Brotherly Love part 2


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Genesis 43:1 Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2 So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
3 But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”
6 Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?
7 They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9 I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10 As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.
11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13 Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14 And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”
15 So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal; they are to eat with me at noon.”
17 The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house. 18 Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.”
19 So they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20 “We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said, “we came down here the first time to buy food. 21 But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver—the exact weight—in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. 22 We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.”
23 “It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24 The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. 25 They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.
26 When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. 27 He asked them how they were, and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?”
28 They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.
29 As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.
31 After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.”
32 They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians. 33 The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment. 34 When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.

Here's the link to the commentary I read.

I myself will be surety for him: Judah put his own life on the line as a guarantee for Benjamin. This is the first good thing we see that Judah did. Previously, he was the one who had proposed the sale of Joseph. He was the one who wronged his daughter-in-law Tamar and had sex with her as a harlot.​
They set him a place by himself: Joseph did not eat with his brothers, because at the time, Egypt was one of the most racially separated societies on earth. They believed that Egyptians came from the gods, and all other people came from lesser origins. There was little social mixing with foreigners in the Egypt of Joseph’s day.​
Now look, Jacob [Israel] thought Joseph had been eaten by animal. The boys [Simeon, Levi, and Rueben] didn't tell their dad that Joseph was sold into slavery rather than die a slow death in the dry well. The boys had Joseph's coat of many colors to use as testimony as to the manner of Joseph's death. They had covered it in blood.

Jacob [Israel] had four wives. Rachel, however, was his favorite wife. Joseph had been his favorite son.

After the reported demise of Joseph, Rachel died in childbirth with Benjamin. Jacob thought Benjamin was all he had left of Rachel.

Jacob did not want anything to happen to Benjamin.

So, rather than go save Simeon right away, Jacob [Israel] held out until the grain was gone and they were without options.

Yesterday we noted that Rueben offered his two sons as a guarantee that nothing would happen to Benjamin. Rueben was willing to sacrifice his sons, rather than let Simeon sit in prison.

In this chapter, it's Judah who is willing to protect Benjamin. This, might I remind you, is the same Judah who promised Tamar a husband after two of his sons died before she could get pregnant. What does that say about Judah giving his word?

The grain eventually ran out, though, and Jacob [Israel] had to send Benjamin with the boys to buy more grain.

They didn't go to get Simeon out of prison. They had eaten all the grain. They were going back to get more grain, not Simeon. They took Benjamin, not to save Simeon, but to get grain.

When they were shuffled off to Joseph's house, they must have been terrified. When Simeon was released to them, they didn't all run up and hug the fire out of their brother. If they had, I'm pretty sure it would have been written here, as a matter of showing "brotherly love".

The brothers were afraid they were being "set up", I figure. They figured this guy was going to feed them and then put them all in prison for stealing the grain [since the silver was still in their packs when they got home]. They were explaining themselves to anyone who would listen... even Joseph's house slave.

In Sunday School, I was taught the boys took Benjamin right back to Egypt with them to get Simeon. They were heroes, in the Bible Story, I was taught as a child. The two men who guaranteed Benjamin's safety, Rueben and Judah, were loving brothers, according to the Bible Story I was taught.

At any rate... Jacob is sitting at home, wringing his hands in worry that his son Benjamin is in peril. The boys are sitting at a dinner table with an odd man who keeps asking about his father.

I wonder if any of them calculated the odds that they would run into their brother in a country as huge as Egypt. I wonder if any of them calculated the odds that they would be eating lunch with him. They never even considered Joseph was doing so well for himself.

The twelve sons of Jacob [Israel] were all in one room.... and they didn't know it.

This is Brotherly Love part 2

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