The Beauty of Relationships
The story of Jacob and his sons finding grain to sustain them during a famine in their homeland is filled with depth for us today. One of the beautiful stories within the story is the relationship of Joseph and his younger brother Benjamin. Keeping in mind Joseph had not seen his brother for many years, yet his words convey the love he has for Benjamin.
“Now the famine was severe in the land.
And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.”
But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’” Genesis 43:1~3
Israel had directed his sons to return to Egypt to buy more grain, and Judah is explaining to his father why Benjamin must travel with them on the return trip. In this Judah reveals that ‘the man’ was the one who asked if there were any other brothers back with their father. Israel’s concern was he had already lost Joseph, and Simeon was being held captive.
But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’
If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food.
But if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.'”
Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?”
They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?” Genesis 43:4~7
So the brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin and this makes a vast difference in the eyes of Joseph.
16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his house steward, “Bring the men into the house, and slay an animal and make ready; for the men are to dine with me at noon.”
The brothers had previously met with Joseph, and he had requested they return with their other brother. There is something unique about Benjamin, his relationship to Joseph is in the natural a given, yet his presence triggers action from Joseph. Something is different about Benjamin.
17 So the man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph’s house.
18 Now the men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph’s house; and they said, “It is because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time that we are being brought in, that he may seek occasion against us and fall upon us, and take us for slaves with our donkeys.”
19 So they came near to Joseph’s house steward, and spoke to him at the entrance of the house,
20 and said, “Oh, my lord, we indeed came down the first time to buy food,
21 and it came about when we came to the lodging place, that we opened our sacks, and behold, each man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full. So we have brought it back in our hand.
22 “We have also brought down other money in our hand to buy food; we do not know who put our money in our sacks.”
23 He said, “Be at ease, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24 Then the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their donkeys fodder.
25 So they prepared the present for Joseph’s coming at noon; for they had heard that they were to eat a meal there.
26 When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present which was in their hand and bowed to the ground before him.
27 Then he asked them about their welfare, and said, “Is your old father well, of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”
28 They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” They bowed down in homage.
Here is the reuniting of Joseph and Benjamin, and a blessing is expressed.
29 As he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?” And he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.”
30 Joseph hurried out for he was deeply stirred over his brother, and he sought a place to weep; and he entered his chamber and wept there.
The spirit of Benjamin triggered a deep response in Joseph, it caused him to weep with tears of joy, and gratitude. This is exactly what happened when Jesus and Mary met outside the tomb of Lazarus.
31 Then he washed his face and came out; and he controlled himself and said, “Serve the meal.”
Benjamin’s presence was a blessing to the rest of his brothers, and the meal was served.
32 So they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians.
33 Now they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment.
34 He took portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they feasted and drank freely with him.
Joseph sought out Benjamin just as the Lord seeks His sons, and when they are united in Spirit and Truth there is a feast.
The lesson here is the Lord is seeking those who will worship Him in sincerity and truth, who will Love Him more than their own life. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is expressing to us.
“Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
1 Corinthians 5;7, 8