Genesis 42

Genesis 42 has the famine reaching the land of Canaan where Jacob and his people are.  “Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, Why do you look at one another”?  It seems pretty obvious doesn’t it – that in the midst of famine when there is an option for grain in a neighboring place, you would load up and go get some.  Jacob tells them “Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die”.  So ten of his sons (all but Benjamin) go to Egypt to buy grain and when they get there – “Joseph was governor over the land….Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him”.

He grills them and treats them roughly because it wasn’t time to reveal his identity yet.  Joseph wanted a full family reunion.  So “he put them all together in custody for three days”.  They were locked up and confined while Joseph made it clear who was in charge.  But after their captivity, he lets them out and instructs them to “bring your youngest brother to me”.  Joseph wants to see his little brother.  The rest of the brothers argue about the penalty they are now paying for how they had treated Joseph many years earlier when they sold him into slavery.

Joseph is touched by their discussion.  They didn’t realize he could understand them but he could, and as he did “he turned away from them and wept”.  His heart was touched and the sweetness of the potential of a reunion with his father and all his brothers was overwhelming.  He has his people pack their bags with grain, and also instructs them to return the money they had brought along to pay for the grain in the top of each sack.  They discover it on their return trip when they stop to feed their animals and are fearful of what that may mean.

As they get back to Canaan and their father, they tell the story of this man in Egypt and his rough treatment of them.  They recall the accusation of being spies, and how he insisted they return with their younger brother in order to secure the release of Simeon who was kept in jail to guarantee their return.  Jacob was not pleased when he learned they intended to take Benjamin there.  He said “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is the only one left”.  Remember that Joseph and Benjamin were the only two sons of Rachel, and he wasn’t about to lose the second as he had accepted the lie that Joseph was dead many years earlier.  Even with Reuben’s promise of safe return, Jacob is not ready to allow it to happen.

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