Bible Snaps: Episode 13 … Snake Charmer

Thrillers, Chillers & Sci-Fi Killers. Whether or not you believe the bible is true, it contains stories that trigger imagination.

Snake Charmer

Thoughts of revenge curl and wind about me like a poisonous snake. I’m certain father will uncover their treachery, and his punishment of them will be swift. I fall asleep believing this and wake up imagining all that my brothers will endure for their actions against me.

They deserve to die, but instead the only one dying is me.

I once lived as my father’s favorite son. Now I live as a captive in a foreign land working as a slave.

Days and months pass. Thick coils of bitterness threaten to swallow me alive.

But then a miracle comes. My master, Potiphar, calls me to him.

“You have relieved me of every worry in the household. I’ve nothing to concern myself with but the food on my plate. For this effort, I reward you. You are now overseer of everything I own.”

The coils loosen and the breath of life returns to me as the serpent slithers away. Potiphar’s favor appeases me. The colorful stories of punishment doled out to men for their misdeeds amuses me. As chief executioner, he delivers much justice and revenge for the satisfaction of Pharaoh, himself.

We draw close. I learn a lot about punishment from Potiphar.

All the while I do what I do best.

I rule.

Ruling is the substance of my bones and the fluid of my veins.

My ruling motto is simple. Those who do good things, get good things, and those who chose to execute their tasks poorly get their just rewards.

I’m busy with the work of overseeing the house and I stop thinking about my brothers.

But then one day, all the honor and respect I’ve gained is unjustly stripped away by the word of a woman.

Potiphar’s wife.

Her obsession with me is obvious. Day after day, without falter, I refuse her advances, yet somehow, I don’t see the trap she sets for me. (I should have seen it. I’m still learning about treachery.)

All the men are given tasks away from the house. When they are gone, she comes to me alone and again demands that I sleep with her. I refuse. So, she grabs me by my coat when I run out the door.

She screams, and when others appear, she produces my coat and tells everyone who will listen that I attempted to sleep with her to demoralize Potiphar. Potiphar refuses to accept an explanation from me and throws me into the state prison.

The viper returns. Stacks of grey-black coils rise to become the walls of my cell. At night, the ghostly form bends close, and the coils tighten until I become breathless. A lisping tongue whispers, “See how you’ve been wronged again. All this comes because of your brother’s treatment. Someone must pay.”

Memories return. I think about my brothers. Especially Simeon. He was the worst. Sleepless, I rise day after day to a smaller portion of me. I’m being swallowed alive.

Then in the midst of my bitterness another miracle comes. The warden of the prison calls me to him.

“You’ve shown me that you are a trustworthy man and the other prisoners respect you. I’m putting you in charge of all of them and whatever needs to be done.”

My lungs fill with the Breath of Life, and the Serpent retreats.

Sleep returns, but it is still devoid of dreams.  Since my capture, all the colored wonder of my visions has disappeared into clouded darkness.

Instead, dreams come to me another way.

It happens like this….

One morning, I find my cell mates, the BB brothers, sitting against the wall staring into space.

The BB brothers are Pharaoh’s officials. Benny the Butler and Butch the Baker are seldom without words, but today they hardly move their heads to acknowledge me.

I ask them why they look so sad and dejected. They tell me that they had dreams in the night and explain that since none of Pharaoh’s wise men are currently in the prison they have no one to tell them the meaning of the dreams.

“You know, of course, that interpretation of dreams belongs to God.” I explain, remembering my own from the past.

They look as if I’ve just said the grass is blue and the sky is green.

“Really guys. God interprets dreams. Tell me what you dreamed.”

Quickly become their audience. When they finish, The Breath of Life whispers to me the interpretation.

Benny is pleased with the meaning of his dream, but Butch is not impressed. “I’m to be beheaded? We’ll see about that Jobo.”

(Jobo is my nick name. Short for Joseph boy. All the men in the prison respect me, but Benny and Butch carry the most weight in both size and rank. They picked a name to remind me of that fact.)

Three days later the BB brothers are summoned to a feast at Pharaoh’s invitation.

“Don’t forget me. If things go well for you, mention me to Pharoah so I can get out of here.”

They agree to help me if they can. When Butch says goodbye, he pounds me on the back with his massive hand. “The Pho calls for me Jobo. Seems you’re wrong. I guess he still wants his favorite cake.”

The next day I hear of Butch’s death from the warden. Benny has better luck.

Weeks and then months pass. It seems Benny has forgotten all about me.  Daily life in the prison blends into one long pointless monotony. Bitterness slips back into the den of my soul. The snake returns to whisper reminders of all who have wronged me. “See? Even Benny didn’t think much of you. No one cares for you. You are as good as dead.”

Dead?

I turn the thought over in my mind. The poison penetrates my will to live.

Maybe I should be dead. Maybe I could be dead. I could take a rope and hang myself. After all, what is the point of my existence? The Breath of Life fills me so that I can live as a prisoner? What kind of life is this? I’m certain my father believes I am dead or else he would have come to find me. It’s been 13 years since I was sold.

“Yesssss. Yessss. Now you are seeing things as they really are.” My legless opponent grips me close, squeezing my breath until it comes in shallow spurts. I anticipate my end, but fall asleep before I can act.

Rough hands shake me awake. “Get up. Get up! It’s Pharaoh. He wants to see you.”

“Now?” I sit upright wondering what this means.

“Yes. Now.” The officials from the palace look anxious.

“I’ll have to shave and change my clothes first.”

I’m quick but thorough in my preparation. If I’m to be given a chance to make my case, I don’t want to offend Pharaoh by my appearance.

As I cut through the stubble of my beard, I feel the coils of the serpent withdraw.

I’m still alive. Today is my day of reckoning.

But Pharaoh isn’t interested in my story. His summons is about a troubling dream he’s had. When no one in his court can explain the meaning of it, Benny finally remembers me. I’m called to interpret what no one else can.

As I explain the meaning of the dream, I feel the Breath of Life return to me. The symbols in Pharaoh’s two dreams foretell of an identical matter. In the next fourteen years, there will be seven years of good crop production followed by seven years of severe famine.

My confidence builds as I speak. I become bold. I tell Pharaoh a plan about how to prepare for the events to come. I even suggest that he put officials in charge over the process.

Then…

In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined what happened next.

Pharaoh makes me top official. Over everything. He puts his signet ring on my hand and has his servants dress me in fine robes and puts a gold chain around my neck.

Miracle after miracle comes. His daughter becomes my wife and we have two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

After the seven years of plenty the famine comes and strikes the people. They cry out to Pharaoh for food.

He sends them to me. “Open the store houses. Let the people buy food.”

It is then, twenty years after my capture, that the day of my reckoning comes in the company of ten men who are brought before me. They are strangers from Canaan who come to buy food.

They are also my brothers, but they do not recognize me. Slavery, prison, prosperity, and age changed me.

But have they changed?

The snake whispers, “Here’s your chance. Revenge is in your hand.”

The Breath of Life whispers, “This moment is not for revenge. It’s for salvation. Theirs and yours.”

Still, I test them. Two times. Just to be sure.

Finally, when I see sincere evidence of their regret, I’m overcome. I send the servants away, and I wail and sob before them. “Brothers. It’s me. Joseph.”

They shrink from me in fear.

“No. No. Come close. I’m not about to strike you. God sent me ahead of you to save your life.”

I tell them of the escape we all share because of the greatness of the Breath of Life.

I sum it up. “He alone brought me here and made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the dark tip of a snake’s tail disappear into the shadows. The vision reminds me of one more thing.

I say aloud to all would hear. “We must never forget that there is a snake that would destroy us, but we live in the protection of the Great Snake Charmer.”

 

Inspired by Joseph’s story found in Genesis chapters 37-45

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