Joseph’s Brothers Come to Egypt

“And he turned himself about from them, and wept;” (Genesis 42:24)

   God used Joseph to warn Pharaoh of a seven-year famine to come. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of preparation. The famine has come: “…and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.” (Genesis 41:54) “And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.” (Genesis 41:57)

   The famine also hit Canaan, where Jacob and his family lived. Jacob heard that Egypt had corn, and he sent his ten older sons to buy food. Joseph was in charge of selling food. The ten brothers came to Joseph, bowing down to him. They didn’t know him, but he knew them.

    Joseph didn’t tell them who he was. He asked roughly, “Whence come ye?” (Genesis 42:7) They replied, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.” (Genesis 42:7) He accused them of being spies. They said, “Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.” (Genesis 42:10-11)

   Joseph accused them again of being spies. They replied, “Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.” (Genesis 42:13)

   Joseph proposed to keep them all in prison and let one go get the youngest brother and bring him to Joseph, to prove they were telling the truth. With no youngest brother, they would all be convicted as spies. Joseph put them all in prison for three days. On the third day he told them,

“This do, and live; for I fear God [not the Egyptian false gods, but the true God].” (Genesis 42:19) Joseph let them go home with food for their families. He only kept Simeon in custody.

   The brothers said to each other, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.” (Genesis 42:21) Reuben said, “Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.” (Genesis 42:22)

   After all these years, the memories still haunted them of what they’d done: throwing him into a pit, selling him off, and ignoring his pleas as he was led into slavery. As they talked about their guilt among themselves, they did not know Joseph understood them, because he spoke through an interpreter. As he listened, Joseph didn’t smirk and think, “Serves you guys right!” Rather, as our verse tells us, “And he turned himself about from them, and wept;” (Genesis 42:24)

   God was working powerfully in Joseph’s life through the years: as a servant, a prisoner, and now as governor.  God gave Joseph the grace to love his brothers even after what they’d done. As we shall see, God was also using Joseph to work on their hearts.

   Joseph’s life shows us how God wants to work His grace in our lives, even in difficult times. If you want to see from the Bible how to have your sins forgiven and an eternal home in heaven by receiving Jesus as your personal Saviour, please go to, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”

          Brian Miller 12/28/2022

Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822