Week Six: Day 5

    February 16, 2024 | Be God's Light

    Joseph's Brothers Return to Egypt

    Scripture: Genesis 43(NIV)

    1 Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2 So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”

    3 But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”

    6 Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”

    7 They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”

    8 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9 I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10 As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”

    11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13 Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14 And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

    15 So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal; they are to eat with me at noon.”

    17 The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house. 18 Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.”

    19 So they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20 “We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said, “we came down here the first time to buy food. 21 But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver—the exact weight—in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. 22 We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.”

    23 “It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.

    24 The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. 25 They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.

    26 When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. 27 He asked them how they were, and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?”

    28 They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.

    29 As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.

    31 After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.”

    32 They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians. 33 The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment. 34 When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.


    In Genesis 42, Joseph’s ten older brothers traveled from Canaan to buy food in Egypt. By this time, Joseph was more than twenty years older than when they had sold him to slave traders as a seventeen year old. He had learned the Egyptian language fluently, and wore the clothes of one of the most powerful men in the land. They didn’t recognize him, but he knew them in an instant.

    After inquiring about their family, Joseph sold them grain in exchange for the promise to bring their youngest brother Benjamin on their return. As collateral, Joseph ordered that Simeon be kept in Egypt. Without their knowledge, Joseph put their silver in the bag with their grain. They returned home to their father Jacob (Israel) with food and money, but without his second oldest son.

    Here in Genesis 43 the story continues. Israel reluctantly agrees to send his youngest son Benjamin to Egypt, while his fourth-born son took full responsibility for the young man’s safe return. So they headed off to Egypt.

    When Joseph last saw his only younger brother, and the only one born to Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel, Benjamin was a boy of around ten years old. The sight of him, now a young adult, made Joseph weep in his private quarters. Simeon was released from his captivity and allowed to feast along with his brothers.

    Joseph had a number of options when it came to dealing with the brothers who betrayed him over twenty years earlier. He could have denied them food and sent them away. He could have arrested them and thrown them into the same prison cell where he was sent. He could have given them a taste of their own medicine by selling them to slave traders. He could have killed them.

    Instead, Joseph chose to give them a feast and sell them grain at no cost. Proverbs 17:9 says, “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” What does this verse teach us?

    In the New Testament, Paul wrote, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). Truly forgiving someone who has deeply hurt you is the way of God. How is God challenging you to forgive others?



    My belly is aching
    I need some more food
    The crusts are all eaten
    My body stench rude
    The water has dried up
    My belly swells big
    I'm starving
    A famine's descended
    On me

    My gut now is twisting
    Wrenched sore with my guilt
    The root of my hatred
    Knife pains to the hilt
    This parasite madness
    Consumes all my life
    I'm starving
    A famine now feeds on
    My strife

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