Joseph is Reunited With His Family

Source: Genesis 42-50

At the age of thirty years old Joseph had gone from being a prisoner in Egypt to governor of Egypt. God accomplished this by showing Joseph the meaning of the dreams that Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had dreamed. These dreams indicated that there would be seven years of plentiful harvests in Egypt followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh felt that the best man to lead Egypt through this coming crisis was Joseph, and he made Joseph governor of Egypt. Not long after Joseph became governor, the years of plenty began. Joseph stored the extra food that Egypt produced during the years of plenty for use during the famine years. It was during this time also that Joseph married the daughter of the priest of On and they had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

Joseph's father Jacob, and Joseph's brothers and their families, still lived in Canaan. Joseph's brothers had convinced Jacob that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal many years before, and they themselves thought Joseph was a slave in Egypt. None of his family suspected that Joseph was the governor of Egypt. Then, just as God had warned Pharaoh, the seven years of plentiful harvests passed by and the seven years of famine began. The famine affected not only Egypt but also the countries around it, including Canaan. Jacob and the brothers were running out of food when they heard that food was plentiful in Egypt. They decided to go to Egypt and buy food there. When they came before the governor to buy food, they did not recognize Joseph. However, Joseph did recognize his brothers, and he chose to keep his identity secret until he found out what kind of men his brothers had become.

The brothers told Joseph that they had come to Egypt to buy food, but Joseph accused them of being spies. The brothers told Joseph that they were all the sons of one man from Canaan. All of Jacob's sons had come on the trip to Egypt except for the youngest, Benjamin. Joseph finally told them they could buy food, but the next time the brothers returned to Egypt, they were to bring Benjamin also. In order to make sure that the brothers would return, Joseph took one of the brothers, Simeon, and put him in prison. The remaining brothers started back to Canaan with the food they had bought, but they made an interesting discovery on the way back. They discovered the money they had used to buy the food was now inside the sacks of food they carried. When the brothers got back, they told Jacob about the strange things that had happened. Jacob was very upset at losing Simeon, but he did not want to send Benjamin to Egypt and risk losing him also.

Time went by and the famine continued. The food that the brothers had bought in Egypt ran out, and Jacob asked them to return to Egypt and buy more food. The brothers reminded Jacob that they had to bring Benjamin with them if they returned to Egypt to buy food. One of the brothers, Judah, assured Jacob that he would protect Benjamin with his life. Jacob finally agreed, and told the brothers to take double the money this time as well as some gifts for the governor. They returned to Egypt and went to the governor. Upon seeing them, Joseph released Simeon and invited the brothers to eat lunch with him. Upon seeing his brother Benjamin, who was now a grown man, Joseph had to go into another room as he cried. In a little while, Joseph composed himself and went back to lunch with his brothers.

Meanwhile, Joseph told his steward to fill the brothers sacks with food. He also told the steward to again put the brothers money in the sacks. Finally, he told the steward to put Joseph's silver cup in Benjamin's sack. The next morning the brothers started back to Canaan. They had not gone far when they were stopped by the steward, who was following them at the command of Joseph. The steward accused the brothers of stealing Joseph's silver cup. The brothers denied they had taken the cup and allowed the steward to search their belongings. The silver cup was soon found in Benjamin's bag. The steward and the astonished brothers headed back to see Joseph.

When they got back, Joseph told the brothers that only the alleged thief, Benjamin, would be kept in Egypt and that the other brothers could return to Canaan in peace. The brothers were in shock and were completely confused by all of the strange events, but they did not want to lose another brother. Judah told the governor how perplexed the brothers were by all the events and that they did not understand what was going on, but that they could not return to Canaan without their brother. Their old father would surely die of grief, and Judah asked that he be kept instead of Benjamin. It was at this moment that Joseph could see that his brothers were changed, and he asked the Egyptians that were in the room to leave him alone with his brothers.

When he was at last alone with his brothers, Joseph told them that he was their long lost brother. He assured them that he bore them no ill will, because God had turned the evil that they had done to him to good. Many lives, including theirs, were now being saved because of Joseph's work. Joseph told the brothers to go back to Canaan and tell Jacob that he was now the governor of Egypt. Also, because the famine would last for many more years, he told them to move to Egypt so that he could provide for all of them. The excited brothers went back to Canaan and told the news to Jacob, who hardly believed his favorite son was alive after all these years. Jacob and the brothers soon moved to Egypt and the family was reunited at long last. The land of Egypt was saved by the godly Joseph, and Joseph cared for his family for the rest of his life.