Genesis 43 vs. 8-14 with Betty

  8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones.

9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever:

10 For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.

11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and 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; peradventure it was an oversight:

13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:

14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.

K.J.V. Bible Text

 My Thoughts:

 In verse 8 of Genesis Chapter 43 Judah agrees to return to Egypt for food if he can take Benjamin with him.  He offers his personal guarantee of Benjamin’s safety and reminds his father that if they had returned at once the first time, they could have already gone and returned twice more.  This to me signifies that at this point in Israel’s life, his children have begun to question his wisdom and to make decisions of their own. And of course, Judah wants to alleviate the famine in his land.

It seems, however, that Israel still has much wisdom as he cleverly plans for them to take some of the best products of the land as gifts for “the man” in Egypt.  He also orders them to take double the silver needed in order to return the silver they found in their sacks the first time they visited Egypt. 

And then, Israel does what to me is the wisest thing he could do.  He calls upon God Almighty to grant mercy so that the brother held in the Egyptian prison and Benjamin will both be allowed to come home.

To go with God is, of course, the best protection Israel’s sons could have.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 43 vs. 1-7 with Betty

The Second Journey to Egypt

1And the famine was sore in the land.

2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.

3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.

4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food:

5 But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.

6 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?

7 And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down?

K.J.V. Bible Text

 My Thoughts:

 Chapter 43 begins with Israel’s (Jacob’s) family once more running out of food.  Although we know from the previous chapter that Israel was concerned for the life of his son Benjamin, he never-the-less asked his sons to return to Egypt to buy more food. 

Judah then reminded him that they were warned by “the man” in Egypt that they would not see his face again unless they returned with their brother Benjamin. 

It seems to me that Israel blamed his sons for the situation because they had told “the man” in Egypt that they had another brother.  (Was Israel now growing old and querulous?)

Judah answered him in what to me seemed a sensible manner that the man had questioned them and they had no way of knowing he would demand they bring their other brother to him.

Of course, as I read this, I am aware that Judah, along with his other brothers, did bring this upon themselves by their action against Joseph, but as of yet neither they nor their father are aware of the true identity of “the man” in Egypt.

 Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 42 vs. 30-38 with Betty

 30 The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country.

31 And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies:

32 We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.

33 And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your households, and be gone:

34 And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land.

35 And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, 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.

36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.

37 And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.

38 And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

After telling their father about what had happened in Egypt, the brothers emptied their sacks and discovered that not only the silver of the one had been returned; all of them had their silver in their bags.

Jacob was much distressed by this.  The scripture shows no doubt that he believed that Simeon, like Joseph, was now dead.  What had happened in Egypt seemed to confirm that the actions of the “lord of the land” of Egypt ( Joseph) had been treacherous. 

Jacob felt that everything was against him and stated that Benjamin would not be taken, that he would not allow him to go.

In my mind, this attitude makes absolute sense.  As long as the brothers remained at home with Jacob, there was a chance only Simeon, the one left behind, would be lost.  If they returned to Egypt to face a charge of theft, they could all be lost. 

Of course, I’m sure Jacob feared that his sons had been pursued but also sensibly assumed that they would be safer at home than in the land of the enemy.

What a horrible and unjust circumstances this must have seemed to Jacob.  He had sent his sons with money to pay for their purchases and they returned in this dilemma.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 42 vs. 18-29 with Betty

 18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:

19 If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses:

20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.

21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.

23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.

24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.

25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.

26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence.

27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack’s mouth.

28 And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?

29 And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying,

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

By the third day, Joseph has changed his mind a little.  Instead of demanding that just one of the brothers go back home to fetch the youngest, Benjamin, he now says he will hold one of them in prison while the rest go home.

The long-festering guilt of the brothers now came to the forefront.  They were afraid because they were suspected of being spies and they thought it was retribution for what they had done to Joseph. They thought the circumstances that they faced in Egypt were their accounting for their brother’s blood.  In a way, they were right about this.  Although they did not know Joseph by sight, he knew them and was testing them specifically because of what they had done.

Joseph had his brothers’ sacks filled with grain and secretly had each man’s silver put back in his bag. He also gave them provisions for their journey.

When they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack for grain to feed his donkey and learned that the silver has been returned to him. Of course the men were frightened as anyone would have been. The silver being in their bags gave the appearance that they were thieves and I’m sure they didn’t know how they were going to get out of the situation.  They of course believed they had been framed and would be seized for theft when they returned to Egypt as Joseph had commanded them to do. 

So the brothers went home and told their father all that had happened. 

Can you imagine the fear that must have entered Jacob’s heart when he heard this story?  An “Egyptian” official had demanded that he send his beloved son Benjamin to him and it looked as if he was planning to accuse the brothers of theft when they returned.  Jacob must have been concerned for all of them but most particularly for his youngest son, Benjamin.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 42 vs. 10-17 with Betty

 10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.

11 We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.

12 And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

13 And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.

14 And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies:

15 Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.

16 Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies.

17 And he put them all together into ward three days.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

As Joseph’s brothers protested that they were not spies but had come only to buy food, they also told Joseph other things which he already knew.  Of course they inadvertently also told him that his father still lived and that the youngest Benjamin, left at home with his father, also still lived.

Joseph accused them again of being spies and told them he would test them by keeping them there while only one of them went home to fetch the youngest brother as proof that they were not lying.

How excited Joseph must have been to anticipate seeing again the youngest of his brothers, Benjamin who shared with him the same mother, Rachel who was Jacob’s favorite wife.

Joseph then put all of his brothers in custody for three days, perhaps to impress upon them that he meant business so that they would later obey his instructions

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 42 vs. 1-9 with Betty

Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt

1Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another?

2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.

3 And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.

4 But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.

5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.

7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.

8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.

9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

Like others in many countries, Jacob, his remaining sons and all their families were in the grip of the famine when Jacob heard that there was grain to be purchased in Egypt.  Of course, he wanted his sons to go there.  Who would not want to buy food when there was great hunger if they had money to purchase it?

You will recall that Joseph was one of Jacob’s twelve sons.  Ten of the remaining eleven set out for Egypt but the youngest, Benjamin, was kept at home by Jacob because Jacob feared something would happen to him.  (It is apparent that after Joseph was taken away and presumed to be dead, Jacob had transferred his affection to Benjamin; and of course, he wanted to keep him safe.)

When Joseph’s brothers arrived in Egypt and asked to buy grain, he recognized them but they did not recognize him.  I can easily understand this.  No one who had sold someone into slavery would expect to encounter them in the position second only to the Pharaoh of Egypt.

Joseph pretended his brothers were strangers and asked them where they came from. He then declared that they were spies who had come to see where Egypt was unprotected.

When I read this part, I wondered if Joseph was human enough to feel some vengeful excitement of having such control over his brothers, who had after all, sought to kill him many years before.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 41 vs. 46-57 with Betty

 

46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls.

48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same.

49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.

50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.

51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.

52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended.

54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.

55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.

56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.

57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

Today I bit off a little larger chunk of the story of Joseph because it seemed necessary to keep all the information in Chapter 41 verses 46 through 57 in one unit. 

My first thought at Verse 46 was a little surprise. Although I knew Joseph had been sold into slavery as a young boy, I also knew he had been in the service of the Captain of Pharaoh’s God for a while and then in prison for some more time; so I was surprised to learn here that he was only thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh.

Apparently, as Joseph traveled through Egypt during the seven years of plenty, gathering grain in all the cities from the fields thereabouts, he at first sought to keep records of the stores of grain.  However, so much grain was put into the storehouses that, like the sand of the sea, the grain could not be measured and record-keeping was ceased.

Meanwhile, Joseph and the wife given him by Pharaoh had had two sons; the first Manasseh and the second Ephraim.

Then the famine began and it was in all the lands not just Egypt. Other lands suffered but in Egypt there was food.

When food was needed by the people of Egypt, Pharaoh sent the people to Joseph and Joseph sold them food. Then because the famine was severe everywhere, people of other nations began to come to Egypt to purchase food.

(It seems to me that at this juncture, the Pharaoh has not only proved the wisdom of having Joseph be in charge over saving the food and dispensing it, he has undoubtedly began to store up great quantities of treasure as the price for the grain Joseph had kept in the storehouses.)

 Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 41 vs. 41-45 with Betty

Joseph in Charge of Egypt

 41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.

42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;

43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

Pharaoh made the appointment of Joseph as his commissioner and he took steps that I believe were made to assure Joseph of the respect he would require to fulfill the duties of his position.  Pharaoh dressed him in fine linen.  Who would have respected him in the clothing of a prisoner? Pharaoh put a gold chain around Joseph’s neck.  Wouldn’t a person in a position of authority have such a sign of wealth?

Pharaoh also had him ride in his chariot as his second in command.  Being seen in the company of the Pharaoh was surely the thing that fully delivered to Joseph the authority to perform as a commissioner without hassle by the Egyptian people. 

Pharoah also gave Joseph a new Egyptian name and the daughter of a priest of On to be his wife.  With all these trappings, Joseph must have seemed to be a true Egyptian in the minds of others in the country—or at the very least he would have been seen as someone with enough respect for the culture to imitate the ways of Egypt.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 41 vs. 32-40 with Betty

32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.

33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.

34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.

35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.

36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.

37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.

38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?

39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:

40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

After Joseph had interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh, he further explained that the dream had come to Pharaoh in two forms because it had been firmly decided by God and that it would be done soon.

But Joseph didn’t stop at interpreting the dreams.  He also gave advice to Pharaoh which was surely a most presumptuous thing to do.  Surely Joseph was guided by the Lord when he told Pharaoh he needed to appoint commissioners over Egypt to collect food in the seven abundant years to be used in the famine that would follow. 

Many leaders today would throw this upstart out of their palace, but either because the Lord was with him or because Pharaoh and his officials were sensible—or for both these reasons—Pharaoh and his officials agreed that this must be done.

Then Pharaoh chose Joseph for the chore, putting him above everything in Egypt except himself because he discerned that the spirit of God dwelt in Joseph.

I believe that this happened and I also believe that only with the aid of the Lord would Joseph, a former prisoner no matter how esteemed at the prison, have been so trusted.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 41 vs. 15-31 with Betty

 15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.

16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river:

18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow:

19 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness:

20 And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine:

21 And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke.

22 And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good:

23 And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them:

24 And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.

25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.

26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.

27 And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.

28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.

29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:

30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;

31 And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

When Joseph had his audience with Pharaoh, Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams and Joseph interpreted the seven fat cattle being eaten up by the seven lean ones and the seven full heads of grain being devoured by the thin heads as meaning that God was about to send seven years of plenty which would be followed by seven years of famine so great that the good years would be forgotten. 

Joseph said, “What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.

How can one doubt the goodness of God when reading this? Not only did he give Pharaoh warning of the famine to come even before the country had luxuriated in plenty, but he brought Joseph out of prison so that the dreams might be interpreted.  Sometimes in these bible stories, the plan of the Lord seems complex and entwined like a spider web, but in the end  good comes for men overall out of everything God does.

Betty Killebrew

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