Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Betrayal (02/16/04)
TITLE: From the Depths of Despair
By Annette Bury
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Approaching his brothers, Joseph waved. Perhaps, they didn’t see me? They stood huddled together, ignoring his gesture. Five more steps and Joseph stood in front of his eleven brothers. He faced his oldest brother Rueben, “Greetings brothers. Father asked me to see if all is well with you and the flocks.”
All at once, his brothers formed a circle around him. He looked from one to another. Their lips pursed together, arms upheld, screaming at him.
Joseph wrung his hands together. “What Brothers! What did I do?”
His brothers pounced on him, like a lion, grabbing at his robe. Stripping him of it, they picked him up, and carried him away, yelling and thrashing. “Stop it. Put me down now! I’m going to tell father on you!”
Standing over an open well they sneered.
“Okay on the count of three,” a loud voice boomed. “One…” his body swung back and forth as he kicked his legs. “Let me go!” They clutched him even tighter. “Two…” He pushed forward on his arms. But a powerful hand clenched on tighter. “And three,” his body suddenly loosen from the firm grasp. Falling, lower and lower, a mass of arms and legs, he grappled to break his fall.
Moments later, he landed with a thud! Laying face-first, but alive, Joseph trembled. As he lifted his face, he spat the gritty dirt out of his mouth, and fell back. He moved his fingers up and down. The pain in his arms and legs racked his young seventeen-year-old body. “Please, please let me out,” his hoarse voice choked out.
His ears rang with mumbled voices, hoots and hollers.
He lifted his head, but the throbbing forced him to lay it down. Opening his eyes, the darkness engulfed him. He blinked several times to focus on this place, with its high walls. A shiver ran through his spine.
“Please help me.”
Nothing but silence; a strong, deadening silence.
Have they left me here? Why have my brothers, those I love, betrayed me like this?
His lip trembled as tears welled in his eyes. Squinting, several tears plopped to the cold ground.
He moved his right leg, then his left, throbbing with pain. Rolling over, he forced himself to sit up. Taking several deep breaths, he heaved himself up. Steadying himself, he swallowed hard, standing up on his wobbly legs. Looking up the sunlight shone through, casting a slight ray on this dark, dank place. Holding his face in his hands, he shook his head. Trapped, like a caged animal.
Suddenly, the silence broke with the muddled noise of voices – getting closer and closer. “I’ll be saved!”
A few minutes later, his brothers stood huddled on top of the well.
“My brothers, I knew you would not leave me to die.”
Judah taunted, “We’re going to help you out.” He threw a rope down. “Here, grab onto this, and we’ll pull you up.”
The rope dangled in the air as Joseph’s hands clenched onto it, cutting into his flesh, as he wrapped his legs around the twine. Up, up, up, his body moved closer and closer to the sunlight.
Firm arms grasped him under his arms, and he landed on the ground. Standing up, he looked at each brother, waiting for an apology. But none came.
Turning his head, a band of Ishmaelite merchants closed in. One the merchants leaped over, while his brothers held him, tying his arms and legs with the rope that had just saved his life.
One the Ishmaelite’s mocked, “I hope he’s worth the twenty shekels you’re charging.”
“I’m sure he’ll work, just fine,” Judah smirked.
Tied to the back of a camel, Joseph stumbled away as his brothers walked the other way, without turning back.
What did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening?
Just as Joseph found himself in the midst of betrayal, we often find ourselves in a pit of despair, depression, or pity. But just as the Lord brought Joseph from the depths of the pit to the Palace, to rule second in command to Pharaoh, the Lord can take us to our Palace – His justice, His favor, and His love.
(The writer made up the dialogue. Please read the actual account of Joseph in Genesis chapter 37).