Joseph's brothers are heard from again! Last Tuesday we read about the brothers selling him into slavery. And then, they really just drop from the story. We know Jacob/Israel was completely distraught by the loss of his favorite son. But other than that.... nothing.
And now here they are, in Egypt, looking for food during the famine that Joseph had helped Egypt prepare for. And they don't recognize their brother at all. Which is not surprising, considering they probably pretty much figured he was dead.
Joseph, however, does recognize his brothers. I'm not sure if he doesn't reveal himself right away because of a check from God, or because he wasn't sure he really wanted them to know, but he devised a plan to get his entire family to Egypt.
When the brothers return home to Jacob, minus Simeon, they were "surprised" to find all their money returned in their sacks (verse 35). I say "surprised" because one of them had discovered this on their journey home! In verse 28 one of the brothers opened his sack and found his money. They were sure God was repaying them for how they treated Joseph, Reuben even says so!
Anyway, they find the money, and tell Jacob they need Benjamin to go to Egypt.
And Jacob does what any smart dad would do. He says NO. His favorite child "died" years before, and now his sons just returned with food they were supposed to pay for, but still have their money, and now they're asking to take his second favorite child? No way! They return to Egypt with Benjamin, and Jacob just knows Benjamin won't return.
Reuben even offers his two sons in return if Benjamin is harmed (maybe he's trying to make up for a guilty conscience that he didn't do more to save Joseph?) but Jacob still won't hear of it.
It makes me wonder what was going on with Simeon while this trip took place. And Joseph? Was he restless? Was he having trouble containing his excitement? Could he not sleep for fear that they wouldn't return? Or, being Joseph, was he ever steady, confident that whatever would happen, was in God's hands.
What would you have been like?
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Genesis 43