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all act in accordance with the predicted events. The plenty comes. The famine succeeds. Provision is made for the safety and preservation of the people.
Surely the finger of God is in all these things. Do they not evince, not only his care for Joseph, but for others also, for Joseph's sake It is, further, very remarkable, that the words of this humble prisoner should have been so readily believed, and so implicitly followed on this occasion. A thousand objections might have been started. Joseph's interpretation might have been treated as an idle speculation. But God so ordered it, that the king, the princes, the wise men, and the people, all believed the saying of Joseph. This was the work of God; and thus he works still, when and how it pleaseth him.
Behold the provision that was made for the coming famine. The earth brought forth by handfuls, and Joseph laid by the store. Has not the Lord made a far more bountiful supply for us? In the precious merits and death of Christ, there is abundant provision stored up for our famishing souls. Nay, there is enough in the fulness of Christ to feed all the perishing sons of men, come from whatever quarter they may. And all this provision is freely distributed “without money and without price.” (Is. lv. 1.)
Again, observe the misery of the people, and the direction of Pharaoh. The famishing multitudes of the land cried to Pharaoh for bread. And what did he say to them : “Go unto Joseph ; what he saith unto you, do.” Is not the Gospel direction just the same? When the poor sinner sees and feels his sins, and cries unto God for help and deliverance, what is the direction given Go unto Jesus; what he saith unto you, do. And what does he say to you? “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. xi. 28.) Blessed encouragement! Go, then, to Jesus. Look to Jesus. Believe in Jesus. He is made “head over all things to the church" (Eph. i. 22), that all the famishing children of God may feed upon the riches of his grace, and live for ever and ever.
1 Jucob sendeth his ten sons to buy corn in Egypt. 16 They are imprisoned by Joseph for spies. 18. They are set at liberty, on condition to bring Benjamin. 21. They hare
remorse for Joseph. 24 Simeon is kept for a pledge. 25 They return with corn, and their money. 20. Their relation to Jacob. 30 Jacob refuseth to send Benjamin. OW when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another ? 2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die. 3 *s And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. 4 But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren ; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. 5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came : for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. 7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake 'roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye 2 And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. 8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. 10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. ll We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. 12 And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. 13 And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not. 14 And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies: 15 Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. 16 Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be *kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies. 17 And he “put them all together into ward three days.
18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: 19 If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: 20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so. 21 " And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. 22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required. 23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them : for ‘he spake unto them by an interpreter. 24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes. 25 "I 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. 26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. 27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack's mouth. 28 And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored ; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart “failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us 2 29 || And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him
all that befell unto them; saying,
30 The man, who is the lord of the land, o: "roughly to us, and took us for spies of e country. 31 And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies: 32 We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land"of Canaan. 33 And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your households, and be gone : 34 And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men ; so will I deliver
you: brother, and ye shall traffick in the land. 35 " And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. 36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against Ille. 37 And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. 38 And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. (1) Heb. hard things with them.
(2) Heb. bound. (3) Heb. gathered.
(4) Heb. an interpreter was between them.
(5) Heb. went forth.
(6) Heb. with us hard things.
We have seen the wonderful manner in which the Lord foresaw and provided for the necessities of the land of Egypt during the famine. All these events were under his almighty guidance and control. The famine was ordered in his providence. The provision was made by his goodness. The agent of its distribution was raised up in his wisdom, and shielded by his mercy and love. But there were others whom the Lord intended to provide for, as well as the people of the land; and, indeed, for their sakes principally the whole was specially ordained. These were Joseph's brethren, in a distant country; and as all the surrounding nations would feel"the effects of the famine, they, as well as the rest, would be involved in the general calamity. They, therefore, must partake of the benefit; and here we perceive by what means. First of all, Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt. This intelligence inspired hope. Why should they despair of life, since bread might be had in another land Thus the father addressed his sons; and Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. Now what makes the sinner first of all to think about his soul ? The want he feels within. What shall he do to find supply for that distress He hears of Jesus; he is told there is mercy with him. He is the “bread of life” (John vi. 48); and if the penitent sinner will but arise and go to Jesus, his famishing soul will receive a full supply of pardon, grace, and blessing. Secondly, Joseph's brethren went down to Egypt, and stood before him. Their deep distress touched his heart, and their humble posture reminded him of his dreams. Under an apparent severity, but actuated by real kindness and love, he inquired for their welfare, and elicited the state of the family at home. Are there not often many tender mercies couched under apparent frowns and rebukes Is there not something awful even in the Lord himself, when the sinner first comes into his presence, and presents his humble plea for mercy And the sinner will not be altogether divested of that impression, till the Lord is pleased to disperse the cloud, and reveal himself to the soul as a gracious Saviour, a loving brother, and a tender friend ? Thirdly, observe the workings of a guilty conscience. Many years had passed away since they plotted the destruction of Joseph, and sold him as a slave. But the conduct of Joseph was designed to bring the whole proceeding to their mind. The binding of one, requiring another to be brought, and Joseph's inquiries about a third, directly tended to awaken conscience and revive the sense of guilt slumbering in their bosoms. And such was the result. In the presence of their brother, not knowing that he understood them, they confessed their guilt, and upbraided each other for what they had done; and so great was their anguish, that Joseph turned aside to conceal his tears. Is it not often thus with the guilty sinner He sins, but his conscience is asleep; he thinks nothing of his crimes, nor of their consequences. Soon, however, conscience awakes; the slumber is broken; and then fear, dread, terror, and dismay seize the guilty soul. Nor is there any rest, till that conscience is sprinkled with the precious blood of Christ, which “cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John i. 7.) Lastly, Joseph dismisses his brethren, returns their money, lades their beasts, and gives them provision for the way; though they know him not. Thus, also, the true
Joseph deals often with the sinner, before he comes to the manifestation of his love, and the fulness of his salvation. Many mercies are given; many encouragements are vouchsafed. And these are so many sweet pledges of what will soon follow, when the Lord shall be pleased to say, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” (Matt. xiv. 27.)
1 Jacob is hardly persuaded to send Benjamin. 15 Joseph entertaineth his brethren. 31. He maketh them a feast.
AYP the famine was sore in the land. 2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food. 3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man "did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. 4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food: 5 But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. 6 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother ? 7 And they said, The man” asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive have ye another brother? and we told him according to the "tenor of these words: “could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down 8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. 9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: 10 For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned “this second time. 11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: 12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight:
13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man : 14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. "If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved. 15 " And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. 16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and 7 slay, and make ready ; for these men shall "dine with me at noon. 17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house.
18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in ; that he may "seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses. 19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, 20 And said, O sir, "we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: 21 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, erery man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. 22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. 23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: "I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them. 24 And the man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. 25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there. 26 "I And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. 27 And he asked them of their "welfare, and said, "Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake 2 Is he yet alive 2 28 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.
29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. 30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. 31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread. 32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians. 33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth; and the men marvelled one at another. 31 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benja:min's mess was five times so much as any of their's. And they drank, and “were merry with him.
As we know not to what necessities we may be brought, in the changing course of human events, it is the part of true wisdom to stand prepared for some measure of trial and difficulty. Nothing but the favour of God in Christ Jesus can thus strengthen the mind; we ought, therefore, above all things, to seek the enjoyment of that favour as the one thing needful for our comfort and peace. Jacob's troubles, on account of the famine, were already great; but greater trials yet awaited him, before he would arrive at the happy issue. At the close of the last chapter, we find him resolved not to send Benjamin, whatever the consequence might be. He had already been deprived of two of his sons, and now he feared the loss of Benjamin; thus, nothing would await him but accumulated grief, and his gray hairs would be brought down with sorrow to the grave. Alas ! how little did he understand the Lord's dealings at this time ! He thought all these things were against him; whereas, in fact, they were all in his favour, as he
must afterwards have found, when he clasped his long-lost son to his bosom. Have we not often fallen into the same mistake as Jacob did Have we not often drawn hasty conclusions in the day of our trouble, and thought many things were against us, when, doubtless, they were all needful for our welfare And have we not often had abundant cause to bless God for those very trials which we once so painfully dreaded ? Let us, then, chide our hasty fears; let us pray for patience, and wait the Lord's leisure. So shall we find that he is good unto all that call upon him, yea, all such as call upon him faithfully. How do the sons of Jacob plead with him to let Benjamin go, notwithstanding their father's distress' They were in a great strait; their food was exhausted, and they wanted more. To Egypt they must go; but without Benjamin, they knew it would be in vain. Jacob expostulates with them for telling the man so much about his family. They could not avoid it. The lord of the country had questioned them in so pointed a manner, that he drew all their history from them before they were aware of it. What can be done As a last resource, they shall carry down the man a present to secure his favour. They shall take double money in their hand, besides the money that was returned. Jacob thought this may perhaps have some effect; therefore he sends Benjamin away with them, and prays, “God Almighty give you mercy before the man.” May not all these things be intended to teach us how painful is the discipline often necessary to bring us to yield all to the will of God We are ready, it may be, to part with many things, if only we may keep back our darling Benjamin. But that will not do. We must be ready to say from our hearts, Lord, take all that I have, all that I am ; only grant me thy blessing and thy salvation. Never is the soul so near the full enjoyment of all blessings, as when it is prepared to part with all for Christ's sake. Having received their father's sanction, the sons of Jacob proceed to Egypt, and are entertained with a kindness beyond their utmost expectations. The steward of the house welcomes them. They sit down at the table with
the lord of the country himself. The arrangements of the meal excite their wonder. They are placed one after another, according to their birth. The table is plentifully supplied. Benjamin has special tokens of regard. The kind and easy manner of the lord dispels their fears. They forget their sorrow, and spend the hour in friendly confidence. So does the Lord often deal with the soul whom he is drawing towards him. Necessity forces the sinner to come; he has many fears; he ventures upon the ground of the invitation and the promise; he is kindly welcomed; partakes of the bounties of the gospel; and even before the Saviour is fully revealed to his soul, tastes, in some degree, that the Lord is gracious, and rejoices in his goodness and love.
1 Joseph's policy to stay his brethren. 14 Judah's humble
supplication to Joseph.
ND he commanded 'the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth. 2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. 3. As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. 4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good 5 Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he “divineth ye have done evil in so doing. 6 || And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words. 7 And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words : God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: 8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold: 9 With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen. 10 And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is