Food for Thought: Make new friends, but keep the old ones, one is silver…
Joseph may not have exactly exacted vengeance on his brothers for his earlier deportation into Egypt, but the two instances in which he has messed with their heads are enough to move readers. As you read these stories, you cannot help but to get drawn into the narrative. You can almost see the surroundings, feel the heat emanating off of the desert floor. This is the power of a good story. Joseph for the second time, now in chapter 44, messes with his brothers. After blessing them with a meal at his own place, he sends them on their way with their money back again, and with as much food as can be carried. They arrived carrying gifts and hungry and are given enough food to feed a small army. There is one gift they weren’t expecting to find. Joseph tells his steward to place his sliver cup in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack (44:2).
As day breaks the caravan is sent on, and not long after their send off, Joseph sends his steward after them to reclaim is stolen cup (44:4-5). The brothers are just disgusted that Joseph would think they would do such a thing, they even brought double the amount of silver. Remember these are honest men we are dealing with here. We aren’t told who speaks first, the text suggests that all of them are speaking as one, and they say that if one is found to have they cup, that one would be killed and the rest would become the slaves of Joseph (44:8-10). The cup is found in Benjamin’s sack, and his brothers are heart broke, and they tear their clothes as sign of grief. Jacob had warned them about protecting Benjamin and now it appears that in addition to losing Joseph, Simeon, the once fruitful Jacob is in danger of losing Benjamin and quite possibly all of his sons! When they get to Joseph’s place, they throw themselves at his feet. They are desperate and have no other options. They are fearful God’s kindness is about to run out. Judah, steps up to bat again for his brother and to protect his father. Judah’s speech to Joseph runs from verse 18-34. Judah recounts how Joseph had asked about their family and learning about their younger brother, and aging fathers requests to see the younger brother at the expense of their aging father’s health. Judah recognize that if they go home without Benjamin Jacob will die (44:31). Once again, just like last chapter a son of Jacob, offers his life in replace of another. He even offers to stay and remain a slave so that Benjamin could go home to his father. This is a different group of men then we first encountered in chapter 37. One day another son of Jacob, a descendant of Judah will offer himself as well as a ransom for the sin-slavery of his people. Judah’s actions remind of us of Jesus, who saves his people from their sins! As we think about our own rescue from our slavery, may we once again marvel at love, and kindness of our God who doesn’t abandon his people! Love involves sacrifice, may we model Judah’s actions for others in our own lives as well!
1. What stood out to you today?
2. What is one thing you can take away from this chapter?