Genesis 43-45, I am your brother!

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

  1. Helen

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    Aug 29, 2001
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    Chapter 43 begins with the note that the famine was not only continuing, but was severe. Jacob’s family was running out of the food they had brought back from Egypt before. So Jacob tells them to go back. Judah reminds his father that if they want an allowance of grain, they must take Benjamin back with them. In a remonstrance, he tells his father, “As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”

    When Jacob relents, he is again thinking only of himself. Although he instructs his sons to take gifts to the Egyptian authority, he closes his orders and permission with “As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

    Love for Simeon, in jail in Egypt, or Benjamin whose life he thinks is in danger, would have dictated that he say something about them for their own sakes, but he did not.

    The brothers take back double the silver, one lot to pay for the grain before and another lot for this new purchase. In the meantime, Joseph finds out they have arrived in Egypt and makes preparations to have them to his home for dinner. This terrifies the brothers, as they have no idea what is going on and think perhaps the ‘special treatment’ is a prelude to them being enslaved because the silver had gone home with them.

    The steward must have been in on Joseph’s plan to some degree, because when the brothers try to explain to him what happened, he tells them not to worry. And then he says something we might not expect an Egyptian official to say: “your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.” How did the steward know about God unless Joseph had already shared with him? It is perhaps wise not to underestimate Joseph’s influence in Egypt at that time. He may have been far more than simply someone ‘in charge.’ He may have been God’s way of reaching out to the Egyptians in the middle of their idolatry.

    Simeon is brought out to them and Joseph shows up. He asks about his father and, seeing Benjamin, asks if this is the youngest brother. Seeing his own full brother for the first time in so many years is more than Joseph can handle, and he leaves the room and looks for a private place to cry. It must have been an incredible moment for him. Joseph, being of the Egyptian court now, eats separately from his brothers, but the brothers are astonished that, at their table, they are seated in order of age. How did this Egyptian official know?

    And then the brothers are sent away with grain in their sacks, full up. However Joseph has given special orders to his steward. The money is, again, to be returned. And this time something extra: his own cup is to be placed in Benjamin’s sack. When the cup is later ‘found’ there, the brothers are devastated. They return to Egypt, afraid and abashed. How did the cup come to be in Benjamin’s sack? A bit of curiosity in me asks whether they believed Benjamin had taken it or not. How did they treat him on the way back to Egypt? What did they say? We are not told.

    When they are facing Joseph again, unknowing this is their brother, Judah steps forward. In a move foreshadowing his future great, great, great….great grandson, Jesus, Judah offers to put himself in Benjamin’s place and be enslaved instead of Benjamin. He tries to explain to this Egyptian official how very important to their father it is that Benjamin be returned home safely. An interesting point here is that Judah appears to have no problems with acknowledging that Their father’s favorites are the two sons of Rachel. One is gone; they cannot afford to lose the other as well.

    As Judah pleads, Joseph can restrain himself no longer. Ordering the servants to leave, he informs these men from Canaan, “I am your brother!” But the minute he says that, there is a thought not for himself on his mind: “Is my father still living?”

    The brothers are now doubly terrified. This is the brother they sold as a slave to the Ishmaelites – and he is in a position of enormous power now. Their lives might well be forfeit .

    Joseph then reassures them with his famous speech: “Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. but God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance”.

    What a contrast to his father! Jacob, thinking only of himself so much of the time, would have found it impossible to react in this way. But Joseph has his eyes and heart on God, and is seeing things a little differently than his father would.

    Pharaoh learns of the development of Joseph’s family arriving and not only welcomes them, but directs them to bring their families and move to Egypt where they will be given the best in the land.

    Joseph has his brothers’ donkeys loaded and sends them back to their father with the various messages. As a parting comment, he tells them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”

    Evidently the brothers have not changed a lot!

    The brothers return home with the grain and gifts. They tell the family about Joseph and his request they move to Egypt. Jacob is stunned: “My son Joseph is still alive! I will go and see him before I die.”


    We have the same choices Jacob and Joseph had: God or self? We have that choice when our lives are hurting and/or damaged we can moan and groan, thinking only of ourselves, or we can firmly put our eyes on Jesus and let his light and glory shine through as happened with Joseph. The first way could end up blocking some very nice things the Lord would like to give you. The second way opens up all the doors for God’s grace so that it will shine through you in your life.

    I pray we may all
    “Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
    Look full in his wonderful face.
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
    In the light of His glory and grace.”

    Most of you probably know this praise hymn. Think about it. (I don’t know who wrote it, by the way.)

    [ July 18, 2002, 01:33 AM: Message edited by: Helen ]
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Oct 10, 2001
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