Genesis 42, Joseph's brothers in Egypt

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. Helen

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    Aug 29, 2001
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    They didn't know him, but he recognized them! To them he was an Egyptian overlord. To him, what were they now? What kind of memories came flooding back to Joseph when his brothers came from famine-struck Canaan to buy grain for their families?

    Verse 9 says he remembered his dreams about them. That must have hit him with a shock! Perhaps it was as much because of a sense of shock as from a desire to test them that he challenged their mission, saying they were spies.

    Partway through the challenge, listening to them (although they do not know this Egyptian official can understand them), Joseph turns and weeps. He must have been going through some pretty violent emotions during this encounter.

    He keeps one brother as hostage, a guarantee they will return. In the meantime he also gives orders that each man's money be returned -- but in a way that the brothers will not know about at first -- the money is in the sacks of grain they 'bought.'

    When the brothers return home with the grain and open up the sacks, there is the money. The Bible says "they were frightened."

    Yeah, I bet they were! All that Egyptian official had to do was accuse them of theft and they would be executed.

    Jacob panics. He says everything is against him. Joseph is gone, Simeon (who was held hostage) is gone, and now they want to take Benjamin back with them, as they told the Pharaoh's man they would do.

    What is the most interesting to me here, though is that Jacob says to his sons, "YOU have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more and now you want to take Benjamin."

    Did Jacob know something? On the other hand, it appears that the man is either subject to exaggeration or is foreign to hope. I can see him understanding that Joseph is dead, but Simeon?

    He then says to his nine or ten sons standing there, "My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow."

    Now maybe someone else is seeing something else in here, but I am seeing an old man who is still playing favorites to the point of barely acknowledging the ten sons in favor of Joseph and Benjamin! Rachel is dead, but it is still Rachel all the way!

    I can't help but compare this with other people in the Bible: Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his only son by Sarah, the promised child through whom he had been told his descendants would outnumber the sand grains. And I think of young Mary, being told she would be pregnant without benefit of either marriage or the marriage act, humbly bowing to God's will, KNOWING she will be thought of as a whore. And I think of Paul, going through so much because that is what God asked of him.

    And then I look at Jacob moaning and groaning over himself primarily, causing such dissension in his own family from the beginning.

    Each of us has a choice of reacting either like Abraham or like Jacob, his grandson, when faced with adversity: follow God, with your eyes upon Him, or follow yourself, with your eyes also upon yourself. One way is a way of faith and the other of selfishness. God used both, however. He can do that. He is God.

    Jacob reminds me a bit of Lot. Both of them relied far more heavily on their own reasoning than upon God's. And yet both are considered righteous in the Bible. That obviously has nothing to do with themselves, and rests entirely with God!

    [ July 16, 2002, 02:03 AM: Message edited by: Helen ]
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Oct 10, 2001
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