JOSEPH AND SQUANTO, TWO YOUNG MEN USED BY GOD!
The time of Thanksgiving is here. Time for Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, squash, corn, and then watching football on the tube, (for those who are sports-minded, that leaves me out). This is a time to give thanks to God for all of His blessings throughout the year.
I’d like to bring to mind two very important men, young men at that, who God used mightily. Even though these two men lived thousands of years apart, they had some similar experiences and some contrasting experiences. These two men are; Yosef Ben Jacob (Joseph, the Son of Jacob) and “Tisquantum” or using his familiar name, “Squanto”, a native American who lived in what is now Massachusetts. How are they similar, how are they different?
Yosef of course we remember was sold as a slave to slave traders and taken “south” to Egypt, wherein Egypt, he, of course, learned the Egyptian language, summitted himself to G-d’s will. He was falsely accused, put into prison, gained favor by Pharaoh, and at the right time, saved all of Egypt from starvation, and not only Egypt, but those nations close around. He invited his family to come to Egypt, so Egypt became Joseph’s and his family’s permanent home. So Joseph was used by God to bring physical salvation to the near-by nations of the world.
A few thousand years pass by and we come to the year 1614. A young Native American from the Pawtuxet tribe in Massachusetts, namely “Tisquantum” or “Squanto” was captured by the English and sold as a slave and brought to Spain. He somehow escaped his masters in Spain and somehow, made it to England. In England, he was cared for by a family, taught to speak English, then in 1619, he returned to America only to find his tribe and family all deceased by cause of disease. He was adopted by the Wampanoag tribe and served as an interpreter for the pilgrims. He because a “mediator” between the tribe and the pilgrims. He taught the pilgrims to fish, grow corn, and, well, to survive! So how do these two men relate? How does God use them both in his divine plan of things, (since nothing is by chance).
Joseph is taken captive and sold to the Egyptians (taken south from Canaan). Squanto was taken captive and sold to the Spaniards (taken east to Spain) . Joseph submitted to his captors and learned Egyptian. Squanto, however, escaped his captors, went to England and learned English. Joseph remained in Egypt, Squanto returned home. Joseph is reunited with his family. Squanto receives two new families, the Wampanoag people and the pilgrims. Joseph intervenes and saves thousands of lives by providing food to those in Egypt and to those nations close to Egypt. Squanto saves the lives of the 50 remaining pilgrims by teaching them to fish, to plant corn and other veggies.
In time, more joined the pilgrims and the town of Plymouth was founded, then more settlers came, and now we have almost 7 million who live in Massachusetts. Joseph saves his family, and from his family of 70, now there are millions of the “Nation of Israel”. In the Nation of Israel, and in the extended families of Israel, there are those who cry out to G-d and serve Him who sits on the throne, the Lamb of G-d who has taken away the sins of the world. There are those in Massachusetts who also cry out to G-d, and serve Him who sits on the throne, The Lamb of G-d who has taken away the sins of the world.
Joseph had a large audience, while Squanto had a small audience, yet BOTH were used by G-d to preserve life. Was Squanto exposed to the gospel while in Spain and England? I sure hope so. I would say yes, by faith. Here are some interesting facts which I just learned too. The Feast of Thanksgiving was for three days, and some believe that it took place in mid-October, to commemorate the Feast of Tabernacles and not in November.
The next year, 1622, the pilgrims suffered a dry and hot summer, so not much food could be harvested. Governor Bradford called for “Prayer and Fasting” on the 29th of November. They all prayed for rain and G-d DID send rain. So, the “Thanksgiving” was for the rain, and it wasn’t a feast of food and drink it was of prayer and fasting! Well, at least that is what I just learned. Well, who knows for sure, I wasn’t around back then.
The year 1619 is special in my life since that was the year that some of my great ancestors came to America from England. On my paternal grandmother’s side of the family came John and Elizabeth Ellis, with young Richard Ellis. They settled in Watertown, which was close to (what would become) Plymouth.
Rabbi Ben Avraham
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