In the boots of Joseph – (Gen 40:41)
“Today is three days to the Sabbath, those rowdy Syrians have to clean that cell block D today. I am not listening to their lazy excuses again”, what is it with people anyway, would they rather live in their filth!?
The royal socks washer and the nail trimmer (the guy who washes Pharaohs socks and the one that trims his nails) are in the VIP cell block and such divas, they need new blankets… this prison is so damn hot! I have to assign duties to the new prisoners… those awaiting release are about… four… no, five. I need to go collect their release forms…
What on earth is that noise…?
I can’t deal with another gang fight today.
Those philistines! They think they rule the world even in prison…?
I am putting them in the hole today… all of them!
Joseph must have mused as he started his day in the King Rameses the IV maximum prison. What else does a guy jailed for the last thirteen years think about?
“Prisoner number 54321?” a guard called out…
“Afande!” Joseph answered…
“We jambasi ebu nifuate haraka unaitwa apa nje na wakubwa.”
Before Joseph could say “pyramid”, the prison wardens were on him dragging him to the entrance of the prison without much explanation. He knew better than to protest or ask too many questions. This place was seriously hot, making most people quite irritable and short tempered.
They dumped him at the entrance at the feet of the guards who didn’t seem amused either by the waiting or the task at hand.
“My friend utakula nyahunyo, ebu simama kama umegeti haraka, haraka!“
They half carried him into their shed where he saw a basin of water and a razor,
”Nyoa hio mandevu yako mahabusu, na ustake nikuje hapo nikunyoe!”
He started shaving as fast as he could trying to steady his trembling hand. In this prison, one could be killed just because it was Tuesday.
“Why would they shave a prisoner before hanging, ama the beard gets entangled in their rope? Apana… even these godless Egyptians wouldn’t do that.” He murmured to himself.
The warden came back and threw him a robe that had seen the better days.
“Vaa hio we mahabusu twende!”
They dragged him again to the palace entrance and handed him to the royal guards.
What on earth is going on! The palace guards! These guards are royalty!
“tunaenda wapi boss?” Joseph asked in a soft voice.
“Can you compose yourself, you are going before the Pharaoh, rule no. 1. Do not address him or anyone else unless addressed, no 2. Do not look directly at him, speak audibly and clearly with short and precise answers. Do you understand prisoner 54321?”
“Ndio afande! Mkubwa anatakaaje?”
“Tembea twende utajulia mbele”
Joseph stood before the Pharaoh! As he came in, he saw the chief butler.
“That snake forgot all about me, did I just see a small smile on his lips as I came in! He is happy the Pharaoh is just about to hang me!?” he thinks to himself.
Pharaoh was addressing Joseph about dreams, he was asking about interpretation of dreams. “What were the rules… did the guard say to keep my mouth or my eyes shut? Is he waiting for me to answer? It is not in me God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”
“God help me!”
There was palpable silence in the room as pharaoh continued to narrate his dreams. God is so faithful He not only quickened Joseph on the interpretation but also on the solution.
“This… mmmhh!… my throat feels like sand paper… this… this is the thing that God has shown Pharaoh…”
Joseph spoke all that the Lord put in His spirit, finished, kept his mouth shut and eyes averted waiting to be shoved out by the palace guards.
“What is taking so long… doesn’t he know am done… I need to get back to that release forms office before noon… otherwise those poor sods will be spending another night in jail…”
There was pin-drop silence for what seemed like an eternity… Then Pharaoh asked a question… no one spoke… Joseph’s eyes were still averted until he heard the Pharaoh speak, what he pretty much felt was directed at him.
“Should I look up now? Is he really talking to me? I should start sleeping better… I am finally hallucinating! Did he say me… I am the discerning and wise man to do that?!”
“Wee nyangau! Angalia mkubwa akikuongelesha!” the nearest palace guard whispered roughly…
Joseph looked up cautiously as Pharaoh was now beckoning for him to be brought closer… he took off his signet ring and put it on Joseph’s hand! It was heavy and he could feel every ounce of it. He felt as if it was burning his hand.
“This man! This man is a god to his people! I am a slave, a convict and a foreigner… and he just… he just gave me his signet ring… am I in a dream?!”
Pharaoh raised his hand at somebody who came forward with this fine linen that Joseph had never seen and a gold chain that seemed to weigh a tonne! Pharaoh took the garment and draped it on Joseph; put the gold chain on him! Joseph was ready to faint… this was subliminal. He felt like he was having an out-of-body experience… like he was a spectator in this beautiful, yet crazy dream.
“Please don’t wake up… Please don’t wake up…” Joseph repeated this to himself as he followed Pharaoh quickly who was now mounting his chariot.
The guard who had roughly dragged him to the palace said,
”Msheshimiwa, yako ndio hii, Sir! He said pointing at the second chariot that rode behind Pharaohs’…
As Joseph mounted it, he mused “Mheshi-what-now!? Did he just say sir?! were this guards saluting to him now!? Ha ha… this is insane!”
Pharaoh was speaking again and people were bowing the knee,
“I am Pharaoh and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
“This makes me the prime minister! What a God we serve.” he said suddenly remembering his childhood dreams.
That evening as Joseph sat with a glass of the finest wine and the rarest of caviar before him on the balcony of the west wing of the palace with the view of the city, sphinx, and the pyramids from a distance which had now been allocated to him and his wife Asenath… he was lost in his thoughts trying to catch up with the events of the day which seemed to have overtaken him.
“Zaaphnath-paaneah… Zaaphnath-paaneah… what a name I will have to write that down somewhere… palace… prime minister… wife… this is just surreal! If I had thought of a billion ways God would have used to bless me… I could never have thought of this one…”
“God, I need your help now more than ever. Give me the strength and wisdom to carry out this task ahead of me.” He prayed silently for quite a while…
As he stood up to go inside and join his wife for dinner and still reeling from the events of the day, a random thought crossed his mind, “I should invite the chief butler for dinner tomorrow… he was the bridge to all this… I really shouldn’t have called him a snake… though he took his sweet time to remember me.”
As he slept that night on a mattress that felt like he was laying on fresh bread his last thoughts were,
“Did those Syrian oafs even clean their cell block?”
“And those poor lads will have to sit tight for some few days.”