Joseph and His Brothers (Part 1

Genesis Chapter 42
I. Observation • Who are the main characters? What do we know about them? • Joseph: • • Joseph’s Brothers:


• •

When do the events of this passage take place? • Genesis 37 tells us that Joseph was around 17 years old when he was sold into slavery, so he spent about 13 years in Egypt as a slave [Ryrie] before being placed in charge of Egypt. Since there were 7 years of plenty before the famine, this passage occurs somewhere between 20 and 27 years since Joseph was sold into slavery. Where do the events of this passage take place? • These events take place in Egypt and in Canaan. What is happening? (Summary of Events) • Jacob sent 10 of his sons to Egypt to buy grain, but kept Benjamin behind for safety (v. 1-5) • When Joseph’s brothers arrived in Egypt, then went before him to buy grain (v. 6) • Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. Joseph questioned them harshly, acting as a stranger so as to not divulge his identity to them (v. 7) • Joseph accuses them of being spies; they protest, saying they came to buy food (v. 8-13) • Joseph tells them that in order to test whether they are telling the truth or not, all of them but one would be put in prison except for one. That one brother must bring back their younger brother and then Joseph would set them all free. (v. 14-16) • Joseph put his brothers into custody for 3 days. After the three days, Joseph allowed all his brothers except for one to return home. He would keep the one brother in prison until they returned with their youngest brother to prove they were not spies (v. 17-20) • His brothers talk among themselves and acknowledge that they must be being punished for what they did to Joseph. Joseph overhears them and, although saddened, put Simeon in prison and sent the remaining brothers back to Canaan. (v. 21-24) • Joseph ordered their sacks filled with grain, then had their payment hidden in their sacks, and sent them on their way (v. 25-26) • When his brothers stopped for the night, one realized that his silver had been returned and they were afraid for what might happen to them (v. 27-28) • When they returned home, they told their father, Jacob, all that had happened (v. 29-34) • As they emptied their sacks, they realized that all their payments had been returned, and they became afraid. (v. 35) • Jacob fears that now he has lost Simeon in addition to Joseph and if he sends Benjamin, then Benjamin may die as well. He felt as if everything was against him (v. 36) • Ruben promises his father that he will make sure Benjamin returns safely or else his sons could be put to death (v. 37) • Jacob refuses to send Benjamin back to Egypt with his brothers for fear of losing him (v. 38)

II. Interpretation • What principles are illustrated in this passage? What is the main theme? What do we know or learn about God from this passage? What is his role in this chapter?

How has Joseph changed/matured since Genesis 37? How have his brothers changed/matured?

III. Applications • Joseph saw God’s revelation to him come true before his eyes, despite all he had been through. How do we respond when our faith in God’s promises is challenged by our circumstances? • We see God moving behind the scenes to accomplish his purpose. We must remember that God’s hand is at work in the world around us and we must choose whether we will work with or against his plans. We should look for opportunities to get involved with his plan in the world around us.

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