Richard Agee

Genesis 42:18-38: Broken hearts bring the heart of God to tears

Richard AgeeThe life of Yosef (Joseph) is a shadow of the life of the Messiah in a number of ways. In the latter half of Genesis 42, we see another shadow: Yosef was hidden from his brothers yet wanted to weep when he heard their penitence over the death they thought they had set in motion for him by selling him into slavery.

That’s the repentance God seeks from Israel for the treatment of God’s Messiah. The prophets and apostles foretell that day will come. 

While the 10 brothers were being interrogated by the prime minister of Pharaoh — their brother Yosef, unbeknownst to them — Reuben rebuked his brothers strongly:

“Did I not tell you, ‘Do not sin against the boy’; and you would not listen? Now comes the reckoning for his blood.” (Gen. 42:22)

He said this to the brothers in Yosef’s presence. They had no idea that Yosef overheard and understood their arguments and rebukes. 

What Yosef overheard touched his heart very deeply and he left and “turned away from them and wept” (Gen. 42:24). His heart went out to his condemned brothers. They finally understood that they had blood on their hands and deserved death. 

Similarly, Yeshua (Jesus) wept when he found Lazarus dead, even though He knew He was going to resurrect him (John 11:30-44). We are all condemned to death because of sin and our Messiah wants to bring life to us, but He can’t bring life to us until we acknowledge our sin and come to the understanding that we deserve death. 

After Yosef came to himself, he has Simeon bound up and taken captive while the rest were allowed to return home. He gave the other brothers their provisions, and returned their money. They found the money in the sacks that they were carrying the grain for their donkeys. This scared them to death. They didn’t blame Yosef for this because they didn’t even know he was still alive. They saw God’s hand in this and it made them tremble. 

They reported all this back to their father, Ya’akov (Jacob) (Gen. 42:29-34). When they told him about their encounter with Yosef, they simply referred to him as “the man.”

There are only two other person in the TaNaKh (a Hebrew acronym for the Torah, Prophets and Writings) called “the man”: Moshe (Moses; Ex. 11:3; 32:1; 32:23; Num 12:3) and Yeshua (John 19:5). They told Ya’akov that this man spoke “harshly” with them. The Hebrew word is קָשֶׁה qasheh (Strong’s lexicon No. H7186), which means hard, severe, cruel

They told Ya’akov that “the man” had accused them of being spies so they tried to defend their honor by giving “the man” their basic biography that they were all the man of one man and that they had another brother back home. 

This upset Ya’akov deeply. Reuben tries to give comfort to Ya’akov by promising to being back Benjamin alive from Egypt or Ya’akov could kill his two sons. Reuben understood that Yosef’s blood was on him as the eldest brother and that he had failed greatly in regards to Yosef’s welfare. Reuben may not have understood Ya’akov’s love for Yosef and his other sons until he had sons of his own. 

Reuben is showing great repentance here but Reuben’s repentance was not enough to convince Ya’akov to send Benjamin back with them get more food and to retrieve Simeon. That would take some time. 

Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.


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