Archive for July 18th, 2011

Genesis 42

Genesis 42 is about famine in the land – exactly as Joseph had interpreted in Pharaoh’s dreams.  Things are tough in his homeland, so “ten  of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt….Jacob did not send Benjamin”. It is important to note that Jacob kept Benjamin home because he too was the youngest son but also very important to his dad.  They take the journey to Egypt because the word on the street was that there was grain available there.  And it was true – Joseph knew this famine was coming and prepared for seven years by storing up grain in the storehouses.  Now they must go there to get some so they don’t starve to death.  “Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him” as they rode into town.  An unfair advantage for Joseph here, and he uses it to the max.

Joseph accuses them.  “You are spies”.  He doesn’t come running and let them know who he was.  He wanted his family reunited, so he makes some strong demands.  “You shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here…. bring your brother”.  Rather demanding but after all Joseph is number two in the land that has all the food so he does get to call the shots.  “He put them all  together in custody for three days” just to show them he was serious.  He finally keeps Simeon in jail and send them on their way to go  retrieve Benjamin and return to gain Simeon’s freedom.

Reuben reminds them that this is all because of what they did to Joseph.  “Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did  not listen”.  He is correct – he did try to intervene and did prevent them from killing Joseph – but things are really tough now and the guilt heavy.  Joseph is overwhelmed and “he turned away from them and wept”.  But Joseph sends them on their way, doing three things
as they left:

1.  “fill their bags with grain

2.  replace every man’s money in his sack

3.  give them provisions for the journey

The brothers head home without Simeon and come to Jacob.  They have bags filled with grain and along the way discover that their money  was also in the bag – so they are afraid that they are in trouble.  They come to Jacob and tell him the demand – bring Benjamin back and Simeon will be released.  Reuben again takes the lead by guaranteeing that he will take care of Benjamin.  “Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you”.  Jacob will hear none of it – and says no.  He has now lost two sons in his opinion, and is not going to take another chance.  After all, the money was in the bags and that can’t be a good thing.  So Jacob makes it clear he wants none of this plan.  Joseph does all this to set up a family reunion so restoration can happen in the coming chapters.

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