Genesis 44:14-34


Joseph Backs the Brothers Into a Corner


I.    Verse 14, The return to Joseph's house.  And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.

A.     Judah is mentioned specifically.

1.       He is the spokesman for the group.

2.       He is also the tribe through which the promised seed should come.

B.     To Joseph's house.

1.       They thought they were free from this place forever.

2.       Joseph is no doubt waiting almost breathlessly for them.

3.       There is no doubt in my mind that Joseph had many things to do, but this was the most important of all.

C.     They fall before him on the ground.

1.       Genesis 37:8 has finally come true.

2.       Twenty two years ago the brothers ask if Joseph would have dominion over them, and it has finally come true in the fullest sense.


II.    Verse 15, Joseph's question.  And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?

A.     He accuses them of a foul deed.

B.     He leads them to believe a divine being has intervened.

1.       The word "divine" means to prognosticate, to learn by experience, to diligently observe.

2.       The word certainly can have the meaning of telling the future through Satanic means, but that is not the usage here.

3.       It means that Joseph has thoroughly investigated the missing cup and deduced that these brothers have taken it.

4.       By mentioning the divine, the conscience of the brothers would certainly be stirred up to remember their faults before God concerning selling their brother, Joseph, into slavery.


III.    Verse 16,  And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.

A.     Judah asks three questions all at once.

1.       What shall we speak?

2.       What shall we speak?

3.       How shall we clear ourselves?

B.     These three questions reveal the utter helplessness of the brothers as they ponder their dilemma.

C.     They confess that their trouble is the result of God judging them for selling their brother into slavery.

1.       Note that they have no bad thoughts toward Benjamin, or Joseph.

2.       They are accepting the blame completely.

D.     They change the original deal.

1.       In verse 9, they agreed to kill the brother whose sack contains the silver cup.

2.       In verse 10, the steward changed the agreement to making the guilty person a permanent servant to Joseph, and everybody going free.

3.       In this verse, Judah changes the agreement again to include all the brothers as permanent servants to Joseph, and nobody will die.


IV.    Verse 17, Joseph's plan is finally revealed.  And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.

A.     This is what Joseph has worked for all along.

B.     Now, circumstances have so worked themselves (by the leadership of the Holy Spirit of God, of course) that Joseph will soon discover just exactly how the brothers feel about:

1.       Selling him into slavery.

a.      The situation concerning Benjamin is exactly the same as when Joseph was sold, except there will be no money exchanged.

b.      Only God could have so worked in circumstances to bring about such events.

2.       How they feel about Benjamin.

a.      So far, the brothers have shown no jealously toward Benjamin at all.

b.      How the brothers feel toward Benjamin will reveal to a large extend how the brothers would have felt about Joseph had he remained with them.

3.       Their father.

a.      When the brothers sold Joseph into slavery, they simply didn't think about how it would affect their father.

b.      Now Joseph will find out if their feelings toward their father has softened any.

C.     I wonder what Benjamin is thinking about now?

1.       He may be wondering what will happen to him.

2.       He may be wondering why this is happening to him.

3.       Sometimes we are caught in situations like Benjamin.

4.       God may put us into a situation that is not our fault in order to test somebody else.

5.       During times like this, we must continually trust God for the outcome, not looking too closely at circumstances.

D.     Sometimes people change.

1.       Joseph has not forgotten this very important point.

2.       He is hoping his brothers have changed for the better, and gives this test to find out.

3.       We ought to do the same thing.

4.       If somebody has done you dirty, don't forget that they might be sorry for it and change for the better.


The Most Touching Story in the World


V.    Verse 18-34  Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. {19} My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother? {20} And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him. {21} And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. {22} And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die. {23} And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. {24} And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. {25} And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food. {26} And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us. {27} And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons: {28} And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since: {29} And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. {30} Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life; {31} It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. {32} For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. {33} Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. {34} For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.

I.    I do not know anything I could possibly add to such a wonderful story.

A.     Note that Judah moved close to Joseph as he began speaking.

1.       This is because he wants to speak to the man, not to a position he happens to hold.

2.       He wants to speak on a personal level, not on a business level.

B.     Note also that this conversation takes place through an interpreter.

1.       This is important because this conversation takes at least twice as long as normal.

2.       This would give Judah to consider what he was saying, and Joseph time to understand.

3.       Joseph heard the speech twice, once from Judah in the Hebrew language, and once from the interpreter in the Egyptian language.

C.     Why did Judah do the talking?

1.       Judah represents the tribe Jesus Christ will come from.

2.       Jesus makes intercession for the transgressor, like Judah is making intercession for Benjamin.

D.     Judah doesn't speak of Benjamin's guilt or innocence.

1.       To speak of his guilt would reflect on Benjamin's honesty.

2.       To speak of his innocence would reflect on the justice of Joseph.

3.       So he wisely doesn't say anything.

E.      No wonder Jacob said what he did in Genesis 49:8-12.

F.      When the kingdom of Israel was divided after the reign of Solomon, Judah and Benjamin remained together as the Southern Tribes.


II.    This speech would have moved anybody who heard it except a person whose very soul is hardened by his own wickedness.