By Albert Friend
Obeying their father they took the gifts with double money and started the long journey back to Egypt. They had much time along the way to do a lot of thinking. Once they arrived, carrying the gifts and money, they came and stood before Joseph. When Joseph saw that Benjamin was with them, he said to the manager of his household, “These men will eat with me this noon. Take them home and prepare a big feast.” So the man did as he was told and took them to Joseph’s palace.
There is a law of fear!
When you don’t know you imagine things.
They were badly frightened when they saw where they were being taken. “It’s because of the money returned to us in our sacks,” they said. “He wants to pretend we stole it and seize our donkeys and take us as slaves.” As they arrived at the gates to the palace they went over to Joseph’s household manager and said to him, “Sir, after our first trip to Egypt to buy food, as we were returning home we stopped for the night and opened one of our sacks. The money was there that we had paid for the grain. When we arrived home we found our money in the top of our other sacks. Here it is. We have brought it back again, along with added money to buy more grain. We have no idea how the money got there.”
“It’s nothing to worry about,” the household manager told them. “Your God, even the God of your fathers, must have put it there, for we collected your money all right.”
Simeon is let out of prison
He then went to the prison and brought Simeon out to them. This was a happy reunion but it was still marked with uncertainty. They were then led into the palace and given water to refresh their feet and their donkeys were fed. After this they prepared their presents for Joseph’s arrival at noon. They had been told that they would be eating there.
Joseph is about to see his brother Benjamin
Joseph soon arrived home and they gave him their presents bowing low before him. Their bowing low before him reinforced his dream of long ago. He could see what the dreams were all about. He was not a king for them to worship but a God given brother with power to save their lives in a time of famine. He asked how they had been getting along. “And how is your father, the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?”
“Yes,” they replied. “He is still alive and well.” Then again they bowed before him. That was another confirmation of his dreams.
Looking at his brother Benjamin he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about? How are you, my son? God be gracious to you.”
Joseph is overcome with love
Then Joseph had to make a quick exit, for he was overcome with love for his real brother Benjamin and had to go out and weep. Joseph went into his bedroom and he wept there. After that he washed his face and rejoined them. Keeping himself under control he looked at them and said, “Let’s eat.”
The Egyptians despise the Hebrews and never eat with them. Arrangements were made to conform to this requirement. Joseph ate by himself, his brothers were served at a separate table, and the Egyptians at still another. He told each of his brothers where to sit and seated them in the order of their ages from the oldest to the youngest. This amazed them. They wondered, “Who is this man who even knows our ages.”
Their food was served to them from his own table. He gave the largest portion to Benjamin that amounted to five times more than was offered to the other brothers. They feasted and drank and the conversation flowed freely.
Joseph put his brothers through another test
God was using Joseph to create a lasting impression on all his brothers. This testing was from the LORD. When his brothers were ready to leave Joseph ordered his household manager to fill each of their sacks with as much grain as they could carry and to put into the mouth of each man’s sack the money he had paid.
Joseph also told his household manager to put his own silver cup at the top of Benjamin’s sack, along with the grain money. So the household manager did as he was told. The brothers were up at dawn and on their way with their loaded donkeys.
But when they were barely out of the city, Joseph said to his household manager, “Chase after them and stop them and ask them why they are acting like this when their benefactor has been so kind to them? Ask them, “What do you mean by stealing my lord’s personal silver drinking cup? What a wicked thing you have done.”
Joseph’s household manager caught up with them and spoke to them along the lines he had been instructed. “What in the world are you talking about?” they demanded. “What sort of people do you think we are that you accuse us of such a terrible thing as that? Didn’t we bring back the money we found in the mouth of our sacks? Why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? If you find his cup with one of us, let that one die. And all the rest of us will be slaves forever to your master.”
“Fair enough,” the man replied, “except that only the one who stole it will be a slave, and the rest of you can go free.”
They quickly took down their sacks from the backs of their donkeys and opened them. He began searching the oldest brother’s sack, going on down the line to the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. They ripped their clothing in despair. They loaded the donkeys again. They returned to the city guilty as charged.
Joseph faces his brothers again
Joseph was still at home when Judah and his brothers arrived. They fell to the ground before him. “What were you trying to do?” Joseph demanded. “Didn’t you know such a man as I would know who stole it?”
And Judah said, “What will we say to this man? How can we plead? How can we prove our innocence? God is punishing us for our sins. Sir, we have all returned to be your slaves, us and the one in whose sack the cup was found.”
“No,” Joseph said. “Only the man who stole the cup, he will be my slave. The rest of you may go on home to your father.”
Then Judah stepped forward and said, “Please sir, let me say just this one word to you. Be patient with me for a moment for I know you can doom me in an instant as though you were Pharaoh himself. Sir, you asked us if there is a father or a brother, and we said, “Yes, there is a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one. His brother is dead, and he is the only child left of his mother’s children. His father’s love is wrapped up in him.
“And you said to us, ‘Bring him here so that I may see him.’ But we said to you, ‘Sir, the lad cannot leave his father, for his father would die.’ But you told us, ‘Do not come back here unless your youngest brother is with you.’ So we returned to our father and told him what you had said.
“And when he said, ‘Go back again and buy us a little food,’ we replied, ‘We cannot unless you let our youngest brother go with us. Only then might we go back.’
“Then my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife had two sons, and that one of them went away and never returned, believing him to have been torn to pieces by some wild animal. And if you take away his brother from me also and should harm befall him I will die with sorrow.’ “And sir, if I go back to my father and the lad is not with us, seeing that our father’s life is bound up in the lad’s life, when he sees that the boy is not with us, our father will die.
Then we will be responsible for bringing down his gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
“Sir, I pledged my father that I would take care of the lad. I told him, if I don’t bring him back to you I will bear the blame forever. Please sir, let me stay here as a slave rather than the lad, and let the lad return with his brothers. For how will I return to my father if the lad is not with me? I cannot bear to see what this would do to him.”
Joseph can see the anguish in Judah’s soul. He remembers his own anguish when Judah sold him to the Ishmaelites. His heart would not allow him to put his brother through this same awful experience.
Joseph is overcome with love for his brothers
Joseph held it back as long as he could. He could stand it no longer. He couldn’t continue playing games. His emotions were at a high pitch. He was about to explode and explode he did.
With an intense loud voice he cried out to all his attendants, “Everyone leave the room.”
When they were all gone and Joseph was left alone with his brothers, his spirit broke.
Then he wept aloud. His sobs could be heard throughout the palace, and the news was quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace. With an intense voice of love for his brothers Joseph emotionally cried out “I am Joseph your brother. Is my father still alive?”
But his brothers could not say a word. They were so stunned with surprise.
“Come over here,” he said. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t be angry with yourselves that you did this to me for God did it. He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. God wants to preserve your families for future generations to come. God’s covenant is with us. God wants to give us the entire land of Canaan for an inheritance.”
“These two years of famine will grow to seven, during which there will be neither plowing nor harvest.”
It was God who sent me here, not you!
“God has sent me here to keep you and your families alive, so that you will become a great nation. Yes, it was God who sent me here, not you. And God placed me as a counselor to Pharaoh, and manager of this entire nation, ruler of all the land of Egypt. Hurry, return to my father and tell him I am alive. Tell him, ‘God positioned me chief of all the land of Egypt and that he should come down to me right away.'”
“I want my father and you to live in the land of Goshen so that you may be near me with all your children, your grandchildren, your flocks and herds, with all that you have.”
“I will take care of you there. You men are witnesses of my promise, and my brother Benjamin has heard me say it. There are still five years of famine ahead of us. Otherwise you will come to utter poverty along with your entire household. Tell our father about all my power here in Egypt and how everyone obeys me. And bring him to me quickly.”
Then, weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin and Benjamin started weeping also. Joseph did the same with each of his brothers, whom finally were able to talk again.
Pharaoh was happy
The news soon reached Pharaoh that Joseph’s brothers have come. Pharaoh was happy to hear it, as were his officials. Joseph had been the best man for the famine and deserved to be rewarded.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers to load their pack animals and return quickly to their homes in Canaan. Bring your father, all your families and come here to Egypt to live. Tell them, Pharaoh will assign to you the best territory in the land of Egypt. You will live off the fat of the land. And tell your brothers to take wagons from Egypt to carry in comfort their wives and little ones. Also to bring your father here. Don’t worry about your property. Leave it for whoever wants it. It will not be good for five more years and five years is a long time. I have given you the best of all the land of Egypt as your property.”
So Joseph returned to his brothers and told them all that Pharaoh had said. Then he gave them wagons designed to transport women and children as Pharaoh had commanded. He also gave them an abundance of provisions for the journey. He gave each of them new clothes. Jacob’s fear was that Benjamin would not return. Joseph sent Benjamin back with five changes of clothes and three hundred pieces of silver.
He sent his father ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt and ten donkeys loaded with grain and all types of other food to eat on his journey. Joseph then sent his brothers away. “Hurry, I want to see my father.” was his parting words. And leaving, they returned to the land of Canaan, to Jacob their father.
Jacob and the Egyptian Wagons
Gen. 45:26-28 & 46:1-7
When the wagon train arrived at Jacob’s home in Canaan everyone was excited. The first one to arrive cried out, “Joseph is alive. And he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.”
Jacob’s heart was like a stone. He couldn’t take it all in. Then they gave him Joseph’s message that he wanted them to move to Egypt so he could take care of them during the next five years of famine. Jacob began to believe their story. Confirmation came to his heart when he saw the wagons. His spirit revived. The colorful Egyptian wagons were filled with food that Joseph had sent him.
Jacob said, “It must be true. Joseph my son is alive. I will go and see him before I die.”
Seventy direct descendants went into Egypt
For Jacob to get together all his possessions took some time. But finally the day came and Jacob set out with all his possessions.
He came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices there to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob. Jacob.” he called. “Yes.” Jacob answered. “I am God,” the voice replied, “The God of your father. Don’t be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will see to it that you grow and become a great nation there. And I will go down with you into Egypt and I will bring your descendants back again to this land, but you will die in Egypt with Joseph at your side.”
Jacob left Beer-sheba, and his sons brought him to Egypt, along with their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They brought their livestock and all their belongings accumulated in the land of Canaan and came to Egypt. Jacob and all his children, sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, all his loved ones came to Egypt.
The number going to Egypt, of his descendants, not counting the wives of Jacob’s sons, was sixty-six. With Jacob, Joseph and his two sons included, Jacob’s household in Egypt totaled seventy.
Joseph meets his father
Jacob sent Judah on ahead to tell Joseph that they were on the way, and would soon arrive in Goshen. Joseph jumped into his chariot and journeyed to Goshen to meet his father. The separation of twenty two years was coming to an end. The love of a father and a son was about to explode.
The first sight of each other brought overwhelming joy to both of them. Joseph said, “My father.” Jacob said, “My son.” Then they fell into each other’s arms and wept a long, long, long time. Then Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, for I have seen you again and know you are alive.”
That’s powerful. You have to be a father, with a son of your own, and love God with all your heart, to get the full impact of this twenty two year delayed reunion.
The Land of Goshen
When Joseph was finally able to think about what to do next he said to his brothers and to all their households, “I’ll go and tell Pharaoh that you are here, and that you have come from the land of Canaan to join me”.
And I will tell him, “These men are shepherds. They have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.
“So when Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, tell him, ‘We have been shepherds from our youth, as our fathers have been for many years.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live in the land of Goshen away from the Egyptians.” Shepherds were despised in parts of Egypt.
Give them the best land of Egypt
After taking care of their immediate needs Joseph went in to see Pharaoh. “My father and my brothers are here from Canaan,” he reported, “with all their flocks and herds and possessions. They wish to settle in the land of Goshen.” He took five of his brothers with him, and presented them to Pharaoh.
Pharaoh asked them, “What is your occupation?” And they replied, “We are shepherds like our ancestors. We have come to live here in Egypt, for there is no pasture for our flocks in Canaan. The famine is bitter there. We request permission to live in the land of Goshen.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Choose anywhere you like for them to live. Give them the best land of Egypt. The land of Goshen will be fine. And if they are capable, put them in charge of my flocks too.”
Joseph brought his father Jacob to Pharaoh and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. “How old are you?” Pharaoh asked him. Jacob replied, “I have lived 130 long, hard years, and I am not nearly as old as many of my ancestors.” Jacob blessed Pharaoh again before he left.
The Land of Rameses
So Joseph assigned the best land of Egypt, the land of Rameses, to his father and brothers, just as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph furnished food to them in the amount needed for their dependents.
Joseph’s family is safe. The famine grew worse.
First: Joseph sold corn for money.
The famine became worse and so that all the land of Egypt and Canaan was starving. Joseph collected the money from Egypt and Canaan in exchange for grain and he brought the money to Pharaoh’s treasure-house.
Second: Joseph sold corn for livestock.
When the people were out of money they came to Joseph crying again for food. “Our money is gone,” they said, “but give us bread; for why should we die?” The value of corn went up. Joseph said, “Give me your livestock. I will trade you food in exchange for your livestock.” So they brought their cattle to Joseph in exchange for food. Soon all the horses, flocks, herds, and donkeys of Egypt were in Pharaoh’s possession.
Third: Joseph sold corn for land.
The value of corn went up again. All the Egyptians sold him their fields because the famine was so severe. All their silver and gold was gone. Corn was Joseph’s currency. Joseph paid them with corn. The purchase price of land was measured in bushels of corn. All the land became Pharaoh’s. It was purchased with corn. The only land he didn’t buy was that belonging to the priests, for they were assigned food from Pharaoh and didn’t need to sell.
Think about this from an investment standpoint. What is there that is now cheap, but is a needed thing in life. If suddenly there would become a shortage of it then this commodity would become valuable. If you bought a great supply of it and waited you would become rich.
Fourth: Joseph sold corn to them in return for their labor as slaves to Pharaoh.
The famine became worse and so that all the land of Egypt and Canaan was starving. Joseph collected the money from Egypt and Canaan in exchange for grain and he brought the money to Pharaoh’s treasure-house.
The value of corn went up again. The next year they came again and said, “Our money is gone, our cattle are gone, and our land is gone. Why should we die? We will trade ourselves for food. Buy us and we will be servants to Pharaoh. Then we will live and the land won’t be abandoned.” So all the people of Egypt became Pharaoh’s servants.
Joseph financed a new beginning in Egypt with a twenty percent (20%) profit built into it.
Finally the famine came to an end. Joseph shifted his plans from helping the people survive to getting ready to plant the fields again. Fourteen years ago his plan was to have enough grain after the famine to plant all the fields he had bought with corn. This first good year he would not only give them grain for food but he would give them grain to cast into the ground believing it would grow this year. During the famine grain had become precious in their sight. They guarded their grain as they would their life because their life depended on it. They would be casting precious seed into the ground in time of famine believing this precious seed would grow. As I write this I am reminded of a scripture that gives you the picture.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Ps 126:6
It was hard for the sower in this Psalm to turn loose of the precious seed he was sowing. He was weeping as he sowed. He was throwing into the ground food his family could eat if the famine continued. As he wept, he believed God that he would produce a harvest of sheaves of grain. But that would happen later. At this time he would weep and plant.
Joseph said to the people, “See, I have bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Here is grain. Go and sow the land. And when you harvest it, a fifth of everything you get belongs to Pharaoh. Keep four parts for yourselves to be used as food for yourselves and for your households and little ones. Also keep enough for next year’s seed. I will not be giving you grain anymore. The famine is over.”
“You have saved our lives,” they said. “We will gladly be the servants of Pharaoh.”
Joseph established it as a law throughout the land of Egypt, and it is still the law, that Pharaoh should have as his tax twenty percent of all the crops except, those produced on the land owned by the temples.
The above article “Brothers Go Back to Egypt” is written by albert Friend. This article was excerpted from chapters seven and eight in Friend’s book Innocent 28 Years Old Forgotten in Prison.
The material is copyrighted and should not be repainted under any other name or author. However, this material may freely be used for personal study or purposes.