BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 28, Day 5: Genesis 45

Summary of passage:  Joseph could no longer keep his emotions in check so he sent all of his attendants out. He made himself known to his brothers and wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him.  His brothers were terrified so Joseph beckoned them closer and told them not to be angry at themselves for it was God who had sent him ahead of them in order to save lives and preserve a remnant on earth.

He sends them back to retrieve Jacob and all of his household and items to live in Goshen where Joseph will provide for them.  Tell him about everything you have seen, all the honor Joseph has, and bring him here quickly.

He hugged Benjamin and wept and embraced all his brothers and wept and talked with them.  Pharaoh agreed to have Joseph’s family come along with all their belongings.  He will give them the best of the land.  They could leave their belongings because the best of Egypt will be theirs.

He sent the brothers along, giving Benjamin 300 shekels of silver and five sets of new clothes and giving his brothers just new clothes.  Joseph reminded them not to quarrel along the way.

Jacob agreed to go to Egypt.

Questions:

15a)  He tells them that it was God who sent him before them in order to save lives and preserve a remnant on earth.

b)  Well it’s hard to say.  No one in this chapter is singled out except Benjamin who is favored by Joseph as well (ironic in my view).  The brothers are always referred to as “they”.  That alone should show that they acted together as a cohesive whole and had to love one another.

Possibly when they were frightened they clung to each other.  They all embraced each other and cried over Joseph.  They talked together.  The “sons of Israel” (verse 21–another use of the word Israel shows faith) all went together to collect Jacob.  Joseph warned them not to quarrel as brothers do.

16)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Pray to forgive.  Pray for God’s power to forgive.  Choose to forgive.  Give it to God.

Conclusions:  The best part of Joseph’s story to me is how God used evil for good.  How he took the brothers’ actions and made Joseph prosper beyond his wildest dreams.  And how Joseph forgave his brothers and in the end ended up doing good towards those who wronged him.  God makes ALL things work together for our good (Romans 8:28) and there is no better example in all of the Bible of this than the story of Joseph.

Note how the last verse calls Jacob Israel.  The name Israel is used when Jacob is acting out of faith.  The name Jacob is used when Jacob is acting on his own.  Interesting.

Scholars say chapters 42-45 takes place over 2 years.  It seems as if it’s shorter but it’s not.  We must remember how difficult transportation was in ancient times over rough terrain on foot with nothing but donkeys to pack your belongings.  Also, we must remember the time between the first journey to Egypt and the second.  The brothers only return when they run out of grain.  That would take a bit of time to eat that up.  So Simeon sat in prison for 2 years!

Both Joseph and Jesus were sent to save God’s people.  Both were despised and betrayed by their own people.  Yet God’s will to save conquers all.

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.

Questions:

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.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 28, Day 3: Genesis 41

Summary of passage:  Two years after Joseph interpreted the cupbearer and the baker’s dreams, Pharaoh had a dream where 7 cows emerged from the Nile River that were fat and then 7 gaunt cows emerged from the Nile and ate up the fat cows.  He had a second dream where 7 heads of healthy grain grew on a stalk.  After them 7 thin grains sprouted and ate up the healthy grains.

No one could interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.  At this point the cupbearer finally remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh how he had successfully interpreted their dreams. Pharaoh sent for Joseph and after cleaning up, he was presented to him.

Pharaoh told Joseph he had heard he could interpret dreams.  Joseph immediately said he couldn’t but God could.

Pharaoh repeated his dreams to Joseph who told Pharaoh that God had revealed to him what He was about to do.  The 7 good cows and the 7 good grains represent 7 years and the 7 lean cows and 7 worthless grain are 7 years as well.  They represent 7 years of good crops and then 7 years of famine.  God gave Pharaoh the dreams for the matter has been firmly decided by God and it will happen soon.

Joseph told Pharaoh to look for a discerning and wise man to be in charge of the land of Egypt.  Take a fifth of Egypt’s harvest during the good years and store up the grain for the bad years so that the country will not be ruined by the famine.

Pharaoh appoints Joseph as this man who is discerning and wise and Godly to be second in command of Egypt and in charge of all the land.  He gives Joseph his ring, dresses him in fine linen and gives him a gold chain.  He rode in Pharaoh’s chariot as his second-in-command to announce it to the people.

No one will lift hand or foot without Joseph’s word.  He gives him the Egyptian name of Zaphenath-Paneah and an Egyptian wife named Asenath.

Joseph was 30 years old when this happened.  Joseph traveled all over Egypt, collecting the grain that was so much Joseph stopped keeping records.

Joseph had 2 sons named Manasseh (forget) and Ephraim (fruitful).

The 7 years of famine began but Egypt had food and Joseph opened the warehouses and distributed the food.  The famine was severe in all the world so many foreigners came to Egypt to buy grain as well.

Questions:

7)  Verse 16:  Learn to give God the credit for everything

Verse 25:  Learn that God reveals Himself in dreams at times.

Verse 28:  God reveals the future in dreams at times.

Verse 32:  Everything happens because of God.  God does everything, controls everything.

Verse 38:  The Spirit of God is seen in people.  It dwells in people and shines forth.

Verse 39:  God blesses those who follow Him; who give Him the credit; who speak His truth.  He reveals Himself to those who are seeking.

Verses 51 & 52:  Joseph gives his children names that glorify God so Joseph will remember what God has done for him.  God made him forget his trouble and be fruitful in the land.  He honored God with these names.

8a)  The dreams are the same.  Both reveal what God is about to do.  The 7 good cows and the 7 good heads of grain represent 7 years.  The 7 lean cows and the 7 worthless heads of grain represent 7 years.  The 7 years stand for 7 years of abundance and 7 years of famine. The famine will be so severe that the 7 years of abundance will be forgotten.  God will do this soon and that is why there are 2 dreams.

b)  Look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land.  Let Pharaoh appoint commissions to take a fifth of the harvest during the 7 years of abundance.  Then they should collect all the food and store it for the years of famine.  This food is to be held for the years of famine so that Egypt may survive.

9)  “You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders.  Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” Verse 40.  “I hereby put you in charge of the whole of Egypt.  Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger.  He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.  He made him ride in the chariot as his second-in-command…He put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt (verses 41-43).

“I am Pharaoh but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all of Egypt.  He gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah (Verses 44-5).  “Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.'” (verse 55)

10a)  He advises Pharaoh on what to do–showing utter confidence in God and God’s plan of putting him there. He is honest and does his job without bribes or abusing his power. He seems to lead an ordinary family life without letting power or money go to his head.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God was the center of his life–not success. Joseph never wavered from God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To give God all the credit for successes in life and to keep Him at the center no matter what may come your way.

Conclusions:  Questions 8 & 9 was just utter tediousness.  I might as well have typed out the whole passage.

Everyone in my family is looking forward to Joseph and he is our favorite.  Why?  Well, he’s got a great story, right?  He gets abandoned by his family, thrown into slavery, falsely accused and thrown in prison, and then is redeemed and rises to be the second most powerful man in the known world.  Great story for the movies, right, but this one is real.

But it’s more than just the story.  After studying all the patriarchs who all had serious character flaws and sins we meet Joseph who somehow manages to lead a God-centered life HIS ENTIRE LIFE.  There are no major sins he commits.  He is guilty of boasting in his youth–minor compared to the rest of them.

He is the example we all should follow.  How to roll with the punches, crediting God in the good and the bad, and doing God’s work your entire life.  He inspires us and gives us hope, showing us that it is possible to commit your life completely and totally to God despite man’s sinful nature and propensity to selfishness and self-rule.  I CAN do this despite all of my sins.  I can do this and win–win for God, by God, and through God.

The parallels to Christ are uncanny.  Sacrificing everything to save your people. Suffering. Being exalted in the end.

Yet Joseph was human.  Like you and me.  And if he could do it, then so can I.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 28, Day 2: Genesis 41

Summary of passage:  Two years after Joseph interpreted the cupbearer and the baker’s dreams, Pharaoh had a dream where 7 cows emerged from the Nile River that were fat and then 7 gaunt cows emerged from the Nile and ate up the fat cows.  He had a second dream where 7 heads of healthy grain grew on a stalk.  After them 7 thin grains sprouted and ate up the healthy grains.

No one could interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.  At this point the cupbearer finally remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh how he had successfully interpreted their dreams. Pharaoh sent for Joseph and after cleaning up, he was presented to him.

Pharaoh told Joseph he had heard he could interpret dreams.  Joseph immediately said he couldn’t but God could.

Pharaoh repeated his dreams to Joseph who told Pharaoh that God had revealed to him what He was about to do.  The 7 good cows and the 7 good grains represent 7 years and the 7 lean cows and 7 worthless grain are 7 years as well.  They represent 7 years of good crops and then 7 years of famine.  God gave Pharaoh the dreams for the matter has been firmly decided by God and it will happen soon.

Joseph told Pharaoh to look for a discerning and wise man to be in charge of the land of Egypt.  Take a fifth of Egypt’s harvest during the good years and store up the grain for the bad years so that the country will not be ruined by the famine.

Pharaoh appoints Joseph as this man who is discerning and wise and Godly to be second in command of Egypt and in charge of all the land.  He gives Joseph his ring, dresses him in fine linen and gives him a gold chain.  He rode in Pharaoh’s chariot as his second-in-command to announce it to the people.

No one will lift hand or foot without Joseph’s word.  He gives him the Egyptian name of Zaphenath-Paneah and an Egyptian wife named Asenath.

Joseph was 30 years old when this happened.  Joseph traveled all over Egypt, collecting the grain that was so much Joseph stopped keeping records.

Joseph had 2 sons named Manasseh (forget) and Ephraim (fruitful).

The 7 years of famine began but Egypt had food and Joseph opened the warehouses and distributed the food.  The famine was severe in all the world so many foreigners came to Egypt to buy grain as well.

Questions:

3)  Christ made himself nothing, served others selfishly, became obedient to God’s will and death.  Joseph served Potiphar and the jail.  He was nothing in their eyes, a Hebrew slave.  He acted selflessly by refusing to sleep with Potiphar’s wife and take any advantage of his master.  He gave God the credit for it all.  He interpreted the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker according to God’s will and noticed they were down.  He asked to interpret.  He showed compassion.

4)  He noticed the cupbearer and the baker were sad and asked them why.  Then he interpreted their dreams, asking only that they remember him.  Eventually, the cupbearer did remember Joseph and recommended him to Pharaoh to interpret his dreams.

5)  That the thin cows ate up the fat cows but did not change their appearance (verse 21).  They were still thin.

6)  Even before he interpreted the dreams, Joseph told Pharaoh that he could not interpret the dreams but God could and He will give Pharaoh the answer he is seeking (verse 16).  Throughout the interpretation, Joseph says repeatedly that God has revealed His will to Pharaoh (verse 25, 28) and that God has firmly decided the matter (verse 32).

Conclusions:  Didn’t like the Philippians verses (which we’ve looked at before in this study).  Felt it didn’t add anything and that this passage is rich enough.  The verses were too limiting.  Christ and Joseph have dozens of similarities but we are restricted to only a few mentioned in Philippians.  Would have liked to have seen a general question so we could come up with our own.

The best part is watching Joseph give God ALL the credit, which is rare these days.  No one hardly ever mentions God even when they are talking let alone giving Him the glory for everything in their lives (I would say Tim Tebow is the best known exception to this). It’s refreshing to see and gives us a great, great example to live up to.

When God’s timing is right, events happen quickly.  Joseph’s whole life changes in a matter of hours and he is now the second most powerful man in the known world.  God uses the times when we imagine nothing is happening in our lives to prepare us for these moments when EVERYTHING happens.

Compare this Joseph with 17 year-old Joseph who comes running blindly to his brothers about a dream he has had.  He never mentions God when he is bragging about these dreams.  Here, it is all God–from God, by God, and for God.

Gifts and talent take time to develop as does character.  Here, we can see the difference between these two Josephs.

Fun Fact:  This is the first mention in the Bible of the Holy Spirit being in a man.