Since our church has been neck-deep in a series on forgiveness (Philemon), this passage is especially helpful. We don’t see full restoration of Jacob’s sons for a few chapters, but we do see Joseph’s heart start to change. Eventually, there would be forgiveness and healing, but not before a few tests, awkward conversations, and identity-masking.
Jacob had a tough time of letting this interaction even happen. Simeon was being held by Joseph, and to his knowledge, Joseph was dead. Now, risking the life of his baby boy, Benjamin, was a tangible possibility. You could see his heart ache deeply. Still, he let his boys go back to Egypt, and sent them with more money and the best gifts he had to offer. In that moment, the fear of them not returning must have been palpable.
Judah and the brothers arrived to an oddly pleasant reception. They were expecting a business deal; they got a buffet. Benjamin got the biggest plate. While it was nice, they thought it was a trap and feared enslavement. Joseph’s happy welcome put them at ease for a moment.
Then, Joseph saw Benjamin.
This part of the passage has brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. He never thought he would see his little brother again. The reunion will get even better in a few chapters, but the moment that they were in each other’s presence was moving to Joseph. After all, they had the same mother, and she died giving birth to Benjamin. Their bond was special. Joseph was so overtaken with emotion that he left the room to weep.
Joseph could have seen this whole thing as a nice opportunity for retribution. Instead, he took the lead from God and was an incredible picture of grace.
How would the average Joe (pun intended) respond in this kind of situation? How would you have responded if these were your brothers?
By: Todd Thomas