Chapter 43 "They're baaaaaaaaaaack!" His brothers that is. They journey back to Egypt a 2nd time to buy more food. And in the process Joseph's brothers were paranoid and guilty. But as they prepared to make their 2nd journey to buy more food, Israel/Jacob (their father), had them take double the silver to shop with (part of it was to repay back the money that had been returned to them in their lunch bags on the first trip). They also took some pistachios, walnuts, honey, spices, and myrrh. (Doesn't add up to be much of a crockpot recipe if you ask me!) They are taking Benjamin this time too. It's been 2 years since they were there the first time!! Two years!! They've left poor Simeon as a prisoner there. They were in no hurry to go back and get him. They are only going back because they need more food. They aren't simply going back to rescue Simeon. They seem to have forgotten him and are only returning when they needed more grain! When they arrive, they speak to Joseph, presented their gifts and younger brother, Benjamin, to him. When Joseph saw them, he told his stewards to take them all to his own house. They were paranoid now. They were afraid that they were going to be punished. They did learn then that Joseph was the one that put the money back in their lunch bags on the first trip. And poor, sweet, kind Joseph. When he learned that his father was still alive and that Benjamin was there "he was deeply moved at the sight of his brother" (v.30). He even had to excuse himself and go outside to weep! They all then ate such a feast, but not together. Hebrews were foreigners and by law were considered unclean and detestable. But they did feast and Benjamin's portion was 5 times as much as anyone's....for he was Joseph's only FULL brother through Rachel.
Chapter 44 A silver cup is part of the final test that Joseph puts his brothers through. So a silver cup was was put in lunch bag of Benjamin. Then, after they all left, Joseph sent a steward to go and question the brothers about the "missing" silver cup. This is the cup that Joseph drinks from and is used for divination (v. 5). The stewards catches up with them, accuses them of stealing the cup, they deny it (because it had been placed there as a test), and then agree that whoever has it will become a slave to Joseph. So the steward looks for it and finds it in Benjamin's lunch bag. My footnotes say this: this test of the brothers is to see whether they will let Benjamin go into slavery while they return to their father to justify the loss of another of his sons. The rest of this chapter is a speech from Judah which simply summarizes the whole sequence of events.
Chapter 45 This has been like watching a soap. Just waiting for Joseph to reveal his identity to the brothers. The cliff hangers always seem to happen on Friday's...guess what today is?! Friday!!! Here we go.......Joseph makes everyone leave his presence.....everyone except his brothers. He then says, "I am Joseph!" I am the one you sold into slavery to Egypt....but don't be worried.....I was sent here for a reason! God has sent me here ahead of you to protect our family in the famine! There have already been 2 years of famine....there are 5 to still come. I will be able to protect you, feed you and our family and provide you all with the best of things that Egypt has to offer! He believes that God is who sent him there...not his brothers. Joseph is full of grace, forgiveness, and faith!!! It was all a part of God's divine plan all along. It was God that graciously brought the good out of bad. The story ends with the brothers returning to Canaan to tell their father that Joseph is alive! They get the moving van, load the uhaul with some donkeys.......they are to leave everything else behind because Joseph and Egypt will provide EVERYTHING for them! On their way home Joseph does warn them to be good, to be honest, and to do not fight with each other! The chapter ends with Jacob full of joy to learn about Joseph and prepares to go and see him before he dies!!!
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!