The Life of Joseph - Lesson 27, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
We see in this story of Joseph a mini-series of what is to take place between Israel and Jesus Christ.
It is the preview of how Jesus Christ deals with Israel all wrapped up in these few chapters in Genesis and lived out in the lives of Joseph, his brothers and Jacob.
Note all the types, not only of Christ, but of Israel itself.
As Jesus came unto his own Joseph also came unto his own and his own received him not.
Joseph was placed into a pit by his brothers, a type of the crucifixion that Israel did to Jesus Christ.
Joseph was taken out of the pit, a type of resurrection and he went to Egypt a far country where he preached unto those in prison as Christ had preached unto the spirits in prison.
He then was received by Pharaoh, a type of the Father who received his son, Jesus Christ.
Note how the brothers who composed Israel, were drawn to Joseph and repentance because of the famine, a type of the wooing of the Spirit, as the Spirit woos the sinner to repentance.
See how the brothers, repent as Israel will repent and a nation will be born in a day.
So in this little story God gives a preview of what is to take place in the coming centuries.
Certainly another validation of the divineness of this book.
Genesis 43:32-34, And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another. And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him.
Three eating areas are set for the luncheon.
Joseph is set apart from his brothers.
His brothers are set together but apart from Joseph.
And the Egyptians of the house are also set in a place apart from both for it was an abomination for Egyptians to eat with Hebrews.
Perhaps to his brothers they thought Joseph was set apart because of Joseph's rank but Joseph observed the custom of the Egyptians.
But even in this seating arrangement the brothers marveled one to another.
How did this Egyptian prince know to seat each brother according to their ages.
There was Reuben at the head of the table, next to him Simeon, then Levi and Judah, followed by Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, and Zebulun.
And last was seated Benjamin with plenty of space reserved for five times as much food as his brothers were given.
Joseph allowed no time for his brother's minds to go dead.
Each action was planned to make them think and to give opportunity for them to express their heart.
Joseph watched to see their reaction to his favoritism of his brother Benjamin.
Twenty two years ago Jacob's favoritism for Joseph had brought out the evil in his brother's hearts.
Years before these very same men, save Benjamin, expressed their evil hearts by evil deeds against this very prince who stayed apart from them.
Did that same evil remain?
Would Joseph's blessing of five messes for Benjamin bring that evil out?
Joseph was intent upon finding out and this party was designed to help reveal his brother's hearts.
Joseph sees nothing of what he saw when his brothers dealt with him for here .... they drank, and were merry with him.
Joseph entered into their merriment for Joseph was a good host.
But perhaps the merriment of the party is enough to prevent that evil Against Benjamin and Joseph is not about to reveal himself until his brothers pass one more test.
Genesis 44:1,2, And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth. And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
So Joseph's working in his brothers lives continues.
His purpose is not yet reached for only repentance and reconciliation of his brothers and reunion with his father will satisfy Joseph.
As our Lord is longsuffering so too was Joseph.
How will his brothers react when Benjamin's freedom is threatened?
Will they simply give him up as they had given up Joseph to the Midianite merchants?
Or will their loyalty to their father show itself by their protection and their pleading for Benjamin?
Joseph accepts no vague understanding of their hearts but puts a test before them which will reveal in black and white the condition of their heart as to their loyalty to their family.
They certainly had no loyalty to him or to his father 22 years ago.
Had this changed?
So he has his servant plant his silver cup in Benjamin's sack to prompt an opportunity for his brothers to make a decision for or against Benjamin.
This silver cup in Benjamin's sack was to become a threat to all of them.
Their hearts were to be exposed to a crisis for crises easily reveal the heart.
Joseph wished to know under these circumstances what would they do with Benjamin?
Genesis 44:3-9, As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing. And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words. And they said unto him, 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.
No doubt the brothers breathed a sigh of relief as they left Joseph's house, not only with Simeon, but with Benjamin.
Judah would have been especially thankful to be on his way out of Egypt after pledging to Jacob that he would be forever blamed if Benjamin was harmed.
This prince of Egypt had been so unpredictable and had turned their world upside down.
But Judah, your comfort is to be short-lived for Joseph is not yet finished with you.
Joseph is interested in your physical welfare and he has provided, but he is more interested in your soul.
So, as the caravan proceeds toward Canaan perhaps Reuben turns to see the servant overtaking them in haste.
What now, he exclaims as his heart begins to fail him.
What bewildering plan does this Egyptian prince now have up his sleeve?
Can't we see the mouths of the brothers open wide in amazement when they learn of the mission of Joseph's servant?
The steward is faithful to his mission for Joseph and does not embellish or detract from Joseph's instructions.
I perceive that Joseph has informed his steward of his plan and of his relationship with these men.
The steward is most likely in on the work of Joseph to bring these men to repentance and reconciliation.
So he says: Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.
Where is his silver cup?
That cup that was at his place as he dined apart.
That cup engraved with his symbol.
Oh no! The cup in which the prince divineth is gone and we are accused of taking it.
What else does God have planned for us?
Woe is me! Woe is me!
So the argument is made.
Sir, is it reasonable to think that men who came all the way back to Egypt bringing money they thought was by mistake placed in their sacks to now steal a silver cup from thy lord's house?
And quick to make an oath, thinking that there was no way they would be held accountable they said:
With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen.
And the steward was quick to respond for they had put themselves in the exact place to be tested by Joseph. God is so Good!
Genesis 44:10, And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.
Opportunity to let Benjamin take the heat and for the rest of the brothers to get off scot free.
What will the brothers do this time?
Would they compound their wickedness and toss him to the wolves as they so easily had done to Joseph?
Or would they stand with Benjamin even to the death?
The steward did not have long to wait.