Jacob: “All these things are against me.”
Genesis 42:36 “And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.”
But were they, really, “against“ him; or was God just working His purpose through this difficult time?
Jacob had twelve sons: but there was jealousy among them. Joseph was his favorite. Joseph loved the Lord, and Jacob made him a coat of many colors, which signified his love for him.
Joseph was sent by his father to find the older brothers who were herding cattle.
Because of this jealousy, he was taken by them, and sold to a passing caravan going down to Egypt.
That coat of many colors was dipped in the blood of goats. Then they told Jacob that they just found it. (They had wanted to kill him; but God would not allow that.)
Horrible story! Jacob was heartbroken.
Years past: Joseph, the boy, became Joseph the man, in Egypt. (His story of when he was a slave in Egypt is an amazing story of God’s goodness, even in a terrible situation. Genesis 39-41)
Joseph had a gift of interpreting dreams. And after years in prison, he is brought out to give the interpretation of a dream Pharaoh had: there would be seven “fat” years, or years of plenty. And then there would be seven “lean” years, or years of famine for the whole world.
Pharaoh was so grateful for the interpretation, he made Joseph second in command under him.
Seven plentiful years came, and Joseph saved up the excess for the famine to come.
Now, the famine was here, even into Canaan, where Jacob and his family was.
Hearing that there is corn(grain) in Egypt, Jacob says to the older sons, “Take money and go buy some, that the children may live.”
But, after losing Joseph, he would not send his youngest son, Benjamin.
So they came to Egypt, to the very one they had so badly treated years before:
But they knew him not.
Genesis 42:7-8 “And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but he 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.”
Joseph speaks through an interpreter, so they would not know he knew what they were saying. He speaks roughly to see what they would do.
They protest their innocence; telling him where they come from, who is their father, and that they have a brother at home.
But Joseph throws them into prison, claiming they “are spies” for three days. (Not the years he was)
After three days, he says that they can go home with corn, but one of them, Simeon, will stay in prison.
And one more thing: they would need to bring the youngest brother, before Simeon could be free.
What?! Oh, no. They can’t believe it! What would this do to their father?
The oldest son then speaks to the rest: This is a judgement upon us for Joseph. We heard his pleadings, yet would not be moved. Now his blood is required at our hand.
But they do not know Joseph is hearing all of this confession.
So, they go home, with the corn that they went for; but sadly, for they knew this would tear Jacob up to hear what happened.
Then Jacob cries, “…all these things are against me.”
“You will kill me, if anything happens to Benjamin. No, he will not go.”
But the famine worsens. There would be several years of depravation to come. They could not hold out.
(The thing is: God had allowed all of this. He had purposed the saving of Jacob’s family by Joseph, and had allowed their hatred of Joseph to go so far….and no further.
Joseph would go before them into Egypt, and God would protect him, and in God’s time, raise him to the powerful position he was in.)
But Jacob did not know this. He looked at the circumstances around.
Famine, and death for all his family.
Or send Benjamin, and maybe lose him, too.
What to do?
Genesis 43:2, 13-14 “And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, and buy us a little food.
Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:
And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”
So they went to Egypt.
But there would be one more test of the loyalty to their father, that Joseph would give:
He had them in for the noon meal with him, seeing Benjamin for the first time, in years.
Joseph filled their sacks with corn, but also slipped a gold cup of his into Benjamin’s sack.
He let them go just out of the city, and sent his men after them, saying that one had his cup!
When they found it in Benjamin’s sack, Jacob’s sons were terrified. What would happen now? Death? Slavery? What would become of their family in Canaan?
Joseph said that only Benjamin would become a servant: this is quite a test! Would these brothers that sold him into slavery, care about Benjamin, and the heart of their father?
They did. They had learned their lesson.
So Judah stepped forward and begged Joseph (though they did not know it was him) to take him as a servant, and let Benjamin go.
Then Joseph tells them who he really is, and sends for Jacob and the rest of his family to come and live near Joseph; and be provided for.
All that they could need, was provided by God beforehand, only they just did not know it yet.
Genesis 45:28. “And Israel (Jacob) said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.”
Genesis 46:2-4 “And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.
And He said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will make of thee a great nation.
I will go down with thee into Egypt; I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hands upon thine eyes.”
Jacob had said, “All these things are against me”, when God had purposed his good, after the trial of his sons.
Everything seemed wrong; but God’s Ways led him right.
Psalm 107:6-7 “Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses.
And led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.”
The Lord will always lead us the right way: through trials, troubles (and yes, it is through them), and joys. He is God Almighty still.