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Book Of Genesis – Lesson #26

Lesson 26:  Genesis 44-46 

Read Genesis 44:1-13

When the brothers were leaving to return to Canaan, Joseph commanded his silver cup to be hidden in Benjamin’s sack. It was not only the cup from which he drank, but also the one which he used in divination—probably referring to his interpretation of dreams.

Later God’s people were forbidden to practice divination (Deut. 18:10–12). But even at this early date, it is unlikely that Joseph practiced the Egyptian forms of fortune- telling. His intuition and foresight came from the Lord, but perhaps by using the cup as a prop, he wished to confirm in his brother’s minds that he was an Egyptian.

Afterwards, when Joseph’s brothers were accused of stealing the cup, they protested their innocence, rashly offering the life of anyone who was found with it. Joseph’s steward agreed that the guilty one would be his slave. When the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, the brothers were crushed and returned to the city.

Read Genesis 44:14-34

After Joseph had reproached them,Judah suggested that they all become his slaves, but Joseph said that Benjamin would do and the rest could return home. His action in hiding the silver cup in Benjamin’s sack and in detaining Benjamin was purposely designed to bring his brothers to acknowledge their blood-guiltiness.  The whole scene foreshadows that coming day when the remnant of Israel will confess its guilt in connection with the death of the Messiah and will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son (Zech. 12:10).

Judah stood near Joseph and gave a detailed review of Benjamin’s involvement—how Joseph had demanded the presence of the youngest son, how their father, still grieving over the loss of one son, had protested against Benjamin’s going to Egypt and how Judah had offered himself as surety for Benjamin’s safety.  Judah said that their father would die if the brothers went back without Benjamin, so he offered to stay in Egypt and serve as a slave in the place of Benjamin.

What a change had been worked in Judah! In chapter 37 he ruthlessly sold Joseph for profit, without concern for his father’s heartbreak. In chapter 38 he was involved in deception and immorality. But God was working in his heart, so that in chapter 43 he became surety for Benjamin. Now in chapter 44 he pours out his heart in intercession before Joseph, offering himself as a slave so as not to bring upon his father the crushing sorrow of losing  Benjamin. From selling his own brother into slavery to becoming a slave in his brother’s stead; from callousness toward his father to sacrificial concern for his well-being—this is the progress of the grace of God in the life of Judah!

Read Genesis 45:1-8

In one of the most moving scenes in all the Bible, Joseph ordered his staff to go out of the room while, with an enormous emotional release, he revealed his identity to his brothers. He told them not to grieve for the way they had treated him, because God had overruled it for good.

Read Genesis 45:9-15

They were to bring their father, their households, and their possessions to Goshen in Egyptfor the remaining five years of famine. “Tell my father of all my glory in Egypt”—a command we too can obey when we share the glories of God’s beloved Son.

Read Genesis 45:16-28

When Pharaoh heard what was going on, he told Joseph’s brothers to bring their father and families from Canaan, but not to bother bringing their heavy furniture and goods because he would provide everything they needed. So they went back to Canaan with wagons provided by Pharaoh, and with beautiful garments, animals, and provisions from Joseph. Benjamin got a gift of money and a special wardrobe. Fearing that his brothers might accuse each other for their guilt in mistreating him years earlier, Joseph warned them not to quarrel on their homeward journey.

On reaching home, they broke the news to Jacob. At first it was too much for him. But when he heard the full story and saw the loaded carts, he knew it was true—Joseph was still alive and they would meet again!

Joseph mentions his father five times in this chapter. This reveals his Christ-likeness in addition to the free forgiveness he extended to his brothers. It was our Lord’s love for His Father and His desire to do the Father’s will that brought Him into the world to redeem fallen man. Joseph’s love for Jacob is but a faint shadow of that love.

Read Genesis 46:1-7

On the way toEgypt, Israel stopped the caravan at historic Beersheba to worship the God of his father Isaac. This was the place where God appeared to Abraham in connection with the offering of Isaac (21:31–22).  It was also the place where the Lord appeared to Isaac (26:23, 24). Now He appears to Jacob to encourage him. This is the last of the Lord’s seven appearances to him. The second promise of verse 4 seems to indicate that Jacob would return to Canaan. Actually, of course, he died inEgypt. But the promise was fulfilled in two ways. His body was taken back to Canaan for burial, and, in a sense, he also returned when his descendants went back in the days of Joshua. The expression “Joseph will put his hand on your eyes” predicted a peaceful death.  And so Jacob reached Egypt with all his descendants, his livestock, and his personal goods.

Read Genesis 46:8-27

In verses 8–27 we have the family register of Jacob and his sons. There were sixty-six family members (v. 26) who came with Jacob toEgypt. There are admitted difficulties in reconciling this figure with the seventy of verse 27 and of Exodus 1:5 and the seventy-five of Acts 7:14. The most obvious explanation is that the numbers expand from direct descendants to wider circles of relatives.

Read Genesis 46:28-34

The epic meeting between Israel and Joseph took place in Goshen, the most fertile section of Egypt, near the delta of the Nile. Jacob and his sons preferred to stay there, since it provided the best pasture for their herds. It was agreed that they would tell Pharaoh that they were shepherds. Since shepherds were despised by the Egyptians, Pharaoh would let them live in the landof Goshen, far away from the royal palace. There in Goshen they were isolated from social intercourse with the Egyptians, first because of their nationality (43:32) and then because of their occupation. God left them in this protected and isolated place until they were a strong nation, able to possess the land that He promised to their forefathers.