Dinner at Joe's
The Pressure Continues: Genesis 43-44.
- When the brothers are called to Joseph's house, they fear the worst 43:18.
- The steward treats them kindly: he took care of them and their donkeys 43:24.
- The boss arrives. (They still do not know it's Joseph). They presented their gifts
and bowed to the ground, several times 43:26 in fulfillment of Joseph's dream.
- Joseph is suddenly kind, especially to Benjamin, whom he had not seen in about 22 years
43:29. Overwhelmed, Joseph left to a private room, to weep. Then he washed his face
and returned, 43:31 and ordered the food served.
- The men ate separately: Joseph segregated from the Egyptian servants, and his brothers in a
group by themselves, because the Hebrews were detestable to the Egyptians.
Buy why did Joseph eat at a table by himself? Possible answers:
- The Egyptians may have remembered that Joseph himself was a Hebrew.
- It may have been out of respect for Joseph's high rank.
- While Moses writes referring to God's people as the Israelites, they are known to the
Egyptians as "Hebrews".
One meaning of the word "Hebrew" is: "Those who crossed over". The problem here is
that historically, these events occur several hundred years before the Israelites crossed over the
Jordan River into Caanan.
- A more likely possibility is "Ibriy" ="The descendants of Eber", the
great-great grandson of Noah, meaning the Semitic tribes. The word "Arab" may come from the same
- Simeon is released from jail, and the men were seated in birth order, much to their amazement 43:33.
What are the odds of this happening by chance? The answer: an "eleven factorial". That is,
one chance in 11x10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1=39,916,800. The brothers may not have known the odds, but
they clearly recognized that something out of the ordinary was happening.
- Benjamin was given a portion five times as big as the others' portions 43:34.
Read next week's assignment (Genesis 45-46) and come back for next week's thrill-packed adventure!
- For the men's trip back home, Joseph orders their sacks filled, and their payment in silver
to be replaced into the mouth of their sacks 44:1.
- Joseph put his own royal silver cup into Benjamin's sack, and sends them off the next morning.
- The Chase: 44:4. Joseph's steward catches up with them not far from town, and
accuses them of stealing the cup. "Why would we steal the cup?" they said, in effect. "We
returned the money we found in our sacks."
- The Rash vow: 44:9. They were so sure of their innocence that they offered to kill
the one having the cup. Not a wise thing to do -- to swear an oath, especially with circumstances
not fully under your control.
- One by one, the sacks were inspected. The cup was found in Benjamin's sack. And Benjamin was
the only brother who was not "expendable".
- Judah stepped forward again, in a leadership role, confessing "God has uncovered your servants'
- Joseph's sentence, and Judah's plea (back at Joseph's house): Joseph says Benjamin would have to stay as a slave, and
the rest could go. Judah
pled passionately with Joseph to let him stay in Benjamin's place, explaining that his father would
die if Benjamin didn't return 44:17-34.