Genesis and Responsories, Cont.: Lent 3

Continuing along with early medieval monastic responsories sung alongside the continuous reading of Genesis…

Videntes Joseph a longe (CAO 7863)
R: Seeing Joseph from far off, his brothers spoke among themselves saying, “Behold, here comes the dreamer. Come, Let us kill him and see if his dreams predicted this.”
V: And when Joseph was seen by his brothers—for he was loved by their father more than all of the others—they hated him, nor was anyone able to speak peacefully to them, thus they said; “Come, Let us kill him…”
Source: Gen 37:18-20.

Dixit Judas fratribus suis: Ecce (CAO 6477)
R: Judah said to his brothers, “Behold, Ishmaelites are passing by; come, let us sell him and not pollute our hands. Indeed, he is our flesh and our brother.”
V: When Ruben went out to the well and did not find him, tearing his clothes and going to his brothers he said, “The boy is not present; and where will I go?”; “Indeed, he is our flesh…”
Source: Gen 37:26-27, 29-30.

Videns Jacob vestimenta Joseph (CAO 7858)
R: Jacob, seeing the garment of Joseph, tore his clothes with tears saying, “A wild beast has devoured my son, Joseph.”
V: “See if this is the garment of your son or not;” and when the father saw it, he said: “A wild beast…”
Source: Gen 37:34a, 33, 32b.

Joseph, dum intraret (CAO 7037)
R: Joseph, when he entered into the land of Egypt heard a tongue that he did not understand; his hands worked at their labor, and his tongue spoke wisdom among the leaders.
V: His back was turned away from burdens. His hands worked…
Source: VgPs 81:6-7

Memento mei dum bene (CAO 7144)
R: “Remember me when it is well with you that you might suggest to Pharaoh that he lead me forth from this prison, for I am suffering under a trick and was sent innocent into the pit.”
V: “Indeed after three days, Pharaoh will recall your ministering and will restore you to your former position—then remember me. Suggest to Pharaoh”
Source: Gen 40:12b,13, 14. (Joseph prophesying to the cup-bearer)

Tollite hinc vobiscum munera (CAO 7769)
R: “Take these presents with you, and go to the lord of the land; and when you find him, prostrate yourselves upon the ground. May my God make you favorable to him and he may send back both your brother with you and he who is held in chains.”
V: “Take the fruit of the earth in your vessels and offer to the man presents. May my God make you favorable…”
Source: Gen 43:11, 14. (Israel telling his sons to go to Egypt to buy food from the incognito Joseph)

Iste est frater vester minimus (CAO 6999)
R: “Is this your youngest brother of whom you told me? God have mercy on you, my son!” And he hurried into the house and wept, because he broke out in tears and was not able to contain them.
V: But Joseph, lifting up his eyes, saw Benjamin standing there; his whole body was moved on account of his brother. And he hurried into the house…
Source: Gen 43:29b, 30, 29a. (Joseph reunited with his youngest brother.)

Dixit Ruben fratribus suis (CAO 6480)
R: Ruben said to his brothers, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not sin against the boy’?—but you did not listen to me. His blood is required.”
V: “We deserve to suffer this, because we sinned against our brother seeing his anguish when he supplicated us but we did not hear him. His blood is required.”
Source: Gen 42:22, 21. (Ruben & brothers after their initial hardships in Egypt at the hand of Joseph.)

Merito haec patimur, quia peccavimus (CAO 7146)
R: “We deserve to suffer this, because we sinned against our brother seeing his anguish when he supplicated us but we did not hear him. For this reason tribulation has come upon us.”
V: Ruben said to his brothers, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not sin against the boy’?—but you did not listen to me. For this reason tribulation has come upon us.”
Source: Gen 42:21, 22. (Ruben & brothers after their initial hardships in Egypt at the hand of Joseph.)

Dixit Joseph undecim fratribus (CAO 6476)
R: Joseph said to his eleven brothers, “I am Joseph whom you sold into Egypt. Does our old father still live about whom you have told me? Go, bring him to me that he might live.”
V: “For two years the famine has been in the land; it will yet remain another five. Go, bring him to me…”
Source: Gen 45:4b, 3, 6.

Nuntiaverunt Jacob dicentes (CAO 7251)
R: They announced it to Jacob saying, “Your son Joseph lives and he himself rules over the whole land of Egypt,” upon hearing his spirit was revived and he said, “It is enough for me. I will go and I will see him before I die.
V: And when Jacob heard that his son was alive, as if waking from a deep sleep said: “It is enough for me…”
Source: Gen 45:26a, 27b-28, 26b.

Salus nostra in manu tua est (CAO 7559)
R: “Our salvation is in your hands, lord. May your mercy rest upon us that we may serve you in quietness.”
V: “May your soul live, lord, that we may not see death, nor our little ones be wanting. that we may serve you in quietness.”
Source: I know of no direct citations here. The language could fit either monastics imploring Christ or the brothers imploring Joseph, especially given an alternate verse form: “They also came to Egypt to Joseph saying, ‘Give us food that we might live'” [found in Hesbert’s GDFL].

Here we clearly have a Joseph set but it’s constructed in such a way to bring out two parallel texts. First, it harkens back to the Cain and Abel story, particularly with the themes of death and pollution by blood in Dixit Judas fratribus suis: Ecce (CAO 6477), Dixit Ruben fratribus suis (CAO 6480), and
Merito haec patimur, quia peccavimus (CAO 7146).

Second, Joseph appears as a very pronounced type of Christ. The innocent, beloved above others by the father, is set upon by his sinful brothers. His innocence is put in direct connection with three days in bondage. Even Joseph’s title dominus terrae [referenced in Tollite hinc vobiscum munera (CAO 7769)] sounds remarkably Christological in this setting. The repetition of the brothers’ confession in
Dixit Ruben fratribus suis (CAO 6480) and
Merito haec patimur, quia peccavimus (CAO 7146) is entirely appropriate in a Lenten setting and the connection between the brothers’ sins against Joseph and the contemporary hearers’ sins against Christ would not be missed. The last responsory in particular containing plausible pseudo-dialogue between the brothers and Joseph reveals how many of the exchange map onto both Joseph and Christ.

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