Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Genesis 42:8-17 Joseph Questions His Brothers

"Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.  Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, 'You are spies!  You have come to see where our land is unprotected.'

'No, my lord,' they answered.  'Your servants have come to buy food.  We are all the sons of one man.  Your servants are honest men, not spies.'

'No!' he said to them.  'You have come to see where our land is unprotected.'

But they replied, 'Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan.  The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.'

Joseph said to them, 'It is just as I told you:  You are spies!  And this is how you will be tested:  As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.  Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth.  If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!'

And he put them all in custody for three days."  (Genesis 42:8-17 NIV)

Joseph treated his brothers as though he believed they were spies.  His continued questioning draws more information out of them:  they speak of their brother who is left at home and another one who they believe 'is no more'.

I thought about how Joseph must have felt at this point.  His brothers believed that he was dead, either because that was the official story they had told their father, or because they assumed that he probably would not have survived long as a slave.  Either way, it seems as though they had never repented of their actions, or sought to find him.  Instead, they had callously left him in what they knew could be a deadly or at best a tremendously difficult situation for many years.  They did not know that he had suffered in prison, but they certainly had been hard-hearted to abandon him to slavery for so long in order to cover up their own jealousy, hatred and greed.

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