Genesis 43

* Jacob is persuaded to send Benjamin into Egypt. (1-14)

Joseph's reception of his brethren, their fears. (15-25) Joseph

makes a feast for his brethren. (26-34)

1-14 Jacob urges his sons to go and buy a little food; now, in

time of dearth, a little must suffice. Judah urges that Benjamin

should go with them. It is not against the honour and duty

children owe their parents, humbly to advise them, and when

needful, to reason with them. Jacob saw the necessity of the

case, and yielded. His prudence and justice appeared in three

things. 1. He sent back the money they had found in the sack.

Honesty obliges us to restore not only that which comes to us by

our own fault, but that which comes to us by the mistakes of

others. Though we get it by oversight, if we keep it when the

oversight is discovered, it is kept by deceit. 2. He sent as

much again as they took the time before; the price of corn might

be risen, or they might have to pay a ransom for Simeon. 3. He

sent a present of such things as the land afforded, and as were

scarce in Egypt, balm, and honey, &c. Providence dispenses not

its gifts to all alike. But honey and spice will never make up

the want of bread-corn. The famine was sore in Canaan, yet they

had balm and myrrh, &c. We may live well enough upon plain food,

without dainties; but we cannot live upon dainties without plain

food. Let us thank God that what is most needful and useful,

generally is most cheap and common. Though men value very highly

their gold and silver, and the luxuries which are counted the

best fruits of every land, yet in a time of famine they

willingly barter them for bread. And how little will earthly

good things stand us in stead in the day of wrath! How ready

should we be to renounce them all, as loss, for the excellency

of the knowledge of Jesus Christ! Our way to prevail with man is

by first prevailing with the Lord in fervent prayer. But, Thy

will be done, should close every petition for the mercies of

this life, or against the afflictions of this life.
15-25 Jacob's sons went down the second time into Egypt to buy

corn. If we should ever know what a famine of the word means,

let us not think it much to travel as far for spiritual food, as

they did for bodily food. Joseph's steward had orders from his

master to take them to his house. Even this frightened them.

Those that are guilty make the worst of every thing. But the

steward encouraged them. It appears, from what he said, that by

his good master he was brought to the knowledge of the true God,

the God of the Hebrews. Religious servants should take all fit

occasions to speak of God and his providence, with reverence and

seriousness.
26-34 Observe the great respect Joseph's brethren paid to him.

Thus were Joseph's dreams more and more fulfilled. Joseph showed

great kindness to them. He treated them nobly; but see here the

early distance between Jews and gentiles. In a day of famine, it

is enough to be fed; but they were feasted. Their cares and

fears were now over, and they ate their bread with joy,

reckoning they were upon good terms with the lord of the land.

If God accept our works, our present, we have reason to be

cheerful. Joseph showed special regard for Benjamin, that he

might try whether his brethren would envy him. It must be our

rule, to be content with what we have, and not to grieve at what

others have. Thus Jesus shows those whom he loves, more and more

of their need. He makes them see that he is their only refuge

from destruction. He overcomes their unwillingness, and brings

them to himself. Then, as he sees good, he gives them some taste

of his love, and welcomes them to the provisions of his house,

as an earnest of what he further intends for them.
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