So Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him and were bowing before him. They were asking for food since there was a great famine across all the land. Joseph was in charge now, because God interpreted Pharaoh’s dream through Joseph. Joseph stored up a lot of food during the good years, because he knew that the famine was coming. He looked down on his brothers and remembered the dream that he had when he was just a little kid.
"You say that you have come to Egypt to buy food?” Joseph said harshly as the brothers nodded yes. “I don’t believe you! I think that you are ten spies sent here to check out the land and scope out our wealth.”Joseph snarled.
“No, no, really sir. We are just ten brothers wanting to buy food. Our father and little brother are still back in Canaan waiting for us. We had one more brother, but he is no longer with us.” They said humbly .
“If you are telling the truth, then leave one of your brothers here in prison and bring back your little brother.” Joseph said. “You will leave with food for your family, but this one,” Joseph pointed at Simeon, “will be left behind until you return with your little brother.”
“Please sir!” Rueben begged. “Our father did not send our little brother along with us because of what happened to our other brother (Joseph). It would kill him if anything happened to him.”
Joseph remembered how his brothers threw him into a pit, and the sold him as a slave to passing merchants. His brothers figured that Joseph was probably dead by now. If they only knew that they were speaking to the one they treated so badly, I wonder what they would have done.
“Go!” Joseph commanded. “Or you will all be locked up!”
Simeon was bound in front of his brothers and led off. The brothers got their food and headed home.
On the way back to Canaan, Judah stopped to get something out of his pack that was on his donkey. He was shocked when he saw that the silver that he had used to buy some of the food, was back in his pack!
“How could this be?” Judah shouted.
“ Look!” He held out the silver. “It’s all the silver that I paid for my food!”
The brothers were all scared to death now. Through some kind of mistake, Judah ended up with the silver. When Pharaoh finds out about this...... they knew it wouldn’t be good. Pharaoh would accuse them of stealing and have them either killed or imprisoned. They thought that they were being punished for selling Joseph. They had no idea that Joseph had told his servants to put all the silver that the brothers had brought with them to buy food back into their traveling packs.
When they got home and were unloading their stuff in front of their father, Jacob, they saw that all their packs were filled with silver!
Jacob cried out in fear. “What have you done?” And he tore his clothes. (That was a sign of distress in those days. I think mom would get mad if we tore our clothes every time we got upset now. Don’t you?)
“We didn’t do it father!” The brothers answered.
In the back of their minds, the brothers were still thinking that God was punishing them for what they had done to Joseph.
Then the brothers explained all that had happened in Egypt and how Pharaoh wanted them to bring their little brother, Benjamin back to prove that they are not spies.
Judah said, “I will not return to you if anything happens to Him. You have my word and my life father”
After weeks and weeks of arguing, the family was out of food again. Finally Judah put his foot down. "We could have been there and back two times in the time it has taken us to resolve this. Let us go father. Benjamin with be safe with me!”
Finally Jacob said alright, but he made them take double the silver and a few gifts with them. The brothers, with Benjamin, headed back to Egypt.... To face Joseph again.
Did you ever do something wrong and then felt like God was punishing you. That’s how Joseph’s brothers felt. God is in control of everything, that’s true, but a lot of times we are suffering the consequences of our own decision to do the wrong thing. When someone goes to jail for robbing a bank, that is not God punishing them. It is the consequence of a bad choice. We all make bad choices. Things that we know are wrong. Things we know that God doesn’t like. God doesn’t like us to make bad choices, because He knows that there are consequences. He wants the best for us. The less time we spend paying for our mistakes, the more time we have to love Him. That’s what He wants.