Joseph Sees His Brothers

At the end of Genesis 41, Joseph has two sons. He names one something that reflects his thought, “God has made me forget my troubles and my family.” Of course, that’s not true. He just mentioned them. Just the fact that he changed his story of how he got into prison means he’s not over it.

His family is about to come back into his life. They are out of food. The famine is widespread. All of Joseph’s brothers come. Jacob keeps Benjamin at home to keep him safe. God arranges that the brothers come to a city at the time when Joseph is there supervising the grain distribution.

Joseph recognizes the dream God gave him when they bow down before him. Joseph is still dealing with what they did and struggles with seeing them again. He accuses them of being spies. The brothers see the trouble as a just punishment for them for what they did to Joseph. They talk about Joseph being distressed and begging. It brought back the feelings, and Joseph cries.

He wants to see his little brother, his only full brother, the only other piece of his mother out there in the world. Simeon is the one who gets imprisoned with Joseph while the other brothers are sent home to bring back Benjamin. Jacob refuses. Reuben says Jacob can kill his sons if Benjamin is not kept safe, but still, Jacob won’t budge. He won’t let Benjamin go. Again, he is wrapping his life up in his child. He says he will die if something happens to him. He gives no trust to God to protect Benjamin. He has no thought of God being good and taking care of them even when things look wrong from their human perspective. He gives no thought that God could have plans and meaning for his life beyond his children by Rachel.

Because of the delay, Joseph is given time. He was probably eager to see his brother. He had time to think. He had time to realize he missed his family and wanted them to come back. He wanted to hear about his dad. He was ready when they returned.