The Journey of Joseph: Ten Honest Men? 

29 When they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying, 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly to us and took us to be spies of the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we have never been spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One is no more, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33 Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for the famine of your households, and go your way. 34 Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I shall know that you are not spies but honest men, and I will deliver your brother to you, and you shall trade in the land.’ ” (Genesis 42:29–34 (ESV)

The Book of Proverbs makes several statements regarding the sin of lying.  

Proverbs 6:16-18 says, “16There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies ,and one who sows discord among brothers.” 

Proverbs 12:22 says, Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”

Twice in today’s text, Jacob’s eldest sons, minus Simeon, explain what happened when they arrived in Egypt to buy grain. They described the behavior of Egypt’s governor, not knowing that he was their brother Joseph. They explained the conditions upon which the returned to Canaan and why Simeon was kept captive in Egypt. They finally explained the condition required for Simeon’s release: Benjamin must accompany them when they return to Egypt. 

All of what they stated was true, with one exception. Twice they either described themselves, or recalled Joseph describing them, as honest men. In other words, truthful and trustworthy. Past recorded behavior indicates otherwise. 

With respect to Moses’ narrative concerning Joseph, the brothers not only lied to Jacob about Joseph (Gen. 37:29-35), they also lied to Joseph about Joseph (Gen. 42:12-13). They also did not tell Jacob the truth of having sold Joseph into slavery (Gen. 37:25-28). Therefore, their self-description as honest men was a testimony of self-deception. It was another lie. 

Have you ever been deceived? Has someone ever lied to you? How did you react when you discovered the truth of their deception? Were you angry, sad, disappointed, or all of the above? 

One more question. Have you ever lied to someone? 

Psalm 19:14 says, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

May the LORD see honesty and integrity in each of us. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria! 

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