Monday, October 19, 2015

Genesis 43:23

Verse/Lesson 8
Genesis 43:15-34

We have a short passage of scripture for today just 20 verses. We left off with Jacob wringing his hands for fear of losing Benjamin if the brother’s took him to Egypt with him. So in verse 15 it says they took double the silver (to make up for what was returned to them last time) plus gifts…and Benjamin and made their way to Egypt.
When they arrived and Joseph saw Benjamin he had them brought to his house and had a grand meal prepared. Joseph’s brothers were scared at this point and began explaining what exactly had happened… it reminded me of the long-winded explanation one of my kids gives me when they think they are in trouble. As I read it I found myself chuckling a little bit because it was just like they were little boys in trouble instead of grown men. And then the steward said to them … (in my head I heard him say it in a calm-yourself-everything-is-okay sort-of way…
He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.  Genesis 43:23 ESV

 I really wanted a peaceful image with this verse so I attempted to do a Bokeh technique to create a soft and peaceful feeling on the page.

So the steward tells them …calm down it is okay nobody thinks you stole the money. (the phrasing is mine J)
What is coming next is when Joseph gets to take a good look at all of his brothers. I was struggling for what to say about this emotion filled passage and then I read something Chuck Swindall wrote. He was talking about Vietnam POWs returning from captivity and described the emotion like this:
“As life went on while they were separated, not a day passed without their hearts returning to one another.  And then, there they were together again –struggling to put those years of separation into words. As songwriter, Fanny Crosby once put it, “Chords that are broken…vibrate once more.”
A scene not dissimilar from those I have just described is about to occur in our story of Joseph. Again, the emotions that surround it are difficult to put into words as all the brothers of a family, separated for more than two decades, will soon be united.”

That really prepares the reader for the powerful emotional scene that is about to play out in scripture. I had a hard time deciding on the verse I selected today. I debated for weeks between the one you see and the next bit of scripture.

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. Genesis 43:30 NIV

Then Joseph hurried from the room because he was overcome with emotion for his brother. He went into his private room, where he broke down and wept. Genesis 43:30 NLT

Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. Genesis 43:30 ESV

There is such sweet tenderness in this verse. I love all three versions of it too.
Deeply moved, overcome with emotion, compassion grew warm… isn’t it beautiful?

Grace and love.

The portion of our scripture for today finishes up with them sitting down to have a meal. It is a little funny that the brothers ate together, Joseph ate alone, and the Egyptians ate alone. I did read something that was interesting on this last bit. I didn’t pick up on it at first but it is interesting to think about.
Author and scholar, Henry Morris, explains the brother’s astonishment.

“After they were assigned to seats at their table, the eleven brothers noted a remarkable thing. They had been seated in order of age, from the eldest through the youngest. If this were a mere coincidence, it was indeed marvelous. One can easily show…that there are no less than 39,917,000 different orders in which eleven individuals could have been seated!...Evidently, this man knew a great deal more about their family than they had realized; or else he had some kind of supernatural power. They had no answer, and could only wonder about it.”

Joseph’s love for his brothers far outweighed any hurt left behind. His heart was full of love and forgiveness. Just like the grace extended to Joseph’s brothers, God has extended forgiveness and grace to each of us through Jesus.

Isn’t it such a sweet and tender part of the story? I do love this story!

For next time, read Genesis 44:1-45:15

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