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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[Gen. 43]

BUT after some months the corn which the sons of Jacob had brought from Egypt was consumed, and the famine still continued. Therefore Jacob said to his sons: “Go again into Egypt and bring us a little food.” Juda told his father that the governor had forbidden them to come back to Egypt, unless they brought Benjamin with them. And Juda added: “Send the boy with me that we may set forward, lest both we and our children perish. I take the boy upon me; require him at my hand.”

So Jacob consented to let Benjamin go. And he told his sons to take some of the best fruits of the country as presents to the governor of Egypt, and also to return the money, which they had found in their sacks, lest perhaps it was done by mistake. Then he prayed that God might prosper their journey, and make the governor of Egypt favourable to them, and send them back with Simeon and Benjamin.

Then they went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. When Joseph saw them, and Benjamin in their midst, he commanded his steward to conduct them to his house, and prepare a banquet. The steward obeyed. But the brothers, on finding themselves in the governor’s house, were seized with fear, and said one to another: “Because of the money, which we carried back the first time in our sacks, we are brought in that he may bring upon us a false accusation, and by violence make slaves of us.”

Therefore, they went to the steward at the door, and said: “We cannot tell who put that money in our bags.” But he said to them: “Peace be to you; fear not.” And he brought Simeon out to them. Joseph having now entered the house, they bowed down before him and offered their gifts. He kindly saluted them in return, and asked if their aged father was still living.

They told him that their father lived, and was in good health. Then Joseph, seeing Benjamin, inquired if that was their youngest brother. They answered: “He is our youngest brother.” Then Joseph said: “God be gracious to thee, my son”; and, going out, he wept, for his heart was deeply touched at the sight of his younger brother. Having dried his tears and washed his face, he returned to his brethren and ordered food to be placed before them. Then they were ordered to sit before him, and he placed them according to their age, the first-born first, and the youngest last. All received gifts, but Benjamin received five times more than the rest. And they wondered much.

God rules over everything, even the hearts of men. For this reason Jacob said when he sent his sons back to Egypt: “May Almighty God make the man favourable to you.” God governs the hearts of men by His grace. “As the division of the waters, so is the heart of the king in the hand of the Lord. Whithersoever He will, He shall turn it” (Prov. 21:1).

Love for parents. The first thing Joseph did was to ask after his father. While he was at home, Joseph had loved, honoured and obeyed him, and been a joy to him; and now, though he had become so distinguished, rich and powerful, he still loved his father dearly, and was most anxious for news of his welfare. He thus observed the Fourth Commandment.

Love for brothers and sisters. Joseph sincerely loved his brothers. He meant well by them, and was severe to them only for the purpose of doing them good. As soon as he was sure that Benjamin had suffered no harm from them, he was kind to them. He did not return evil for evil, but rather good for evil. They had sold him for money, and he, in return, gave them plenty of corn. They had thrown him into a pit and nearly starved him: he took them into his house, and feasted them royally. They had treated him as a rogue and a slave: he had them waited on like princes. They remained unmoved, when he prayed for mercy: he was so moved by the sight of them and their anxieties that he could not restrain his tears. Is he not a noble and beautiful character? Would that all brothers and sisters loved each other like that!

Restitution. Jacob bade his sons take back with them the money which they had found in their sacks; the reason which he gave being that it might have been put there by mistake. Jacob was, we can see by this, upright and conscientious, and wished to restore what he had found to its owner. “If”, said he to himself, “this Egyptian governor refuses to take money for the corn, and has had the money returned in the sacks on purpose, then we can keep it with a clear conscience; but if it has been given back by mistake, I will, anyhow, return it, and then my conscience cannot reproach me.”

APPLICATION. How do you behave to your brothers and sisters? Do you provoke or strike them? And are you angry and revengeful when they have injured you? Do you often quarrel with them? Where, then, is your love for them? You ought to love all your neighbours; and surely your brothers and sisters are nearer to you than any one else, and you ought to love them more than any one else.

Do you really love your parents? Do you ever vex or grieve them? You will have neither happiness nor blessing in life, if you do not honour your parents.

Have you kept anything which does not belong to you? Have you always restored anything you have found to its owner, or returned the money when too much change has been given to you &c.?








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