The brothers have come before Joseph, who they do not recognize, to buy food. Joseph knows who they are and can overhear everything they are saying, and he turns away and weeps. When he returns, he takes Shimon (“to hear”) prisoner. This alludes to the fact that Israel must “hear” and obey before deliverance can come (Matt 13.10-17). Joseph gives orders to fill their bags with grain and to give back the money they paid for the grain, plus other provisions. The brothers leave and when they go to feed the donkeys, they find the money for the grain in their sacks. Their hearts sank with fear, and they knew that the Lord was dealing with them. They made it home and told their Father what happened, but he wasn’t going to send Benjamin back.
Well, the famine was not getting any better and they were running out of food again, so Jacob had no choice but to send Benjamin back with the other sons to Egypt for more food. In a similar way, God will require Israel to “confess” and bring “Benjamin” as evidence of their faith. The land will be devastated by the birth-pains and they will have to admit they have “another brother” named Yeshua. Joseph and Benjamin together are a picture of the Messiah. Joseph sees Benjamin and arranges a banquet at the house of Benjamin. They think that Joseph may arrest them there for not paying for the previous provisions of grain. They explain the situation to the steward that they had the money and wanted to pay for the previous grain, but the steward explains that it was their God who gave the money back to them and to not be afraid.
They brought Shimon out and he was healthy and safe, and the brothers had a present for Joseph at his “coming at noon.” The word “coming” there is written full with a vav (beit, vav and aleph) and not the usual beit, aleph. This alludes to the “full” second coming of the Messiah to Israel. Now, all eleven brothers bow to Joseph fulfilling the first dream in Gen 37.7. For the banquet, they were seated according to their birth order and birthright, with the oldest on the left and the youngest on the right, and all the brothers wondered how anyone knew this and were very puzzled. Joseph say by himself, and the Egyptians ate by themselves.
Gen 44 reveals to us the final test Joseph had of his brothers. Joseph tells the steward to fill their sacks and to put each man’s money in his sack. He puts his cup into the bag of Benjamin to make it look like he was stealing it. After they leave he has them followed and at a certain point they are stopped, and the bags are searched and they find Joseph’s cup in the bag of Benjamin. They return to the city and come before Joseph. Judah and the other brothers fall down before Joseph and they say, “God has found out the iniquity of they servants” (44.16). Joseph says they can go but Benjamin must stay. What would have happened had the brothers accepted this and saved themselves? Joseph would have revealed himself right away and only Jacob and Benjamin would have been invited to Egypt. It would have showed that the brothers had not changed. But, Judah does approach Joseph, and this is what Israel will do in the birth-pains (Ezek 39.22). He begins to explain what happened to Joseph. He tells Joseph that if Benjamin does not return, after losing Joseph, it would kill their father for sure. He offers to stay in the place of Benjamin to be punished. For the first time, Joseph realizes his father didn’t kick him out of the family and the brothers regret what they did. In fact, they didn’t even know what happened to him. He, and that he is still the “bikur” or the first-born. He knows his father does love him and misses him and was not a part of some plot to get him out of the family.
This brings us to the anatomy of a problem. In life, resentments will rise up and people decide to be resentful. The n an action results and damage is done. The problem worsens and it touches everyone, even others we don’t know. God knows about the problem we have and he will do something. The solution to every problem is where the problem is, it is in the problem. If it is with a person, go to that person. Someone has to be like Judah and give up his “life.” The solution to the problem will be found when you discover God’s purpose in it. Solved problems will produce great blessings and benefit. Judah is a different man and, and like Moses in Exo 32.2, says “blot out my name.” He dies to himself. His self-sacrifice had consequences on Jewish history. Benjamin remained loyal to Judah when the ten northern tribes seceded, and they survived to the point that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob now bear his name “Yehudim” or “Jews” from “Yehudah” or “Judah.”
Gen 45 tells us that Joseph could not contain himself. He tells everyone to get out of the room. He knows the brothers have changed and for the first time he has heard what happened. Even Joseph didn’t know what had really happened until he heard what they said. They are devoted to Jacob and Benjamin. Joseph says, “Ani Yosef” or “I am Joseph” and the brothers are shocked, and he tells them to come and get a closer look. He tells them that God has sent him (as a shaliach) to go before them to preserve life and a remnant by a great deliverance. He tells them that it wasn’t them who sent him to Egypt but the Lord. He says that he wants them to go back to their father and bring him back to Egypt. This is a picture of the reconciliation Yeshua will have with his brothers Israel. He was also sent ahead as a shaliach to preserve life.
Joseph says they can live in Goshen, known as the “land of lights” and a picture of the Messianic Kingdom. Sukkot is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom and is called the “festival of lights.” Joseph falls on Benjamin’s neck. In Hebrew it says “necks” and it means both sides. This symbolizes the fact that the Mishkan would be in Joseph’s territory in Shiloh, and the Temple would be in Benjamin’s territory.
There are still five years remaining in the famine, so they took wagons for Jacob and the family to ride in when they came to Egypt, with all their flocks and family belongings. When they arrive, they tell Jacob about all that had happened, of course he was stunned and did not believe them. But they pressed on, and when he saw all the wagons arriving, he realized that it was true and began to rejoice.
Gen 46 deals with Israel’s descent into Egypt. They stop in Beersheva where Abraham lived and where Isaac was born. Jacob offers sacrifices there, which were “shelemim” or “peace offerings.” This is the first time these are mentioned. Noah, Abraham and Isaac offered an Olah, a burnt offering. This tells us that these were known before the Torah was given, and we have had a chata (sin offering) with Abel, an Olah (burnt offering) with Noah, Abraham and Isaac, and now we have the Shelem (peace offering) with Jacob. Shelemim must be offered with an elevated state of mind and thanksgiving, and it is done for our benefit because it would be part of a communal meal. The individual is bring something into remembrance, and in this case what God had promised in Gen 15 to Abraham and about the period of servitude in Egypt. He also gives thanks that Joseph is still alive. He is apprehensive at this point as to whether he is doing the right thing. God reassures him that he has permission to go to Egypt.
We also have a list of those who came with Jacob. We have a very interesting name in verse 13 with the name of “Iyov” or “Job.” Job was a son of Issachar and he is the one who would write the Book of Job, and he would leave Egypt before the Exodus. Eliaphaz is Esau’s son (Gen 36.8-11, 40-42) and he has a son named Teman. So, these names are all related to Esau. Job 4.1 has to be written after Esau because Teman already existed here. In Lam 4.21, the land of Edom is the same as Uz, and Uz is also mentioned in Job 1.1. In short, Job left Egypt prior to Exo 12.40. Jacob is a contemporary of Jacob, and their sons were contemporary with each other. They lived in areas named after the family, and Job came to those areas.
Here is a possibility. Egypt at the time was made up of “nomes” or “counties.” These were ruled by warlords. They supported the Pharaoh, or maybe not. This changed during the reign of Amenemhat III, Joseph’s Pharaoh. All the nomes came under a centralized government under Pharaoh. How? They ran out of food due to the famine. In order to receive food from Joseph and the royal treasurers, they had to swear allegiance to Amenemhat III. We learn in Gen 47 that the family arrives in Egypt and all the land is at their disposal. Pharaoh appoints capable men to be administrators and to manage the royal flocks and herds (Gen 47.6). It is possible that Job was eventually appointed as an administrator and he ruled in the land where the book of Job took place. He certainly was related to those who lived there. God is at work here.
In Part 20 we will pick up here.