The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis chapter 44

written by
Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Genesis chapter forty four
 Chapter 44 Joseph tested his brothers
 Gen. 44:1 - 17 You and I may be tested by others
 The search for the Holy Grail
 Do you carry your spiritual gift with you?
 Gen. 44:18 - 34 Christ was our substitute
 Tell your family secrets
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A devotional commentary is different from an exegetical commentary. In a devotional commentary like this one I can give the application of a verse rather than just the interpretation of a verse.






Genesis Chapter 44
Joseph tested the character of his brothers

"And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth. And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing. And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words. And they said unto him, wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: behold, the money, which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen. And he said, now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless. Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack. And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city. And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground. And Joseph said unto them, what deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine? And Judah said, what shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found. And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father"
(Genesis 44:1-17).

Joseph tested his brothers (you and I may be tested by others):
Joseph's brothers were in trouble in Egypt. These brothers had just feasted with Joseph the day before. They were happy then. It appears they had left Joseph's palace, but they were placed under arrest before they left Egypt, and were brought back to Joseph. Their brother, Benjamin, was set up. He was falsely accused of stealing Joseph's silver cup. Benjamin was innocent and probably told everyone that he was innocent. It is tragic that an innocent person can tell everyone that he is innocent and no one will believe him. Why is that? Joseph had it planned that his brother, Benjamin, would take the blame for stealing his silver drinking cup. Joseph's motive was that he wanted to test his brothers to see if they would abandon Benjamin or stick with him. Joseph remembered that his brothers had abandoned him when they sold him into slavery many years earlier. Standing before Joseph, would they do the same thing to Benjamin since he got into trouble? Joseph was testing them. Judah was the one who betrayed Joseph many years earlier by selling him into slavery, but Judah did not betray Benjamin. Joseph instantly recognized Judah's change of heart and attitude. All of Judah's trials appeared to have made him more Christ-like over the years. Likewise, the trials that you and I go through serve the same purpose.

Just as these brothers were tested by Joseph, so also you and I may be tested from time to time. One time there was a business owner who only wanted to promote an honest individual from within his business. He called in individual after individual in an interview informing each one that he or she would have to lie and cheat if they received the promotion. Most said they were willing to do that, but one person said he was not willing to do that because it was against his religion, principles, ethics, and integrity. That man got the job. There is an old saying: "when the world squeezes you like a sponge, make sure Jesus comes out". If we act like Jesus, I don't think that any of us should have a problem when someone tests us. What do you think?


The search for the Holy Grail (church fiction):
Joseph used a silver drinking cup. Later, a cup of the Lord was used by Christ in the celebration of His last supper (when He gave Holy Communion) to His disciples
(Matthew 26:27; Luke 22:20). It is possible that Paul the Apostle received this cup and referred to it as "the cup of blessing which we bless"
(1 Corinthians 10:16). In real life, there has never been a connection made between the cup of Joseph and the cup of Christ. The cup of Christ disappeared. Christ's cup and His robe have been the legend of many church poems, stories, and movies throughout the years. These legends are fiction but they are still of interest to many folks.

The most famous story of all, and the one I like the best, concerns the search for the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail was a silver chalice (drinking cup). Some think it was the same cup used by Christ in the celebration of His last supper. It appears that Joseph of Arimathea used it to catch the blood flowing from Christ's wounds, as He hung upon the cross, and then took it to Britain with him. About 400 years later, one of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table named Sir Lancelot, fell in love with a beautiful married princess, Guinevere. They had a son, who also became a knight, named Sir Galahad. He set out on the quest for the Holy Grail. He battled a lot and was very chivalrous. To make a long story short, he found the Grail. According to the legend, only Galahad, because he was pure, could look directly into the Grail and behold the divine mysteries that cannot be described by any person. The problem was- he had the Grail but failed to keep it and it was eventually lost, never to show up again. Of course, that was all fiction but a story line like that makes for good poems, writings, and movies because it combines love, bravery, action, honor, chivalry, and spirituality. However, I do not remember Joseph's cup ever being made famous like that by writers or movie producers. There is no relevance to any of that- I just thought I would throw that in here with no additional charge!


Do you carry your spiritual gift with you? (Joseph said he could divine):
The verb word to divine or divineth is just another word for prophecy. Joseph had the gift of prophecy- it is one of the 9 gifts of God the Holy Spirit
(1 Corinthians 12:10). How can we be sure of this? A prophet forth tells (preaches) and foretells the future (prophecies). Joseph foretold the future when he interpreted the dreams of the butler, the baker, and also Pharaoh. He used the gift of prophecy that God had given to him and he gave the glory to God for it.

There is some difference of opinion, today, in Pentecostal circles (spheres of influence), whether or not a spiritual gift is carried by the person continuously with him or her, or whether God only exercises one with the gift when it is needed. My spiritual gift is the discerning of spirits. Since I use this gift over and over again, I am of the opinion that one carries his or her spiritual gift around with them like a hiker carries a backpack. To my way of thinking, a gift is something given to me that I can love and cherish continually. If someone gives me a gift and then takes it back, and then gives it to me again, and then takes it back again, I probably would not want it as I would doubt the sincerity of the giver to give it to me in the first place. But, that is only my opinion and you are certainly entitled to your own.


"Then Judah came near unto him, and said, oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. My lord asked his servants, saying, have ye a father, or a brother? And we said unto my lord, we have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him. And thou saidst unto thy servants, bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. And we said unto my lord, the lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die. And thou saidst unto thy servants, except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. And our father said, go again, and buy us a little food. And we said, we cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us. And thy servant my father said unto us, ye know that my wife bare me two sons: and the one went out from me, and I said, surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since: and if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life; it shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, if I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father"
(Genesis 44:18-34).

Christ was our substitute (Judah offered himself as a substitute):
Why did Judah speak instead of one of his other brothers? I imagine it was because of his promise to his father, Jacob, that he would be surety for Benjamin. He had to do all he could to make sure Benjamin got back home so Jacob would not become sorrowful and die. Judah remembered the hurt and the sorrow that him and his brothers caused Jacob twenty years earlier. Maybe Jacob had almost died at that time, due to grief, when he heard that Joseph was dead. Judah did not want to do that to his father again. Why? Because he probably loved his father did not want to hurt him. Let's you and I so love our Heavenly Father that we never do anything to hurt Him.

It was significant when Judah said: "Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren". Why? Judah was willing to be substituted for Benjamin. In other words, rather than see Benjamin be put to death, go to prison, or become a slave, Judah was willing to take his place. Judah offered himself as a substitute for the allegedly guilty Benjamin- the innocent one offered to take the place of the guilty one. This event is a type of the substitution of the Son of God in your place and in my place- the innocent for the guilty. Christ had no sin but you and I are guilty of our own sins. Christ, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, was willing to take your place and my place as a substitute. We deserved to die on that old Roman cross for our own sins but He died there in our place
(Romans 5:8). Judah did not have to take Benjamin's place just like you and I do not have to suffer for our own sins in hell.

Will you give us a little more teaching on that? Yes. That is called, in Christian theology, the Doctrine of Substitution. It is the doctrine of the cross of Christ. Christ, Who was innocent and had no sin, from the tribe of Judah, willingly offered Himself as a substitute for you and I who are guilty of sin. We are the ones who are guilty and should pay the price for our sins in hell, but Christ took our place, died in our stead (so we don't have to), and paid the price for our sins with His own blood. He did that because He loves us. If you have invited Him into your heart, He redeemed you by His own blood that washed away your sins. How can we ever repay such a large debt as that? The only thing that God asks in return is our love, obedience, and worship of Him. I don't think that is asking too much, do you?


It's ok to tell the secrets of your family of origin to get your emotional healing
(however, Joseph's brothers probably did not tell their secret yet
):
Let's talk about family secrets- those unholy ones that no one cares to talk about very much. A family secret is like an elephant that is standing in the living room of your house when your family members gather there. Everyone knows it is there but everyone refuses to see it or talk about it. Do you think Judah and his brothers told their father about what they did to Joseph? I think not- it was probably a family secret they kept for twenty years or more.

My family of origin had family secrets that I discovered and exposed to the light. You might say that I saw the elephant and was disgusted that it was there. It was time for the elephant to go. Some of my extended family members, those who were "the keepers of the family secret", rejected me for doing that but it was something I felt was necessary for my own emotional health and deep satisfaction. Maybe your family of origin has family secrets also. It is usually emotionally healthy for an individual, in proper therapy or counselling, to reveal family secrets and talk about those responsible. If the secret concerns your childhood abuse, then take the blame off of yourself and put it back on the perpetrator(s) where it belongs and start the healing process. At this point in time, I doubt if Judah and his brothers had told their family secret to anyone- but God, through Joseph, was about to expose their family secret for all the world to know.



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