Monday 05 October 2015

Bible Book:

“God has found out the guilt of your servants; here we are then, my lord’s slaves, both we and also the one in whose possession the cup has been found.” (v. 16)

Genesis 44:1-17 Monday 5 October 2015

Psalm: Psalm 103


The story of Joseph and his brothers starts in Genesis 37, andthen runs from Genesis 39 to 47. It has been popularised in song byAndrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice in 'Joseph and the AmazingTechnicolor Dreamcoat'. We read the climax of the story here andover the next few days.

As a teenager Joseph earned his brothers' hostility both byvirtue of being his father's favourite and by the sense ofsuperiority he consequentially chose to display. They sold Josephinto slavery and told Jacob their father that he must have beenkilled by a wild animal. But after a period as a slave and then aprisoner in Egypt, Joseph's God-given insights, particularly ininterpreting dreams, led to him eventually becoming the country'sfirst minister in charge of food distribution during seven years offamine.

Joseph's eleven brothers, for a second time, travelled fromCanaan to Egypt to buy food. They did not recognise him, due bothto the passage of years and their assuming he was a forgotten slavesomewhere. On the first visit Joseph's only younger brother,Benjamin, who was not part of the original conspiracy had stayed athome. By accusing the other brothers of being spies Joseph insistedthat one of them, Simeon, stayed in prison until they return withBenjamin to prove their story of being honest but hungry men. Onseeing Benjamin with them on this second visit Joseph has beengreatly affected emotionally and has treated them veryhospitably.

Today's passage describes a ruse Joseph played, which in therest of the chapter will lead to the ten older brothers revealingmore of their back story though not what they had done to Joseph,and then in the next chapter to Joseph revealing his identity and atearful reconciliation.

Judah is not the oldest brother but he was the one who hadpromised his father that he would stand surety should any harm cometo Benjamin (Genesis 43:8-9) and so in this passage hebecomes their spokesperson.

To Ponder

  • It seems the brothers interpreted the events whereby they seemlikely to end up as slaves as the result of God finding out theirguilt, not at having stolen the cup, but at having long ago soldJoseph into slavery. What do you make of this kind of justice as away that God may act?
  • Divination, the art of discernment for which Joseph used hiscup examining the way oil and water mixed within it, was a commonpractice in Egypt and other cultures of the time, but would laterbe forbidden for Israel (Deuteronomy 18:10). How are God's faithfulpeople today able to discern the truth of things?
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