Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Project 4:4--Day Nineteen

I wrote yesterday that Joseph's story only gets better, so here we go.

Joseph, who is in charge, goes through all Egypt and stores grain during the time of plenty so that they can be prepared for the time of famine that Joseph has predicted.

Joseph is given an Egyptian wife and by her he has two sons, Manasseh ("God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household") and Ephraim ("God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering").

The famine that Egypt is experiencing is not just in Egypt. It is worldwide. It stretches to the land of Canaan, where Jacob and his other sons are living. So Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain. So in order to buy grain, Jacob's sons must go before...you guessed it...their younger brother Joseph!

Joseph recognizes them immediately, but he pretends not to, and they don't recognize him at all. Not only does Joseph pretend not to recognize them, he treats them harshly, kind of messing with their heads, perhaps in order to see if they are sorrowful or repentant...basically trying to see what their character is like these days. That's my opinion, anyway.

He first accuses them of being spies. He questions them about their family and where they are from, and insists that they are spies. They claim they are simply brothers, and that their youngest brother is back home with their father. Their youngest brother would be Benjamin, Joseph's younger brother, also the son of Rachel, Jacob's favorite wife.

So Joseph insists on keeping one of them there in prison in Egypt as a hostage and says that they can prove their innocence by going home and bringing their younger brother back with them. He keeps Simeon and sends the rest of them on their way. But he also had secretly instructed his servants to put the money for the grain that they had purchased back in their sacks! So they're frightened when they see that!

They return to Canaan, but of course Jacob is reluctant to let Benjamin return with them to Egypt, so while Simeon is sitting in prison, his brothers don't bother to return to Egypt until they absolutely must because they are out of food.

Joseph's brothers return to Egypt and are invited to dine at Joseph's house. When Joseph sees his brothers back, Scripture says he is filled with joy. When he sees his younger brother Benjamin, he almost breaks down, so much that he excuses himself to his private room and collects himself, and controls himself through the meal.

Still, during all of this, he is messing with their heads. He seats them at the dinner from oldest to youngest, and he serves them all generous portions, but Benjamin is served five times as much as the others!

Finally, as the brothers leave, Joesph has his servant again put their money back in their sacks and has him put his silver cup in Benjamin's sack. Then he sends his servant after his brothers to accuse them of stealing from Joseph. When Benjamin is the one found to have Joseph's cup, his brothers are devastated. They head back to Egypt to face Joseph...

How's that for a cliffhanger???

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