The Brothers Go Down to Egypt


Scripture Reading: Genesis 42 (SOAP – 2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.  2 Corinthians 7:9-10NLT

THE GENESIS SAGA: The Brothers Bow Down

The famine was severe in the land of Canaan but Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt so he sent his sons, except for Benjamin, down to buy grain. Because Joseph was the ruler of the country, the one who sold grain to all the people, it was him that they appeared before with their request and him they bowed down to. Years had past but Joseph still recognized his brothers, however they did not recognize him, most likely because he would have been dressed like an Egyptian and addressed by his Egyptian name. Scripture says, he did not disclose his identity but acted like a stranger and treated them harshly. I imagine that the harshness was most likely in some ways his true emotions spilling out toward those who had betrayed him but perhaps also an attempt to keep his identity a secret not know knowing what they would do if they found out he was alive and well. He was undoubtedly curious too as to the condition of his father and other brother so he asked questions prompting the information. Unsatisfied with, or untrusting of, their answers – he sends all but one of them back to Canaan, keeping Simeon as a prisoner to be released upon their return with his brother Benjamin.

Back in Canaan they explained the events to their father but after much conversation and promises to protect him he refused to let Benjamin go.

Other Notable Observations:

  • Joseph originally had all of the brothers imprisoned for three days while he considered what to do.
  • Joseph had cried out to his brothers for mercy before they sold him into slavery.
  • At one point he turned away from them and wept because he had understood their language and their conversation about what they had done to Joseph. (They did not know Joseph had understood them because they were using an interpreter.)

In a previous letter Paul had rebuked the Corinthians for a particular sin. He had been concerned that his rebuke would have angered them but instead learned that they had repented – which is the best outcome to any rebuke. God intends for knowledge of our sins to make us sorrowful and lead us to repentance, which is to stop whatever worldly behavior we’re doing and choose instead to follow Him. Whether it is a repentance of the lost that leads to salvation or a repentance of the believer that leads to a right relationship with God – repentance is always best. This is what we saw with the brothers after their trip to Egypt – even before they knew that they had bowed before Joseph, they, specifically Reuben, realized the wrongness of their actions and the debt they owed.

Prayer: Response to God’s Word.

Father, help us to live with yielded and repentant hearts – In Jesus’ name, amen.

  • How does sadness lead to repentance and salvation ?
  • Have you experienced the sadness of God?
  • Did it lead you to repentance?
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