Genesis 44-45 Expository Thoughts

David Burchard Exposition Leave a Comment

Then he commanded his house steward, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. 2“Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph had told him. 3As soon as it was light, the men were sent away, they with their donkeys. 4They had just gone out of the city, and were not far off, when Joseph said to his house steward, “Up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5‘Is not this the one from which my lord drinks and which he indeed uses for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.’”

6So he overtook them and spoke these words to them. 7They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing. 8“Behold, the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks we have brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9“With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.” 10So he said, “Now let it also be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” 11Then they hurried, each man lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12He searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13Then they tore their clothes, and when each man loaded his donkey, they returned to the city.

14When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there, and they fell to the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, “What is this deed that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?” 16So Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose possession the cup has been found.” 17But he said, “Far be it from me to do this. The man in whose possession the cup has been found, he shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”

18Then Judah approached him, and said, “Oh my lord, may your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh. 19“My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’ 20“We said to my lord, ‘We have an old father and a little child of his old age. Now his brother is dead, so he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.’ 21“Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22“But we said to my lord, ‘The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23“You said to your servants, however, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24“Thus it came about when we went up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25“Our father said, ‘Go back, buy us a little food.’ 26“But we said, ‘We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27“Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28and the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn in pieces,” and I have not seen him since. 29‘If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.’ 30“Now, therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, 31when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow.32“For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.’ 33“Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. 34“For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me—for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?”

1Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, “Have everyone go out from me.” So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it. 3Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.

4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5“Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6“For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7“God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8“Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9“Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10“You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. 11“There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished.”’ 12“Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you. 13“Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.” 14Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. 15He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.

16Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh’s house that Joseph’s brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. 17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your beasts and go to the land of Canaan, 18and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land.’ 19“Now you are ordered, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come. 20‘Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”

21Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. 22To each of them he gave changes of garments, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments.23To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and sustenance for his father on the journey.

24So he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the journey.” 25Then they went up from Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob.26They told him, saying, “Joseph is still alive, and indeed he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” But he was stunned, for he did not believe them. 27When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28Then Israel said, “It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”


In chapter 43, we saw Joseph’s brothers return to Egypt to buy food, this time bringing Benjamin, the youngest, as Joseph had commanded. They all bow down in homage to Joseph, exactly as God said they would. And Joseph welcomes them for a feast in his home. All the brothers are treated well, but Joseph gives Benjamin 5 times a bigger portion than he gives to the other brothers.

Why did he do that?

Do the brothers know who he is?


Verse 1.

Then he [Joseph] commanded his house steward, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. 

Joseph continues his lavish generosity to his brothers. He loads them up with as much food as they can carry. He again returns their money to their sacks. Nobody is owed free food. The brothers weren’t entitled to this from an Egyptian. In fact, it seems that, as the first time, so now, this is done without the knowledge of the brothers.

What we’ll see is that Joseph is prospering them beyond their expectation in order to test their true character.

These are men who did not miss the opportunity to gain in wealth through abandoning their brother do death in slavery. Have they changed in character? Have they repented, forsaking their hate and covetousness?

That’s what Joseph is going to find out.

He continues to give his house steward instructions.

2“Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his money for the grain.”

Not only is the servant to return Benjamin’s money. But he’s to put Joseph’s silver goblet into the sack. This was probably at his dining table, where Benjamin had also sat.

Joseph is telling the servant to carry out a major set up. By putting the silver cup into Benjamin’s sack, it not only frames him to be a thief, but an ungrateful insulter of the second most powerful man in the Egypt, worthy of Joseph’s wrath.

And he [the servant] did as Joseph had told him. 

As an aside, the way this servant relates to Joseph is precisely how we are to work as servants of Jesus. We are servants. We do as we are told.

3As soon as it was light, the men were sent away, they with their donkeys. 4They had just gone out of the city, and were not far off, when Joseph said to his house steward, “Up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5‘Is not this the one from which my lord drinks and which he indeed uses for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.’”

Joseph’s servant is to corner them right off the bat. His presence will be a surprise to them. And immediately he’s going to bring a charge that they know, if established, will mean their deaths.

6So he overtook them and spoke these words to them.

The servant does as he’s told. He speaks as he’s told. Again, this is our pattern for life.

7They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing. 

The brothers have no idea what the servant is talking about. They have more sense than their donkeys, so they know to have stolen from the Egyptian governor would have been nuts.

They honestly deny the charges. But when the fix is in, no amount of honesty is going to help you.

The conclusion is in before the trial. And they’re about to find that out.

They continue their defense.

8“Behold, the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks we have brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 

They point to their past record of integrity as grounds for believing their innocence in this matter.

We could have easily gotten away with all our money from the first trip, but we brought it back, after all this time. Why in the world would we turn around and steal from the lord’s house?

Ironically, though they’re right to point to their past integrity, Joseph is testing them because of their past treachery, and their capital offenses against God’s law. They were guilty of manstealing, and deserved to die for it.

9“With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.” 

So confident are they in their innocence in the matter, they offer the life of any brother found guilty, and the lifelong slavery of the rest.

10So he said, “Now let it also be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” 

The servant sets the terms according to Joseph’s plan.

11Then they hurried, each man lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12He searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest,

All eyes would have been glued on the servant, tension building with each cup free sack.

And he gets to the youngest’s sack…

and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 

At this point, there is no getting out of it for the brothers. Their claims of innocence won’t be able to make the cup disappear.

So, Joseph’s trap is now sprung. With their agreement, he’s brought them into a déjà vu crisis. Their youngest brother, from another mother, more favored than them by their father, is now condemned to life-long slavery in Egypt. They can walk away with far greater profit than the 20 shekels of silver they got for Joseph from the Ishmaelites.

Does envy reign in their hearts? Does hatred for those of higher station eat away at them, as it does in the hearts of Scottish socialists?

Have they turned to the God of their fathers in humble repentance?

13Then they tore their clothes, and when each man loaded his donkey…

they returned to the city.

They’re struck with genuine grief. And they don’t despair, leaving Benjamin to the fangs of fate. They return to the city with him. They will not abandon their brother.

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. These brothers are new men. They’ve become faithful brothers.

14When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there, and they fell to the ground before him. 

Again, we are reminded to never doubt God’s Word, NO MATTER how improbable it may seem. Yet again the brothers are bowed before Joseph.

15Joseph said to them, “What is this deed that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?” 

If Joseph is not a man that should be crossed, how much less should we ever dare cross the All-Knowing, All-Seeing God? Which of his splendid laws can we break without His knowledge?

If you are not a Christian, when you go before God on judgment day you won’t have any excuses. Your mouth will be shut. You’ve sinned against the Divine and He will send you to hell.

If you are a Christian, why sin against your Father? Did any of you have a dad or mom with eyes in the back of their head? You couldn’t sneak anything past them? What are you going to get past God? He won’t leave you undisciplined for your sin. He’s too loving to do that.

16So Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves?

Judah speaks on behalf of the brothers. Before his father he took responsibility for Benjamin. Now, before Joseph, he takes responsibility for the family. He’s ascended to a position of leadership among his brothers, not because he is the oldest, but because it was God’s will to elevate his position and so bring the promised Redeemer of God’s people through his line.

God has found out the iniquity of your servants;

Judah doesn’t plead their innocence. He actually pleads guilty, and accepts that this is the justice of God.

This is what John Calvin says about Judah’s guilty plea.

“I wish that they who, when smitten by the rod of God, do not immediately perceive the cause, would adopt the same course; and when they find that men are unjustly incensed against them, would recall to mind the secret judgments of God, by which it becomes us to be humbled.”

Yes, the brothers are innocent of the particular charge brought against them. But Judah is humbled by knowing his own sin against God and his family. He knows God is holy. And he recognizes that all that is coming on the brothers is their due for their sin against Joseph.

behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose possession the cup has been found.” 

Judah knows he can’t get Benjamin out of this one. But if that is Benjamin’s destiny, Judah is resolved to share it with him. No more brothers in Egyptian slavery alone. They will stand together, whatever the Lord sees fit to serve them up.

17But he said, “Far be it from me to do this. The man in whose possession the cup has been found, he shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”

Joseph is not ready to let the brothers off the hook. If pressed further, will these brave proclamations fold?

As an important aside, notice the assumptions about justice that ground Joseph’s response. Only the guilty man will pay. And him “paying” is actual restitution, not just being thrown into HMP Perth. He has been found guilty of stealing, and so he will be a slave.

18Then Judah approached him, and said, “Oh my lord, may your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh. 19“My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’ 20“We said to my lord, ‘We have an old father and a little child of his old age. Now his brother is dead, so he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.’ 

Moses tells a great story. The condemned man here speaks to the dead man, pleading for nothing but mercy.

How like our situation is this? We, condemned for our sin. Jesus, the dead man who rose to majesty and might. Our only hope to plead to him for mercy.

21“Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22“But we said to my lord, ‘The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23“You said to your servants, however, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24“Thus it came about when we went up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25“Our father said, ‘Go back, buy us a little food.’ 26“But we said, ‘We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27“Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28and the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn in pieces,” and I have not seen him since. 29‘If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.’ 

Sheol, or Hades, is the place of the dead, where the souls of men lived on to await the day of resurrection. Most times in the Old Testament it’s just spoken of generally. But, specifically, it was made of two parts. The place for the souls of the damned to await Judgment Day. That’s the lower pit, Tartarus, where you see the rich man Jesus speaks of in Luke 16. And the place for the souls of the elect, Paradise. This was Abraham’s bosom. Following the resurrection, Jesus took Paradise and those in it with Him to heaven. Having descended into Hades, Christ ascended on high. And, now, Paradise is on much better real estate.

There’s never been a better time to die in the Lord.

30“Now, therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, 31when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow.32“For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.’ 33“Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. 34“For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me—for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?”

Look at the grace of God at work in Judah. Before, he cared only for his own gain, even if it broke his father’s heart. Now, he will not risk killing his father with grief. He offers his own life in the place of his younger brother. He does that precisely because that is what older brothers have been made by God to do for younger brothers.

1Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, “Have everyone go out from me.” So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it.

Joseph demonstrates manful self-control. He doesn’t lose so much control as to lose his head. He protects the dignity of his brothers. How? He sends everyone else out before revealing himself, and therefore exposing the sin of his brothers. And he protects his own dignity. Yes, men weep. But men are not weepy. Those under our authority depend on us to be, as a pattern of life, composed and firm. This is a right time for him to cry. There are times when tears from men are called for. It is right for men to cry in repentance. It is right to cry when the Grim Reaper takes a loved one. But Joseph here clears the room that he might weep with his brothers, without restraint.

3Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.

A moment ago, Joseph’s brothers had come to terms with their guilt. But the shock of having the second most powerful man in Egypt, a man who held their lives in his hands, appear before their eyes as Joseph himself, took all the piss and vinegar from their courage. They had come to terms with what they thought was their doom, but what appears to be a worse fate has snuck up on them and they have no time to settle their nerves. They are dismayed.

But Joseph is not interested in venting wrath upon them. Through his giving of grace, he intends to be reconciled to his brothers.

4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5“Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 

Joseph is able to forgive great evil against him because he understands that God is at work for salvation.

Notice what he is doing in what he says to his brothers. He is very clear that his brothers acted in wickedness. They are guilty of sin against him. “You sold me here.” But who was in control the whole time? God. “God sent me before you.” He doesn’t say that God looked on and allowed the brothers to sin. God was active. He is sovereign over all things. All things happen precisely according to his purpose and decree. God purposed that Joseph would go down into the pit in Egypt and ascend to rule. God purposed to bring that about through the sin of his brothers. And it was all purposed for the salvation of God’s people.

Joseph calls his brothers to trust God and His plan of salvation, and so through faith be free from the guilt of sin.

Question: God is in control of all things. Every detail happens because he decrees it to happen. What does that mean for our decisions? Are our choices and decisions real? How does this affect our responsibility? Can this truth about the sovereignty of God provide any excuse for sin; “well, God purposed it anyway”?

6“For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7“God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 

God is in control of all the physical happenings in the world. There was a famine for the exact amount of time God had foretold because He’s in control of wind, clouds, and rain.

God’s in control even over the sin of wicked men, proven in His sending Joseph to Egypt through the means of manstealing.

God’s in control of salvation, saving His remnant, His elect, through a great deliverance. Like He will do in the Exodus. Like He will do through Christ.

Crucified at the hands of lawless men, according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.

8“Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 

Again, don’t miss the pattern set here. Christ went to the grave and rose again, ruling the nations as Lord, as King, saving all who come to him for grace.

9“Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10“You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. 11“There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished.”’

Living under the care of the Ruling Brother, God’s people are fully provided for, even when famine devours life in the earth.

12“Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you. 

This would be like seeing a ghost for the brothers. But there was no denying it. This is Joseph. They are eyewitnesses. And based on their eyewitness testimony, Jacob was to believe the report.

13“Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.” 14Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. 15He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.

16Now when the news was heard in Pharaoh’s house that Joseph’s brothers had come, it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. 17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your beasts and go to the land of Canaan, 18and take your father and your households and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you will eat the fat of the land.’ 19“Now you are ordered, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father and come. 20‘Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”

Joseph has served Pharaoh so well, he has governed so well, that Pharaoh’s favor belongs to him. His family will have the best of Egypt. This is in direct contrast to what is about to happen. When the next Pharaoh comes, he does not know Joseph, and so, instead of blessing Joseph’s family, he enslaves them.

Fathers, if you want your sons to carry on your legacy, to pursue what you’ve pursued in life, to walk well and with honor, then you must instruct them. You must train and discipline them. If you do, you can die knowing your work will carry on.

21Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. 22To each of them he gave changes of garments, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments.

Joseph went into Egypt for 20 pieces of silver, stripped of his garment. Benjamin comes up from Egypt with 300 pieces of silver and five garments.

Now, I don’t know if this is what Moses wants me to understand from these verses. But I can’t help seeing this difference, coming into Egypt in poverty and leaving with wealth, as foreshadowing what will happen in the Exodus. Israel enters Egypt few in numbers. Israel leaves a nation, with the plundered wealth of trampled Egypt.

Jesus came into the world in poverty. He ascended to heaven as the glorified King.

23To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and sustenance for his father on the journey.

24So he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the journey.” 

Ever since the garden of Eden, even among those saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, mankind has a tendency to bicker and blameshift.

It was the woman. It was the snake. Reuben, why didn’t you say something? Judah, why’d you convince us to sell him? It’s all your fault!

Oh, how we love to justify ourselves by condemning others. But we will never be able to justify ourselves. God has told the truth about us at the cross. It’s your fault. It’s my fault. We are terrible. Wretched. Scum. But, oh, how good the grace of God is. He has justified us in Christ.

What is justification? How does it come to us?

25Then they went up from Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. 26They told him, saying, “Joseph is still alive, and indeed he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” But he was stunned, for he did not believe them. 

Of course he didn’t believe them. They were the ones who’d brought the report of Joseph’s death. He held the bloody coat. He mourned his son. He’s lived all those years following as a father looking forward to going to his son in Sheol.

And now he hears that Joseph is alive.

27When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.

This is likely Joseph’s purpose in sending all these things, even though the family was about to turn around and come right back.

It was proof. The spoils of his rule were proof of his life.

Christians, you and I are the spoils of Christ rule. Our lives. Won by Him. The spoils of His victory and heavenly reign. Our church testifies to Lochee that Jesus is alive and on the throne. Our church’s existence preaches to this neighborhood, “Come to Christ and live!”

28Then Israel said, “It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

Israel is the head of the family, because God established the patriarchy. And Israel decides that his family will in fact go to Egypt. He will see his beloved before he dies.

Is Israel sinning in making this decision? His family is in the Promised Land. And now he is going to lead them out of the Promised Land. Is that wrong?

I don’t think Israel is sinning here. Why?

First, Joseph has already told us that this is God’s intention for the salvation of His people. He is delivering them by bringing them out of the Promised Land and into Egypt.

Second, I believe Israel makes the decision knowing that this departure from the Promised Land is only temporary. He knows it’s temporary. He knows that though it is all prosperity now, it will turn for the worse. He knows this is the wise purpose of God for his family.

Why do I say that? I believe Israel remembers God’s Word on this matter, in Genesis 15.

God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. 14“But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. 15“As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. 16“Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”

Jacob knows he will die in Egypt, for his family will not return to the Promised Land until 400 years have passed, four generations. He walks into future suffering knowing that God’s Word is sure and dependable. He goes to see his son. He goes knowing that his family will come out of future slavery with many possessions, the instrument of God’s judgment on the Amorites.

Finally, the next chapter begins with God confirming that it is in fact His will for Israel to go down into Egypt.

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