Adonai had truly blessed him. Joseph smiled as he gazed at his wife, Asenath, who slept on their sleeping mat, her arms gently cradling their second son, Ephraim, who was born the day before. Her belly was still swollen from carrying their son, but Joseph didn’t care if her belly stayed that way, for she was by far the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and she was his. After giving her a gentle peck on the cheek, Joseph slid from the covers, and walked around to the other side of their sleeping mat.
As he knelt down beside his wife and his newborn babe, he was struck by how tiny and perfect the child was. He had ten fingers and ten toes, each one with nails. He had long dark eyelashes, like his imma. He smiled as the babe suckled in his sleep, though nothing was in his mouth.
Joseph stood and tiptoed quietly to the cradle, where his firstborn son, was also sleeping, his long, dark lashes resting quietly on his chubby cheeks. He gently caressed Manasseh’s soft cheek, smiling as the toddler gave a contented sigh. After leaning over and placing a gentle kiss on Manasseh’s forehead, Joseph quietly exited the bedroom, and walked onto the balcony, where he knelt down on his prayer mat.
1 I will exalt You, Adonai, because You drew me up;
You didn’t let my enemies rejoice over me.
2 Adonai my God, I cried out to You,
and You provided healing for me.
3 Adonai, You lifted me up from Sh’ol;
you kept me alive when I was sinking into a pit.
4 Sing praise to Adonai, you faithful of His;
and give thanks on recalling His holiness.
5 For His anger is momentary,
but His favor lasts a lifetime.
Tears may linger for the night,
but with dawn come cries of joy.
6 Once I was prosperous and used to say,
that nothing could ever shake me —
7 when You showed me favor, Adonai,
I was firm as a mighty mountain.
But when You hid Your face,
I was struck with terror.
8 I called to You, Adonai;
to Adonai I pleaded for mercy:
9 “What advantage is there in my death,
in my going down to the pit?
Can the dust praise You?
Can it proclaim Your truth?
10 Hear me, Adonai, and show me Your favor!
Adonai, be my helper!”
11 You turned my mourning into dancing!
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my well-being can praise You and not be silent;
Adonai my God, I will thank You forever!
“How my lips praise You, the living God, who saw me in my time of trouble, and in Your great mercy, You heard my cries and delivered me from all my fears! When my brothers tried to kill me, You, O Lord, heard my cries, and saved my life from the dark pit. When they sold me into slavery, even then, O Lord, You heard my desperate pleas, and sent me to a kind master. In the midst of slavery, You set me over my master’s entire household. Then, when his evil wife tried to seduce me, You kept me from being killed for a crime I had not committed. Even in the dark dungeon, where I became a prisoner, lower than a slave, You raised me up, and gave me charge over the prison.
“Then, if that were not enough, You raised me again, from the dark dungeon, to Pharaoh’s second in command, over the entire nation of Egypt! You gave me a beautiful wife, who loves me, and a son, Manasseh, to help me forget all my troubles, and my father’s family, who betrayed me. And now, You have blessed me, yet again, with another son, Ephraim, for you have made me fruitful in this, the land of my grief.
“Who is like You, O Adonai? Who can compare to You, my King? Indeed, there is no one like You, Adonai. For You are King of the Nations, and none can compare to You. Indeed, there is no other god who would stoop so low, as to lift a prisoner and a slave from his prison!
“Adonai, I give You thanks, not only for what You have done for me, but for the seven years of abundance You have given to my wife’s people. As the time of famine draws nigh, El Shaddai, thank You for providing for our needs by giving us these seven years of abundance, to carry us through the the dreadful famine. Thank You for seeing to it that my children will not go hungry, nor will the people of this land, for You have provided for all our needs.
“And Adonai, I would be remiss, if I failed to ask for Your hand of blessing to fall on my father, Israel, and his household, especially Benjamin, my full brother. Protect them, ‘Elyon, from all evil, and deliver them from the coming famine.
“O Adonai, guard my heart from bitterness. Please, ‘Elyon, bless the brothers who betrayed me also, for my father loves them deeply, and I would not want him to suffer anymore pain and anguish by losing yet another son. Therefore, please protect Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar and Zebulon. Most importantly, El Shaddai, protect Benjamin from all harm, especially at the hands of our brothers. Don’t let them do to him, what they did to me, Adonai! Protect him.
“Adonai, You alone are worthy of praise. You alone are holy and just. In You alone, I have placed my trust, and I know that nothing in heaven or on earth, nothing in the oceans and the seas, nor in the graves, indeed nothing on the highest peak of the highest mountain, nor nothing in the lowest valley can compare to You. It is to You that I pledge my life, O Adonai, for nothing compares to You.
“In times of feasting, I will praise You. Even in the coming famine, still, my lips will sing Your praises, for nothing compares to the greatness of knowing You, Adonai!”
Rising from his prayer mat, Joseph lifted his gaze towards the heavens, smiling, as he heard Ephraim’s wails from the bedroom. “No, Adonai, nothing compares to You!”
Cheryl A. Showers