How to pronounce Biblical names
Came across this site from Netministries.org and thought it might bless you.
Have a blessed day,
Remember, Joseph’s brothers return to their father with grain, terrified because they found the payment for the grain was in their sacks. Simeon is left in jail, waiting for the brothers to return with Benjamin – to prove they are not spies. Jacob refuses to let Benjamin go (obviously valuing him more than Simeon). But alas, the grain runs out and they have to take desperate measures. Simeon must be wondering by now if they would ever return.
Genesis 43:2 Now it came to pass when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, “Go back, buy us a little food.”
Judah reminds Jacob that they will not see the man’s face (Joseph’s) unless they bring back Benjamin. The brothers offer to all go down to acquire the food.
Notice in verse 6-7 God uses Israel (doing something Godly – instead of Jacob -fleshly). And Israel said, “Why did you deal so wrongfully with me as to tell the man whether you had still another brother. But they said, “The man asked us pointedly about ourselves and our family, saying ‘Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?’ And we told him according to these words. Could we possibly have known that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down?”
I am proud of Judah in the next verses for he says that he will take responsibility for Benjamin, verses 8-10 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. I myself will be surety for him, from my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. For if we had not lingered, surely by now we would have returned this second time.” Three generations are represented here, if they do not do something – the entire line would die off from famine.
Judah is interceding for not only himself, but also for all the tribe of Israel – pointing out that if they go they will live and not die – that is more prophetic than they realize because God is wanting them to move to Egypt precisely so that a remnant can be saved. But Judah promises to be responsible for Benjamin.
Verse 11-13 And their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: Take some of the best fruits of the land in your vessels and carry down a present for the man –a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. Take double money in your hand, and take back in your hand the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight. Take your brother also, and arise, go back to the man.
This puzzles me a bit because where did they get the best fruits of the land if there is a famine? Doesn’t this sound a bit like when Jacob went back to Esau – sending gifts to placate Esau? Perhaps (speculation here) he feels that if it worked with Esau, it will work with the man. But at least Israel made the right decision (indicated by the name Israel).
Verse 14 And may God Almighty (El Shaddai) give you mercy before the man, that he may release your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved, I am bereaved!
Jacob is doing something that I often do – worry. God tells us not to worry, but so often I play out many scenarios in my mind, trying to figure out how things work out – not trusting God. I used to think that the Israelites (after Exodus), and even Jacob/Israel who wrestled with God and had many visions and directives, had little excuse for doubt – especially after all the miracles they had witnessed. But that isn’t so – I think sometimes we start “rationalizing” the miracles, or begin to feel God is absent if He isn’t obviously present. Perhaps that is why God wants us to trust Him by faith, not by sight – for then we don’t begin to look for more and more tangible results. We don’t become used to the tangible, and we seek God in faith. Don’t forget, Jacob must have heard the prophecy from Abraham about how they would sojourn in Egypt. Somehow this might have struck a chord if he had slowed down and gone to God with the situation. But then again, if I were in Jacob’s sandals I probably would worry the same way and try to somehow make things better in my own strength. It is remarkable to me how much like us these mighty men of God are, gives me hope at least that God can use me – clay pot that I am.
So the brothers and Benjamin return to Egypt and stand before Joseph. Remember – Joseph looks different (dressed like an Egyptian – and [sorry can’t resist – Walk like an Egyptian], and he only spoke to them through a translator (so they don’t know he speaks their language).
Verse 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my home, and slaughter an animal and make ready; for these men will dine with me at noon.
Do you have any idea how unusual this would have been? These were not kings and queens, they weren’t high ranking officers. I am certain that Joseph did not entertain many at state dinners in his own house. And the brothers must be wondering what is going on, as evidenced by the next few verses.
Verse 18 Now the men were afraid because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, “It is because of the money, which was returned in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may make a case against us and seize us, to take us as slaves with our donkeys.”
Hmmmm, to think thoughts like this usually means that they have done similar things – such as selling a brother into slavery.
Verse 19 When they drew near to the steward of Joseph’s house, they talked with him at the door of his house. Telling the servant how they got the extra money – and telling him that they didn’t know how the money got into their sacks.
Verse 23 But he said, “Peace be with you, 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. Shalom – and not to be afraid. Sometimes when people tell me not to be afraid, to trust, or whatever it doesn’t help – especially when I am in the midst of fear and guilt. Guess that is why we need to walk with God, and learn bit by bit to relax and let God take those things, those dark places, and heal us, so we don’t walk around with excess baggage, waiting to be brought out by our circumstances.
Wouldn’t you like to be a scarab on the wall to see the family reunion of Simeon and his brothers – do you think he might be a bit peeved that he was in prison longer than necessary because the brothers didn’t immediately return?
Boy these words sure sound a lot like Jesus – the do not be afraid. It might have puzzled the brothers to be addressed with “Your God and the God of your father.” That has a definite Israelite sound to it, certainly not Egyptian. And so often when we get saved, we want to keep trying to pay Jesus back – not accepting his free gift of salvation. We try to pay with good works, devotions, traditions, actions. But we can’t buy salvation any more than these brothers could buy salvation (food to prevent famine) because God’s plan was to save the people in Egypt.
The man gave the brothers water to wash their feet and food for their donkeys. They got themselves presentable for Joseph’s coming. Does this ring a bell??? We are making ourselves ready for our Master’s second coming – it involves washing our feet (making sure our path is a Godly path), getting water (the Water of the Word), and feeding our donkeys (could that be our fleshly bodies? – again speculation).
When Joseph came home they brought him their presents and bowed down before him to the earth – again it is reminiscent of Joseph’s prophetic dream. Joseph did not seem concerned about the presents, but more so about his father.
Verse 27 Then he asked them about their well-being, and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”
Remember in the dream Jacob will bow before Joseph too – and here they mention that Jacob/Israel is Joseph’s servant. Verse 28 And they answered, “Your servant, our father is in good health; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads down and prostrated themselves.”
I would love to see this next scene, how bittersweet. Verse 28 “Then he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your younger brother of whom you spoke to me?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.”
How Joseph restrained himself, I don’t know – but it says that Joseph’s heart yearned for his brother – so Joseph quickly left and sought somewhere to weep. He wept in his chamber, then washed his face and came out, restraining himself and said, verse 31 “Serve the bread.”
Even though Joseph was Prime minister, he did not eat with the Egyptians, and he couldn’t eat with the Israelites without giving himself away, so Joseph sat by himself. How lonely for Joseph. Verse 32 So they set him a place by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves; because the Egyptians could not eat food with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.
Now the odds of the next thing happening so flawlessly is next to impossible, yet another thing to set the brothers wondering. Remember they are all older, and after a certain age it is tough to tell exact ages, but…Verse 33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men looked in astonishment at one another.
I am wondering if the next thing is a test: Verse 34 Then he took servings to them from before him, but Benjamin’s serving was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.
I am wondering if Joseph was waiting to see if the brothers showed any sign of jealousy at his favoritism of Benjamin, have the older brothers really changed?
Beth Moore, in her study The Patriarchs adds further insight. Page 205 “Dear One, the load on the consciences of Joseph’s brothers depicts one reason why we’ve got to go to God, confess our sins, and make whatever restitution He prescribes. If we don’t, we will end up attaching every bad thing that happens to us to past sins, chaining ourselves to the perception of endless punishment.”
I have seen that in my life, and in the lives of others. A guilty conscience and then we start thinking that every bad thing that happens to us is because of a former sin – or in some situations demonic influence. While some things are a direct result demonic influence- the truth is, many of our problems are really unconfessed sin – and in some instances confessed sin that we don’t really believe God has forgiven. But His Word says, 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And He assures us, Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. I love this verse because if you go from North to South you end up either at the North Pole or the South Pole – but if you travel East, you never arrive.
Beth continues on Page 206 “Jacob could neither prove it nor explain how it had happened, but he knew his sons were responsible for Joseph’s “death.” Perhaps they’d disposed of Simeon as well. Can you imagine living in a climate of such guilt and blame?…This story should certainly make us feel better about God’s ability to redeem messed up families!”
She then points out that Jacob let time go by, and then suggests that they go and buy a little more food – Judah reminds Jacob of the Benjamin problem. And Beth asks us the following question, p. 206 “Don’t we all occasionally hope that time has changed the rules?”
Now this is something that I didn’t realize, but it sure makes sense, p206 “We must not miss Judah’s rise to the top because we’re getting a glimpse of redemption at work. One reason Jacob looked to Joseph as the leader was because the older sons had proved such poor choices. Judah’s sins were notorious in the family, but he did not let the appraisal of his past dictate his future. He refused to consider the respect of his family members impossible to earn and reclaim. Judah had a chance to do the right thing and take the strong lead.”
Beth then asks us to think of a time when we did something to lose a person’s respect, and whether or not we felt we could earn it back.
And something to look forward to, p. 207 “Toward the conclusion of our study, Jacob’s blessing over Judah will show Judah finally earned his father’s respect.”
Praise God, that we can re-earn respect.
Page207 “Jacob called upon God Almighty: El Shaddai. Remember this is the primary name by which God revealed Himself to the patriarchs (Gen. 17:1, Ex. 6:3) Jacob’s father, Isaac, invoked this glorious name over Jacob when he first departed his home: “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples” (Gen. 28:3). With their future bleak and a famine ever-present, Jacob knew that God Almighty alone could keep his family fruitful and increase them into a community. At this point in his life, Jacob didn’t call on God Almighty’s blessing. He called on His mercy.”
Beth points out that in this portion of Scripture, Benjamin’s own thoughts and feelings are not included. Beth, as usual loves to then use her imagination to imagine just what Benjamin might be feeling.
She then states that the brothers were not expecting a welcoming feast, and page 209 “What they feared from this man was ironically identical to what they’d done to him.”
Believing that they would reap what they sowed. Don’t we do that too? When we have done something less than godly, don’t we expect others to treat us the same way. Yet again, another case for following God’s guidelines – much more peace of mind!
Psalm 103:10 “God has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.” Praise God for that,
Beth continues, p. 209 “I believe God disciplines us to the degree we can be taught. Remember, the goal of all true discipline is to disciple. God never chastises His child past the point of teaching. He never punishes just to punish.”
Verse 34 tells us they drank and were merry with him (Joseph). Beth gives more insight into this, p. 211 “If Joseph had proved to be anything in his Egyptian tenure, he has shown himself to be a man of restraint….Joseph felt like he couldn’t deal with his emotions—the mercy growing warmer and warmer within him—so he sought to cool them (anesthetize them) with drink. ‘Joseph, perhaps as much in sorrow as in joy, leads the party-goers to lose themselves in drink, satisfying at once his desire both to forget and to celebrate,’ Imagine the pitiable scene as he drank alone from his table in the isolation of secrecy while they drank together at theirs. Did he stare forlornly into his cup, remembering long-ago meals they shared? By the next morning Joseph’s temporary fix had worn off. Have you noticed that emotional pain has an uncanny way of hanging over us?…Sometimes we have to feel the pain for God to heal the pain; but when His feelings converge with ours, the process is bearable.”
Stay tuned for the next installment in this incredible story of redemption. I still get amazed when I see how much God showed of Jesus in the Patriarchs – if only we and they have eyes to see.
Have a blessed day!