The Life of Joseph - Lesson 23, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Review: Genesis 42:18-21, And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: (Eloheem) 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. And they did so. 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.
This weeks verses: Genesis 42:22-24, 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. And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. 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.
We see here in this passage that one event in the lives of all the brothers comes into memory.
Reuben made no mention of what he did with his father's concubine, Bilhah, nor Judah his incest with Tamar, nor Simeon and Levi's revenge on the men of Shechem.
Those evils were not recalled.
But one event that included them all was on the forefront of his mind.
One event common to all and known only by them and by Joseph.
Jacob, for all these years, remembered his son Joseph as a son who had long since been devoured by an evil beast.
So Reuben recalls that day, 22 years ago, vividly as if it were yesterday.
He recalls his ploy to rescue Joseph by delaying the brothers judgment upon him.
I told you so!
Do not sin against the child!
His memory may have enhanced his part in the deed, for looking back to Chapter 37 we find that Reuben said, let us not kill him but cast him into this pit.
He hoped to rescue him with this ploy instead of soundly condemning his brothers for this horrible deed and ending this affair concerning Joseph.
And for 22 years he had been an accessory to lies that kept this deed from being revealed.
But now after all these years he sees the judging hand of the Lord in this evil that has befallen him and h1s brothers.
His blood is required means that justice is working.
Satisfaction for his blood is being demanded.
Evil for evil. Sowing and Reaping!
Finally after all these years of deceit and lying we are to get the punishment we so truly deserve.
They feel that a just retribution has come upon them for the coldhearted treatment of their brother as evidenced by their callous reaction to the anguish of his soul.
Oh, how his cries for deliverance continued to ring in their ears for so many years.
Can't you imagine the mental pictures that God was playing in their minds at this moment?
Joseph struggling against the force of his brother's arms as they placed him into the pit.
The tears that were shed pIeading for release.
And now justiceis expected.
Reuben knows without a doubt that this situation in Egypt is connected to his sin and his brothers sin 22 years ago.
Conscience and memory and reason are working their work for their sin is finding them out.
Their sin is revealing to them what they are.
This in itself is a gift of God for it is designed to drive the sinner to God for refuge.
And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.
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.
Joseph was touched by the feelings of their infirmities.
He saw that which he had longed to see for all these years, a repentant spirit in his brothers.
But he was not yet done with them, his father had been wronged and his family is required to be in Egypt.
As he had promised/one of them was to stay.
Who would it be?
Reuben was the eldest but he took Simeon the next in line.
Perhaps Joseph had allowed Reuben to leave because of Reuben's attempt to rescue him.
Perhaps Simeon was kept because of his cruel nature that he displayed to the men in Shechem.
Perhaps Simeon was the ringleader in the evil treatment of Joseph.
Perhaps Simeon did not display the same repentance that his brother's displayed and needed more prison time to reflect.
But in spite of the fact that Joseph wept and could have been overcome emotionally he did the right thing and had Simeon bound before their eyes and put in prison.
Genesis 42:25-28, 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. And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. 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. And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, 10, 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?
Joseph has the authority of the Pharaoh to do with the stored grain as he pleases.
The corn of this verse can be any grain.
Notice that each brother paid for the grain that he personally purchased.
Jacob's family was not a commune all sharing equally alike but each brother paid for his grain individually for we see that Joseph restored every man his own money.
There was just not an unknown quantity of money but the exact amount of money each brother paid for the grain was restored to each man.
In all things Joseph looked out for the good of his brothers and showed no vindictiveness because of their treatment toward him.
Joseph lived the admonition of 1 Thessolonians 5:15, See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
He not only gave them grain for their flocks and families but he made sure that they were well supplied for the journey home.
Joseph/as a type of Christ shows us here of the grace of God.
Joseph's grace toward his brothers required no payment.
This reminds of the the verse in Isaiah which says:
Isaiah 55:1, Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; corne ye, buy, and eat; yea, corne, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Joseph's grace was free and full and without price.
Joseph had the sacks filled but the brothers did what they could do by lading their animals for the journey.
They alone knew what each animal could carry.
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. And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, 10, it is even in my sack: and their heart fai ed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?
Only one of the brothers opened his sack to feed his animals and found the exact amount of money in the sack's mouth that he paid for the grain.
At this time only one brother found the money but that was enough to cause great distress to all.
What is going on here? What does this portend?
What is this that God hath done unto us?
You see how they keep tying events back to God's hand?
In Egypt they had admitted the wrong that they had done and now at the inn they acknowledge the hand of God.
Oh how the goodness of God leads us to repentance!
So all manner of thoughts went through their minds as to why this brother's money had been in the sack.
They knew that they had to face this mysterious Egyptian because they had to go back with Benjamin to prove themselves and to retrieve Simeon.
Would he accuse them of stealing the money back or not paying for the grain?
Did this easy money remind them of the money they received when they sold Joseph into slavery.
Oh, how greedy they were then and how they liked the sight of that money but what about the sight of this money!
How they despised to see this money and to imagine what would happen to them when they returned to the Egyptian ruler.
Genesis 42:29-38, And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying, The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies: 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. 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: 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 traffic in the land. 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. 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. And Reuben spake unto his father, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. 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.
Knowing his sons, Jacob is troubled by their account.
Knowing his sons he feared that they were the cause of these troubles.
They had provoked the Egyptian to this extreme action.
Why were there bundles of money in the sacks.
How could he believe these stories?
Jacob plainly distrusted his sons.
Hadn't Joseph been with them when he disappeared?
Now Simeon was gone while he was with them.
Their reputation was such that Jacob could not trust them.
They had let him down so many times.
Here is Jacob the patriarch, the one who wrestled with God, blind to the working hand of his Lord.
Saying: all these things are against me, when in fact all these things were for him.
Jacob! All things work together for good to them who love God, to them who the are called according to his purpose.
Jacob, all things are working out for your greater blessing and for you and your family's preservation.
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. 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. 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.
Genesis 49:3,4, Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
Reuben the unstable comes to the fore.