Monday, 13 January 2014
Reading the Bible 38 Genesis 44 – The Test
Joseph again puts his brothers to the test. He has his servants plant his cup in Benjamin’s belongings and then pursues and catches them red handed with the proof of their apparent dishonesty. As a result of this the thing that the Jacob and the brothers feared most comes to fruition. Benjamin will be kept in Egypt as Joseph’s slave. Judah now steps up to the plate and pleads that Benjamin be allowed to return home. If he does not return with the brothers he is afraid that it will kill Jacob.
This action seems unnecessarily cruel on the part of Joseph. A kind-hearted reader might think that Joseph has put his brothers through enough to pay them back for their treachery towards him. After all he is aware that they apparently were actors in enabling God’s grand plan for Joseph and his chosen people to fulfill the covenant he made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. However, this test was to determine once and for all if his brothers had been transformed in the years since they betrayed him. If Joseph had not gone through the transformative experience in Egypt it might have been reasonable to expect that at least a small part of him would have been pleased to put his brothers through a bit more torment as pay back. However, I believe that Joseph, being the person he is now, had only pure motives in this act. Sometimes been soft-hearted is not what is required. Sometimes we all need a bit of iron in our souls to travel the journey that God calls us to.