We are picking up today in Genesis 42:36-43:15.
Jacob, Jacob, Jacob…I feel ya. This part of the story is so very human. Jacob is in a panic. Clearly, he is not trusting in God here but very much reacting from his circumstance. When I read this passage it is easy to imagine myself in a rant with my own children. Granted, the circumstances are different but the behavior is the same.
Some of it is even cringe-worthy…read verse 38
But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is the only one left. If harm should happen to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.” ESV
Reuben must have been thinking, “um, hello, I am his brother and your son too…”
Jacob is acting as though he only has 2 children. Jacob is also really fretting and forgetting to trust in the Lord.
The rest of the portion of reading for today is the brothers trying to convince Jacob to let them return to Egypt with Benjamin so they can get Simeon and get more food because the famine still has a stronghold on the land.
On a side note, it mentions in 43:10 that had they acting in a timely manner that could have come and gone twice by now. Which led me to think about poor Simeon left behind in prison and seemingly forgotten by his brothers and Joseph. Knowing that they could have made the trip there and back twice in that span of time leaves Simeon wondering what on earth has happened and will he ever get out. The Bible doesn’t tell us anything about him during that time but I wonder.
In the end, Jacob agrees –reluctantly, and the brothers are going with Benjamin to see Joseph and hopefully retrieve Simeon as well. But before they go, Jacob has a list of how they should do it…
Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. Genesis 43:11-13 ESV
Again, I could hear myself telling my children exactly how to do something. In my defense, my kids are 9, 13, & 15 and Jacob is probably a great grandfather at this point (maybe even a great-great grandfather) making his sons mature men who are grandfathers or great grandfathers themselves. They are not young children is the point. J And that brings us to my verse.
May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” ESV
Just in case they didn’t fully understand how Jacob was feeling in the matter, this verse is Jacob’s send off for the sons as they travel. What a heavy heart we can have when we fail to trust God and press into Him in difficult times. I feel Jacob’s sadness and desperation in this verse. It makes me sad. The good news is I know we don’t have to be in that place. I also know how this story ends so I don’t have to feel sad for Jacob for long.
If you are reading along, read Genesis 43:15-34 for next time.
Have a great weekend!