BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 28, Day 4: Genesis 42-44

Summary of passages:  Genesis 42:  Jacob sent his sons (all except Benjamin for fear harm might come to him) to Egypt to buy grain during the famine.  Joseph was the governor and he was the one who sold grain.  All his brothers bowed down to him and he recognized them but they did not recognize him.

Joseph speaks harshly to them, accusing them of being spies, which they deny and insist they are all the sons of one man and one is at home and one is no more.

Joseph decides to test his brothers.  He tells them one must return and fetch their youngest brother in order to validate their story.  They will be kept in prison until he returns.  He threw them all in prison for three days.

Then Joseph tells them to let one stay here in prison while the rest return with grain for their starving families. But they must return with their youngest brother.  The brothers said this was punishment for Joseph’s death.  Reuben says didn’t I tell you so?  This is accounting for his blood.

At these words which the brothers did not know Joseph could understand, Joseph wept. He had Simeon taken and bound.  Joseph filled their bags with grain and returned their payment of silver.  Then they left.

When the brothers saw the silver returned, they were confused and frightened and wondered what God has done to them.  They told Jacob all that had transpired, Jacob is angry and thinks everything is against him.  Reuben tells his father he can put both of his sons to death if he does not return with Benjamin.  Jacob refuses to let Benjamin go, saying he is the only one left and he will be in sorrow if something happens to him.

Genesis 43:  Jacob, who seemed content to let Simeon rot in jail, told the brothers to go and get more grain when they ran out.  Judah refused unless Benjamin accompanied them for Joseph had said he would not see them again unless Benjamin was with them.

Israel (interesting he is not called Jacob), showing the utmost integrity, asked the brother why they didn’t lie to Joseph–chastising them for telling the truth.

Now it is Judah who says he will be responsible for Benjamin’s safety and chastises Israel for his delay and for the hunger in the family.

Finally, Israel agrees to let Benjamin go (and he seems to remember the “other” brother as well), telling them to bring gifts to Joseph as well as double the silver to pay for the previous grain.  But of course, it’s all about him for he is “bereaved” (while he seems to be content to let his family starve).

The brothers went to Joseph and he had them eat with him.  The brothers were frightened, scared they would suffer because of the silver that was put back in their bags. They expressed their concerns to Joseph’s steward who assured them that he had received the silver the first time.  Simeon joined them at Joseph’s house.

Joseph asked them how his father was as his brothers bowed to him.  He wept at the sight of Benjamin.  Then they ate their meals separately since they were Hebrews and noticed Joseph had sat them in the order of their birth.  Benjamin was served five times as much proportions as the others.

Genesis 44:  Joseph instructed his steward to fill their bags and return their silver and to put the silver cup in Benjamin’s bag.  Then the brothers left.  But Joseph had his steward go and accuse them of stealing the silver cup.  The brothers denied the charges and said that if any of them is found to have it, he will die and the rest will become slaves. The cup was found in Benjamin’s bag and they tore their clothes and returned to Egypt.

The brothers again threw themselves at Joseph’s feet and said they are guilty.  Joseph said only Benjamin would have to be a slave and the rest could return to their father. Then Judah (the one who suggested to sell Joseph instead of kill him) stepped forward and explained to Joseph that their father would die and he would be killed if Benjamin did not return and offered to take Benjamin’s place.


11a)  Joseph is trying to see if they have changed since the evil they executed towards him. He wanted to see what they would say.

b)  The brothers lied to him about saying Joseph was dead.  Joseph threw them in prison perhaps so they would know what he went through.  To see the reality of their sin against him.

c)  He imprisoned Simeon so they brothers would see what they did to Joseph.  Maybe as penalty against Simeon as well for his sin.

d)  He wanted to see Benjamin in my opinion.  He probably also wanted to observe how the brothers treated Benjamin since he was now the favored by Jacob.

e)  I see this as two-fold purpose:  one, Joseph is saying he doesn’t need nor want their money.  He is being generous here and doing what Jesus would do.  Two, he is setting them up to be accused of thievery if they do not change from this experience.

f)  Joseph was testing the brothers’ hearts again to see how they reacted to his favoritism of Benjamin.  When he was favored, he was thrown in a pit.  He wondered if they had changed at all.

g)  Joseph wanted to see if the brothers would abandon Benjamin like they had him and make up a story again to Jacob about what happened to him.  He wanted to see if they would stand by him and defend him.  Or he wanted to see if secretly they would be happy that the favored son was once again “gotten rid of” and abandon him to his fate.

h)  Again, Joseph is seeing if they will abandon Benjamin to his fate or if they will stand by him

12)  Genesis 44:16 where they admit their guilt.  Genesis 44:18-34 where we see Judah’s concern for his father and his offer to take Benjamin’s place.

13a)  God Almighty

b)  may God grant you mercy

c)  He will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you

d)  He is bereaved.

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It shows to recognize God’s power and God’s grace (hence the use of the word “may”) and to ask specifically for what you want and to express your feelings over the matter (bereavement).

14)  Judah consistently points out his love for his father by putting his father’s well-being above his own.  Verse 44:20 says how “father loves him”.  He is concerned that Jacob will die if they return without Benjamin.  Judah offered to take the blame for Benjamin’s well-being.  He begs Joseph for him to be allowed to take his place for he cannot face his father’s misery if he had to return without him.

He does not lie about what happened to Joseph like they did previously (Genesis 42:13) as exhibited in Genesis 44:28.

Conclusions:  Note the guilt from verse 1 when Jacob mentions Egypt.  The brothers give each other guilty looks for they must know in their hearts Joseph ended up there.

Any one else sickened by Jacob’s pity party?  The attitude of “everything is against me” often causes us to become immobile, to stop living, to stop doing God’s work.  Jacob here still does not trust God.  He is still playing favorites.  He is still a Fallen Man.

Jacob was willing to sacrifice Simeon to allow Benjamin to live!  He would not allow Benjamin to go to save Simeon!  He’s just as bad as the brothers throwing Joseph in the well.  How sad!

And the fact Jacob said “your other brother” (Genesis 43:14).  Did he forget Simeon’s name?  And of course, he ends his prayer with how he is affected.  Poor, poor me!

Joseph is testing his brothers and trying to see if they have truly repented of their crime against him.  They do stick by their brother as they face slavery.  They realize this is a result of their sin against Joseph (Genesis 44:16).  They show concern for their father in their protection of Benjamin–at all costs.

Note the sovereignty of God here:  As we saw with Dinah (Genesis 34), God’s people were at risk of assimilating with the pagans surrounding them.  Here, we note how the Egyptians abhorred foreigners and would not eat with them (Genesis 43:32).  God sends the Israelites to Egypt for them to be safe and multiply without the risk of intermarriage for the Egyptians would have nothing to do with them.  The Egyptians considered themselves superior to all other races (not just the Hebrews).

It is interesting to see Judah’s role throughout Genesis since he is the one who Jesus will descend from.  How Judah treated Tamar but in the end how he did right by her.  He is the one to suggest to sell Joseph yet he has completely changed to be the one to offer to take Benjamin’s place.  Fascinating stuff how God can use man in all his sin to fulfill His purposes.  How man can change his heart with the power of God and the Holy Spirit. How there is always hope even in the midst of sin.

Fun Facts:  They took double the money with them to Egypt.  So 10 brothers times 2 is 20–the exact amount they sold Joseph for.

Statistical odds of placing the brothers in the right order of birth:  1 in 40 million.

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