Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. This is a favorite verse of Ref/Cals that I often see used to argue that God uses evil to bring about good. And perhaps that is so. But seeing this used so much I went back at looked at this story carefully. What I see, is that God "countered evil". Lets look at a few verses and I will explain. Gen 37:12 And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem. 13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. 14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. This story starts out innocently enough, Israel (Jacob) sends Joseph to find his brothers. Joseph is obedient, and does exactly as told. Gen 37:15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? 16 And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. 17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. Now here is when PERHAPS we see God intervening on Joseph's behalf. His brothers are not in Shechem, they have gone to Dothan. This appears to be surprising to Joseph. I think this is significant. Gen 37:18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. 19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. 20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams. Now, here is what Joseph meant in Gen 50:20 when he said his brothers thought evil against him. They wanted to KILL Joseph. Now keep that in mind, this was their intent, not to sell Joseph, but to KILL him. Gen 37:21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. 22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. Here I believe we see God intervening for Joseph. He moved Reuben to say "Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit". They were going to kill Joseph, but Reuben suggested they simply throw Joseph in a pit and leave him to die. Now, it is true Reuben wanted to return and save Joseph, but his other brothers were still intent upon killing him. Now, it also appears Reuben left his brothers. Perhaps he was trying to draw them away from the pit so he could return later and rescue Joseph, but his brothers remained by the pit. Gen 37:23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; 24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. 25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. 26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. 28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. Now, I have always thought it a little odd that Joseph's brothers sat down to eat. I believe this was also from God, as it prevented the brothers from leaving Joseph in the pit where he would die. It bought Joseph time. And it so happened during this time that a caravan passed by, and Judah got the idea of selling Joseph to the merchants. Now, that takes us back to Shechem. That is where Israel (Jacob) expected his sons to be, and where Joseph had gone looking for them. But they had moved on to Dothan which is significant, because it was a trade route. And I believe God moved the brothers to sit down and eat which bought time for Joseph until this caravan came along. And so Joseph's life was spared, because he would have died in the pit. So, I believe God was "countering" the brothers evil intentions all along. God caused them to go to Dothan. Is this evil? No. God moved Reuben to suggest throwing Joseph in the pit when his brothers wanted to kill him. Is this evil? No. God moved the brothers to eat until a caravan of merchants came along, when they might have left Joseph in the pit to die. Is this evil? No. And God moved Judah to desire to sell Joseph instead of leaving him to die. Is this evil? No, not really, for Joseph's life was spared when he was sold to the merchants, otherwise he would have died in the pit. So, I admit there is a great deal of speculation on my part here, but I believe God was countering what Joseph's brothers true intentions were, which was to KILL Joseph, not sell him. Joseph's life was spared, Joseph was taken down into Egypt, and later saved his people, including his brothers who wanted to kill him. So, I do not see God using evil here, so much as I see him countering evil to bring about good. What do you say?