Genesis 44

* Joseph's policy to stay his brethren, and try their affection

for Benjamin. (1-17) Judah's supplication to Joseph. (18-34)

1-17 Joseph tried how his brethren felt towards Benjamin. Had

they envied and hated the other son of Rachel as they had hated

him, and if they had the same want of feeling towards their

father Jacob as heretofore, they would now have shown it. When

the cup was found upon Benjamin, they would have a pretext for

leaving him to be a slave. But we cannot judge what men are now,

by what they have been formerly; nor what they will do, by what

they have done. The steward charged them with being ungrateful,

rewarding evil for good; with folly, in taking away the cup of

daily use, which would soon be missed, and diligent search made

for it; for so it may be read, Is not this it in which my lord

drinketh, as having a particular fondness for it, and for which

he would search thoroughly? Or, By which, leaving it carelessly

at your table, he would make trial whether you were honest men

or not? They throw themselves upon Joseph's mercy, and

acknowledge the righteousness of God, perhaps thinking of the

injury they had formerly done to Joseph, for which they thought

God was now reckoning with them. Even in afflictions wherein we

believe ourselves wronged by men, we must own that God is

righteous, and finds out our sin.
18-34 Had Joseph been, as Judah supposed him, an utter stranger

to the family, he could not but be wrought upon by his powerful

reasonings. But neither Jacob nor Benjamin need an intercessor

with Joseph; for he himself loved them. Judah's faithful

cleaving to Benjamin, now, in his distress, was recompensed long

afterwards by the tribe of Benjamin keeping with the tribe of

Judah, when the other tribes deserted it. The apostle, when

discoursing of the mediation of Christ, observes, that our Lord

sprang out of Judah, #Heb 7:14|; and he not only made

intercession for the transgressors, but he became a Surety for

them, testifying therein tender concern, both for his Father and

for his brethren. Jesus, the great antitype of Joseph, humbles

and proves his people, even after they have had some tastes of

his loving-kindness. He brings their sins to their remembrance,

that they may exercise and show repentance, and feel how much

they owe to his mercy.
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