17 November 2020Genesis 44:1-34
'Look, the money that we found at the top of our sacks, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan; why then would we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house?' (v. 8)
The famine has returned to Canaan and once more the brothers have to go to Egypt to try to find food to feed the starving. Jacob is reluctant to let Benjamin go with them, but he gives in and all the brothers return to be greeted by the Governor (Joseph). They receive a surprising welcome including the Governor enquiring about their father’s help. They are surprised to be given good food to eat and a warm welcome at Joseph’s table. When we come to the passage under consideration today we might be puzzled at Joseph’s actions, as we read the men’s request is accepted, the sacks are filled with grain and they prepare to leave on much warmer terms than on the previous occasion. However they have not gone far when once more there are problems. They are accused of stealing and are challenged to open their sacks for Joseph's precious silver cup to be found. They plead with those who have come to arrest them, but the cup is found in the sack of Benjamin, their father’s precious son. They return to Joseph who suggests that they leave the boy as one of his slaves, and then they can go on their way. However, Judah pleads for him to take them, the other brothers, as his slaves but not to take away this boy, the only son of one of Jacob’s wives left to him, his previous son having been taken from him. The brothers are left in despair not knowing what the future holds.
- As we know the whole story do we think Joseph is being as cruel to his brothers as they were to him?
- If you were in Judah’s shoes, what would your response have been in these circumstances?
- Can you see this journey and all its problems being part of God’s plan for the Hebrew people?