Famine in Egypt
Genesis 41:53 --
"The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just
as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt
there was food."
Why did God do this to people? Ephesians 1:11 says, "God does everything in accordance
with the purpose of his will." God wanted to create his chosen nation;
He chose to do this by bringing them to Egypt to break down their pride.
Joseph sold the grain; he didn't give it away. The process of selling the grain
turned the economic system of Egypt upside down. Ultimately there was no private
ownership of land. It became a feudal system that lasted another thousand years.
Parallels between Joseph and Jesus: (We have more details about the life of Joseph than
about the life of any other Bible character except Jesus.)
Meanwhile, back at the sheepfold: Jacob didn't recognize what God was doing through all of
this, although Hebrew slavery was foretold by God to Abraham, Genesis 15:13.
- Joseph was the only person who could dispense life. He was a savior to everyone,
(not just to the Egyptians).
- Joseph was there to save, not the righteous. (Egypt was a symbol of pagan wickedness).
- Joseph didn't run out of grain; Jesus doesn't run out of grace.
- The first time that bread and wine came together in the Bible was in the dreams of the
butler and the baker
String of events:
The concept of grace is woven throughout this story.
- Ten brothers go to Egypt for food, Genesis 42:3.
- Joseph's dream is fulfilled: They bow down to Joseph. It was about twenty years after the
dream, and they didn't recognize Joseph.
- He was dressed in royalty, rather than with a shepherd's robe.
- He had an Egyptian name: Zaphenath Peneah "The Discerner of Secrets".
- He spoke in the Egyptian language, through an interpreter (though he could understand them
when they spoke in Hebrew!)
- The charade begins: He accuses them of being spies, Genesis 42:9-14.
- He keeps them in prison for three days.
- Simeon kept in jail while the men sent back with the test: "Bring back your youngest brother".
- Soul search: "I told you so" --Reuben. v.22-23 (According to Rabbinic tradition, Simeon
had been the ringleader to get rid of Joseph at Dothan).
- Joseph gave them grain, provisions for their journey, and returned their money in their sacks!