Scriptural text: Genesis 42:6-25
A Dream Come True (Gen. 42:6-9). Several years before the events of these chapters, Joseph had a series of dreams indicating that his family would one day bow down to him. Now, the favoritism that Joseph received from his father was one thing, but this is what sent his brothers over the edge, and set the events of Joseph’s life in order. Joseph had an appointment with destiny. Joseph was 17 years old when he was initially sold into slavery (Gen. 37:2). Joseph was sold into slavery three times before Pharaoh promoted him to governor of Egypt: (Joseph was sold to a group of Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:25 -27); He was sold to some Midianite merchants and taken to Egypt (Gen. 37:28); He was sold by the Midianite traders to Potiphar (Gen. 37:36). Joseph was 30 years old when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream.
Famine had come upon the land. Food was scarce. Jacob saw the corn that his neighbors had bought in Egypt, and brought home. It is a spur to exertion to see others supplied. Jacob sent 10 of his sons to Egypt to buy corn. The youngest son, Benjamin, was kept home because Jacob did not want to take a chance of anything happening to him. In verse 6, the 10 brothers were brought into the presence of the highest official in Egypt, Joseph, the brother they mistreated. They do not recognize him. Joseph was dressed in Egyptian apparel and spoke with the Egyptian dialect. However, Joseph immediately identified them, his brothers who sold him into slavery. The fact that they bow down before Joseph fulfills the dream in Genesis 37:7.
A Forgiving Heart Prompted by Love (Gen. 42:10-17). Joseph was hard upon his brothers, not from a spirit of revenge, but to bring them to repentance. Not seeing his brother, Benjamin, he suspected that they had made a way with him; and, he gave them occasion to speak of their father and brother. Joseph settled at last that one of them should be left, and the rest go home and bring back Benjamin, his brother. It was a very encouraging word he said to them, “I fear God.” Joseph wanted to be sure that his brothers were remorseful of the crimes that they had committed against him.
Confession is Good for the Soul (Gen. 42:18-21). Joseph made it known to his brothers that he would keep them in prison until they could verify their story by bringing their younger brother, Benjamin, back to Egypt. Moving in the direction of reconciliation, Joseph then told his brothers that it would be enough for only one of them to be kept in prison while the rest of them returned home. Once they returned with their brother, Benjamin, their words would be validated, and they would not die (verse 20).
God Sees the Evil and the Good (Gen. 42:22-25). Reuben reminded them that he had tried to stop them but they would not listen (verse 22). The way that they had mistreated Joseph had consumed them with guilt. They felt that they were being punished by God as a result of the dilemma that they were in. Joseph listening to his brothers speaking to one another caused Joseph to turn his head to keep his brothers from seeing him weep. Upon regaining his composure, he ordered Simeon to be bound in their presence. Simeon was the second oldest and should have tried to protect young Joseph.
Even though Joseph requires his brothers to jump through several hoops, Joseph has forgiven his brothers and only desires that they bring back his youngest brother, Benjamin.