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Read: Genesis 43-44

Out of concern Joseph sought news of his father, Jacob, and his brother, Benjamin. Out of compassion for his family Joseph provided his brothers with grain to take home to sustain the family in the famine. Framing his brothers by planting the grain money is not about revenge or malice; it is about a desire to reconnect. Joseph’s plan draws them all to Egypt.

When the brothers return they were welcomed with great and lavish hospitality. Joseph is particularly interested in his only full-brother, Benjamin. Benjamin is given a portion five times greater than the others. Benjamin is one of Joseph’s last ties with his mother, Rachel. It is clear that Joseph loved his family.

As the brothers are preparing to leave Egypt with grain provisions Joseph develops his plan further. He plants a silver cup in Benjamin’s grain sack, making it look like Benjamin is trying to steal it. Shortly after they leave the city Joseph orders his guards to stop them and search for the cup. The threat is this: the one who has committed the offense of stealing the cup will become a slave in Egypt. When the cup was discovered Benjamin was implicated.

The brothers who once conspired to get rid of Joseph are now crushed by the enslavement of Benjamin. They knew that the loss of Benjamin would devastate their father, Jacob. They saw that Jacob had never recovered from the loss of Joseph. They feared that the trauma of losing Benjamin would be stressful enough cause their father’s death. That actually shows progress in their growth.

In crisis the brothers explained their concern and pled to Joseph for mercy. It was a heartfelt testimony, and it touches the heart of Joseph. What happened next is one of the most touching scenes in the Bible, but that’s for next time. For now, let us contemplate compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. The things that God is so good at and generous with, God calls us to be good and generous at, as well. What would it take for you to forgive those who conspired together to plan your murder? How about your enslavement? What would it take for you to forgive your own brother(s) or sister(s), or the next-door neighbor, who have done so much less?

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom