The journey continues. Now that the drought has swept all the lands at the time, it finally hits Jacob’s family. He is forced to send his ten sons to buy grain to Egypt. Remember who is in Egypt? Joseph! Joseph is now the governor of Egypt and has all the control over the grain that is sold. Let’s find out if dreams do come true…
1When Jacob heard that grain was available in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you standing around looking at one another? 2I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy enough grain to keep us alive. Otherwise we’ll die.” 3So Joseph’s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain. 4But Jacob wouldn’t let Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin, go with them, for fear some harm might come to him. 5So Jacob’s sons arrived in Egypt along with others to buy food, for the famine was in Canaan as well. 6Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. When they arrived, they bowed before him with their faces to the ground. 7Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where are you from?” he demanded. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied. “We have come to buy food.” 8Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him. 9And he remembered the dreams he’d had about them many years before. He said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.” 10“No, my lord!” they exclaimed. “Your servants have simply come to buy food. 11We are all brothers—members of the same family. We are honest men, sir! We are not spies!” 12“Yes, you are!” Joseph insisted. “You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.” 13“Sir,” they said, “there are actually twelve of us. We, your servants, are all brothers, sons of a man living in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is back there with our father right now, and one of our brothers is no longer with us.” 14But Joseph insisted, “As I said, you are spies! 15This is how I will test your story. I swear by the life of Pharaoh that you will never leave Egypt unless your youngest brother comes here! 16One of you must go and get your brother. I’ll keep the rest of you here in prison. Then we’ll find out whether or not your story is true. By the life of Pharaoh, if it turns out that you don’t have a younger brother, then I’ll know you are spies.” 17So Joseph put them all in prison for three days. 18On the third day Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live. 19If you really are honest men, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison. The rest of you may go home with grain for your starving families. 20But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. This will prove that you are telling the truth, and you will not die.” To this they agreed. 21Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.” 22“Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?” Reuben asked. “But you wouldn’t listen. And now we have to answer for his blood!” 23Of course, they didn’t know that Joseph understood them, for he had been speaking to them through an interpreter. 24Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again. Then he chose Simeon from among them and had him tied up right before their eyes. 25Joseph then ordered his servants to fill the men’s sacks with grain, but he also gave secret instructions to return each brother’s payment at the top of his sack. He also gave them supplies for their journey home. 26So the brothers loaded their donkeys with the grain and headed for home. 27But when they stopped for the night and one of them opened his sack to get grain for his donkey, he found his money in the top of his sack. 28“Look!” he exclaimed to his brothers. “My money has been returned; it’s here in my sack!” Then their hearts sank. Trembling, they said to each other, “What has God done to us?” 29When the brothers came to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan, they told him everything that had happened to them. 30“The man who is governor of the land spoke very harshly to us,” they told him. “He accused us of being spies scouting the land. 31But we said, ‘We are honest men, not spies. 32We are twelve brothers, sons of one father. One brother is no longer with us, and the youngest is at home with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33“Then the man who is governor of the land told us, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take grain for your starving families and go on home. 34But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. Then I will know you are honest men and not spies. Then I will give you back your brother, and you may trade freely in the land.’” 35As they emptied out their sacks, there in each man’s sack was the bag of money he had paid for the grain! The brothers and their father were terrified when they saw the bags of money. 36Jacob exclaimed, “You are robbing me of my children! Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!” 37Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. I’ll be responsible for him, and I promise to bring him back.” 38But Jacob replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left. If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave.
Joseph’s old dreams about the family bowing to him begin to be fulfilled (vs 9). Joseph remembered his past dreams and assuredly his brothers bowed to greet him because he was the governor of Egypt. However the brothers had a problem. While the brothers visited Egypt to purchase grain, they had no idea Joseph was the governor of Egypt. Joseph was completely unrecognizable to his brothers. Why? Because he was probably wearing Egyptian clothing and physical changes that happen to a man as he matures probably happened while he lived there. I even suspect that they thought their spoiled-brat baby brother would ever survive the rigors of slavery. Joseph, instead of using his power to gain revenge, plays some mind games with them, imprisoning them for three days. What would you have done? What do you think is Joseph’s plan? Well, he invokes fear of God and releases them, but kept Simeon as a prisoner. The brothers were strictly charged, however, not to return without the “younger brother,” as a test of their claim not to be spies. He then secretly returns the silver, which they discover on the way home, adding to their consternation. The ongoing sense of guilt over Joseph’s supposed death still haunted them, and they quarrel over how they mistreated Joseph. They feel God is calling them to account for “his blood.” What a burden to carry!
Joseph’s actions here are the first of a series of tests that will tell him what his brothers have become. Joseph is setting up a redemptive plan to restore the unity of the family, but the brothers do not suspect a thing. Remember I mentioned Joseph is a type of Christ Character? Well you see, God also had a plan for us today. Since entered this world he already had a plan to unite his family again. God has been hurt by the bad ways we behave and the way we keep hurting ourselves because we don’t listen to him. You see, the Father sent His only son, Jesus to give us a second chance to reunite his family with him. We are his family and He is working now to bring us to Him. In heaven Jesus is going through the names of those who have accepted his sacrifice and are living in his ways because He is preparing to come for us. Do you want to have your name in the Book of Life and be called by name to live with Him for eternity the day he returns? Take a moment to talk to Him and tell Him what is in your heart and He will arrange everything so you can find the people to talk to and the help you may need to begin your relationship with Him.
Have a happy Sabbath to all the readers! May the Lord dwell in your hearts today and always. We appreciate you and are praying for you.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.