30 Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out. And controlling himself he said, “Serve the food.” 32 They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one another in amazement. 34 Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him” (Genesis 43:30–34 (ESV)
Lunchtime with the Egyptian governor proved to be an interesting affair for Jacob’s eleven sons. Once again, little did they realize that the governor in fact was their brother Joseph. Additionally, an interesting cultural dynamic is evident in today’s text.
First, they ate segregated from each other. Joseph ate by himself. His brothers ate by themselves. Also, the other Egyptians in attendance ate by themselves. This was because Egyptians did not eat with the Hebrews because this was an abomination to the Egyptians. Moses, who wrote this historical account, would have known this cultural conduct.
Secondly, even though they sat and ate separately, they dined in the same room. The eleven brothers sat before Joseph. The interesting thing was that Joseph sat them in order of their birth. Joseph’s brothers were obviously amazed at the seating arrangement. They wondered how the governor knew their birth order.
Thirdly, the portions of food which Benjamin received were five times as much as the other brothers. Perhaps Joseph did this to see if the jealous bothers of his past would have a similar jealously toward their other brother Benjamin in the present.
None of these issues seemed to matter to the group. Everyone drank and made merry.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Joseph gives his brothers an opportunity to prove they are now different when he eats with them. Their earlier sins against him were prompted by jealousy, and so he makes sure to shower Benjamin with gifts to see if they envied Rachel’s other son (43:26–34a). His formerly murderous siblings pass the test with flying colors, eating and rejoicing freely without being disgruntled at having less than their youngest brother (v. 34b). Truly, they have grown spiritually by leaps and bounds in the years Joseph has been away. But Joseph will test their fidelity one last time to see if they have actually been transformed by the Spirit and are now ruled by love.”
How has the Holy Spirit transformed you? How is the fruit of the Spirit evident in your own life?
More to come is our study of the Journey of Joseph. Have a blessed day.
Soli deo Gloria!