Asenath (Genesis 41)
Hypocrite. Traitor. Convert.
Over the years my own people have thrown those names at me. Accusations, incriminations, lies. Because I don’t think I’m any of those things. I am who I have always been, “I am Asenath.”
How long has it been since I first spoke those words to Joseph? How many years have passed since I first shared my name and my God with him?
By the looks of us, his face now lined with age and my hair long since turned grey, it’s been a lifetime. How would she react, that younger version of myself, if she could see us now? Would she be surprised by the two sons, now full-grown, who have blessed our home? Would she be shocked to hear the voices of grandchildren filling our halls? Or to see the love that has grown between Joseph and I?
Perhaps. After all, she wasn’t too happy, that younger Asenath, to have been instructed by Pharoah to marry this strange man, Joseph. This dreamer of dreams and devotee of a single, strange God whose name he didn’t even know.
I had declared my intentions to him from the moment we met. Standing there, in the grand home Pharoah had given Joseph, I had made myself clear, or so I thought.
“I am Asenath.” I declared.
At first confusion clouded his face, followed quickly by a barely suppressed smile as I continued vehemently on, “And lest you think I’m going to bow down to your strange nameless God, take heed, for I am Neith’s, and Neith’s I shall remain.”
“Neith?” He asked, his barely suppressed smile beginning to break through, “Who is Neith?”
Humph. Fool. “How can you not know Neith,” I spat back. “She is the things that are, that will be, and that have been. I am named for her, Asenath, ‘she belongs to Neith.’ She has been with me since I was a child; guiding me, protecting me, loving me, when no one else did.”
“I’m sorry.” Joseph responded sheepishly. “I’m not from here, and there are so many gods and goddesses to know. I guess I missed her. Would you like to tell me about her?”
His honest question took me aback. “You want to know about Neith? I thought you only cared about your nameless God?”
“My God is not nameless;” Joseph responded with a grin, “they have a name. I just don’t know it yet. And you never know, perhaps it’s Neith.”
I fell speechless, an unusual experience for me. This foreigner with his strange dreams and strange God was nothing like I expected.
“Neith,” I began slowly, “is the creator of the world. She formed it out of darkness and chaos, pulling together the waters to form land. She created us and she walks with us every day. She is with us at our birth, journeys with us through life, and welcomes us at our death. Here, this is her.” I lifted my amulet from about my neck and handed it to him. “Her arms are spread wide, welcoming us into her warm embrace.”
Joseph gently took my precious amulet from me and looked at it closely. He turned his gaze back to me and said, “She sounds very loving, and like she has a lot in common with my God. My God also created the world from darkness and chaos, pulling together the waters to form the land. My God also created us, and walks with us, with me, every day. My God has never left me alone, even when everything seemed hopeless, my God walked with me and gave me hope. Their arms are always open, welcoming me into a warm embrace.”
Joseph held out my amulet and watched as I put it back around my neck.
“Perhaps,” he said, “Neith and my God have more in common than we realize. I wonder if it’s possible they’re even one and the same? Maybe your people and my people just understand them a little differently? Maybe we could even learn something about them from each other?”
“Maybe.” I said.
“I’m willing to try if you are.” Joseph responded, holding out his hand to me.
“I am.” I said, as I took his hand and smiled.
Questions to ponder
What was your favorite part of the story?
Where did you see God in the story?
What is God inviting you to try on today in light of the story?
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