“I don’t deserve this.”
My face hit the rough stone ground as the prison warden threw me into my new home, a prison cell, I didn’t deserve this. I had worked hard for my master and mistress harder than all the rest of their slaves put together. So why had my mistress sent me here? I ran up to the grate in the door and shouted out to the wardens receding figure. “I’m innocent I don’t deserve to be here.”
“That’s what they all say.” The warden laughed without turning around he turned a corner and a door slammed in the distance. I was alone in this dank smell. I take that back there were the rats who I found got more of my food than I did.
I slumped down to the ground and looked up at the single bright star that shone through the small window engraved in the wall. “Oh God.” I prayed. “Don’t let me die here you know I don’t deserve this.” I sighed as I thought about what I had said and then I added “But you know what’s best for my life and I trust you.” With that I lay down and slept a long and peaceful sleep.
You may be wondering how I got into this situation and why I don’t deserve to be here. Well let me explain in order to do so we need to go back to when I was about 17. No even farther for the year I turned 10 was when this story really begins
About 10 years before
I came from a fairly large family. I live with my mother, father and younger brother, Ben. But beyond that my aunt and her seven children live with us. We also have a decent amount of servants two of which have two children of their own giving us a grand total of 13 children and about 7 adults including servants.
My mother, Rachel was barren for most of my parents’ marriage and so it was that my father thought of my cousin Reuben as a son and even told my aunt that Reuben would get my father’s inheritance when he died. So you can imagine my aunt’s sorrow when I was born and therefore her and all my cousins especially Judd found they were jealous of me.
My father worked as a farmer and when I was of decent age he had me help my cousins in the fields. Thinking back I am certain that that was when my troubles began. I well remember the first time I was ever to help them. I was just about 10 and had a big mouth which my cousins hated.
“Well Joe it’s the first time you are to help your cousins with the chores. Do you think you’re ready?” My father asked me only days after my 10th birthday I nodded vigorously and my father handed me a small bucket. “Don’t get in the way now you hear. Just go over there,” He pointed to the field where I could barely see the top of my cousin Izzie’s head. “And just hold the bucket for Izzie to put stuff in, all right” I nodded again and took off running toward Izzie.
I reached Izzie out of breath.
“What are you doing here twerp.” Izzie scolded me.
“Father said I could hold the bucket for you.” Izzie narrowed his eyes at me unbelieving.
“I’m 10 now you know that’s old enough to at least hold the bucket.”
“Are you sure?” He jeered at me bending down to get close to my face. “Once there’s stuff in it gets pretty heavy. I don’t think a little shrimp like you would be able to carry it all the way back to the house much less lift it up to the table.” I stuck my lip out and my eyes began to fill with tears.
“Ahh leave him be Izzie.” Reuben spoke up. “He can hold the bucket if not for you then for me.” Izzie crossed his arms and grunted.
“Fine then he can help you. I don’t want a little snitch to be working with me all day.”
“Why? You got something to hide Izzie?” I’d never seen any of my cousins speechless but especially not Izzie but Izzie was sure speechless right about then. “Come on Joe you can come hold the bucket for me.” I followed Reuben around the corner and for the rest of the day held the bucket for him while he filled it with different sorts of veggies.
I found myself going back and forth from the house to the garden with the bucket. Izzie hadn’t been kidding when he said that the bucket was heavy. But Dinah, yet another one of my cousins was a great help in getting the heavy bucket on the table and emptied and she even put the vegetables away in the cellar so I didn’t have to go down the rickety old stairs and into that dark and scary cellar. Of course later in my life I would have to live in many dark and scary places but not for another 7 years.
I spent the next 7 years working alongside my cousins in different things. But I got myself into quiet a bit of trouble when I was about 16, my cousins did some unmentionable things that I found impossible to keep from my father. And so it was that I earned the name tattletale as well as some other unmentionable names. Although I do have to say I was quite prideful and rubbed things in their faces. Which I’m sure made them madder.
One day my mother called me and my cousins Zeb and Levi into the house. Holding my three year old brother Ben on her hip she gave us her instructions “I need you three to go into town and get some things for me.” She handed Levi a list and some money and me a bag to put things in.
While we were in town Levi and Zeb were window shopping as well. Suddenly Zeb cried out “look at this Levi. Look at this coat isn’t it beautiful.” Levi and I walked over to the window that Zeb was looking into. And Levi gasped.
“It is gorgeous Zeb.” And I thought so too it was a beautiful deerskin coat and it looked expensive.
When we got home I immediately asked my father for it. My cousins all laughed even Reuben whom had taken quite a liking to me. “its way too expensive you’ll have to raise your own money for something like that.”
“Besides,” Zeb said laughing uncontrollably, “It probably wouldn’t even fit you properly you’re as skinny as a stick. That coat’s meant for strong men not weak 17 year old boys. I frowned but I refused to let their jeering get my hopes down.
Sure enough about a month later was my 17th birthday and I received the deerskin coat. This was the worst thing that my father could have done for me for it made my cousins very jealous of me.
About a week later my father sent me out to get my cousins who were working in the fields. That was the last time I ever saw him. The boys had gone out early in the morning with the cows to find fresher pastures. I found them in a lush field they were doing something beside an old dried up well. I ran up to them. “Judd, Izzie, Levi, Zeb, Reuben what are you doin?” What a stupid question. If I had just told them what I had come to tell them instead of always butting into things that were none of my business then maybe I wouldn’t be where I am today. But as it is I didn’t.
“Did your father send you here to spy on us Joe? You seem to be good at it.”
“No he didn’t” I said getting closer and closer to them by the second. As soon as I was close enough they jumped me Judd held a knife to my throat. “I should just kill him now Reuben.”
“No we can’t kill our own flesh and blood throw him in the well as we agreed.” Even then with the knife pressed against my throat, even at Reuben’s suggestion of throwing me into that terrible well, I am thankful of him that I am still alive.
I spent the rest of the day in that dark hole. The sun was down and the moon high in the sky when they finally let down a rope to me. But when I reached the top I found that it wasn’t my cousins after all but Bandit’s whom my cousins had sold me to. As they tied me up and threw me on one of the horses. I could see Judd’s yellow smile and the shine of silver as he counted the money from a bag that the bandits had thrown him and as I looked closer I saw 5 more faces surrounding him the faces of my cousins and a sudden laugh rent the air. Simon’s laugh he had the most evil laugh of all my cousins. The last thing that struck my mind as the bandits spurred the horses on is that Reuben was not with them and I hoped even then that he had not been part of that wicked plan.
We rode for quite some time before finally getting to the rich town of Gaza . The bandit’s sold me to a man named Ishmael Potts. I made the best of my status and before long I was Potts most trusted servant and his wife’s personal attendant, a job I would have much rather passed up.
One day Ishmael went out on business and I was left to care for his wife. The only problem as I was soon to discover was that Ella had fallen deeply in love with my tan skin and strong arms. I was out on the terrace overseeing some things when she came up behind me. “Joe,” she whispered “As you know my husband is not here. Come away with me to my husband’s chamber. Ishmael will never know.” I gasped in surprise.
“My lady your husband trusts me with everything in this house including you. None of the servants have as much authority as I do. I have access to every room and possession in this house. But you are his wife I can not do this evil thing. It would be a sin if not against you then against your husband, my master and against my God.” She was furious at me and when her husband returned she accused me of trying to seduce her. I tried to reason with him but he wouldn’t hear of it and therefore had me thrown into this prison that I am in even now.
Although much has changed since you came in at the beginning of the story. Now the warden respects me and actually lets me out everyday and I help him to feed the other prisoners. So it is that I know that God has everything under control. I don’t know if I’ll ever get out of this prison (although that cup bearer said he would do all he could to get me out) it really doesn’t matter anymore because I know He has it all under control. I do hope to one day see my family again I forgave my cousins long ago and now all I want to do is give them a great big hug every single one of them. I don’t know what God has in store for me but whatever it is, even if it’s staying in this old musty prison for the rest of my days I know that it’s part of God’s plan.
For a closing note I’ll just say this: Remember that no matter what life throws at you. It’s part of God’s plan and he’s watching out for you. And not to worry if dreams can tell the future I’ve got nothing to worry about. After all one of the nickname’s my cousins gave me was “dreamer” But I must stop now for the warden is shooing me back into my cell. The guards are coming and I must not be seen out of my cell.
Story found in Genesis 37, 39 & 35:23-26
Story continued in Genesis 41-45