“And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.” Genesis 42:5-8 KJV.
“The famine was severe in the land of Canaan. Jacob and his sons were troubled. Their supply of food was nearly exhausted, and they looked forward to the future with perplexity. They talked despondingly to one another in regard to being able to supply their families with food. Want and starvation stared them in the face. At length Jacob heard of the wonderful provisions which the king of Egypt had made; that he was instructed of God in a dream seven years before the famine to lay up large supplies, for the seven years of famine which were to follow, and that all the countries journeyed to Egypt to buy corn. He said unto his sons, ‘Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt. Get you down thither, and buy for us from thence, that we may live, and not die. And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.’
Jacob’s sons came with the crowd of buyers to purchase corn of Joseph; and they ‘bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.’ And Joseph knew his brethren, but he appeared not to know them, and spake roughly unto them. ‘And he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.’ ‘And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.’
They assured Joseph that their only errand into Egypt was to buy food. Joseph again charges them with being spies. He wished to learn if they possessed the same haughty spirit they had when he was with them; and he was anxious to draw from them some information in regard to his father and Benjamin. They feel humbled in their adversity, and manifest grief, rather than anger, at the suspicions of Joseph. They assure him that they are no spies, but the sons of one man; that they are twelve brethren; that the youngest is now with their father, and one is not. His father and Benjamin are the very ones Joseph wishes to learn in regard to. He professes to doubt the truthfulness of their story, and tells them that he will prove them, and that they shall not go forth from Egypt until their youngest brother come hither. He proposes to keep them in confinement until one shall go and bring their brother, to prove their words, whether there was any truth in them. If they would not consent to this, he would regard them as spies.
The sons of Jacob felt unwilling to consent to this arrangement. It would require some time for one to go to their father, to get Benjamin, and their families would suffer for food. And then again, who among them would undertake the journey alone, leaving their brethren in a prison? How could that one meet his father? They saw his distress at the supposed death of Joseph, and he would feel that he was deprived of all his sons. As they conversed with one another in this manner, Joseph heard them. They said, further, It may be we shall lose our lives, or be made slaves. And if one go back to our father for Benjamin, and bring him here, he may be made a slave also, and our father will surely die. They decided to all remain, and suffer together, rather than to bring greater sorrow upon their father by the loss of his much-loved Benjamin.
The three days of confinement were days of bitter sorrow with Jacob’s sons. They reflected upon their past wrong course, especially their cruelty to Joseph. They knew if they were convicted of being spies, and they could not bring evidence to clear themselves, they would all have to die, or become slaves. They doubted whether any effort any one of them might make would cause their father to consent to have Benjamin go from him, after the cruel death, as he thought, Joseph had suffered. They sold Joseph as a slave, and they were fearful that God designed to punish them by suffering them to become slaves. Joseph considers that his father and the families of his brethren may be suffering for food, and he is convinced that his brethren have repented of their cruel treatment of him, and that they would in no case treat Benjamin as they had treated him.” EGW, SOP, Vol 1, 1870, pp. 139-142.
Blessed Sabbath day to you. Our study of Revelation 14 via Zoom is at 11:00am EDT today.
Back to the Roots Part II: Christ, Food, Health, Garden, etc. A follow up on the counsel of SCRIPTURE & SOP on these important subjects via Zoom on September 10-15, 2023 nightly 7:00-9:00pm US EDT.
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