Genesis: Misunderstanding

Genesis 44:1–34

Joseph isn’t finished messing with his brothers.

Not only does he hide their money back in their bags of grain again, he also hides his silver cup (the way the Egyptians talk about it, it’s like a magic talisman or lucky charm) in Benjamin’s bag.

So when the authorities come after the brothers, the brothers rashly swear they haven’t done anything (and they haven’t). But when they’ve been searched, all the evidence points to their being thieves. Things particularly don’t look good for Benjamin, and the brothers know they can’t go home if they don’t have Benjamin.

And Judah steps forward. Judah, who had sons by his daughter-in-law thinking she was a prostitute. Judah, whose idea it was to sell Joseph into slavery instead of murder him. Judah begs and pleads for mercy.

He lays out the whole story to this guy he doesn’t yet know to be Joseph. He’s between a rock and a hard place. He can’t go home without food. He can’t go home without Benjamin.

As he lays out his argument, he comes to close it all with with Jacob. Six times in verses 30–34 he references “my father” or “our father.” His concern is for Jacob. He was there to witness the trauma of Jacob when he received the news that Joseph was gone, and he knows that old man Jacob can’t handle it emotionally or physically to lose the brother of Joseph.

So what’s going on in the mind of Joseph in all these? Has he been getting a kick out of messing with his brothers? Is this the revenge he’s been waiting for and does he find it satisfying? Does he worry about going too far? Is this the mea culpa he’s been waiting for?

What about you? What do you see?


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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