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Joseph Strategically Calls His Brothers to Repentance | Genesis 43

In Chapter 42 we read about how Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt seeking food during the great famine. While in Egypt, they ran into Joseph, but Joseph concealed his identity and accused them of being spies. There was a reason for this. He strategically began putting his brothers through various trials and temptations in an attempt to pry into their guilty conscience. In this chapter Joseph will continue this strategy. Will it work? Will his brother’s repent of their secret sin they have been hiding for 20 years?

Let’s begin reading:


Genesis 43:1 And the famine was sore in the land.

Genesis 43:2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.

Genesis 43:3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.

Genesis 43:4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food:

Genesis 43:5 But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.

Judah reminded his father Jacob that they cannot go back down to Egypt without taking Benjamin with.

Genesis 43:6 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?

Genesis 43:7 And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down?

Genesis 43:8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones.

They didn’t really have a choice. If they go down to Egypt they risk losing their brother Benjamin, but if they will all die anyway.

Genesis 43:9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever:

I will be surety for him: Wow! Judah sure stepped up his game here. He is willing to put his life for Benjamin’s.

Genesis 43:10 For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.

Jacob’s indecisiveness made this situation more of an emergency than it already was.

Genesis 43:11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:

It appears that they had some food left, but obviously not enough to sustain them for very long.

Genesis 43:12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight:

Show honesty by bringing the money back that Joseph had secretly put back in the sacks.

Genesis 43:13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:

Genesis 43:14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.

It took him a while, seemed like he had a period where his faith wasn’t very strong. Now Jacob finally gets back to putting his trust in God. He lets God handle the outcome that he was not able to control. He says, “If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” Sometimes we just have to let go. We cannot control everything in our lives.


Genesis 43:15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.

Jacob is showing great wisdom by sending his boys down with a present, along with the money left in the sacks the first time, and money for more grain.

Genesis 43:16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.

Genesis 43:17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house.

Genesis 43:18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses.

They thought they were dead men. Sin brings fear, and fear brings torment. Joseph is setting the stage here to pry into their guilty conscience.

Genesis 43:19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed with him at the door of the house,

Genesis 43:20 And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food:

Genesis 43:21 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand.

Genesis 43:22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.

Genesis 43:23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.

Interesting, he credits God for blessing them with free grain. Was this Egyptian who was so close to Joseph a believer in the One and Only True God?

Genesis 43:24 And the man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender.

Genesis 43:25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.

Genesis 43:26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.

Bowed themselves to him to the earth- Again, Joseph’s dream is coming to pass. His brothers are bowing down to him just as God had showed him they would.

Lesson: Never doubt God’s Word. Though His promises may seem to take a long time to come to pass, they always come to pass. Joseph waited 20 turbulent years before God’s promises to him came to pass.

Genesis 43:27 And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?

Is your father well- Finding out the welfare of his father was one of the reasons Joseph brought accusations of spying against his brothers. It was a way for him to gather as much information as he could about his family without revealing who he was. Had he revealed who he was too soon, it would not have given time to get his brothers to acknowledge their sin naturally.

Lesson: Jesus does not reveal Himself to people until they acknowledge their sin. Repentance is key! “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38). Joseph to was calling his brothers to repentance as, before revealing himself! This great parallel is brought out even further in John 14. Below are just a few select verses from there. Go, and read the whole chapter when you have time and you will have a deeper understanding of this mystery.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Genesis 43:28 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.

Genesis 43:29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son.

Genesis 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.

Joseph couldn’t contain his emotions, but he didn’t want to reveal himself just yet. This would take a lot of patience, but he is going to stick with the plan. His brothers have not yet passed the test.

Genesis 43:31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.

Genesis 43:32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

The Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews- Back then the Egyptians believed in racial purity and segregation, a perfect place for God to grow his chosen nation. A place where they could go from just 70 souls to millions in the space of 400 years, uncontaminated from other nations like the Canaanites. Placing the Israelites in this kind of solitude kept them away from the temptation of intermixing with other peoples.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9

Genesis 43:33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marveled one at another.

The men marveled one at another- They are wondering, “How could this Egyptian guy know our order of birth?”

Genesis 43:34 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him.

Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of theirs- Why would Joseph give Benjamin five times as much food? Remember, Joseph is putting them through various trials. No doubt he is testing them to see if they would be jealous of their younger brother like they were of him.


God has ways of trying to pry into our conscience, in order to call us to repentance. But not all will heed the call and repent. Not all will make it to heaven. Paul says to Timothy that:

“The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” -1 Timothy 4:1-2

With that said, next week we’ll find out if the brothers answer the call.
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