About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Second Journey To Egypt
(ch. 43:1 - 34)
In verses 1 and 2 we note
that the famine was still severe and so Jacob told his sons to go back
In verses 3 to 5 we see
took control of the situation and re-explained things to Jacob.
He told Jacob that the man who gave them the food, which was
Joseph, would not see them again, and would not give them more grain
unless their youngest brother Benjamin came with them.
We must remember that all
along, Simeon is still in an Egyptian prison, waiting for his brothers
to return with Benjamin so he would be set free.
He might well be beginning to wonder what was happening.
Could he end up in the same situation as his brother Joseph, just
being left to the mercy of the Egyptians?
So we have tension taking place on all sides.
We see the tension from Joseph's standpoint.
He's waiting to see all of his family.
We have the tension of Simeon being in prison.
Jacob is feeling the pressure of the famine.
He is still not over Joseph disappearing years earlier, and now
he is worried about Benjamin. Besides
that, Simeon is in prison, and I'm sure Jacob worries about him.
Then concerning the other brothers who remain, they need more
grain, but they can't go back without Benjamin.
There's stress all around.
You can see the stress of
Jacob in verse 6. He
questioned why the other brothers had to say that they had a younger
brother at home. Once again,
he is putting some blame on his sons.
This is often the case, when things get tense, people start to
put undue blame on others.
Verse 7 begins with
"they replied". In
the past verses it was Judah who was talking to Jacob.
Now after this accusation they all get into the argument, and an
argument it probably was. They
explained that they had no choice but to answer the questions presented
to them. They answered them
as honestly as they could. You
would not want to be caught in a lie to the second in command in all of Egypt.
Note in verse 8 that
In verses 8 through 10
"delayed" tells me something.
In verse 11 we finally
see that Jacob agrees with Benjamin leaving for Egypt, with certain conditions. One
thing Jacob wanted was that they were to take the silver that they had
found in their sacks back with them, plus double that amount.
They were still afraid because of the silver that was found in
their sacks, and rightly so. From
their standpoint, it would appear that they were framed, and that had to
be dealt with so, repaying the silver with the additional amount was to
solve that problem. Then
Jacob wanted the sons to take other things to
Most scholars, but not
all, say that
"balm" is a sticky resin from a certain bush.
It was used as medicine and cosmetic purposes.
In verse 13 Jacob
specifically tells the brothers to take Benjamin, and go at once.
This must have been hard on Jacob, but he had little choice in
the matter at this point.
We see in verse 14 that
Jacob puts this situation in the hand of "God Almighty",
"El Shaddai" in Hebrew. El
Shaddai" comes from an somewhat uncertain term to mean
"mountain one", suggesting strength, thus the term
"Almighty." It is
often used in reference to God looking after His people, as it seems to
be the use in this verse.
Jacob seems resigned to
whatever is the outcome of the trip that will be made to
Verse 15 simply states
that once the decision was made to go, they left in a hurry and appeared
In verse 16 when Joseph
finally sees Benjamin, he tells one of his servants to take the brothers
to his house, prepare a meal, so they can all eat at noon.
Remember, Benjamin is Joseph's only brother.
The rest of these men were half brothers.
Both Benjamin and Joseph had the same mother who was Leah.
This is why seeing Benjamin was so important to Joseph.
He has put the brothers through quite an ordeal just to get to
In verses 17 and 18 we
see that the brothers were not impressed.
They thought for sure that this was a trap because of the silver
that had been found in their sacks.
They thought Joseph would take them as slaves once they got to
his house. This whole story
shows the constant fear that these men were under.
Fear, and the feeling of guilt, often go hand in hand, as it does
in this story. Only true
forgiveness based on repentance can rid people of fear and the feeling
of guilt. I use the term
"feeling of guilt" because guilt is not a feeling.
It is a position in which you stand.
You are either guilty or not guilty, no matter how you feel.
One can be guilty of a crime and not feel guilt.
One also can not be guilty of a crime and still feel guilty.
That being said, the position in which one stands before God or
man, can produce negative feelings, which I call, "the feelings of
Because of this fear, the
brothers, in verses 19 to 22, explain the whole story of the silver in
their sacks to the servant in charge of them at the time.
In verse 23 the servant
tries to relieve their fears by telling the brothers that everything is
okay. The servant goes as
far to say that "the God of your father has given you treasures in
your sacks." Obviously
God did not drop the silver in their sacks.
Joseph's servants put the silver in the sack's
at Joseph's command. Because
Joseph's God was the same God of his father Jacob, that's Elohim, the
blessing was seen as from Elohim.
The Egyptian servant was
not acknowledging that he believed in Elohim, he was simply
acknowledging that Elohim, their father's God, was the source of the
blessing. This can be so
with us today. Those around
us may not acknowledge our God as we do, but at times they do
acknowledge the God we believe in. Such
acknowledgment only happens when we trust our God as Joseph did.
In verses 24 and 25 the
brothers were given water to wash their feet.
Their donkeys were looked after, and their gifts were prepared to
give to Joseph. At this
point they were told that they would eat with Joseph, the second in
command in all of
Verse 26 tells us that
Joseph came home, the brothers bowed down and gave him gifts.
What a feeling that was for Joseph.
I am sure that the dreams he had when he was only seventeen years
old came flooding back into his mind.
As the dreams stated, his brothers would bow before him, and that
is what they were doing right then.
In verse 27 Joseph asks
the brothers how they were. Then
he asks "how their aged father was." He
had now seen Benjamin, but there was still his father.
He wanted to know how he was.
He really wanted to see him as well.
Again in verse 28 the
brothers bow as they tell Joseph that their father is well, news that
Joseph was glad to hear.
Verse 28 states that they
"bowed low" before Joseph.
This was not just a bow from the waste.
It was most likely a bow right down to the floor.
Again, Joseph's dreams
from his youth of his family bowing to him come true.
Verse 29 tells us that
Joseph saw Benjamin, "his own mother's son."
This clearly shows that among all the brothers, Joseph had only
one real son. The rest were
half brothers. He asked if
this was Benjamin. Joseph
told Benjamin that God is gracious to him.
Although Joseph was in the world of
The idea that Joseph
In verse 30 we see that
Joseph could no longer stand the pressure that had been mounting within
him. He ran out of the room.
He went into his private room and cried.
It only makes you wonder what the brothers were thinking of at
this point. Why would this
Egyptian leader be acting so strange?
Now being relieved of their fears, at least for the moment, they
now wonder what kind of a man it is who has invited them for a meal.
Joseph's tears make us
believe that he has become a tender hearted man.
How did he get so tender hearted?
I believe the time in prison, and all of the hardships that he
had faced purged a lot of self out of Joseph.
Then, when self is purged, our Lord can take self's place.
This is the way it should be with all Christians.
We should not despise hardships.
We should see them as one way in which God produces His life in
In verses 31 and 32 we
see all those in attendance sit down to eat.
This took place after Joseph composed himself and gave the
command to eat. Notice the
way in which they ate. Joseph
ate alone since he was second in command in all of Egypt. The other Egyptians who
were joining them ate at a separate table, and the brothers ate at yet
another table. The text
states that Egyptians found eating with Hebrews detestable.
They were a second class culture to them.
The ironic thing here is that Joseph himself was a Hebrew, and
from the same family as those Hebrews who were not allowed to eat with
him. Still, Joseph did not
give in. He upheld the
culture in which he found himself in.
He believed that God had put him there, so he had to be obedient
to the culture in which he ruled.
Verse 33 tells us that
the brothers were seated in order of their ages and that they were
astonished. The only reason
that I can think of for this astonishment is that the brothers weren't
asked their ages. If they
were asked their ages, there would be no reason for their astonishment.
Joseph knew their ages. He
could sit them in the order in which the brothers were born.
The brothers heads must be really shaking by now.
This was some strange situation that they found themselves in.
You might even wonder if Joseph was playing with his brothers mind's at
Verse 34 closes this
chapter. It states that all
the brothers got equal portions of food except for Benjamin who got five
times more food. Once again,
this had to have gotten the brothers thinking.
They had to have been wondering what was going on here.
Note the food that the
brothers got came from Joseph's table.
He would have been fed first.
All the food would have been set at his table.
He would have taken what he wanted first, and then distributed to
the others in the room.