his plan. Later on, Reuben offers to sacrifice his own sons if he cannot save Benjamin (Gen. 42:37). This offer is rejected. Judah, in contrast, offers himself in place of Benjamin (43:4).
Thus Judah, despite his earlier sin, comes to a position of prominence and receives a blessing. And amazingly, his line rather than Joseph’s, actually becomes the chosen line.
The first became last and the last became first indeed.