Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday - Genesis 43 - Raising Voices

When the Egyptian corn in Canaan ran out, a shouting match broke out at the family table in Israel's tent.  I find it interesting that Reuben had promised (upon their first return from Egypt) to bring Benjamin back if Israel would just allow him to go with them (Genesis 42:37). Israel had refused. Of course, Israel didn't know that Reuben had been the one who had delivered Joseph from death a couple of decades before this (Genesis 37:21-22).
At this point Judah offered insurance concerning Benjamin's safety. Judah had been the one who had suggested selling Joseph to their Ishmaelite cousins (Genesis 37:26-27), also saving his life. So anyway, after some touchy bickering, Israel reluctantly acquiesced... with many strategic caveats. So, they were allowed to take Benjamin to Egypt with them.
When they got to Egypt, Prince Joseph fed them a sumptuous lunch at his own home. All 12 brothers were together. Well, almost together. Joseph was pretending to be an Egyptian, so he sat away from the other 11. The 11 were stunned when they were placed in descending order by age. They had already been mystified by the mysterious appearance of their money in their sacks and the Egyptian's refusal to accept it from them when they brought it back... now as they ate their lunch, their superstitious and guilt-laden fears were piqued even more.
However uncomfortable and tentative they may have felt, they had a wonderful time that day. It seems everybody was relieved... Simeon was out of jail, the brothers weren't in trouble for the sack money, Judah and Reuben felt like maybe they would make it back home with Benjamin after all... and Joseph was seeing his little brother as a grown man. They all had many reasons to feel happy, and, they were.

Along the line in this story there have been voices raised in jealousy, for mercy, in anger, in deception, in fear, in bitterness, in anguish... and now, finally, the voices were raised in mirth.  Hallelujah!

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