God provides in famine
1 Now when Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, Why do you look one at another? 2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt: go down there and buy for us from there so that we may live and not die. 3 And Joseph's ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Joseph's brother Benjamin with his brothers for he said, So that no harm come to him.
- Twenty years had passed since the brothers had sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt.
- God brought the whole world for physical food to Joseph who also had the bread of eternal life.
- Job 5:20 In famine he will redeem you from death: and in war from the power of the sword.
- John 6:35 I am the bread of life.
6 And Joseph was the governor over the land; it was he that sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed themselves down before him with their faces to the earth. 7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he knew them, but disguised himself, and spoke roughly to them; and he said to them, Where are you from? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. 8 And Joseph knew his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams that he dreamed about them and said to them, You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land.
- Genesis 37:6-8 Please listen to this dream which I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose and stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and bowed down to my sheaf. 8 And his brothers said to him, Will you indeed reign over us? Or will you indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him still more for his dreams, and for his words.
10 And they said to him, No, my lord, your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all one man's sons; we are honest men, your servants are not spies. 12 And he said to them, No, you have come to see the nakedness of the land. 13 And they said, Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is not. 14 And Joseph said to them, It is like I said, You are spies: 15 By this you will be tested: By the life of Pharaoh you will not leave here unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, and you will be bound in prison, so that your words may be proved, whether there is any truth in you: or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies. 17 And he put them all together in prison three days.
- This test was a small thing compared to what they did to Joseph.
- Ezra 9:13… God has punished us less than our iniquities deserve…
18 And the third day Joseph said to them, Do this, and live; for I fear God: 19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in prison: go, carry grain for the famine of your houses: 20 But bring your youngest brother to me; so your words can be verified, and you will not die. And they did. 21 And they said one to another, We are truly guilty concerning our brother because we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not listen; that is what has caused this distress has come on us.
- Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that is what he will reap.
22 And Reuben answered them saying, did I not speak to you saying, Do not sin against the child; and you would not listen? Therefore, behold, his blood is required. 23 They did not know that Joseph understood them; for he spoke to them by an interpreter. 24 And he turned himself away from them and wept; and returned to them again and spoke with them, and took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.
- Simeon was the instigator of the slaughter of the town of Shechem in Genesis 34:40 where Shechem had raped Dinah, their sister.
25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with grain and restore every man's money to his sack, and give them provision for the way: and one did this for them. 26 And they loaded their asses with the grain and departed. 27 And as one of them opened his sack at the inn to give his ass food, he found his money; for behold, it was in his sack's mouth. 28 And he said to his brothers, My money is restored; look, it is in my sack: and their hearts failed them and they were afraid saying one to another, What is this that God has done to us?
- Joseph treated them with the same grace that God gives us in forgiving our offences against Him. God is working all things together for good to those who love Him
- Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 And they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan and told him all that had happened to them saying, 30 The man who is the lord over the land, spoke roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. 31 And we said to him, We are honest men; we are not spies: 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is today with our father in the land of Canaan. 33 And the man, the lord of the country, said to us, By this I will know that you are honest men; leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for the famine of your households and be gone: 34 And bring your youngest brother to me: then I will know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men: I will deliver you your brother, and you will trade in the land. 35 And as they emptied their sacks, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.
God is for us
36 And Jacob their father said to them, You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and you will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. 37 And Reuben spoke to his father, saying, Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you: deliver him into my hand and I will bring him to you again. 38 And he said, My son will not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left: if harm comes him by the way in the which you go, then you will bring my gray hairs down to the grave with sorrow.
- Jacob desperately did not want to lose Benjamin.
- God did not spare His own Son for us.
- In Revelation 21, the names of these twelve brothers are on the gates of pearl in the eternal New Jerusalem.
- Romans 8:31 What can we say to these things then? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He that did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will he not with him freely give us all things?
1 And the famine was severe in the land. 2 So when they had eaten up the grain that they had brought out of Egypt, their father said to them, Go again, buy us a little food. 3 And Judah spoke to him saying, The man solemnly warned us saying, You will not see my face unless your brother is with you. 4 If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food: 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down: for the man said to us, You will not see my face, unless your brother is with you.
- Where there is no true spiritual food being eaten God allows a lack of physical food to wake them up. II Kings 8:1 illustrates this combined with Galatians 6:7.
6 And Israel said, Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother? 7 And they said, The man questioned us particularly about us and our relatives asking, Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother? And we answered him according to these words: how could we know that he would say, Bring your brother down? 8 And Judah said to Israel his father, Send the boy with me, and we will rise and go so that we may live and not die, both we, and you, and also our little ones. 9 I will be a guarantee for him; from my hand you will require him: if I do not bring him to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever: 10 for if we had not delayed we would surely have returned this second time. 11 And their father Israel said to them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your bags, and take the man a gift, a little balm, a little honey, spices, myrrh, nuts, and almonds: 12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; perhaps it was an oversight: 13 Take your brother also, rise and return to the man:
- Judah reasoned with their father where Reuben said, If I don’t bring him back you can kill my sons. What help would that be?
- They had sold their brother for twenty pieces of silver.
- The word ‘silver’ and ‘money’ are the same word in Hebrew language—keseph.
God gives great mercy
14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved. 15 And the men took that gift, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin and rose up and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph. 16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, kill, and make ready; for these men will eat with me at noon. 17 And the man did as Joseph bid; the man brought the men into Joseph's house.
- Joseph had kept Simeon in prison.
- When they returned to Egypt they stood before Joseph who had the power over their lives just as all will stand before God.
- Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
- Nehemiah 9:17…but you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness...
- Psalm 108:4 For your mercy is great above the heavens: your truth reaches to the clouds.
18 And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph's house; and they said, We are brought here because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time, so that he may seek occasion against us to fall on us and take us for slaves, and our asses. 19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house and spoke with him at the door of the house, 20 saying, O sir, we truly came down the first time to buy food: 21 And when we came to the inn we opened our sacks and behold, every man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. 22 We have brought down other money in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. 23 And he said, Peace be to you, do not fear: your God, and the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out to them.
- They had reason to fear that they would be sold into slavery in Egypt as they had done to Joseph.
- God is so gentle with us. Joseph gave the brothers much less than they deserved.
- The brother they sold will sustain them and their families throughout the famine.
- What a picture of God’s goodness to us.
- We do not deserve forgiveness but He forgives us completely and loves us enough to bring us to live with Him forever.
- Ezra 9:13 since you our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve…
24 And the man brought the men into Joseph's house and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses fodder. 25 And they prepared the gift for Joseph’s arrival at noon for they heard that they would eat food there. 26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the gift that was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. 27 And he asked them of their welfare and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive? 28 And they answered, Your servant, our father is in good health, he is still alive. And they bowed down their heads in homage.
- Isaiah 45:23 unto me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear.
29 And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom you spoke to me? And he said, God be gracious to you, my son. 30 And Joseph hurried; for his emotions yearned for his brother: and he sought a place to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. 31 And he washed his face and went out and restrained himself and said, Lay out the food. 32 And they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians would not eat with the Hebrews; for it was loathsome to the Egyptians. 33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marveled one at another. 34 And he took and sent portions to them from before him: but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him.
- Isaiah 25:6 And in this mountain the LORD of hosts will make a feast to all people of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
God gives us to reap what we sow in a loving and growth producing way
1 And he commanded the steward of his house saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth. 2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his grain money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. 3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. 4 And when they were out of the city, and still not far away, Joseph said to his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, Why have you rewarded evil for good? 5 What do you mean by stealing my master’s personal silver drinking cup that he uses to predict the future? You have done evil by doing this. 6 And he overtook them, and he spoke to them these same words. 7 And they said to him, Why would you say such a thing? God forbid that your servants would do this thing: 8 Behold, the money, that we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan: why then would we steal silver or gold out of your lord's house? 9 With whoever of your servants it is found, let him die and we also will be my lord's slaves. 10 And he said, Now let it be according to your words: he with whom it is found will be my servant; and you will be blameless.
- They had reason to fear being placed into slavery. They did it to their brother for 20 pieces of silver. By doing it they thought to be rid of the competition for their fathers affection.
- Our heavenly Father has enough love for all. Jesus makes us blameless before God.
- Ephesians 1:4 According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
11 Then every man speedily took down his sack to the ground, and every man opened his sack. 12 And he searched, beginning at the oldest, and ending at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his ass and returned to the city. 14 Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house because he was still there: and they fell before him on the ground. 15 And Joseph said to them, What deed is this that you have done? Did you not think that such a man as I can certainly divine?
- Notice the change in these men. Twenty years earlier they nearly killed their father’s favorite son.
- Now they load up their asses to go back to stand with Jacob’s favorite son.
16 And Judah said, What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? Or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup was found. 17 And he said, God forbid that I should do that: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he will be my servant; and as for you, go up in peace to your father. 18 Then Judah came near to him and said, Oh my lord, I beg you, let your servant speak a word in my lord's ears, and do not let your anger burn against your servant: for you are even Pharaoh. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, Do you have a father, or a brother? 20 And we said to my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him. 21 And you said to your servants, Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him. 22 And we said to my lord, The boy cannot leave his father: for if he would leave his father, his father would die.
- The eternal Father loves us more than Jacob loved Joseph and Benjamin (John 3:16).
- I John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:
- John 16:27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
23 And you said to your servants, Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again. 24 And when we went up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food. 26 And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother is with us, then will we go down: for we can not see the man's face, unless our youngest brother is with us. 27 And your servant my father said to us, You know that my wife bore me two sons: 28 And the one went out from me and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I have not seen him since: 29 And if you take this one from me, and harm comes to him, you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
- Joseph and Benjamin were the children of Rachel, whom Jacob purchased from Laban for 14 years work.
- Jacob’s love for Rachel was so great that the years seemed to him like just a few days (Genesis 29:20).
30 Now therefore when I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us; since his life is bound up in the lad's life, 31 it will happen, when he sees that the boy is not with us, that he will die: and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to the grave. 32 For your servant became a guarantee for the boy to my father saying, If I do not bring him to you, then I will bear the blame to my father forever. 33 So I beg you, let me remain instead of the boy as a slave to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brothers. 34 For how can I go up to my father if the boy is not with me? How can I see the evil that will come on my father?
- Judah had suggested they sell Joseph but now he offered himself in his place as Christ did for us. Judah’s seed becomes the line of the Savior. God has bound our life with His (John 17:21).
- 1John 3:16 By this we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.
SUMMARY: Genesis 42-44
- The LORD provides in famine
- He is for us
- He gives great mercy
- He gives us to reap what we sow in a loving and growth producing way