Scriptures

Genesis 43

Introduction

‘Now the famine was still severe in the land. So, when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, ‘Go back and buy us a little more food.’ But Judah said to him, ‘The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ Israel asked, ‘Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?’ They replied, ‘The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?’ Then Judah said to Israel his father, ‘Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.’ Then their father Israel said to them, ‘If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.’ Genesis 43:1-14

Joseph’s Brothers Second Visit To Egypt

It appears Jacob’s sons didn’t return to Egypt straight away, which means that Simeon is still in prison in Egypt, Genesis 42:24. They waited until they had almost run out of food again.

Judah is the one who now speaks to his father concerning Benjamin and tells him he needs to send Benjamin to Egypt with them, Genesis 42:20. Judah puts his own life on the line, after all, he did wrong to Joseph, Genesis 37:26-26 and he did wrong to Tamar, Genesis 38.

It’s clear that Jacob and his family were feeling the effects of the famine because Jacob now decides it’s their only option. Jacob’s family would have had a good water supply from the many well which they had dug, hence they had different kinds of fruit available to them, but the problem was the lack of grain which they would have used not only to feed themselves but to feed their sheep and cattle. He’s prepared to send money, double the amount of money and gifts to Egypt.

‘So, the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, ‘Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal; they are to eat with me at noon.’ The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house. Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, ‘We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.’ So, they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. ‘We beg your pardon, our lord,’ they said, ‘we came down here the first time to buy food. But at the place where we stopped for the night, we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver—the exact weight—in the mouth of his sack. So, we have brought it back with us. We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.’ ‘It’s all right,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.’ Then he brought Simeon out to them. The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.’ Genesis 43:15-25

When Joseph’s brothers arrived with Benjamin, Joseph appears to know that there’s something different about their attitudes. His brothers also appear to know that’s there’s something different about Joseph, although they still don’t recognise him, they appear confused as to why a meal is being prepared, which leads them to become afraid, especially concerning the silver they found in their sacks when they left Egypt after meeting Joseph the first time, Genesis 42:25.

The brothers go on to explain that their money had been placed in their sacks on the previous journey, and Joseph’s servant told them not to be afraid because it was him who put the money in their sacks, notice also that he says, ‘your God, the God of your father’, it’s clear that Joseph must have been sharing his faith his with servants, for him to make that statement.

‘When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. He asked them how they were, and then he said, ‘How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?’ They replied, ‘Your servant our father is still alive and well.’ And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him. As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, ‘Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?’ And he said, ‘God be gracious to you, my son.’ Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there. After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, ‘Serve the food.’ They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians. The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment. When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So, they feasted and drank freely with him.’ Genesis 43:26-34

This is now the second and third time they have bowed down to Joseph, Genesis 42:6 in fulfilment of his earlier dreams, Genesis 37:5-9. Joseph recognised his brother Benjamin but to keep his pretence going, he asks his bothers anyway and is overcome with his emotions to such an extent that he runs out of the room to weep, probably because he hasn’t seen his brother Benjamin in years.

Remember the Egyptians saw the Hebrews as ‘unclean’ because they were shepherds, this is the reason why they wouldn’t eat with them. It’s clear that Joseph’s brothers, who were seated in order of age, were astonished, why?

Simply because they were confused about what was happening, the last time they were in Egypt Joseph spoke to them harshly, Genesis 42:2, and had them thrown in prison for three days, Genesis 42:17-18, and now he’s providing a meal for them.

Joseph showed his love for Benjamin by giving him five times as much food as his other brothers were given. He loved Benjamin because he was his brother who shared the same mother, Rachel, Genesis 30:22-24 / Genesis 35:18.

Go To Genesis 44

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

Proverbs 3:5

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