Prophet Joseph — episodes forty-one and forty-two


Synopsis. Joseph and Asenath pay a visit to Zuleikha and find that she is still deep in prayer. Asenath says she isn’t jealous that Joseph will be getting a second wife soon, but she says she does covet Zuleikha’s spiritual growth. Meanwhile, Joseph’s brothers split up into groups of two or three and enter Thebes by different gates, to avoid being detected — but they are spotted anyway and taken back to the palace. Joseph reveals his identity to Benjamin but tells him to keep it a secret. Joseph tells Asenath he has to find a way to keep Benjamin in Egypt so that their father, Jacob, can give up his sons and get them back the same way Abraham almost sacrificed one of his sons, only to get him back. The brothers leave Thebes and begin to make their way back to Canaan, but Joseph’s soldiers ride out and accuse the brothers of stealing a golden chalice.

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Prophet Joseph — episodes thirty-nine and forty


Synopsis. The once-bald priests of Amon, now hairy and bearded after their stint in prison, are summoned to the court of Akhenaten. Joseph speaks to the Egyptians in the building that used to be Amon’s temple, and, seeing Rudamon in the crowd, tells the officer to stay by his side from here on. Joseph’s wife Asenath discovers who Zuleikha is and confronts Joseph with the fact that the woman who once owned him has become a beggar while he ignored her. An angel appears to Joseph and tells him he must marry Zuleikha. Zuleikha is brought before the court and, after Joseph prays to God, both Zuleikha’s sight and her youth are restored to her. The chief priest of Amon, who has experience tricking people into believing that gods have acted, refuses to believe that the miracle is genuine, but at least one priest does believe. Zuleikha goes to another room with the women, and tells them that — surprise! — she doesn’t want to see Joseph right now. Instead, she wants to be alone with God for now.

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Prophet Joseph — episodes five and six


Synopsis. Jacob has a nightmare in which ten wolves chase Joseph to his death. He describes the dream to Leah, who passes it on to their family, and soon everyone assumes that the wolves are a metaphor for Joseph’s ten older brothers. Satan himself appears to the brothers, claiming to be a resident of one of the nearby villages, and describes a dream of his own that stokes their jealousy even more. A Canaanite accuses the older brothers of mistreating him, and Jacob admonishes his sons to live in harmony with the “Palestinians” who were living in Canaan before they were. Joseph dreams that the sun, moon and eleven stars will one day bow down to him, and Jacob tells him to keep this dream to himself. But Bilhah overhears them and tells Joseph’s brothers about the dream, and they agree that they should kill Joseph.

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Prophet Joseph — episodes one and two


Last year I wrote an essay on films about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph — the patriarchs of Genesis — for an upcoming book called The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (current release date: July 15). As research for that essay, I watched a lot of movies based on Genesis, but I only had so much time at my disposal, and I couldn’t watch everything that came my way.

This was especially true of Yousuf e Payambar, a.k.a. Prophet Joseph, a 45-episode series about the life of Joseph produced for Iranian television about eight or nine years ago. I was intrigued by the series, especially when I found multiple versions of it floating around YouTube and other websites, but I couldn’t justify watching roughly 35 hours of footage just to beef up one or two paragraphs in my essay.

I have a little more time now, though, and since I have done weekly episode recaps of series like A.D. The Bible Continues and Of Kings and Prophets, I thought it might be interesting to take a similar look at Prophet Joseph — but since there are so many episodes, I plan to look at two each week, instead of just one. I don’t mind doing this over the course of five or six months, but almost a year? That’s a little much.

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Why are some Bible stories turned into movies more often than others?


My friend Matt Page is starting a series of posts over at the Bible Films Blog on the question of canonicity and Bible films. Among other things, he asks: Is there a “canon” of Bible films, independent of the biblical canon itself? And is there a reason why certain biblical stories get filmed again and again while others go ignored?

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The life of Isaac, son of Abraham: a movie treatment


They say middle children are often ignored, compared to the ones who came before and after them. The same could be said of middle patriarchs, too.

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