Genesis 42

* Jacob sends ten sons to buy corn. (1-6) Joseph's treatment of

his brethren. (7-20) Their remorse, Simeon detained. (21-24) The

rest return with corn. (25-28) Jacob refuses to send Benjamin to

Egypt. (29-38)

1-6 Jacob saw the corn his neighbours had bought in Egypt, and

brought home. It is a spur to exertion to see others supplied.

Shall others get food for their souls, and shall we starve while

it is to be had? Having discovered where help is to be had, we

should apply for it without delay, without shrinking from

labour, or grudging expense, especially as regards our

never-dying souls. There is provision in Christ; but we must

come to him, and seek it from him.
7-20 Joseph was hard upon his brethren, not from a spirit of

revenge, but to bring them to repentance. Not seeing his brother

Benjamin, he suspected that they had made away with him, and he

gave them occasion to speak of their father and brother. God, in

his providence, sometimes seems harsh with those he loves, and

speaks roughly to those for whom yet he has great mercy in

store. Joseph settled at last, that one of them should be left,

and the rest go home and fetch Benjamin. It was a very

encouraging word he said to them, "I fear God;" as if he had

said, You may be assured I will do you no wrong; I dare not, for

I know there is one higher than I. With those that fear God, we

may expect fair dealing.
21-24 The office of conscience is to bring to mind things long

since said and done. When the guilt of this sin of Joseph's

brethren was fresh, they made light of it, and sat down to eat

bread; but now, long afterward, their consciences accused them

of it. See the good of afflictions; they often prove the happy

means of awakening conscience, and bringing sin to our

remembrance. Also, the evil of guilt as to our brethren.

Conscience now reproached them for it. Whenever we think we have

wrong done us, we ought to remember the wrong we have done to

others. Reuben alone remembered with comfort, that he had done

what he could to prevent the mischief. When we share with others

in their sufferings, it will be a comfort if we have the

testimony of our consciences for us, that we did not share in

their evil deeds, but in our places witnessed against them.

Joseph retired to weep. Though his reason directed that he

should still carry himself as a stranger, because they were not

as yet humbled enough, yet natural affection could not but work.
25-28 The brethren came for corn, and corn they had: not only

so, but every man had his money given back. Thus Christ, like

Joseph, gives out supplies without money and without price. The

poorest are invited to buy. But guilty consciences are apt to

take good providences in a bad sense; to put wrong meanings even

upon things that make for them.
29-38 Here is the report Jacob's sons made to their father. It

troubled the good man. Even the bundles of money Joseph

returned, in kindness, to his father, frightened him. He laid

the fault upon his sons; knowing them, he feared they had

provoked the Egyptians, and wrongfully brought home their money.

Jacob plainly distrusted his sons, remembering that he never saw

Joseph since he had been with them. It is bad with a family,

when children behave so ill that their parents know not how to

trust them. Jacob gives up Joseph for gone, and Simeon and

Benjamin as in danger; and concludes, All these things are

against me. It proved otherwise, that all these things were for

him, were working together for his good, and the good of his

family. We often think that to be against us, which is really

for us. We are afflicted in body, estate, name, and in our

relations; and think all these things are against us, whereas

they are really working for us a weight of glory. Thus does the

Lord Jesus conceal himself and his favour, thus he rebukes and

chastens those for whom he has purposes of love. By sharp

corrections and humbling convictions he will break the stoutness

and mar the pride of the heart, and bring to true repentance.

Yet before sinners fully know him, or taste that he is gracious,

he consults their good, and sustains their souls, to wait for

him. May we do thus, never yielding to discouragement,

determining to seek no other refuge, and humbling ourselves more

and more under his mighty hand. In due time he will answer our

petitions, and do for us more than we can expect.
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