Genesis 42 – 46
Joseph brothers set off on their long journey home, with sacks full of corn. They felt very worried because they didn’t know how they were going to persuade their old father to allow them to bring their youngest brother back to Egypt with them.
All the food that they had bought from Joseph had now run out and they had no choice but to persuade their old father to allow Benjamin to return to Egypt with them. Without him they would not be able to buy more grain and so they would all eventually starve.
Once again, the brothers were standing in Pharaoh’s court before the governor asking for grain. When Joseph saw his youngest brother Benjamin he almost burst into tears as he was so overcome with joy. He asked the brothers if their father was in good health.
Then Joseph prepared a meal for his brothers, but he still did not tell them who he was. The next morning when servants were filling the grain sacks Joseph instructed one of his servants to place his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack.
The next day the brothers gratefully set off back to Canaan with sacks full of food. They had not travelled far when some of Joseph’s men caught up with them and demanded to search their sacks of grain. They told the brothers that they were looking for the thief who had stolen the Governor’s cup. To their surprise the stolen cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.
The brothers returned to Egypt and went straight to Joseph and begged for mercy. Joseph told them that the person whose sack the cup had been found in would become his slave and that the rest of them could go free.
Joseph was testing his brothers to see just what kind of men they had become. Were they still the spiteful and cruel people? The same brothers who had thrown him into the pit all those years ago? The brothers would not agree to leave their youngest brother with him. Judah spoke up and said that their old father would die if Benjamin did not return home with them. Judah offered to be Joseph’s slave instead of his brother. When Judah said this Joseph knew that his brothers had changed.
Joseph then sent all his servants out of the room. He said to them, I am Joseph your long lost brother. The brothers were truly afraid, they realised that Joseph had every right to punish them for the terrible way they had treated him. Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid it was God who sent me to Egypt. It was part of God’s plan that I would be able to give you food so you would not starve during the famine”
Joseph instructed his brothers to go back to Canaan and bring back all their families to Egypt so they could be near him. Joseph was overjoyed when he saw his old father. He gave them a place to live in the land of Goshen.
This Sunday we would have lived for 121 days under lockdown because of the COVID 19 Pandemic, but like Joseph we must not lose hope. God is still with us in this difficult journey and God has plans for each and every one of us. Our responsibility is to now share God’s message of hope and love with others.
By Revd Peta May