Restoration of Joseph’s Brothers

I. Judah assumes leadership among the brothers                    (Genesis 43:1-10).

A. The famine continues to be “sore in the land” (Genesis 43:1).

1. This is many months after their return to Canaan.

a. Restoration is two years after the famine started (45:6).
b. The previous supplies have been “eaten up” (43:2).

2. Jacob, once again desperate, insists on a trip to Egypt.

a. Egypt is still rationing food to foreigners.
b. “A little food” seems to be all Jacob hopes for.

B. The spokesman for the brothers is now Judah (43:3).

1. Reuben seems to have lost his prestige.

2. Simeon is in prison in Egypt.

3. Levi regarded with some disfavor

4. Benjamin was the youngest and not yet mature.

5. The others seem to be content to “go along.”

C. The “solemn protest” of Joseph to the brothers is restated by Judah.

1. This word (UWD) is frequently used in the sense of a strong warning.

a. The merchants are strongly admonished by Nehemiah not to desecrate the Sabbath (Nehemiah 13:15).
b. Moses cautioned Israel against curiosity at Sinai (Exodus 19:21).
c. Samuel warned the nation against instituting the monarchy (1 Samuel 8:9).
d. The owner of an ox, who had been advised that his animal was dangerous, would be put to death if the ox should kill a person (Exodus 21:29).

2. This word is spoken twice in 43:3 to strongly emphasize the warning.

3. Jacob is reminded that Benjamin must go with them (43:3-9).

a. “The Man” – refused to see them unless Benjamin comes (43:3).
b. “The Man” – interrogated them about their family (43:7).

4. Judah pledges “surety” for Benjamin (43:9).

a. Judah places his reputation as a “pledge.”
b. Judah is willing to “bear the sin” if not fulfilled.

5. Judah subtly castigates Jacob for his fearful lack of decision.

a. Judah uses “command language” in Genesis 43:8.
1)   “Send the lad with me”.
2)   “We will arise and go that we may live”.
b. Judah expresses what all know, that the delay is Jacob’s fault.
1)   “Except we had lingered…”
2)   We would have been there and back twice.

II. Jacob begins to focus on the promises of God                    (Genesis 43:11-14).

A. Jacob is now called “Israel” for the first time in 22 years.

1. The last record was in Genesis 37:13.

2. The incident was Jacob’s sending Joseph to check the brothers.

a. Jacob seems broken after news of Joseph’s “death.”
b. Reference also Genesis 37:34; 42:1, 4, 29, 36

B. Jacob now considers sending Benjamin and trusting God to provide.

1. He recognized that he has been acting selfishly.

2. He prepares to honor “the man” in Egypt (a change of heart).

a. He prepares a present to give Joseph – valuable gifts.
b. He authorizes “double money” (20 bags versus “20 pieces”).

3. He calls on “God Almighty” to protect them and fulfill the promises.

a. This is the name first told to Abraham in Genesis 17:1.
b. This is the name used by Isaac to Jacob in Genesis 28:3.
c. This is the name by which God revealed Himself to Jacob at Bethel (the dream of the “ladder”) in Genesis 28 (Genesis 48:3).

III. Joseph receives his brothers (Genesis 43:15 – 44:34).

A. Joseph prepares a formal dinner to receive them (43:16-25).

1. They are brought into Joseph’s home by the Steward.

2. They are still ignorant of the purpose and are afraid.

a. They think Joseph will “seek occasion” against them.
1)   The word choice (GALAL) is unusual.
2)   The word means “to roll” on or off something.
b. They believe they will be captured and harmed.
c. They attempt to explain their innocence to the Steward.
1)   He insists that the payment was made.
2)   He credits the payment to Elohim.
3)   He has Simeon brought out of prison.

B. Joseph treats the brothers as honored guests (43:26-34).

1. He provides for their personal refreshment.

2. He receives their present with graciousness.

3. He inquires again after their family welfare.

4. He gives a blessing to Benjamin.

5. He is overwhelmed by personal emotion.

6. He oversees the formal dinner with his brothers.

a. There are many guests – some of Egypt’s wealthy.
b. There is obvious segregation by race and by rank.
c. There is favoritism shown to Benjamin.

7. He allows the brothers to feel “safe” and “happy.”

8. He is not yet sure of the brothers’ attitudes.

a. How would they react if they must sacrifice Benjamin?
b. How would they react to protect their own personal welfare?

C. Joseph arranges for a final test to be given to the brothers (44:1-34).

1. The Steward is instructed to prepare for the return home.

a. All of the money is to be placed back in their baggage.
b. Joseph’s “silver cup” is placed in Benjamin’s baggage.
1)   This is to make Benjamin appear as greedy and ungrateful.
2)   This would test the brother’s reaction toward Benjamin and their father.
3)   This would, in effect, accuse the brothers of ingratitude, theft, and apostasy.

2. The reputation of Joseph strongly reinforced his “divination” capabilities.

a. His interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream was widely known.
b. His success in managing the country was spectacular.
1)   Egypt was a polytheistic society.
2)   Egypt was a mystic society.
3)   Egyptians were known to use such cups to predict the future.
4)   Many ancient societies used such “divining cups.”
5)   Diviners could “see” tokens in reflections or in arrangements of gold or silver in the cup.
6)   Later, pagan societies turned to entrails and cast bones.
c. His “wisdom” would have been attributed by the Egyptians as coming from a “divining cup.”

3. The Steward confronts the brothers right after their departure.

a. He catches them just outside the city.
b. He hears their expected denial.
c. He relates the “sentence” for the guilty one.
d. He escorts them back to the city and to Joseph’s house.

D. Joseph confronts the brothers and tests their heart attitudes (44:14-17).

1. Judah “and his brethren” once again bow before Joseph.

2. Judah is definitely taking the leadership as spokesman.

3. Joseph formally accuses them of criminal activity.

4. Joseph castigates their foolish attempt to defraud him and implies his “divine insight.”

a. The word (NAHASH) can also mean “diligently inquire.”
b. The cultic practice of “divination” is specifically condemned in Scripture.
1)   Divination is outlawed (Leviticus 19:26).
2)   Divination is condemned (2 Kings 17:17; 2 Kings 21:62 Chronicles 33:6).
3)   Divination is listed among forbidden occult practices (Deuteronomy 18:10).
c. The comment by Joseph is, therefore, unlikely to endorse the practice of divination – especially given his personal understanding of El Shaddai and commitment to the worship of Elohim.

E. Judah intercedes and pleads for the family (44:16-34).

1. His intercessory plea indicates a great change in the brother’s character.

2. His plea does not attempt to deny the apparent guilt of Benjamin.

3. His emphasis is on the family history and their attempt to comply with Joseph’s demands.

4. His willingness to become a substitute for Benjamin’s punishment is a clear parallel to our Lord’s substitutionary atonement.

F. Joseph is satisfied judicially and overwhelmed emotionally (45:1-15).

1. He sends his Egyptian entourage out from the room.

2. He reveals himself to the brothers.

3. He elaborates on his role to “preserve life” and to “save your lives by a great deliverance” (45:5, 7).

4. He acknowledges that God was in charge all these 22 years.

5. He authorizes their full move to Egypt under his protection.

6. He and the brothers weep in joy and in restoration together.

IV. Pharaoh and Jacob are both told of the reunion (45:16-28).

A. Pharaoh’s servants are told of the reunion.

1. Joseph’s household had heard the essence of the events.

2. Pharaoh is pleased as well as his key advisors.

B. Pharaoh reiterates and affirms Joseph’s offer to his family.

1. The brothers are to be supplied by Egypt.

2. The brothers are to convey the invitation of Pharaoh to Jacob.

a. Egypt will provide all you need.
b. Egypt will supply land and grain for your family’s enterprise.
c. Egypt will provide transportation for all of your people.

3. The brothers are given rich gifts by Joseph.

a. Clothing suitable for court and ceremony
b. Money and supplies for the journey
c. Benjamin is given special gifts.
d. Gifts and supplies for Jacob were exceptionally rich.

C. Jacob is told of the wonderful news.

1. His “spirit...revived” – both psychologically and spiritually.

2. His decision to leave Canaan is immediate and confident.

a. “Jacob” (verses 25-28) is once again “Israel.”
b. Jacob recognizes the hand of God in this and yields in obedience to the major change to his life.
The Patriarchs
ch. 43-45


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