All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Famine
Based on Genesis 42–45

The story of Joseph’s reunion with his family is fascinating. The famine grips Canaan, too, so Jacob sends ten of his sons to Egypt to buy food. Joseph recognizes his brothers when they arrive, but they don’t recognize him, since he looks Egyptian and speaks through an interpreter. To determine if their hearts have changed, Joseph accuses them of being spies.

“No, my lord,” they reply, “we are all one man’s sons,” implying that spies wouldn’t all come from the same family. Then, fearing for their lives, they insist they are twelve brothers; the youngest is still at home, and one is no more.

Benjamin, or Else!

Joseph orders one of them to bring back Benjamin as proof, but they refuse, so he imprisons them. Three days later, he repeats his demand. The brothers feel this is divine retribution for selling Joseph into slavery, and when he overhears this, he becomes emotional.

Arresting Simeon, he sends the others home with a stern warning not to return without Benjamin. He also orders their payments be hidden in their sacks, and when they discover this, they fear it to be another sign of divine judgment!

When food runs low, Jacob asks his sons to return again to Egypt. They remind him that Benjamin must accompany them, but the thought of losing Joseph, Simeon, and Benjamin is too much.

Reuben then offers the lives of his two sons if he doesn’t return him, but Jacob still refuses to let him go.

Then Judah, who first saved Joseph’s life by convincing his brothers to sell him instead of killing him, assumes the redeemer role again by offering himself as surety, and Jacob finally relents.

The Silver Cup

When they arrive, Joseph releases Simeon and orders them to his home for a banquet. When he arrives they bow low, giving him valuable gifts from their father. However, when Joseph sees Benjamin, he’s overwhelmed again and leaves quickly to weep. The brothers’ puzzlement only increases when later he seats them in order, according to their age.

As they eat, Benjamin is served five times more, and the brothers seem pleased. Joseph is clearly honoring him as the firstborn—a position he’d previously held himself. The five portions may represent one for the offspring of each of Jacob’s four wives, and one for being the firstborn.

Again, their sacks are filled and their payments are placed inside. But Joseph instructs his silver cup be hidden in Benjamin’s sack.

Stealing a ruler’s cup is a serious offense, since the ancients believe it magically protects him against intentional poisoning.

As they leave, Joseph orders his steward to overtake them and accuse them of stealing his cup. They respond by saying that if the cup is found in any man’s sack, he should die, and the rest of them should become slaves!

The sacks are searched, from the oldest to the youngest, and Joseph’s cup turns up in Benjamin’s sack!

They tear their clothes in anguish, and Judah assumes the redeemer role the third time. He begs to become Joseph’s slave as he pleads for Benjamin’s life. He cannot bear to send his father to his grave in sorrow.

Joseph can stand no more. Sending the Egyptians away, he weeps openly and reveals his identity by speaking in Hebrew. His brothers are terrified, but he urges them not to be angry at themselves, because “God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives.” He embraces and kisses Benjamin and all his brothers as they weep together.

(Read 030)

Was I spinning? It must have worked.

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