16 “When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 17 The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18 And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys” (Genesis 43:16–18 (ESV)
Proverbs 28:1 (ESV) says, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” King Solomon was stating that an individual, or individuals, with a guilty conscience imagine accusers everywhere (cf. Num. 32:23; Ps. 53:5). However, a person’s clear conscience gives boldness for them to face anyone
When Joseph’s brothers arrived in Egypt, he showed them genuine hospitality. He had them brought into his home and gave orders to have an animal slaughtered and prepared for a festive noontime lunch.
The brothers, with the obvious exception of Benjamin, were afraid. They felt great distress and deep concern. Why? There was no obvious reason for them to fear. Or was there?
Today’s text says that they were afraid because they reasoned that Joseph would soon accuse them of theft. This was due to the replaced money in their individual sacks. They believed that Joseph would assault them, enslave them and seize their donkeys.
Perhaps the elder brothers’ fear stems from their actions over twenty years in the past. They assaulted Joseph, sold him into slavery to the Midianites, and seized his many colored tunic (Gen. 37:18-28). It is clear that the elder brothers do not have clear consciences. Therefore, they feared Joseph when he gave them no reason to fear.
Puritan Matthew Henry writes, “They were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house, v. 18. The just challenges of their own consciences, and Joseph’s violent suspicions of them, forbade them to expect any favor, and suggested to them that this was done with a bad design upon them. Those that are guilty and timorous are apt to make the worst of everything. Now they thought they should be reckoned with about the money in the sacks’ mouths, and should be charged as cheats, and men not fit to be dealt with, who had taken advantage of the hurry of the market to carry off their corn unpaid for.”
Have you ever been afraid of someone, or some situation? Why? Was it because of some past indiscretion or sin you committed which created in you a guilty conscience in the present? Confess whatever sin in your life and rest in the forgiveness found in Christ Jesus alone.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!