The key verses happen at the end of Genesis when Joseph, now become upwardly mobile in Egypt, is heading up the food distribution and his brothers, who are starving because of famine, have come asking for some food. Just to repeat: these are the brothers who tried to kill Joseph. Using a translation suggested by the Jewish Study Bible, here are verses 19 and 20:
But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I a substitute for God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.I've been pondering this response. I think the turning point for Joseph was that he remembered his God and specifically that God is working for good even when human beings are working for evil. One point I don't want to miss is that Joseph doesn't call his brothers' actions good just because good ultimately happened. How many times have I heard this--"Don't worry about what they did. It's fine. I all came out ok in the end, didn't it?" To be frank, duh! That's what a good God does--God brings good out of evil. But we should never call evil good.
More importantly, Joseph remembers that he can forgive and even reconcile with his brothers because of God's guiding hand. It's not that different from what Paul several hundred years later, "We know that God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Good for Paul. It's also good for Joseph--a trickster, not always a honorable in his actions--but someone who finished his life well. (The next verses in Genesis 50 narrate his death.) He reconciled with is family. Ah, but can we remember that fact when we've been hurt? That's the big question.