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Sunday, June 21, 2020

GENESIS – An Expositional Overview of the Beginning of God’s Revelation: Chapter FORTY THREE


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Chuck Missler Bible Commentary - Genesis 40-45

GENESIS 43 – by James Fire; for the Facebook video teaching, go here.

Introduction: When GOD prunes our lives, when He starts taking things away from us, sometimes our most precious things, it’s a deeply hurtful experience. But these are necessary hurts and GOD doesn’t allow any such pain to run its course any more deeply or longer than is absolutely necessary.
We may not understand why pain and suffering is necessary, or for what reason they come into our lives, but GOD understands all the necessary reasons.  

And He prunes with the objective in mind of bringing about an abundance of fruitfulness in our lives. Anyone who is a gardener understands that pruning brings about plenty, even if the pruning seems to take everything away until all appears to be barren and fruitless.

Jacob has suffered the loss of his dearest son, Joseph; the only other son that he had left from his beloved wife Rachael is Benjamin and here in this chapter he is faced with the decision of letting him go as well in order to secure the necessary food for the survival of his entire family.
Jacob had said already in regard to letting Benjamin go to Egypt:

GENESIS 42:38
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
.
We have seen such powerful and penetrating pruning in the life of Job, when the LORD allowed virtually everything to be taken away from this saint, but when we consider the end of Job’s life we witness that there was plentiful and profound blessing as a result.

When we endure trials, when we are in the furnace of affliction, it’s for the express purpose of getting the dross, the impurities out of our lives, that our faith will gain greater purity. So, justas we see in pruning as well as fiery trials – subtraction now means addition later.
Do you know the meaning of the name Joseph

"Jehovah has added", and the life of this young man is a testimony to this truth: “the LORD gives, the LORD takes away, blessed be the name of the LORD” and we see that the LORD gives even more afterwards both in Jobs life as well as Jacob’s!
[break]

GENESIS 43:1-5
And the famine was sore in the land. 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. 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. If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food: 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
.

Jacob had sent his sons down in the previous chapter to get some food, and they met with Joseph, but even though he recognized them, they didn’t recognize him. Just so, the LORD Jesus came unto His brethren – His fellow Jews, but they didn’t recognize Him for Who He is (JOHN 1:11; ACTS 7:51-52)!

Now they’re in need of more food, and Jacob orders his sons back to Egypt for supplies and Judah protests – “We can’t go back without Benjamin, this prince of Egypt said so! If he doesn’t go with us, neither can we!”

GENESIS 43:6-7
And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother? 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?
.

Jacob here chastises Judah, resenting the fact that these men even mentioned that they had a younger brother – but Judah pleads innocence: “How were we to know that he would demand us to bring Benjamin down to Egypt and that if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to get any more food?”

We might wonder why Joseph made such a demand – perhaps it was simply that he missed his full-blooded brother Benjamin, but I suspect a couple things may be in play here:
First of all, when Joseph asked if they had any other brothers, this question may have convicted their hearts; because he also accused them of being spies, and when pleading their own defense, they explained that they were all sons of one man, and that they had one other brother back home and that “one is not” – referring to Joseph himself. Their guilty conscience was seen in the previous chapter:

GENESIS 42:21-23
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
.
A somewhat vague answer “one who is not” – they didn’t come right out and say he was dead, simply that “he was not” that could imply he was dead but could also mean he was lost somehow.

Also, by bringing Benjamin down, perhaps Joseph hoped that their father, unwilling to be parted from him, would come along himself and then he would see both his brother and his father.

GENESIS 43:8-10
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. 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
.

Judah implores him to let Benjamin accompany them to Egypt, that this is necessary for the survival of them all. He assures his father that he will take full responsibility for Benjamin’s safety: “I will be surety for him” and in this sense Judah foreshadows the glorious deed of his descendant, Jesus of Nazareth, Who is the surety – the guarantee that the debt of another will be paid in full – for the insurmountable debt of sin that none of us could possibly pay, but Christ did! The Son of Judah “the praise – or the glory of GOD” will see to it that we will have our debts paid and become Benjamin “the son of My right hand”.

GENESIS 43:11-14
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
.

Even a man as wealthy as Jacob who inherited the wealth of his father Isaac, who in turned inherited Abraham’s wealth, was down to the bare minimum, so that he could only offer “a little” of this and “a little” of that as a present to this lord of Egypt. He prays for his sons, as any good father will do – and seems then to be resigned to whatever fate may come “if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved”.

GENESIS 43:15-18
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 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
.

It seems evident that Joseph spoke in the Egyptian tongue, because Jacob’s sons “stood before Joseph” and yet when he spoke to his steward (“the ruler of his house”) to bring his brothers to his home and prepare a meal, they’re completely clueless, and they became afraid that they were escorted to Joseph’s home, fearing something terrible is about to happen (they suspect it has something to do with the misunderstanding of the money that they brought previously to buy food, yet was found in their saddles on the way back to Canaan). 

The fact that Benjamin is with them, weighs all the more heavily on their fearful hearts, knowing that if he is brought into slavery or even slain along with them, it would bring such sorrow of heart to their father, it will probably kill him. It’s because they don’t recognize Joseph and the fact he is speaking Egyptian, they have no idea that when they spoke among themselves in Hebrew, that he can understand them! When they do address him, an Egyptian translator is used (GEN 42:23).

Now we are about to read how these sons of Jacob explain to Joseph’s steward about this mishap with the money, but he assures them that the LORD their GOD has blessed them, that they have nothing to fear. Then he brings Simeon, who was held as prisoner until his brothers returned with their youngest, Benjamin:

GENESIS 43:19-23
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, every 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
.

It’s vital that if we are ever accused of wrong-doing (which is what these sons of Jacob feared would happen, but didn’t), that these accusations are wrong, false and meant to accuse the innocent of guilty conduct. It’s only as we walk in the Spirit that we can walk blamelessly before others, and the LORD Who alone judges our hearts will know our innermost motivations and intentions – so it’s not enough that we go through the motions and perform the actions of righteousness, but that they are motivated by righteousness of the heart:

1 CORINTHIANS 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God
(See also JER 11:20; 17:9-10).
1 PETER 3:15-17
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing
.
What Jacob’s sons feared, didn’t happen to them; but these things did happen to Joseph – he was falsely accused of wrong-doing, suffered for it, but was all the while innocent of all charges. And he took it all patiently:
1 PETER 2:21
For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God
. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

GENESIS 43:24-28
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 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? Is he yet alive? 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
.

Here we see the fulfillment of the dreams that Joseph received of the LORD. Can you imagine after all of these years, from the time he had those dreams, to the time when he was sold into slavery, made a servant to Potiphar, then imprisoned, then brought out of that place to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and exalted to his position of honor, and then he sees his brothers again for the first time in almost two decades and it comes to this point in time, when “they bowed themselves to him to the earth…they bowed down their heads and made obeisance”? What do you suppose that did for Joseph’s faith in the Word of the LORD? The strong faith that he already possessed was made all the stronger. Joseph who held tight to the promises of GOD was in no way defeated or disappointed by the LORD!

ROMANS 5:3-5
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us
.
Joseph’s hope that he may yet see his father is kindled anew because he’s learned that he still lives! And here he see’s the other longing of his heart, the sight of his young brother Benjamin moves him to tears!

GENESIS 43:29-31
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
.

One might wonder why Joseph has refrained to reveal himself already now that he has all of his brothers together even as they eat bread together. When the time comes that he does reveal himself, it’s then that his brothers recognize themselves that their younger brother’s dreams have come true. I believe this speaks of national Israel who doesn’t yet recognize their Messiah. 
Just as Joseph was not recognized as an authority over his brothers and rejected by them, so too Jesus of Nazareth is not recognized by Israel as the authority that GOD has established over Israel as the Messiah, and so they rejected the LORD, but will come to receive Him when He returns the second time to the nation, to deliver them from the Beast and the world’s armies that will seek to destroy the Jews once and for all.

GENESIS 43:32-34
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. 34 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of their's. And they drank, and were merry with him
.

I wonder if Joseph observed his brothers carefully when Benjamin was given five times as much food as all of the others? Perhaps he wanted to see if they would complain about this unfair favor on Benjamin by this so-called Egyptian prince? Scripture records no such complaining, and so we might conclude that these men have been sufficiently humbled to not react with any offense at this action. It states that they “were merry with him” so that seems to bear witness that these men have indeed learned what Scripture teaches us, to “rejoice with them that rejoice” (ROM 12:5).

In a certain sense, this section of Scripture describes our current situation. It’s because Israel rejected their Messiah that we Gentiles have had the opportunity to receive the Gospel and we have become the church of Jesus Christ, wholly distinct from the nation of Israel (ROM 12). We see here that Joseph partakes of the bread with the other Egyptians (Gentiles) but he has no part in eating bread with his brethren (Jews). But the time will come when his true identity is made known to Jacob’s sons and then they no doubt partook of bread together.

1 PETER 2:6-10
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

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