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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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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?
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?
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.
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.