Monday, October 23, 2006

Genesis 42 "Spies?"

Genesis 42:1 "Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another?"

The famine is in full swing and the land of Canaan is getting hungry. Jacob has heard about the corn in Egypt and so expresses his dismay that his sons are looking at each other instead of already being on their way to get corn. The sons departed but Jacob kept Benjamin at home for fear something would happen to him. Joseph played a little game with is brothers since they did not recognize him in his Egyptain garb and of course he is 30 now.

Joseph accused them of being spies come to scope out the land perhaps indicated they intended to do some harm. Jacob's sons pleaded their case but Joseph still pretended to be suspicious.

v12 "And he said unto the, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come."

At first Joseph told them one could go back and fetch his other brother, but after 3 days in ward he decided to let all go but one. The sons talked to each other in Hebrew thinking Joseph would not understand, about how they had betrayed him. Joseph was deeply touched and had to turn away from them.

v25 "Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way and thus did he unto them."

Upon finding the money when they returned home, they were quite confused and told their father all that had happened and of the demand that Benjamin be brought. Reuben offered his two sons as ransom for Benjamin if only Jacob would let him go down to Egypt but still Jacob hesitated.

v38 "...My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead and he is left alone..."

As we will see in the next chapter the subject is dropped until the corn ran out, then it comes up again.

It seems life is all about transitions and this story is no exception. I mentioned before that the nation Israel was like a pregnant lady who carried the promise of Abraham. In the coming chapters, we will witness the birth of the nation itself. We have journeyed with Abraham from Ur and with Issac as he cleaned out the wells his father dug and now Jacob. He has sojourned in Canaan since his return from Syria and the house of Laban. Now he is old and a great host is lead by him. He is responsible for their well-being. From here on, Jacob will be referred to as Israel and his people will move from a family to a nation but not without hardship. As childbirth is not without travail, so a nation born is not without travail. We will see.

Proverbs 25:21 "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink."

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