“Comment,” Ensign, Sept. 1973, 75
In the March Ensign the following statement appeared in an article on the ancient sites of the Holy Land: “… the brothers, jealous of Joseph’s apparent future, threw him into a pit and then sold him for twenty pieces of silver to a company of Ishmaelites. …” (Jay M. Todd, “Some Dwelling Sites of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” p. 22.) In the June 1973 issue, this same event was mentioned again: “The brothers conspired against Joseph and sold him to traveling merchants.” (Edward J. Brandt, “Journeys and Events in the Lives of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph,” p. 59).
The 28th verse of Genesis 37 [Gen. 37:28] states:
“Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.”
Who sold Joseph, his brothers or the Midianites?
St. Louis, Missouri
Some have interpreted the 28th verse to mean that “the Midianites … drew and lifted up Joseph … and sold Joseph. …” The antecedent of the pronoun they, however, is his brothers. The confusion arises from the use of the terms Ishmaelites and Midianites. Both groups are descendants of Abraham (Gen. 16:15; Gen. 25:1–2) who through the years had conjoined and are among those known as the forefathers of the Arabs. In this story the terms are used interchangeably to refer to the Arab merchant group. Genesis 37:36 records that the “Midianites” sold Joseph to Potiphar. In the continuation of the account, Genesis 39:1 [Gen. 39:1] states that “Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar … bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites. …” (Italics added.)
That his brothers were responsible is further supported in the scriptures. Stephen’s great discourse recorded in Acts reviews the events of the people of Israel and declares that because of envy, his brothers (“the patriarchs”) sold Joseph into Egypt. (Acts 7:8–9.) Amulek, in the Book of Mormon, proclaims, in his testimony of his genealogy, that he was “a descendant of Manasseh, who was the son of Joseph who was sold into Egypt by the hands of his brethren.” (Alma 10:3. See also 1 Ne. 5:14; 2 Ne. 3:4; Alma 46:23.)
Finally, we have Joseph’s own witness. When his brothers made their second journey to Egypt for provisions, he made known unto them his identity: “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.” (Gen. 45:4. See also Gen. 50:20.) Joseph’s ten older brothers stand fully accountable for his enslavement.—Edward J. Brandt
In some of the past issues there has been comment regarding the inclusion of the annual index in one of the issues. You have indicated that it would not be ready in December and that it was of questionable value to include it in with any issue. Perhaps another question is: Is it possible to send the annual index as a separate mailing to all subscribers as part of the subscription price?
I read every issue and enjoy every page. The magazine is a great inspiration in my life, and I just want to see about getting the indexes as soon as we can.
Barring unforeseen difficulties, it is the present intent of the Ensign to experiment this year by including within the December 1973 issue the index for the 1973 volume of the Ensign. Now from all you index fans, let’s hear it: Hip, hip, hooray, hip, hip …
I enjoyed the article “Thanks for the Zucchini” [May, p. 56]. As an amateur gardener, I have wondered what to do with all the zucchini, especially when the neighbors won’t take any more, and the vegetables are watermelon size. My touch of frugality won’t let me throw them away, so I was very glad when I came upon the following recipe:
Peel and remove seeds from large zucchini. Grind zucchini and add 4 cups onions, ground. Sprinkle with 5 tablespoons salt. Let stand overnight; then drain well. Add mixture of 2 1/2 cups white vinegar, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, 2 tablespoons celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon turmeric, 1 1/4 tablespoon cornstarch, and 6 cups sugar. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 sweet red pepper, ground, and cook five minutes more. Pour into sterile jars and seal.
This relish is delicious and can be used in many ways.
I would like to comment on the article on my husband in your June issue [“Portraits in Miniature,” p. 60]. The whole experience of Europeans in World War II was extraordinary. During the German occupation of Holland, many of the Dutch people had good reasons to hide from the Germans. The Jews among us knew they would lose their lives if found, for the simple reason of being Jews. Most others had to avoid arrest for political reasons. Food was rationed at the time, and in order to feed these refugees, it became necessary to forge ration cards.
I did not beg for food, but I did ask the farmers if they would want to sell me food for either money or articles, such as sheets, towels, salt, or gold jewelry. More often than not it was articles that were acceptable to the farmers. Money didn’t have any value during those days.
During the war, when he was taken a prisoner, my husband was convicted to 29 months of hard labor on the charge of possessing a radio (an illegal act at the time) and listening to the British radio broadcasts. When his attorney said that nothing more could be done for him, it was suggested that he try to trick the Germans into releasing him. The Germans at the time (early 1944) had a desperate need for technically skilled labor in their war industry. It was felt that once he was released, he would go into hiding and hopefully would not be found again. The plan worked and Wim was given permission to come home for one week to get clothes and other necessities. His physical condition was extremely poor, and even a German doctor diagnosed some 14 or so diseases. Some time was allowed for recuperation and we deemed it unwise to go into hiding as long as Wim could stay home “legally.”
Finally, around the end of August or beginning of September 1944 he was told to report for work the following Saturday. We immediately started preparations for him to travel to the hiding place that I had arranged for earlier. He also was provided with forged ration cards and passport. However, before the appointed Saturday arrived, “Mad Tuesday” occurred. Rumors of pending Allied invasion sent Germans and Quislings alike into a panic. The resulting exodus of these enemies enabled the Dutch underground organization to destroy German offices and burn most of the records. We never heard of the matter again, even if most Germans returned to Holland. It took my husband several years to recover completely his health.
Coby van Mastrigt
San Francisco, California