To: 8 readers
From: Su Min (Lim Su Min)
Subject: Benjamin In Egypt
Dearest En, Mark, Yvonne, Wirach, Dennis, Luke, Min Yu, Maria,
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade- kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
Today we look at Gen 43.
The seven thin cows have eaten the seven fat cows. Famine has driven Joseph's brothers to Egypt to buy grain. Simeon has been left as hostage while the brothers bring grain back to Jacob, The discovery of the returned purchase price of silver has caused consternation in the household of Jacob. Simeon is left to anguish in Egypt because Jacob refuses to part with Benjamin.
The setting is now ready for the opening of Genesis 43. The famine is still on (Gen 43:1). The initial purchase of grain has been eaten up. Jacob's larder is empty. Jacob instructs his sons to go to Egypt to purchase more grain (Gen 43:2).
Judah points out that they were instructed not to return to Egypt without Benjamin (Gen 43:3-50). Judah pledges himself as surety that Benjamin will return. This is the same Judah that planned the sale of Joseph to the slave traders, an act devised to avoid the killing of Joseph! (Gen 37: 26-27). This is the same Judah that had cheated and impregnated his daughter-in-law Tamar (Gen 38:26). So the trials and tribulations of Judah had made him a better man, and here he is prepared to guarantee personally that Benjamin will be safe.
Jacob agrees to send Benjamin. Jacob orders the preparation of gifts of balm, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio and almonds. Jacob's other name is used here. He is called Israel. It reflects the mature change of heart. He orders that they bring double the silver to purchase new grain and return the original purchase price of silver that they found in their sacs of grain. Sending them off with a benediction, Jacob calls upon God Almighty to grant them mercy before the grand vizier of Egypt (Gen 43:14). This is an important lesson for us to learn, to call upon God for mercy before we embark on any mission in life.
Upon seeing that Benjamin had arrived in Egypt, Joseph's heart is warmed, and he orders a mighty feast for his brothers (Gen 43:16) The brothers attempt to return the silver to the Egyptian coffers, but the steward has been instructed otherwise, acknowledging the mysterious transaction to God. Simeon is released (Gen 43:23). The brothers are greeted with full Eastern Hospitality, water to wash feet, fodder for the donkeys (Gen 43:24), a somewhat different reception to their last visit, when they were accused of being spies and thrown into jail! (Gen 42:14-17). Perhaps the presence of Benjamin has something to do with this. The brothers pay homage to Joseph and present him with their gifts. He inquires of his father and blesses Benjamin, and is moved to tears with the joy of reunion (Gen 43:26-30). A mighty meal is served. Joseph know his brothers intimately enough to seat them according to age, hence the astonishment (Gen 43:33). Benjamin is quintuply feted (Gen 43:34), so much is a brother's love!
Let us close in prayer.
Father, thank you for your teaching today.Love Dad.
Thank you for showing us that rotten characters can turn good, as did Judah, who was prepared to pledge himself for Benjamin's safety. Thank you Father, for convicting each one of us of our own rotten past, yet loving us in spite of it, and giving us the chance of confession, repentance, and salvation, through the cleansing blood of our Risen Saviour.
Thank you for the example of Jacob, who upon sending Benjamin to Egypt calls upon you, Lord God almighty, for blessing and mercy.
Thank you for the example of brotherly love as shown by Joseph to Benjamin, whose Eastern Oriental hospitality was generosity and love personified. Teach us to love and be generous, Father, in way that reflects your love in our life.
In Jesus name. Amen.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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