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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 4: Genesis 42:1-20

Summary of Genesis 42:1-20:

Jacob sends all of his sons to buy grain from Egypt except Benjamin, afraid that something will happen to Benjamin like Joseph. Famine is in Canaan as well. Joseph was in charge of selling all the grain, and when he saw his brothers, he recognized them, but they did not know him. He pretended not to know them, and questioned where they were from.

Joseph accuses them of being spies and of coming to see where the land is unprotected. Here, they say they are the sons of one man and how one is not with them and one is dead. Joseph says that one must stay with them while the rest return home to fetch the younger brother in order to prove if their story is true. The one shall remain in prison until they return. He would allow themĀ  to leave with grain.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 4: Genesis 42:1-20

11a) God made the brothers come for grain, which Joseph was in charge of.

b) Joseph was but a boy when he left at 17. You can change a lot in that amount of time. Joseph was most likely dressed like an Egyptian at the time with a headress on and heavy makeup. Plus, they thought he was dead. Who would think their dead brother sold into slavery would be second in line behind Pharaoh?

12) Joseph pretended not to know them, and questioned where they were from. Joseph accuses them of being spies and of coming to see where the land is unprotected. Joseph probably was feeling not-so-generous when he saw his brothers. Perhaps hurt and anger arose from what they had done to him. Perhaps it was time to give them a taste of their own medicine.

13a) We see how God put Joseph in the position to save the chosen family of Jesus. All things happen for God’s purposes.

b) Every event in my life has a purpose, for me or for the future. Even the bad.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 4: Genesis 42:1-20

I love this. It’s giving the brothers a taste of their own medicine. Surely they were extremely worried during the time they were in jail. Now, they would know what it felt like to be wrongly imprisoned just like Jospeh did.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 4: Genesis 42:1-20

Bible scholars believe this event happened at the very beginning of the famine (Genesis 45:11).

The strange expression was most likely the face of guilt. Egypt reminded the brothers of the terrible deed they had done, and no one wants to live with that. How they lived 20 years with that on their conscious I don’t know.

God uses events and circumstances in our lives to move us, to push us to do things we normally would not do. The brothers had to reconcile with Joseph. Here was the impetus to do so.

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Joseph’s Dream Comes True

The brothers bow down before Joseph, just like his dream said they would. By selling Joseph into slavery, the brothers made Joseph’s dreams come true when their whole intent was to make sure they never would bow before Joseph. Ironic, isn’t it? And another piece of evidence that God is in control of everything.

Joseph would have used an interpreter here. He would not have spoken directly to his brothers, which would have revealed he knew Hebrew. But this was probably common place for high officials not to speak to commoners as well. Funny, Jesus recognized you before you recognize him.

Joseph remembered his dream of the brothers bowing down and would use this to restore their relationship. First, the brothers had to admit what they had done. Instead, they lie about Joseph still, saying he is dead. They did not say that one brother is a slave. The brothers must learn the hard way to confession. Like Jesus, Joseph was alive and well even if no one knew it.

Joseph gives the brothers the reason for what they are doing: for the fear of God. All of us need a healthy fear of God.

Note that the whole point of this is to prove they are honest. Ever since Joseph was sold into slavery, none of them have lived an honest life, and still they are denying Joseph’s existence. Surely, both Joseph and the brothers knew bringing Benjamin would be a fight with Jacob.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 3: Genesis 41:33-57

Summary of Genesis 41:33-57:

Joseph advised Pharaoh to look for a discerning and wise man to be put in charge of the land of Egypt. Commissioners should be put in charge of the land to take 1/5 of the harvest during the years of abundance and store it for the years of famine. Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge, second only to him in all of Egypt, for this plan. Pharaoh gave Joseph his signet ring, gave him clothes, and a gold chain. He had him ride in a chariot as his second in command. He was put in charge of all of Egypt.

Pharaoh gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him an Egyptian wife, the daugther of Potiphera, a priest of On.

Joseph was 30 when this happened. He traveled throughout the land, saving the grain as planned. He had so much grain saved that he stopped keeping track as he could no longer measure it. Joseph had two sons, Manasseh, meaning forget, and Ephraim, meaing twice fruitful. When the famine hit, Egypt was prepared. They sold grain to the people of Egypt and to other coutnries who had no stored up food.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 3: Genesis 41:33-57

7) Joseph advised Pharaoh to look for a discerning and wise man to be put in charge of the land of Egypt. Commissioners should be put in charge of the land to take 1/5 of the harvest during the years of abundance and store it for the years of famine. Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge, second only to him in all of Egypt, for this plan.

8 ) God is preparing all of us for His purposes in life. Trusting in the Lord always is the key to peace as we find His purpose for our lives.

9) I’m so bad at these broad questions. Again, I have no specifics, but, in general, prayer has gotten me through a lot and my drive to keep on, keeping on.

10) I have faith that everything is in God’s plan. Although we are struggling financially right now, we are confident this is what God wants for our lives moving forward, and in the end, it will all work out. Because Romans 8:28 assures me everything is for Him and my good to be like Jesus.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 3: Genesis 41:33-57

I had forgotten that it was Joseph/God who advised Pharaoh what to do. Love that.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 3: Genesis 41:33-57

Other translations say “perish” instead of ruined. Perish is a much better translation here because it tells of the seriousness of the coming famine. If nothing were done, many people would likely perish. This is a much stronger word than merely ruined.

One-fifth of the food would be a big chunk of people’s food. But sacrifices had to be made so that survival would come out the other side. Some Bible scholars speculate that this could be up to 20% of the food from families, instead of the normal 10%.

The key would be someone who could coordinate and organize this monumental effort to save the people of Egypt. And who has been training in administration almost his entire life AND has God at his back?

Note that “the Spirit of God” here mentioned by Pharaoh is the Holy Spirit. You may have missed this like I did when I first read it.

Fun Fact: This is the first time in the Bible the Holy Spirit is seen coming to humans.

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Joseph’s Rise

Joseph had to have been shocked that Pharaoh chooses him to not only coordinate this life-saving effort, but also to have no one above him on earth except Pharaoh. Joseph, who mere moments before, was a slave, is now insanely powerful.

Yet, this was years in the making, designed by God, and promoted/exalted by God alone (Psalm 75:6-7).

The success you have in life is from God alone. Even your efforts of hard work, determination, perseverence, and more are from God. He alone grants you life, abilities, and talents to use for His glory. And as you advance in life, you rely more on Jesus who himself rose from nothing to be the almighty King.

Joseph would now be showered with wealth and gifts. He had Pharaoh’s authority as demonstrated by Pharaoh’s ring. He had beautiful clothes, gold chains, and chariots. He even was given a beautiful Egyptian wife who was high-born. Joseph has total authority over everyone except Pharaoh. Anyone see Jesus here?

Joseph is Given a New Name

Egyptians did not like Hebrews. Plus, Joseph was a slave. He had to be given a new identity in order to be respected. Pharaoh gave him an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife to erase his past from others. Some Bible scholars speculate Joseph’s Egyptian name meant “the god speaks and this one lives.” This would be the only wife Joseph took. Yet, Joseph’s sons are given Hebrew names. This shows Joseph did not forget where he came from.

Famine is common in the Middle East. However, it was rare to have a famine that affected both Canaan and Egypt at the same time due to the fact that they depended on different waterways.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 2: Genesis 41:1-32

Summary of Genesis 41:1-32:

Two years after Joseph helped the chief cupbearer whom he told to remember him Pharaoh had two dreams. In these dreams, he saw seven cows that were fat and then seven cows that were think come out of the Nile. The seven thin cows proceeded to eat the seven fat cows. He dreamed there were seven heads of grain that were healthy. After them, seven heads of grain that were thin and scorched. The thin grain swallowed up the healhty grain. None of Pharaoh’s magicians or wise men could interpret these dreams for him.

Suddenly, the chief cupbearer remembers how Joseph interpreted his dream and the dream of the captain of the guard perfectly. So Joseph sent for Joseph, whom after he was made presentable, appeared before Pharaoh.

Pharaoh tells Joseph he has heard he can interpre dreams. Joseph corrects him, saying God can do it, not him. Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams. God reveals to Pharaoh that the dreams foretell the same events. The seven fat cows and good heads of grain represent seven years of good harvests. The seven lean cows and thin heads of grain represent seven years of famine. The seven years of famine will be so severe that no one will remember the seven years of abundance.

The two dreams mean that God has decided this matter, and it will happen soon.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 2: Genesis 41:1-32

3) Hearing how no one could interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and he remembered that his dream was interpreted correctly by Joseph

4a) He is humble. He knows that God is one who reveals, not him. He gives God credit for what He does instead of taking the credit for himself.

b) I truly have no specifics, but I do know people have given others Bible verses in the past to tell me, or I’ll read something in the Bible that I need to hear, or others will come into my life at just the right moment. This question is difficult to answer since it’s hard to know/see God moving in your life when it’s happening.

5) The seven fat cows and good heads of grain represent seven years of good harvests. The seven lean cows and thin heads of grain represent seven years of famine. The seven years of famine will be so severe that no one will remember the seven years of abundance.

6) God’s timing is not our own. Everything happens for a reason and on God’s time. We often don’t understand why events happen to us until later on in life. Being humble is simply giving God the credit since truthfully we do nothing on or under our own power.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 2: Genesis 41:1-32

Love this story! I love Joseph’s story, and I love the cows and the grains. It seems obvious to us what it means once God reveals it to Joseph, but truly it could have meant anything.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 25, Day 2: Genesis 41:1-32

We tend to blame the cupbearer for not remembering Joseph early. Yet, what would have happened if Joseph had gotten out sooner? He would have returned home, not interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, which could have possibly wiped out all of Jacob’s line. Again, God’s timing is not our own. The key is waiting patiently for God.

We see God communicating in many different ways throughout Genesis:

  • Appearing in person/as Jesus
  • A wrestling match
  • Dreams

God still speaks to us today through others, dreams, and His word.

In God’s timing, Joseph is released. As Romans 8:28: tells us, all things work together for our good to conform us like Jesus. Sometimes things move slowly; sometimes they happen quickly.

Pharaoh reveals a bit more in his second telling of the dreams to Joseph. We learn that the cows were incredibly ugly and that the cows did not get fat after eating.

Note the repetition. Anytime there is repetition in the Bible, it’s important. God gave Pharaoh two dreams to grab his attention since the well-being of his country (and God’s people) were at stake.

Today, Jesus is our guide. God doesn’t tell us what to do directly. Instead, He speaks to us in other ways. To hear Him speak, we have to be continually growing closer to Him and continually growing more like Jesus every day.