Joseph – Favoritism… Again

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Joseph’s brothers were shaken when they attempted to buy grain in Egypt. First, this foreign leader (Joseph) accuses them of spying and puts them in prison for three days. Then, he keeps brother Simeon and sends the others home to bring back the youngest brother.

To complicate things further, one brother has a surprise the first night on the road. He reaches in his sack of grain to feed his donkey, only to find the silver in his sack that he used to buy the grain.

“My silver has been returned,”he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.” Their hearts sank and they turned to each other and said, “What is this that God has done to us?” Genesis 42:28

They are further frightened when they arrive home and find that all of the brothers have silver in their bags. What will happen to them now?

All the way home, they have been dreading the task of giving the report to father Jacob. They suspect how he will respond. Jacob never got over the loss of Joseph, his favored son and now they will have to ask for the only other son of Jacob’s beloved (favored) wife, Rachael.

As predicted, Jacob is one unhappy camper!

“You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin.” Everything is against me!” Genesis 42:36

After Jacob’s pity party, here comes dear honorable Reuben to the rescue again.

Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back.” Genesis 42:37

But favoritism reigns supreme in Jacob’s heart. This character trait has not changed; it has only transferred to Benjamin.

Favoritism was also a problem for Jacob’s parents. You may remember how father Isaac favored Esau and mother Rebekah favored Jacob. So Jacob declares:

My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. (Ouch! What about the other ten sons?) If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray hair to the grave in sorrow.” Genesis 42:38

Jacob will go to his grave with this spirit of blatant favoritism, disregarding the  feelings of his other sons.

Is there a character trait you’re working to improve? It requires honest introspection. Is your challenge favoritism? Maybe you have poor listening skills or you always have to be in control of all situations. Do you struggle with impatience or a critical spirit? What would someone close to you say is lacking in your character? Ouch again!

I’m afraid I know mine. We can’t work on our challenges unless we admit them to ourselves. Food for thought in your quiet time today.

~ Joyce ~

Joseph – Character, Good or Bad?

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

When Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to buy grain, he recognizes them right away, but they don’t recognize him. 

Joseph can’t resist the temptation to get back at his brothers for the way they treated him long ago, so he accuses them of spying and puts them in prison for three days.

Now they come before Joseph once again. Fearfully, they confess to each other that this distress must have come upon them because of the misdeed to their brother.

Unbeknownst to them, Joseph can understand their language and he hears his brother Reuben speak.

“Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood. Genesis 42:22

Dear Reuben. Remember he was the one who tried to rescue Joseph from the pit. 

Joseph is touched by these confessions and Reuben’s reprimand. He turns away from the brothers as tears fill his eyes. At least they recognize their wrong doing. But Joseph wants to see younger brother, Benjamin, so he proceeds with his plan. He chooses to hold Simeon. 

He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes. Joseph gave orders [in his Egyptian language] to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left. Genesis 42:24-26

It’s interesting that Joseph chooses Simeon to be the one he holds back while the others travel the long journey home. This will mean many days and nights for Simeon to be held in prison, hoping his brothers return.

To get an idea of Simeon’s character, we can search a seldom mentioned story centered around the only sister. Dinah strayed off to visit in nearby Shechem and became involved with the ruler’s number one son. When the son asked what he could do to have Dinah as his wife, Jacob’s sons said he and all the men of Shechem would have to be circumcised. They agreed to this concession.

While the newly circumcised men were still weak and in pain from the procedure, two of Joseph’s brothers went into their town and killed every male. One of those two murderers was Simeon.

We aren’t told, but I’m wondering if Simeon might have been outspoken the day the brothers were persuaded to do away with 17 year-old Joseph.

If ruthlessness is one of Simeon’s character traits, he has an opportunity to think about his life, be convicted, and repent of his wrong doings. Or, Simeon may remain true to his character and burn with rage and begrudge this unfortunate imposition. 

It is worth considering what we do with opportunities that come our way to undo poor character traits we find in ourselves. Do we learn our lessons or grow belligerent at getting caught?

When the brothers get home, what character traits will they find repeated in father Jacob ? (Next week.)

~ Joyce ~