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October 31, 2020

The seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt ended, and now it is the second year of famine that had spread throughout the land and into other countries. This famine reached Hebron in southern Canaan, where Jacob and his family resided, and when he heard that corn was being sold down in Egypt, he sent ten of his sons on the approximately 300 miles journey to Egypt to purchase food. Scared that something might happen to the youngest son Benjamin if he traveled with his brothers, Jacob kept him home.

Upon meeting the governor, they unknowingly bowed down to him, fulfilling the dream that Joseph shared with them when he was a teenager while part of the family in Canaan. It had been twenty-two years since the brothers had seen Joseph, so they did not recognize Joseph, the governor of Egypt, who oversaw the selling of corn. Additionally, he was clean-shaven, dressed in the Egyptians’ official garments, and communicated with them using an interpreter; however, Joseph recognized them but did not reveal his identity. Instead, Joseph harshly questioned them and accused them four times of being spies, which they repeatedly denied. In their response, they told Joseph about their family, “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” (Genesis 42:13).

Joseph acted like he did not believe them; thus, to make them prove their innocence, he said, “Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. 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.” However, before this took place, Joseph placed his brothers in prison, and after three days, he met with them with a change in his requirements. He said, “This do, and live; for I fear God: 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: But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die” (Genesis 42:18-20).

Unwittingly in Joseph’s hearing, his brothers recounted Joseph’s pleas, which they disregarded when they placed him in the pit and sold him to the Midianites. Now they felt after all these years; God was possibly punishing them for their actions. At this point, Joseph’s emotions got the best of him; so, he left them and privately cried.

Upon returning to them, Simeon was chosen to stay in prison while his nine brothers returned home. Joseph had his steward fill their sacks with corn and the monies they used to purchase the corn. He also gave them provisions to eat along the way. Only one of the brothers discovered the returned monies during their journey home; however, this caused them to become fearful and say, “What is this that God hath done unto us?” This fear was compounded when the others discovered their monies in their sacks when they got home.

After arriving back in Canaan, the brothers told their father what happened to them, Simeon imprisonment, and the requirements placed on them to purchase corn in the future. Jacob was distraught over the things they said, and he adamantly declared he would not allow Benjamin to go to Egypt despite Rueben offering the lives of his two sons if he did not go back to Egypt and return with Benjamin in hand. This chapter ends with the words of Jacob, “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.”

As I did in the previous blogs of this series, I will end this blog with points that I think are helpful for all of us to remember:

  1. If you are experiencing famine and God reveals where provisions are, go after it.
  2. No matter the age, parents are concerned about their children’s well-being.
  3. It may take years for your dream to come to fruition, don’t lose hope; it will come.
  4. Years prior to this time, Joseph’s words to the chief butler would lead one to believe he wanted to return to his father’s household. However, after his elevation to the governorship, marriage, and the birth of his first son, it appeared the pain of the past no longer tormented his mind and that he was no longer thinking about returning to his father’s house. No doubt, his brethren’s appearance opened back up emotional feelings that Joseph probably thought were dead. Furthermore, running through his mind probably was how he should treat them and would they recognize him. Think about this. What will you do when you come face to face with the people that abused you in the past? What will you say; how will you react?
  5. Be strategic in your revelations
  6. Being without his natural family for so long, Joseph missed the love of his father and brother Benjamin. Now that he sees his half-brothers and hears that his father and younger brother are still alive, he yearns to see them. It is natural to yearn to see your family, especially after long times of separation.
  7. Take your time when making decisions.
  8. Let the fear of God motivate and direct you.
  9. Rather than retaliation, show mercy.
  10. Reaping can make you reflect on what you sowed.
  11. Don’t be fooled; people remember what you did and what they did.
  12. Take responsibility for your actions.
  13. Reliving painful experiences can be gut retching.
  14. Some memories are harrowing even after a long time has passed, and when remembered, they will bring you to tears.
  15. Joseph did not hold a grudge when given the opportunity, but he showed compassion to all of his family. Can you do that?
  16. In allowing his brethren to return home, Joseph showed trust. Are you willing to trust those that offended you?
  17. Amid trouble, people will question God’s involvement in their situation.
  18. People cherish that which reminds them of the one they love.


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