LESSON 27 – Joseph’s Brothers Come to Egypt & He Confronts Them – Genesis 42-45

Discussion

  • Gen. 42 – The scene now switches back to Canaan from Egypt. Jacob and his family are feeling the effects of the famine.  What does Jacob suggest to his sons and what do they do? (vs. 1-5) What doesn’t Benjamin, the youngest, go? (Jacob was afraid harm would come to him – evidently he is not afraid for the other 10) Why is verse 6 significant? (It is the fulfillment of Joseph’s dream in Gen. 42:6) Joseph recognized his brothers, even though he had not seen them for at least 27 years. They, however, do not recognize him.  He pretends to be harsh with them as realizes his dream has come true. What does he accuse them of? (vs 18 -being spies and trying to see where the Egyptians were unprotected) They tell Joseph about their family. Joseph then tells them to prove they are not spies by bringing the youngest son back with them and to make them come back he requires that one of the brothers stays in custody until they come back. What conclusion to the brothers come to in verse 21? (They were punished for what they did to Joseph.) Reuben agrees and blames them for the problem. Joseph can understand what they are saying in Hebrew, but the brothers don’t realize this as Joseph has been using an Egyptian interpreter.  What is Joseph’s reaction? (he cries – verse 24) Simeon is imprisoned and the rest are sent back home with the grain. What they don’t realize is that all of their silver that they paid for the grain is put in the sacks. What is Jacob’s reaction when the brothers get back home? (vs. 36 – He says that they have deprived him of his children: Joseph, Simeon and now they want Benjamin. He says everything is against him.) What does Reuben suggest? (vs. 37) What is Jacob’s answer? (vs. 38)
  • Gen. 43 – Jacob’s solution of doing nothing doesn’t work for long, because they soon run out of grain. They must go back to Egypt and they can’t get back without taking Benjamin with them and besides Simeon is back there!  Who guarantees Benjamin’s safety this time? (vs. 6-10. Judah personally guarantees the safety of Benjamin – and also remarks that they could have been there and back twice if Jacob had let them go earlier.) Jacob eventually capitulates and lets them go back. What does he tell the brothers to do? (vs. 8-11) Joseph sees that the brothers have brought Benjamin with them when they get to Egypt and tells the steward that they are to come to Joseph’s house for dinner. How do the brothers feel about this? (vs. 17-22) They try to explain about the money being returned to them accidentally, because they believe they have been summoned to account for the “stolen” money. Simeon is returned to them and preparations are made for Joseph’s arrival.  Joseph asks about his father, but when he finally sees his full-brother Benjamin, he is overcome and leaves the room.  He finally is able to come back and have his emotions under control. What unusual thing do the brothers notice when dinner is being served? (vs. 33-34 – They are seated in birth order – something that it would be “impossible” for a stranger to know)
  • Gen. 44 – The brothers are sent on their way, but Joseph gives his servants special instructions. What are they? (vs. 1-2) After they leave Joseph sends his steward and servants to accost the brothers and accuse them with the theft of his cup.  What rash thing do the brother’s promise? (vs. 9,10) Who has the cup? (Benjamin) The brothers are distraught and all rush back to Egypt to beg for mercy. Joseph then makes a curious suggestion to the men.
    What is it?
    (vs. 17) Do the brothers take the easy way out? No. Judah is the spokesman and tells Joseph (who he still thinks is a stranger) about his father and his love for the boy; then Judah offers himself in exchange for the life of Benjamin.  ­
  • Gen. 45 – Joseph asks all of his Egyptian attendants to leave him. He is overcome again by emotion again.  What was the brother’s response when they found out the man they were dealing with was Joseph, their brother? (vs. 3 – terror) Why were they terrified? (They thought Joseph was going to revenge himself upon them.) What words of comfort does Joseph give them? (vs. 4-8) Joseph asks his brothers to go back to Canaan and bring back Jacob and all of their families to live in Egypt. The famine still has 5 years to go and he wants them to be safe and fed. What is the reaction of the Pharaoh to the news that Joseph’s family had come to Egypt? (vs. 16-20)

Application

  • Would most people who had been treated like Joseph by his brothers have forgiven them? Would revenge be a more common reaction? Why is Joseph, though very emotional about seeing his brothers again, able to treat them with kindness and love? The only way this could happen was by the grace of God.  Joseph understood that God had a plan for him that in someway included the sins that were committed against him. He refers to this in Gen. 50:20 when his brothers ask for his forgiveness.  Read this verse.
  • Ask your children if they have a hard timing forgiving those who have sinned against them. How what does the example of Joseph teach them? (Possible answers: God allows me to suffer in order to teach me something or to use me in some way. Suffering isn’t bad – God uses it in my life and in others for blessing. Knowing that God is in control helps me to be able to forgive. ) Read Hebrews 12:14,15.
  • What happens to a person when they refuse to forgive? (They will have a root of bitterness inside – this attitude will spread to others and cause them also to be that way.)
  • Why are we to forgive others? Read the parable of the unmerciful servant in Mt. 18:21-35.  This story indicates that we must keep on forgiving others because we have been forgiven of our sins by God.  To hold a grudge or want revenge is a terrible thing when we realize what God has done for us and He has been merciful. He has loved us and died for us so that we can be forgiven of our sins and have a relationship with God. How dare we be the judge of others when we ourselves have done the same things! If Joseph had held a grudge or taken revenge the whole reason for his experiences – saving his family – would have been for nothing. He saw what his brothers did not – God meant the things that had happened to him had been for good.
  • Is there someone your child needs to forgive in his heart before the Lord? Ask your children to confess to God their unforgiveness and to pray, forgiving those who have sinned against them. Do they have a root of bitterness? Do they need to ask for forgiveness to family members themselves like Joseph’s brothers did in Gen 50? This would be a good time to talk about sibling relationships and to encourage your children to be like Joseph and forgive and to trust God to know what is best for them. Plan ways to treat those who have mistreated them with kindness and love.

Digging Deeper

  1. Do a word study on “forgive” in the New Testament.  Find at least 3 passages that talk about forgiveness. Use Matthew 18:21-35 as one. Write down principles that God has laid down about forgiveness that you see from these passages.  Evaluate your heart – are you holding a grudge? Forgive that person and then write down a way to serve them to show them love.  Then do it!
  2. Do you know someone who takes revenge on others when they don’t get their way? Is this a problem in your life? What does the Bible say about revenge? Why is it important to give up taking revenge? Defend your answer from the Bible.