Genesis 44 (ESV)
Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, 2 and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him.
3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. 4 They had gone only a short distance from the city. Now Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5 Is it not from this that my lord drinks, and by this that he practices divination? You have done evil in doing this.’”
6 When he overtook them, he spoke to them these words. 7 They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing! 8 Behold, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9 Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” . . . Continue Reading
Cat and Mouse
In the previous chapter, Joseph enjoys time with his brothers. He hasn’t revealed to them that he is the long lost brother they threw into a pit and sold into slavery and his emotions are hard for him to contain.
As they had lunch together in Genesis 43:32-34, it seems like a great time for Joseph to reveal his identity to his brother. But Chapter 44 continues with Joseph playing “cat and mouse” with his brothers.
It’s hard to determine motives and intent in people. It’s easy for anyone to say anything but as the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Joseph obviously was hurt by the hatred his brothers had for him. Long gone is his robe of many colors. But now, as the leader of Egypt (second in command only to Pharaoh himself), he needs to know for sure what type of people his brothers really are and if they have changed.
How do you make such a determination? Testing!
So Joseph ordered that his brother’s sacks be filled with food and their money put in the mouth of their sacks (Genesis 44:1). This is a repeat of Genesis 42:25 when “Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to replace every man’s money in his sack…” But this time, Joseph goes a step further by putting his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack (Genesis 44:2).
Joseph tells his steward to follow them and confront them about “stealing” from him. They knew they had not taken anything and said, “Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” They had no idea that the silver cup was in Benjamin’s sack with his food and money.
Back to Joseph they go. Judah, pleads with Joseph to have mercy on Benjamin and offers to take his place as Joseph’s servant for fear that if Benjamin is forced to stay in Egypt as Joseph’s servant, it will kill their father Jacob. Although Reuben was the eldest son, Judah appears to be the leader or at least the spokesperson for the brothers. He’s the one who convinced his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery in Genesis 37:26. Now with Benjamin’s life in Joseph’s hands, Judah offers up himself to take Benjamin’s place.
Judah loves his father enough to sacrifice himself on behalf of Benjamin!
The chapter ends abruptly without response from Joseph. Oh, but Joseph will respond in the first verse of the next chapter. I look forward to reading and sharing.
Father, thank you for how you have preserved these amazing stories for us in your Word. So many throughout history have tried to rid the world of your Word but you have protected it for us and I thank you for that. I also thank you for enabling me to show love and grace to everyone – even those who would cause me harm. May I see your provision in all of life’s circumstances and trust that you are using each situation to draw me closer to you and make me more like Jesus Christ. Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned this morning and remind me of them as I walk with you today. In the name of Jesus and for His sake, Amen!
Thank you for reading my daily online journal today. Far from commentaries these are just my initial thoughts after reflecting on what I’ve read from a chapter in God’s Word each morning. This not only helps me apply what I’ve read because I’m reflecting and sharing instead of only reading but it also allows me to encourage others to prayerfully consider doing the same.
In His Care,