An incredibly dramatic scene unfolds in Chapter 43. Not only is Joesph reunited with his brothers who discarded him when he was young, but Benjamin has come along. For the first time in about twenty-two years, Joseph is seeing his brother (the one whom he shared a mother with) once again. Joseph hasn’t revealed himself to them yet, but he is taking it all in and certainly, it’s on his heart. When and how to do so must have been swirling inside his head along with all the intense emotions that came along with the encounter.
As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.” Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there. (v. 29-30)
As you read those verses, allow yourself to be in the room and consider the deep emotion that must have been streaming through Joseph’s heart and mind.
- Joy to see his brother alive and doing well.
- Great sadness for not having had the opportunity to grow up playing in the fields alongside him.
- Gratitude to God for reuniting them after all these years.
- Excitement about what was to come.
- Revelation into what God had been doing all those years, working to get him to just this point in time.
- What other emotions do you think were pulsing through his heart?
After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.”
And what happens next is awesome!
They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians.
Joseph didn’t eat with the Egyptians. He couldn’t because even with his high position, he was still a Hebrew and it was considered detestable for Egyptians to eat with Hebrews. Wouldn’t that have caught your attention? Made you wonder who he was? Recognize him? And if that didn’t catch your attention. . .
The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment.
Joseph seats them at the table in birth order! Now, that did catch their attention but not enough to make them question or consider who Joseph might really be. Then, to top it all off . . .
When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him. (v. 31 – 34)
Didn’t they think it was strange that Joseph had met Benjamin only once, but found such favor with him that he received fives times as much food? Maybe they had to much wine, were too nervous, or guilt from their actions years ago clouded their judgment. Either way, it’s an incredibly dramatic and exciting chapter to read this week.