Genesis 44: People Change (and Sometimes for the Better)
In Genesis chapter 44, I have to admit I kind of wonder what type of mind game Joseph was playing. Essentially, he forced his brothers to bring their youngest brother Benjamin with them if they wanted to buy more food.
However, it seems as if he only ordered Benjamin to come with them to cause controversy.
Gen 44:1 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.
Gen 44:2 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.
Again, he returned all of their money. That isn’t necessarily the problem here. He had his own personal goblet hidden in Benjamin’s bag to frame him in a way.
Why would he do that?
I think that he was testing all of his brothers to see if their attitudes and actions. After all, these were the guys who sold Joseph himself into slavery but seriously considered killing him first.
They were upset because he was the favorite son and had a vision that all of his family would bow down to him someday. Their resentment caused an awful lot of problems for Joseph.
Interestingly enough, Joseph and Benjamin were full brothers, and they were both the favorite children of their father Israel.
Gen 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Gen 42:4 But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.
Notice that both Joseph and Benjamin received special treatment. Perhaps Joseph was trying to find out if his brothers had any resentment towards Benjamin.
Perhaps he was trying to find out what his brothers would do. They were quick to try to get rid of him when he received special treatment, and maybe he was wondering if they would sell Benjamin out in a similar way.
He must have been relieved when he heard Judah speak from verse 18 through the end of this chapter. I won’t post all of the words here, but he essentially laid out the fact that they promised to keep Benjamin safe, and their father would be devastated if anything happened to him. Judah even offered to remain as a servant if Joseph would let Benjamin return home to their father.
First of all, Judah’s honesty and bravery are admirable. It must have been difficult for him to swallow his pride and essentially beg for his brother’s life. Nobody likes to be in a position where they are entirely at the mercy of someone else.
In a way though, that is our entire relationship with God. We need to swallow our pride and honestly recognize that we are sinful people who have no hope in and of ourselves. Then, we need to appeal to God and depend on his mercy to escape from this sin that we have been ensnared in. Of course, God’s mercy never fails.
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
I know that the themes embedded in the salvation story are entirely woven throughout Scripture, and here is an interesting place where you can find an application of those lessons. Of course, it is not the entire story, but you can see some traits and connections here.