Joseph’s Brothers Get Food
“…and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?” (Genesis 42:28)
Joseph’s ten older brothers hated him and sold him as a slave. He ended up in Egypt and worked for a military captain named Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. He refused her advances. She had him imprisoned on a phony sexual assault charge. While he was in jail, he interpreted dreams for two of Pharaoh’s servants. Later, Joseph interpreted a dream for Pharaoh. He told Pharaoh it was a warning from God of a coming famine. Pharaoh took the warning seriously and made Joseph governor over Egypt.
The famine has come. Under Joseph’s leadership, Egypt has food for itself and for other nations. Joseph is in charge of distributing food. Eventually, Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt. He knows them but they don’t know him. He accuses them of being spies. They say they’re not. He gives them food, but he keeps Simeon until they bring to him their youngest brother, Benjamin, to prove they’re not spies. As a bonus, he also gives them food for the trip home. Unknown to them, he also has their money put into their sacks.
En route back home, they stopped at an inn. One brother opened his sack to feed his donkey, and “…he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack’s mouth.” Genesis 42:27) He told the others, and “…they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?” (Genesis 42:28) They may not have thought much about God or their need for Him before, but they were thinking about Him now.
They returned home to Jacob. They told him how Joseph had accused them of being spies, and how they had said they were twelve brothers, and one (Joseph) was not, and another (Benjamin) was at home. Interestingly, they had told Joseph, not knowing who he was, that they were twelve brothers, not eleven.
They told Jacob how the governor gave them food but would keep one brother until they returned with Benjamin. Then they emptied their sacks. All their money was there. They were afraid. Jacob told them, “Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away:” (Genesis 42:36) By saying that, he apparently suspected they were involved in Joseph’s disappearance.
Going back to the original incident, when the other brothers sold Joseph, “…they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;” (Genesis 37:31) They showed Jacob the coat and said, “This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.” (Genesis 37:32) They didn’t sound very concerned about Joseph’s well-being, did they?
Jacob thought Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. He probably kept the coat in memory of his son. Yet at some point, he may have looked at it and wondered: if a wild animal attacked Joseph, why wasn’t the coat torn apart? Why no traces of violence, just a perfectly intact, bloody coat? And why was Joseph’s body completely gone? No doubt Jacob knew they didn’t like Joseph. It’s possible that as time went on, he became more and more suspicious. Yet he could not prove anything.
It was a difficult time for Jacob and his children, including Joseph. Yet God was using this situation to work in their lives, as we are already seeing. You may be going through difficult times, but God is still in charge. He knows the end, even if you don’t. Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the LORD, and do good;”
Finally, the Bible tells us how to have our sins forgiven and an eternal home in heaven by receiving Jesus Christ, God the Son, as our personal Saviour. Please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” to learn more.
Brian Miller 1/11/2023
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822