Genesis 43

The Return to Egypt

In the last chapter Israel alias Jacob was adamant in sending his last born, Benjamin with the other brothers to Egypt. They give him an ultimatum, either he releases the boy or all of them die from the famine. One of his sons, Judah, puts his life on the line and promises their old man that he will be responsible for Benjamin.

Am a little confused here though, if they are buying food from Egypt because of famine, where do they get honey, almonds and nuts to present to Joseph as presents? Israel’s family must be wasteful even in a great famine. They have finished all the food and have to go back so soon? What if there is no more and what year of the famine are we in? Someone help with that piece of detail, I think I must have missed it some where.

I will just mention that even during this second meeting, the brothers still don’t recognize Joseph.

There is a parallel I’d like to draw here with one of the Lukan parables in the NT, the parable of the prodigal son. In the NT, after meeting his son, the father orders a feast in honor of his son and asks that he be dressed in a clean robe and so on, here Joseph after seeing his brother Benjamin, issues a directive that a feast be made for his brothers and they be given water to wash their feet and Simeon, their brother who was in custody is released. Someone could object that am stretching the semblance here, but we all agree the structure is the same! And if we accept the structure to be the same, then we can as well conclude one is aย re-harshย of the other and we all know which came first!

A section of this story also doesn’t add up. If it is an abomination for Egyptians to eat with Hebrews, then the Pharaoh’s appointment of Joseph as governor would have been met with great opposition and the other top ranking officials would have planned to undermine him in all ways possible. And since we are not told some thing of this kind happened, we can dismiss the whole story as a fabrication or a misrepresentation of facts.

The chapter ends on a party mode. We will see in the next chapter how the party ends. Stay tuned, don’t go away!

Joseph and his brothers. Artist Anton Franz Maulbertsch