Replace a Trash Bag with a Suitcase for a Foster Kid

Genesis 42

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Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt

1 When 1Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why do you look at one another?"
2 And he said, "Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may 2live and not die."
3 So ten of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt.
4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, 3Joseph's brother, with his brothers, for 4he feared that harm might happen to him.
5 Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6 Now Joseph was governor 5over the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and 6bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.
7 Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and 7spoke roughly to them. "Where do you come from?" he said. They said, "From the land of Canaan, to buy food."
8 And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.
9 And Joseph 8remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. 9And he said to them, "You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land."
10 They said to him, "No, my lord, your servants have come to buy food.
11 We are all sons of one man. We are honest men. Your servants have never been spies."
12 He said to them, "No, it is the nakedness of the land that you have come to see."
13 And they said, "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one 10is no more."
14 But Joseph said to them, "It is as I said to you. You are spies.
15 By this you shall be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here.
16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. Or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies."
17 And he put them all together in custody for three days.
18 On the third day Joseph said to them, "Do this and you will live, 11for I fear God:
19 if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go and carry 12grain for the famine of your households,
20 and 13bring your youngest brother to me. So your words will be verified, and you shall not die." And they did so.
21 Then they said to one another, 14"In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us."
22 And Reuben answered them, 15"Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now 16there comes a reckoning for his blood."
23 They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them.
24 Then he turned away from them and 17wept. And he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.
25 18And Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to replace every man's money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them.
26 Then they loaded their donkeys with their grain and departed.
27 And as 19one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at 20the lodging place, he saw his money in the mouth of his sack.
28 He said to his brothers, "My money has been put back; here it is in the mouth of my sack!" At this their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, "What is this that God has done to us?"
29 When they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying,
30 "The man, the lord of the land, 21spoke roughly to us and took us to be spies of the land.
31 But we said to him, 'We are honest men; we have never been spies.
32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One 22is no more, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.'
33 Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, 23'By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take 24grain for the famine of your households, and go your way.
34 Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I shall know that you are not spies but honest men, and I will deliver your brother to you, and you shall 25trade in the land.'"
35 26As they emptied their sacks, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack. And when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid.
36 And Jacob their father said to them, "You have 27bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has come against me."
37 Then Reuben said to his father, "Kill 28my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you."
38 But he said, "My son shall not go down with you, for 29his brother is dead, and he is the only one left. 30If harm should happen to him on the journey that you are to make, 31you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol."

Genesis 42 Commentary

Chapter 42

Jacob sends ten sons to buy corn. (1-6) Joseph's treatment of his brethren. (7-20) Their remorse, Simeon detained. (21-24) The rest return with corn. (25-28) Jacob refuses to send Benjamin to Egypt. (29-38)

Verses 1-6 Jacob saw the corn his neighbours had bought in Egypt, and brought home. It is a spur to exertion to see others supplied. Shall others get food for their souls, and shall we starve while it is to be had? Having discovered where help is to be had, we should apply for it without delay, without shrinking from labour, or grudging expense, especially as regards our never-dying souls. There is provision in Christ; but we must come to him, and seek it from him.

Verses 7-20 Joseph was hard upon his brethren, not from a spirit of revenge, but to bring them to repentance. Not seeing his brother Benjamin, he suspected that they had made away with him, and he gave them occasion to speak of their father and brother. God, in his providence, sometimes seems harsh with those he loves, and speaks roughly to those for whom yet he has great mercy in store. Joseph settled at last, that one of them should be left, and the rest go home and fetch Benjamin. It was a very encouraging word he said to them, "I fear God;" as if he had said, You may be assured I will do you no wrong; I dare not, for I know there is one higher than I. With those that fear God, we may expect fair dealing.

Verses 21-24 The office of conscience is to bring to mind things long since said and done. When the guilt of this sin of Joseph's brethren was fresh, they made light of it, and sat down to eat bread; but now, long afterward, their consciences accused them of it. See the good of afflictions; they often prove the happy means of awakening conscience, and bringing sin to our remembrance. Also, the evil of guilt as to our brethren. Conscience now reproached them for it. Whenever we think we have wrong done us, we ought to remember the wrong we have done to others. Reuben alone remembered with comfort, that he had done what he could to prevent the mischief. When we share with others in their sufferings, it will be a comfort if we have the testimony of our consciences for us, that we did not share in their evil deeds, but in our places witnessed against them. Joseph retired to weep. Though his reason directed that he should still carry himself as a stranger, because they were not as yet humbled enough, yet natural affection could not but work.

Verses 25-28 The brethren came for corn, and corn they had: not only so, but every man had his money given back. Thus Christ, like Joseph, gives out supplies without money and without price. The poorest are invited to buy. But guilty consciences are apt to take good providences in a bad sense; to put wrong meanings even upon things that make for them.

Verses 29-38 Here is the report Jacob's sons made to their father. It troubled the good man. Even the bundles of money Joseph returned, in kindness, to his father, frightened him. He laid the fault upon his sons; knowing them, he feared they had provoked the Egyptians, and wrongfully brought home their money. Jacob plainly distrusted his sons, remembering that he never saw Joseph since he had been with them. It is bad with a family, when children behave so ill that their parents know not how to trust them. Jacob gives up Joseph for gone, and Simeon and Benjamin as in danger; and concludes, All these things are against me. It proved otherwise, that all these things were for him, were working together for his good, and the good of his family. We often think that to be against us, which is really for us. We are afflicted in body, estate, name, and in our relations; and think all these things are against us, whereas they are really working for us a weight of glory. Thus does the Lord Jesus conceal himself and his favour, thus he rebukes and chastens those for whom he has purposes of love. By sharp corrections and humbling convictions he will break the stoutness and mar the pride of the heart, and bring to true repentance. Yet before sinners fully know him, or taste that he is gracious, he consults their good, and sustains their souls, to wait for him. May we do thus, never yielding to discouragement, determining to seek no other refuge, and humbling ourselves more and more under his mighty hand. In due time he will answer our petitions, and do for us more than we can expect.

Cross References 31

  • 1. Acts 7:12
  • 2. Genesis 43:8
  • 3. Genesis 35:18
  • 4. ver. 38
  • 5. Genesis 41:41
  • 6. Genesis 37:7, 9, 10
  • 7. ver. 30
  • 8. Genesis 37:5, 9
  • 9. ver. 7, 30
  • 10. ver. 32; See Genesis 37:30
  • 11. Leviticus 25:43; Nehemiah 5:15
  • 12. ver. 33
  • 13. ver. 34; Genesis 43:5; Genesis 44:23
  • 14. [Job 36:8, 9]; See Genesis 37:23-28
  • 15. Genesis 37:21
  • 16. Genesis 9:5; 2 Chronicles 24:22; [1 Kings 2:32; Psalms 9:12; Luke 11:50, 51]
  • 17. Genesis 43:30
  • 18. Genesis 44:1
  • 19. ver. 35; Genesis 43:21
  • 20. Exodus 4:24; Jeremiah 9:2
  • 21. ver. 7, 9
  • 22. ver. 13
  • 23. ver. 15, 19, 20
  • 24. ver. 19
  • 25. Genesis 34:10, 21
  • 26. ver. 27; Genesis 43:21
  • 27. Genesis 43:14
  • 28. [Genesis 46:9]
  • 29. ver. 13, 32, 36; Genesis 37:33; Genesis 44:28
  • 30. ver. 4; Genesis 44:29
  • 31. Genesis 37:35; Genesis 44:31

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates how that Jacob having heard there was corn in Egypt, sent all his sons but Benjamin thither to buy corn, Ge 42:1-5; and coming before Joseph, they bowed to him, and he knowing them, though they knew not him, spoke roughly to them, and charged them with being spies, Ge 42:6-9; they in their defence urged that they were the sons of one man in Canaan, with whom their youngest brother was left, on which Joseph ordered them to send for him, to prove them true men, Ge 42:10-16; and put them all into prison for three days, and then released them, and sent them away to fetch their brother, Ge 42:17-20; this brought to mind their treatment of Joseph, and they confessed their guilt to each other, which Joseph heard, and greatly affected him, they supposing he understood them not, and before he dismissed them bound Simeon before their eyes, whom he retained till they returned, Ge 42:21-24; then he ordered his servants to fill their sacks with corn, and put each man's money in his sack, which one of them on the road found, opening his sack for provender, filled them all with great surprise and fear, Ge 42:25-28; upon their return to Jacob they related all that had befallen them, and particularly that the governor insisted on having Benjamin brought to him, Ge 42:29-34; their sacks being opened, all their money was found in them, which greatly distressed them and Jacob also, who was very unwilling to let Benjamin go, though Reuben offered his two sons as pledges for him, and himself to be a surety, Ge 42:35-38.

Genesis 42 Commentaries