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Sunday, September 1 2013

Genesis 43: The Benjamin Connection

Joseph's brothers returned to the land of Canaaan (see also Camped Out In Canaan) with the food supplies that Joseph had provided to them (see Genesis 42: Joseph's Sheaves and Stars Dreams Fulfilled). It was however just a temporary reprieve from starvation that would require a return journey to Egypt.

"43:1 And the famine was sore in the land.

43:2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food." (Genesis 43:1-2 KJV)

Jacob's son Simeon had remained in Egypt as a hostage, as commanded by Joseph, so that, apart from the food that they had to return to purchase, the one brother that had not made the first journey, Joseph's brother Benjamin, would be required to go. Jacob, whose family had a history of blatant favoritism between sons, seemed willing to settle with losing Simeon, rather than seemingly jeopardizing Benjamin, the brother of his favorite son, Joseph, who, unknown to them, was masterminding the entire situation. Starvation forced Jacob to risk it.

Egypt

"43:3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. 43:4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food: 43:5 But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.

43:6 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?

43:7 And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down?" (Genesis 43:3-7 KJV)

Jacob finally agreed to the journey. He told his sons to take "a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds" - things that were in storage, but which were obviously in themselves insufficient, or insufficient in quantity, for their survival.

"43:8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. 43:9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: 43:10 For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.

43:11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: 43:12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight: 43:13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: 43:14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved." (Genesis 43:8-14 KJV)

So they departed with "double money in their hand" (as people have learned throughout history, money alone is no guarantee against starvation) and something far more precious to Jacob - Benjamin.

"43:15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. 43:16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.

43:17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house. 43:18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses." (Genesis 43:15-18 KJV)

When the brothers arrived, they immediately sought to return the payment money that they found in the purchased food sacks during their first journey. Simeon, who had spent some lengthy time in prison, was then released.

Egypt

"43:19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, 43:20 And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: 43:21 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. 43:22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.

43:23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.

43:24 And the man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. 43:25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there." (Genesis 43:19-25 KJV)

When Joseph arrived, "they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance" - thereby again fulfilling Joseph's prophetic dream that they would do so (see Genesis 42: Joseph's Sheaves and Stars Dreams Fulfilled). Joseph, at that point, obviously had little love for imprisoned Simeon, and little more for the brothers who sold him away into slavery, but the sight of his own full-brother Benjamin (see the Fact Finder question below) caused an emotional response in the by-then hardened Prime Minister of Egypt: "He entered into his chamber, and wept there." A great feast was then held, not as a celebration, but as the stage for the final act of Joseph's reuniting with his family.

"43:26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. 43:27 And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?

43:28 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.

43:29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.

43:31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.

43:32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians. 43:33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another. 43:34 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him." (Genesis 43:26-34 KJV)

Fact Finder: Was Benjamin the only son of Jacob / Israel to be born in what later became the land of Israel? How were the tragic circumstances of his birth (i.e. the death of his mother Rachel, who was also the mother of Joseph) applied to prophecies that were fulfilled at the time of the birth of the Messiah?
See The Rachel Prophecies


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This Day In History, September 1

891: Arnulf defeated the Vikings from Scandinavia at the Battle of Louvain in Belgium.

1159: Pope Adrian IV died at age 59. Born as Nicholas Breakspear, he was the only Englishman to become pope.

1532: Anne Boleyn was made Marquess of Pembroke by her finance, King Henry VIII of England.

1557: Jacques Cartier died at age 66. During his 3 voyages between 1534 and 1543, the French explorer discovered the St. Lawrence River and other major findings throughout eastern North America.

Jacques Cartier 1666: The Great Fire of London began in a bakery on Pudding Lane. Over the course of 4 days, the fire destroyed 75% of the British capital.

1676: Nathaniel Bacon led an uprising against English governor William Berkeley at Jamestown, Virginia, resulting in the settlement being burned to the ground. "Bacon's Rebellion" came as a result of the governor's refusal to defend the colonists against the "Americans" (i.e. the "Indians").

1707: The Treaty of Altranstadt was signed during the Great Northern War (1700-1721) by Swedish king Charles XII and Holy Roman emperor Joseph I.

1715: King Louis XIV of France died after a 72 year reign - the longest of any major European monarch.

1870: Prussia defeated France at the Battle of Sedan in the last battle of the Franco-Prussian War. Napoleon III surrendered himself to the Prussians.

1904: Helen Keller, 24, graduated from Radcliffe College. Blind and deaf from the age of 2, she became a champion of those with disabilities.

1905: Alberta and Saskatchewan joined the Canadian Confederation.

1914: The last-known passenger pigeon died, at the Cincinnati Zoo.

1923: A magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck Japan. Yokohama and Tokyo were destroyed, killing over 140,000 people and destroying the homes of 2.5 million people.

1939: Adolf Hitler's massive (52 army divisions) invasion of Poland. The Second World War (1939-1945) began that day in response to Germany's invasion of Poland (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1941: The Yellow Star was made obligatory for all Jews in Hitler's "Third Reich" to wear (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1945: Within months after the war ended in Europe, the official statistics of the Jews murdered in the Satanic Nazi "Final Solution" were 2,800,000 Polish, 800,000 Soviet, 450,000 Hungarian, 350,000 Romanian, 180,000 German, 60,000 Austrian, 243,000 Czechoslovakian, 110,000 Dutch, 25,000 Belgian, 50,000 Yugoslav, 80,000 Greek, 65,000 French, 10,000 Italian.

1962: The United Nations announced that the population of the world had reached 3 billion. It has since more than doubled.

1969: A coup in Libya established Muammar al-Gaddafi as leader.

1980: Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope (a cross-Canada run by Fox, who had lost a leg to cancer) ended near Thunder Bay, Ontario.

1983: Korean Air Flight 007 was shot down by a Soviet warplane after the commercial airliner strayed into Soviet airspace. All 269 passengers and crew were killed.

1985: Divers located the wreckage of the Titanic on the ocean floor, approximately 900 kilometers (560 miles) south of Newfoundland. It sank on April 15 1912 with a loss of 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers.

1991: Uzbekistan declared independence from the Soviet Union.


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