42:1-38. Joseph's Brethren.
42:1,2. Commission to buy corn.
4. Benjamin left.
6-24. Meeting with Joseph.
Genesis 42:1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, "Why do ye look one upon another?"
(This is what we all too often do when in trouble or difficulty. "Why do you just stand there looking at each other, why don't you do something?")
2 And he said, "Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die."
3 And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.
4 But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, "Lest peradventure mischief befall him."
(Benjamin was Joseph's only full brother, all the other brothers were half brothers, for Rachel died in childbirth when Benjamin was born. Jacob lost Joseph to what he thought to be a wild animals, and thus Benjamin was the only son left from his first love Rachel. Jacob didn't want to lose both of Rachel's sons to trouble.)
5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
(Remember that dream that Joseph had, as he wore his coat of many colors? Joseph dreamed that all of you will bow down to me. Here it happens.)
7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, "Whence come ye?" And they said, "From the land of Canaan to buy food."
(Each step in Joseph's treatment must be noted, all tending to one end: v.12: to bring them back to the pit at Dothan, convict them of their sin, and compel their confession of it That climax is not reached till v.21. Judah's word voice it, 44:18-34.)
8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.
9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, "Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come."
(Joseph is having a good time playing games with his brothers, and to see them sweat a little, he is claiming them to be foreign spies. If it were true, Joseph could have their lives by just giving the word, and the brothers knew this.)
10 And they said unto him, "Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.
11 We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies."
12 And he said unto them, "Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come."
(These ten brothers of Josephs' are getting very nervous as this ruler of all Egypt is telling them he doesn't believe their story.)
13 And they said, "Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not."
14 And Joseph said unto them, "That is it that I spake unto you, saying, 'Ye are spies:'
15 Hereby ye shall be proved:
(Joseph, from his high position, could make very strict inquiry.)
By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.
(Joseph has a plan to prove them out, for he wants to see his only true brother. Joseph is going to make them prove that they have a younger brother at home.)
16 Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies."
17 And he put them all together into ward three days.
(Step 2: to alarm. Joseph put them into holding together for three days, to give them time to work themselves up in fear. During this whole time Joseph was wanting to reveal himself to them, only he had to know if they had changed, and what they were like. His heart was aching for them.)
18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, "This do, and live; for I fear God:
19 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:
(Joseph knew that the rest of the family was getting real hungry, only he was going to see how the brothers would act if another of the brother's life was at stake.)
20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so."
21 And they said one to another, "We are verily guilty concerning our brother,
(The treatment begins to take effect.)
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."
(The ten brothers are now in conference and they all know that this is God punishing them for doing what they did to their younger brother Joseph. The ironic thing is that it is the brother that they sold that is doing the punishing to them. They now are recognizing that they were wrong, as they think back on the terror on Joseph's face as they put him into the pit, and then the sorrowful look on his face when they sold him into bondage.
Joseph was seventeen when he was sold, and thirty when he got married; now he has two children, and he is pushing his forties. Joseph has changed quite a bit.)
22 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."
23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.
(When all this conversation between the brothers, and the charges being put forth by Joseph, he was using an interpreter. Joseph natural tongue now was Arabic, and not the Hebrew, for that is the only language he had spoken for the past twenty five years. Yet he still knew the Hebrew well for it was his native tongue. Joseph could hear every word as they spoke of him, and confessed the wrong that they did to him those many years prior.)
24 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.
25 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.
(The 3rd step.)
26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence.
27 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.
(Joseph is shaking them up even on their trip back home, and at the same time taking care of his father's household with the food, as well as returning their money. Joseph's first charge was that they were all spies, now there is another charge added; were they going to be accused also of stealing this money?)
28 And he said unto his brethren, "My money is restored; and, lo, 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?"
29 And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying,
30 "The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country.
31 And we said unto him, 'We are true men; we are no spies:
32 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.'
33 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:
34 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 traffick in the land.' "
(Joseph is checking them out and see if they will sell out their own full blood brother, Benjamin also. This is a test, and had they sold Benjamin, Joseph's wrath would come down hard upon them. Joseph wants to know, Would they sell my brother also to save their own necks.)
35 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.
(You talk about fear, they stood, all nine of the brothers, and gazed at the food bags opened, and the first thing coming out of the bags of all of them was their money. They knew Simeon was still in prison in Egypt, and he was now in great trouble. It appears that they bought the corn, and then stole the money, in their own eyes.
When we do something we know is against God and His Word, and our neighbor, He has a way of getting our attention. When things just don't go right, that is the time to stop and reflect upon our actions, and what we have said. Most times they will come back to haunt us when we least expect it. These are very normal people, and their reaction is very much as we would react today. God will intercede in their lives, just as He will in ours today.)
36 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."
37 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."
38 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."
(Jacob still thinks that Joseph is dead, for the brothers have not told their father what they did to his favorite son. Keep in mind that the only true love that Jacob had was for Rachel, and one of her sons is gone, and now they want to put her other sons life in question, and Jacob just can't let Benjamin go.
Remember Leah was pushed off on Jacob under deception by Laban her father, and that love was not the same as Rachel. The other two wives were handmaidens of Rachel and Leah. So now we see why Jacob held Joseph and Benjamin so dear. Of course it was Benjamin's birth that caused the death of Rachel.
Jacob is telling the brothers that if something happens to Benjamin, it will kill me. The concern all the time is only for the life of Benjamin, and not Simeon, the son locked up in Egypt.)