Genesis 43 -- 45
Because of the great famine, Jacob was forced to send his sons to Egypt to buy food. The second most powerful ruler of Egypt spoke to them through an interpreter. They were unaware that this ruler was their brother Joseph, whom they had sold into slavery about 20 years earlier.
After questioning them about their family, Joseph had his brothers imprisoned for three days (Genesis 42:17). During their stay in prison, they recalled how their younger brother Joseph had pleaded with them not to be sold as a slave to the Ishmaelite traders on their way to Egypt. Now, in an Egyptian prison, they humbly confessed what a terrible act of cruelty they had committed: And they said one to another, We are verily (truly) guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought (pleaded with) us, and we would not hear (listen); therefore, this distress has come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, did not I speak to you, saying, do not sin against the child (Joseph); and you would not hear (listen)? Therefore . . . his blood is required (assuming he was dead) (42:21-22). Simeon was then kept hostage until they brought their youngest brother to Egypt (42:24).
When Joseph's brothers returned home without Simeon, Jacob heard of the ruler's demand to bring his youngest son Benjamin to Egypt before they could buy any more food. He was deeply distressed, and said: My son will not go down with you (42:38). However, as the famine continued, they were eventually out of food, and Jacob had no choice but to let Benjamin return with his brothers to Egypt.
In Egypt, their sacks were again filled. But, as they were returning home, they were arrested and their sacks searched. Joseph's silver goblet was discovered in Benjamin's sack, where Joseph had commanded his steward to secretly place it. This put his brothers to the test. Benjamin was taken into custody. Although it appeared that Benjamin was guilty, Judah begged to take his place, pleading that they could not return home and face their father with the loss of his youngest son. Judah, who had earlier suggested Joseph be sold rather than killed, was now ready to be a slave to set Benjamin free (44:12-34).
Joseph had demanded that his brothers come to his home. Imagine their shock when he suddenly said, in their Hebrew language: I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt (45:4). To their amazement, he lovingly added: Be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here: for God sent me before (ahead of) you to preserve life. . . . and He has made me . . . a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt (45:5,8).
For years, Joseph's brothers had deceived their father and had escaped all accountability for their cruel sin against Joseph. Now they were forced to face their brother. Joseph explained: You sold me; but God sent me. Although God used their wickedness to fulfill His will, this did not lessen their guilt: So likewise shall My Heavenly Father do also to you, if you from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses (Matthew 18:35).
43:7 straitly = specifically; tenor = had to answer him; 43:25 against Joseph came = to await Joseph's arrival; 43:30 bowels = heart; 44:12 left at = finished with; 45:16 fame = news; 45:24 fall not out by the way = have no argument.
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