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November 14, 2020

In Genesis 43, Joseph had the second encounter with his brothers, which ended with them dining with him at his house. At first, the brothers were apprehensive about meeting with Joseph, who still had not revealed his identity to them, but they were all amiable by the end of the unstinted meal.

Even though he sometimes became emotional while listening to his brothers talk about the past, before revealing his true identity to them, Joseph decided to test their loyalty to their brother Benjamin and concern for their aged father. Therefore, before the brothers left his house, Joseph once again tells his steward to fill their sacks with the monies they brought to purchase the corn and place his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack.

When the brother reached a short distance out of the city, Joseph sent the steward after them to accuse them of theft. When confronted by the steward with the robbery of Joseph’s silver cup, which was known for use by the Asiatics in divination practices, the brothers vehemently denied doing so. They replied, “Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.” However, the steward told them only the guilty person would be retained, and he proceeded to search their sacks from the oldest to the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. In dismay and not knowing how the cup got into Benjamin’s sack, the brothers ripped their clothes and gathered their things to head back to the city.  

When they arrived at Joseph’s house where they met him, they prostrated themselves on the ground. Joseph accused them of stealing, to which Judah replied, “What shall we say unto my lord? What shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.” But Joseph said, “God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.”

This forty-fourth chapter of Genesis ends with Judah rehearsing the exchange between him and their father Jacob before the brothers came to Egypt for the second time. He tells Joseph their father would die of grief if the brothers returned home without Benjamin; therefore, he was willing to take Benjamin’s place and suffer whatever consequence would befall Benjamin.

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. In life, people will test you (set you up) to see how you respond.
  2. When people set you up, they do it strategically.
  3. When you are charged with a crime for which you are blameless, you will proclaim your innocence.
  4. Not knowing Joseph’s cup was placed in Benjamin’s sack, the brothers said to the steward, “With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.” Be mindful of the words you speak, for you may regret them in the future.
  5. When the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, the brothers rent their clothes. The possibilities of the unknown can cause you to grieve prematurely.
  6. In The Living Bible, Genesis 44:16 states, “And Judah said, Oh, what shall we say to my lord? How can we plead? How can we prove our innocence? God is punishing us for our sins. Sir, we have all returned to be your slaves, both we and he in whose sack the cup was found.” Some people think that they can sin without consequences; however, your sins will eventually find you out.
  7. Some tests reveal your priorities.
  8. Some tests reveal your character.
  9. Some tests make you remember things that you wanted to forget.
  10. When you are fighting for your life, be careful how you frame your words.
  11. Due to the information presented to Jacob, he thought a wild animal killed Joseph. Deception can cause you to conclude wrongly.
  12. Jacob’s life was bound up to Benjamin, whom he thought was the only surviving child of Rachel. Grief is real. The loss of a child can cause pain and suffering that some parents never recover, and some even die from grief. Also, grief causes people to be scared of losing other love ones.
  13. Knowing their father would grieve over his absence, Judah was willing to be a scapegoat so that Benjamin could return home. Does your life matter to someone enough that they would make a sacrifice of their life for yours?


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