As the dramatic story continues this week, we see a very clever Joseph setting a trap for his brothers. However, I don’t think it was a devious trap as much as a plan to see how they would respond. I believe Joesph desired to see if his brother’s hearts had changed since the years they had left him for dead in the desert well.
Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack. Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And he did as Joseph said. (v. 1-2)
Joseph quickly gets his answer as his guards catch up with them outside the city, accusing them of theft, and putting Benjamin’s fate at stake. First, they stay true to their father, Jacob. As Judah speaks for his brothers and says,
“So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die. Your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow. Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father. I said, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!’ (v. 30-32)
Not only that, Judah go on to offer himself in place of Benjamin.
“Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.” (v. 33-34)
What an image. I’m assuming all these brothers had suffered guilt and shame for years due to their horrendous actions of the past. Leaving your brother for dead and lying to your father about his death all because of jealousy can’t be an easy thing to live with. In these moments, it must have become clear to Joseph that God had not just been working in his own heart, but also in the hearts of his brothers.
The excitement will continue next week as we see Joseph reveal himself to his brothers and extend forgiveness that surely is from the Lord and not his own. Our God can work wonders when we allow Him into our hearts to do His incredible work. Praying you all feel His love and peace penetrating your heart this week through all your thoughts, words and deeds.