Sunday, March 27, 2011

Genesis 43:15-23 Let's Do Lunch

"So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also.  They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph.  When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, 'Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare dinner; they are to eat with me at noon.'  The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph's house.  Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house.  They thought, 'We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time.  He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.' " (Genesis 43:15-18 NIV)

Don't you feel just a bit sorry for these guilt-ridden men?  They imagine themselves soon attacked, overpowered, enslaved and robbed?!  Joseph has invited them to 'do lunch' with him and all that they can think about is how this situation is going to turn out badly.  Of course it would be a bit intimidating to be taken to this great man's house, even if they had not been conscious of their own past sins.  Immediately they start trying to do damage control on any possible accusations which might arise:

"So they went up to Joseph's steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house.  'Please sir,' they said, 'we came down here the first time to buy food.  But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver -- the exact weight -- in the mouth of his sack.  So we have brought it back with us.  We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food.  We don't know who put our silver in our sacks.'

'It's all right,' he said.  'Don't be afraid.  Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.'  Then he brought Simeon out to them."  (Genesis 43:19-23 NIV)

Despite the brothers' frantic explanation, the steward calmly assures them that all is well.  He has received their payment.  The steward's conclusion -- that God has given them this silver -- is interesting.  Apparently Joseph has spoken to his household about this God he serves.

True to his word, Joseph has the steward bring Simeon out to the brothers when he sees that Benjamin has indeed arrived along with the rest of his brothers.  Now all they have to do is to survive through lunch, and then they can be on their way back to Canaan with the life-saving supplies of food for their families.

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