Joseph Brothers Go to Egypt to Buy Grain

For many years Monterey California, a coastal town, was a pelican’s paradise. As the fishermen cleaned their fish, they flung the innards to the pelicans. The birds grew fat, lazy, and contented. Eventually, however the innards were utilized, and there were no longer snacks for … More


The famine was so great in Canaan that Jacob decided to send his sons (except Benjamin) down to  Egypt to buy food (vv. 1-3). The reason he did not send Benjamin was that he was the only son by Rachel that he still had and he did not want something to happen to him (v. 4). The famine was so bad that many people from Canaan went to Egypt to buy grain (v. 5). Joseph was governor of all Egypt and a part of his work was to sell grain to those who came. One day among the crowd he saw a group of ten men dressed like shepherds from the land of Canaan. Immediately he knew that they were his brothers, even though it had been twenty years since he had seen them (v. 6). However, he acted like he did not know them and was rude to them (v. 7).

Joseph’s brothers do not recognize him dressed in his royal robes and so they bow before him as the other people are doing (v. 8). Joseph remembers the dream he had dreamed about them and accused them of being spies who had come to find out what made their country weak (v. 9). They denied this and said they were honest men who had come to buy grain (vv. 10-11). Joseph again tests them by accusing them of being spies (v. 12). They explained that they had come from a family of twelve brothers and that one was at home and the other one had died, referring to Joseph (v. 13) Joseph still accused them of being spies and told them they can’t leave until the younger brother comes (vv. 14-15). He put them in jail for three days and sent one of them to get the younger brother (vv. 16-17). 


How would I have felt toward my broth­ers if I had been treated by them as he was? Would I be ready to forget, forgive and help them in a time of need? I hope so!

Genesis 42:1-17 (English Standard Version)

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