Friday, February 28, 2014


Scripture does not tell us a great deal; indeed it tells us nothing about young Moses’ early days in Pharaoh’s household growing up as his grandson. But it is a reasonable inference that he would have played at, if not, on the Pharaoh’s knee and have the run of the house in his early days. As he grew older he would have been taught to fight with spear, sword and javelin; and he would have had access to the King’s own library, art and literature. As he grew older too, he would have seen his face in the mirror and found out that his was not a typical Egyptian face; but then again maybe his striking good looks overshadowed if not entirely concealed his Jewish ancestry. In addition he would have seen his suffering brethren and marked the physical similarity he had with them, and would have been left in no doubt that he was indeed a Hebrew. Then one day it all came to a head. He saw an Egyptian smiting one of his fellow Hebrews; and after looking around to make sure that no one was watching, he slew the Egyptian, one of Pharaoh’s servants and hid the body in the sand. Well no one saw him he thought; but someone did see him; not one of the Pharaoh’s soldiers, or one of his servants or one of his spies; but one of Moses very brethren out of regard for whom he had acted. So it came to pass that the very next day Moses went out and saw two Hebrews fighting, and he stepped in the middle and verbally chastised the aggressor. “Why are you beating up on your fellow,” Moses asked him, whereupon the aggressor turned on Moses and asked him, “Who made you a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian?” Upon hearing that, Moses realized that his secret was no secret, and felt it was only a matter of time before the matter would reach the ears of the Pharaoh, whereupon his own life would be in grave danger. Sure enough, the Pharaoh did hear of the matter and wanted to kill Moses; but be this time, Moses had fled the country. More

Thursday, February 27, 2014


The Birth of Moses While the Children of Israel were laboring under the yoke of their hard task masters, and while the King’s edict was still in force whereby all the male children of the Hebrews were to be killed or cast into the river if they were born alive, a child was born to one of the daughters of Levi; and the child’s mother looked upon him and seeing he was an exceptionally beautiful child, hid him away in order to conceal his birth. In course of time however, the mother decided that the time had come to try and spirit the child away, as she could no longer keep him hidden; so she built an ark, and sealed the bottom thereof and placed the child in it and put the ark in among the reeds at the side of the river. The mother’s intention and her hope was that the little ark would somehow be borne safely away by the river and taken to some place beyond the jurisdiction of the Pharaoh; but while his sister was watching from afar, she saw that one of Pharaoh’s daughter’s maids had while walking along the river’s bank discovered the ark. The maid then took the ark to Pharaoh’s daughter and when she opened it, she found the child therein. As the child cried, Pharaoh’s daughter had compassion on it, even though she knew it was a child of the Hebrews. Pharaoh’s daughter then commanded that one of the Hebrew women be fetched to nurse the child and the messenger went and brought back the child’s very own mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter contracted with the mother of the child that she should nurse and care for the child for wages. So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew older, the mother brought the child to Pharaoh’s daughter and she accepted it as her very own son; and she called his name Moses, because she had taken him out of the water. More

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


The new King of Egypt, as has been said above was troubled by the huge horde that the 70 descendants of Israel had become. The King felt they were a potential threat for said he, “Less as they multiply and in the event of an outbreak of war they should side with the enemy and by so doing overcome us and take over our land.” The solution, therefore, was to divide them up into small work groups and set taskmasters over each group and to give them onerous task to perform. To this end the Israelites were used as hard laborers to build cities for the Pharaoh. Overworking them and underfeeding them the King felt sure, was bound to stunt their growth. However, the more the Israelites were afflicted, the more they increased and grew in every respect. Seeing the way they continued to prosper, the Egyptians made their tasks even more rigorous; but nothing seemed to work. The king had an idea; if hard work could not stop or kill these people what about genocide? The adults were needed for the king’s work so he resorted to limited genocide, that is to say, killing only the infants born to the Hebrews. Therefore, the king gave orders to the two Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, to kill all the male children born to the Hebrew women; but the midwives feared God and did not do as the King commanded them. When the King saw that sons of Hebrew women were being spared and not being killed as the king had commanded, he called the two midwives and demanded an explanation. Accordingly they had an answer prepared for the King. They told the king that the Hebrew women were not like Egyptian women. The Hebrew women, they told the King, were strong and would born their children without help of midwife; so that by the time they got the news that a birth was on its way, the child would be long born before the midwife could arrive at the scene, by which time it was too late to smother it. And so it was that God blessed and prospered the two Hebrew midwives because they had acted out of fear of God. And the Hebrews continued to grow into larger and larger numbers. At that stage the King became desperate; whereas the midwives were to kill the infant males while being delivered, to make them look like still-born births, the king now ordered all his people that every Hebrew male child that is born should be cast into the river, saving only the female new born only. More

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


The story so far was taken from, and was a synopsis of the Book of Genesis. It does not assume to be an authoritative overview of the whole or even a part of that Book. It is merely a summary, and a brief summary at that. As we have seen Genesis is a Book of Beginnings. It tells of the Origination of the Nations generally, and the Origination of the Jewish nation in particular. Genesis may be regarded as the anchor in a relay race; it is the foundation for all the books that follow. Its three main purposes may be seen as (i) historical, (ii) doctrinal, and (iii) Christological. It is Historical in that it is the basis of knowledge of all human history from Eden to the present day. It is Doctrinal as it shows clearly the doctrine of God’s creative will and purpose over all men and all things, and also how He is able to superintend and protect those He chooses to be the beneficiaries of His providence and power. It is Christological in that Christ is seen foreshadowed throughout, including, the one who would bruise the serpent’s head, the scepter that would not depart from Judah; the betrayed brother, the suffering servant, sold for pieces of silver , the son loved of his father, who suffered for and forgave those who wronged him. So to continue, the story focuses briefly on the family of Israel living in Egypt after the deaths of Israel and Joseph, and expanding and prospering and growing exponentially to the point that the new King of Egypt not knowing Joseph, he been long dead, became very concerned about these peculiar people who were growing like a wild fire in his country; a people not like unto his own; a people who worshipped a strange God who lives in the sky; a God who seem to have the power to prosper them above all other people; and so the new King was alarmed and decided it was time to do something about them. This is the subject of the second Book, the Book of Exodus. More.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Without stretching the imagination or the understanding, it should be evident that between Adam and Joseph, human history had completed a complete cycle; turned 360 degrees, as it it were from the cradle of Eden to the grave in Egypt. Adam was placed by his father in a cradle, in the garden of Eden where he fed and nurtured and communed with him; and Adam’s descendent Joseph died in Egypt and was placed in a coffin there completing the cycle of life. In between there were many important names and personalities which would be too many to mention here; but none of them quite like the man Joseph. There were men such as Cain and Abel and Seth, Adam’s sons and after that there were such men as Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and of course Noah’s great grandson Nimrod the son of Cush his grandson. The next important name for our purposes is of course that of Abraham whom God called out of Ur of the Chaldees and promised to make a great nation and to make his name great. And out of Abraham came forth Ishmael although he was not the son of the promise and then Isaac who was. Then out of Isaac came forth Esau and Jacob, and here again the firstborn was not the one chosen of God, but the younger Jacob. As we have seen, Jacob whose name God changed to Israel had 12 sons the 11th of whom was Joseph, and it is to Joseph’s life, his fortunes and misfortunes, his ups and his downs, his humiliation and his glory that we now must turn our attention as we close this present chapter. It is often said by scholars, that Joseph was a type of Christ, a prefiguration of Messiah that would come at a later time. There are scores of similarities between the life of Joseph and that of Messiah; but just a few illustrations will serve to make the case. Parallels between Joseph and Jesus. Their father loved them dearly. Both were shepherds tending their father’s sheep. Both were sent by their father to their brothers. Both were hated by their brothers who plotted to kill them. Both were tempted and resisted temptation. Both were taken to Egypt Both had their robes taken. Both sold for twenty and thirty pieces of silver respectively. Both were bound in chains. Both were falsely accused. Both were confined with 2 other prisoners, one of whom was saved and the other not. Both were 30 years old at the beginning of public life. Both were exalted after suffering. Both forgave those who wronged them. Both saved their nation. In either case what men did to them for evil God turned to good.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Having buried his father Jacob, Joseph and the whole company, including his own brothers and their family returned to Egypt. After that Joseph’s brothers began to fear him. They said among themselves that it was possible that Joseph had only shown kindness to them for their father Israel’s sake; but that now he was dead and gone, surely Joseph would turn on them, and perhaps take out vengeance on them for the evil they had done to him. So fearful of Joseph were his brothers that they did not have the courage to go to him in person; their guilty consciences continued to plague them; so they sent a messenger to Joseph to remind him that their father while he was yet alive, sought to intercede for them, and had even instructed them to go to Joseph and confess that they had done him great evil, and to ask him to forgive them their trespasses against him. Even after their emissary had gone to Joseph, they themselves appeared and bowed down and knelt before Joseph and prayed for his forgiveness; and when Joseph saw them prostrating themselves before him, he wept. Joseph also responded and told them that he was not God, neither could he take the place of God; and as such they had nothing to fear from him. It is true, he reminded them that they intended evil against him; but God turned that very evil around for the good of many people. Therefore he comforted them, “I will nourish and sustain you and your little ones;” you have nothing to fear from me, he told them. Thereafter, Joseph and his father’s household and his brethren lived in Egypt. And Joseph lived to a ripe old age and saw the children of his sons unto the third generation. And when he was one hundred and ten years old, Joseph said unto his brethren “I die, and God will surely visit you and bring you out of this land, and into the land that he swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “As I live,” Joseph swore to his brethren, “God will surely visit you and you will carry up my bones from here.” And so Joseph died and was embalmed, and was buried in a coffin in Egypt. Do join me tomorrow for a summary of the lives of the people of God from Eden to the coffin in Egypt.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


After Joseph’s one hundred and ten days of mourning had past, he petitioned the Pharaoh that he should allow him to go to the burial place of his ancestors to bury his father there in accordance with his father’s dying wish; and the Pharaoh consented and told him, go and bury your father. And Joseph went up to bury his father, and with him went all of Pharaoh’s servants, and all the elders of his house and all the elders of the people of the land of Egypt. With him too, were his and his father’s own household and his brethren, the little ones and the flocks only were left behind. Accordingly, then, the only person of importance left behind in Egypt, who did not attend Joseph’s father’s funeral was the Pharaoh himself. Clearly the Pharaoh loved and had great regard for Joseph and his father; but it would seem that while it was fitting that due reverence be paid to a man of such high esteem such as Israel was, that though he was head of household, Israel was not then a state, but a tribe; as such he was not head of State, and it would seem that even way back then, protocol was that heads of State only attended the funerals of heads of State. Even so, the Pharaoh made sure that he was well represented, by causing his servants and elders to attend. The procession that left Egypt, then, to attend Israel’s funeral was a great company of horses and horsemen and chariots. Arriving at a certain threshing floor, which is beyond the Jordon they, decided to stop there. This place was in the land of Canaan, and there the whole company engaged in a period of solemn mourning lasting over a period of seven days. And after the final period of mourning was over, Israel’s sons bore their father to his final resting place; and there they buried him.

Friday, February 21, 2014


And so Jacob, whom God renamed Israel, having gathered his twelve children together, and having blessed them according to the blessing and the foresight and knowledge and understanding which were in his heart, gave them the final charge as follows: “I am to be gathered unto my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite; the very cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession as a burying place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah. The purchase of the field and of the cave that is in it was from the children of Heth.” So Jacob laid out and recited a good root of title to the bury spot, so that his sons may know that the place belonged to the family by right of purchase and long possession. And having made an end of instructing his sons, he hauled himself upon his bed, stretched himself out, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his fathers. As his father breathed his last, Joseph fell upon his face and wept and kissed his father. Then he commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father and so the physicians embalmed Israel. It took forty days for the embalming process to be completed; and when it was over, all Egypt mourned Israel for a further seventy days.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


So Israel with his sons gathered around him was patriarch, father and prophet, looking by inspiration of God and declaring to them events that would come to pass way into the future. He had declared that the Messiah shall come out of the tribe of Judah; (“the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from beneath his feet until Shiloh {Messiah] comes.” Significantly we see that Judah was the 4th son of Leah who named him Judah, because she said, “Now I will praise the Lord; so she called his name Judah.” So in his name one may see the clear implication that he would be the Royal Line through which Messiah should come. And now the dying Israel turned to his beloved Joseph to whom, about whom he had a lot to say. “Joseph is a fruitful bough; even a fruitful bow by a well whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him and shot at him and hated him; but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of the hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob from thence is the Shepherd, the stone of Israel; even by the God of thy father who shall help thee and by the Almighty who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies under, blessings of the breast and of the womb; the blessings of the father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the uttermost bounds of the everlasting hills; they shall be upon the head of Joseph and on the crown of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.” These words concerning Joseph consumed a good deal of the dying man’s strength; and they must have been in part somewhat galling to his other sons who were involved in the conspiracy to kill Joseph; but Israel’s words were not words of division, or intended to be reproachful. They were words of adoration and praise for the God of heaven who had used Joseph to carry out his purpose, supporting and strengthening and emboldening him on the way. But be that as it may they were words which had to be spoken. And now there was just one more son, his last son, to whom to turn his attention; that was Benjamin And turning to Benjamin he said, “ Benjamin shall ravin, (devour) as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey and at night he shall divide the spoil. More

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Israel is getting ready to leave the world, and so he summoned his sons and told them that he was going to tell them about themselves, how he saw them in the future. First he addressed Rueben as he was the eldest and told him that he possessed his might, the beginning of his strength, and the excellency of his power. But alas, he told him he was as unstable as water and as such he would not exceed in life because he had a character flaw which manifested itself when he defiled his father’s bed. To Simeon and Levi he said, “you are alike. As such you are instruments of cruelty, and cruelty dwell in your habitation. In your anger you slew a man, and cursed is your anger and your wrath.” Addressing Judah he said, “you are he whom your brethren shall praise; thy hand shall be in the neck of your enemies; your father’s children shall bow down before you.” Judah is a lion’s whelp from the prey; my son; you behave like a lion when it crouches down and when it rises up. The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from beneath his feet, until Shiloh comes; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” “He shall bind his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine, he shall wash his garment in wine; in his clothes is the blood of grapes. His eyes shall be red with wine and his teeth white with milk.” To Zebulun he said, “you shall dwell in the haven of the sea and you shall be a seafarer and your domain shall be Zidon. Essachar he said is a strong ass crouching down between to burdens and he saw that rest was good and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear and become a servant unto tribute. Dan, he said, shall be a serpent by the way; an adder in the path that bites the horse heels so that his rider shall fall backwards. To Gad he said a troop shall overcome him, but he shall overcome at the last. Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. Naphtali, he said is a hind let loose. About Joseph whom likened unto a fruitful bough, he had much to say; but the rest will have to wait for tomorrow. More

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Now we need to follow closely what follows next, as Joseph presented his two children Ephraim and Manasseh to his ailing father. In presenting them, Joseph held Ephraim in his right hand towards his father’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand towards his father’s right hand. In doing so, Joseph was following protocol, expecting his father to take hold of Manasseh with his right hand, Manasseh being the elder; but old and weak as he was, Israel had other ideas; for he reached out his right hand and crossed over as it were, and laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim and his left hand upon the head of Manasseh. Thus poised, the old man blessed his son Joseph and his sons in these words. “God before whom my father Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day; the angel which redeemed me from all evil; bless the lads and let my name be named on them; and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Joseph noticed that his father had deliberately laid his right hand upon Ephraim’s head and thought it should not be so, since Ephraim was not the first born; so he attempted to reverse the order by raising his father’s right hand and putting it on the head of Manasseh instead; “not so my father.” Joseph protested; “here is Manasseh my first born; put your right hand upon his head instead;” but Israel would have none of it and so he refused and said; “I know it my son; I know it; Manasseh also shall become a people; and he shall be great; but truly Ephraim shall be greater than Manasseh and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.” So Israel blessed them that day and said unto them, “In thee shall Israel bless saying, God make thee as Ephraim and Manasseh;” so he set Ephraim before Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph; “I die; but God shall be with you; and bring you again into the land of your fathers. Moreover, I have given to you one portion above thy brethren which I took out of the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.” More.

Monday, February 17, 2014


In the meantime, Israel and his family remained in the country of Goshen in the land of Egypt, and guess what? They began to multiply exceedingly. For seventeen years, Israel lived in the land of Egypt until he reached the age of one hundred and forty and seven years. By this time, Israel knew that he would shortly go to sleep with his fathers; so he called his son Joseph and said to him. “Son, if now I have found grace in they sight, swear to me; put your hand beneath my thigh, and promise me that you will honor my dying wish; that you will not bury me in the land of Egypt; but that when I die, you will carry me back to the burying place of my fathers and bury me there.” And Joseph said, “I will father.” And Israel said, “Swear unto me.” Then Joseph said, “I swear.” And so, Israel, satisfied that his son had made a vow to him concerning his final resting place settled himself upon his bed; and Joseph left his father and went away. Shorty after that news reached Joseph that his father was very ill, and Joseph took his two sons Manesseh and Ephraim and went to visit his father. As Joseph approached unto the place, it was told Israel that Joseph was coming; and so Israel mustered strength enough to sit himself erect upon his bed. And when Joseph arrived at his bedside, Israel told him how that God Almighty had met him at Luz in the land of Canaan and told him that He would make him fruitful and multiply him; that he would make of him a great nation; and the land of Canaan would be given to him and his seed for an everlasting possession. So now, Israel told Joseph further, “your two sons Ephraim and Manesseh who were born in the land of Egypt before I came to Egypt are mine, as Rueben and Simeon are mine; and also said Israel, the children which are born after these in the land of Egypt are mine also.” More

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Let us try and understand what was taking place in Egypt at that time. We have already seen that there were seven years when the farmers had pumper crops. They probably produced more corn in those seven years than they had produced over the previous twenty or thirty years. In former years they would mostly eat some, dry some and grind some for their own use and sold very little because landowners small and large and great, everyone had corn. That is basically the way agricultural communities function; but in the seven years of plenty they had more corn than they knew what to do with. Then came Joseph’s mandate to prepare for the seven years of famine, and his proposal to buy all the excess corn. So everyone saw it as an opportunity to make lots of money. For the seven years of plenty, they saw themselves amassing small fortunes and not surprisingly, overcome with a sense of euphoria, they gave up farming. They thought that they had so much money that they would never need to work again. But they forgot one important thing. You can’t eat gold and silver; you can’t eat money. In times of severs drought or famine, money often has no value, unless there are consumables to be bought. So during the first two years of the famine, they had no problem; they had money; they could buy what they wanted. But alas, the corn stock was falling; it was no longer readily available. They turned to Joseph and he fed them for three years; but there were still four more years to go. And here is another important point to see. It was stated earlier that there was no lack of rain; and this is borne out by the fact that after the people had sold themselves and their lands for money to buy food, they eventually realized that their salvation was in the land. So now they were prepared to return to the land, not as freeholders; but as surfs and sharecroppers. “We give ourselves to you they said, but only now give us seed to plant lest we die from hunger and starvation.” more

Saturday, February 15, 2014


The above conclusion, (yesterday’s) is further reinforced by the following; “and they brought their cattle unto Joseph; and Joseph gave them bread in the first year in exchange for horses, flocks, and cattle, and for asses, (donkeys) and he fed them for one year.” And when that year was ended, they complained that they were once again starving. They admitted that they had no money and no livestock, since in fact they had given to Joseph all, both of money and of herds. They wanted to know what they should do to survive, since all they had left were their bodies and their lands. And so they offered to Joseph both their bodies and their lands in exchange for seed. “give us seed, “ they said, so that both their bodies and their lands may survive. Un-nourished bodies cannot work the land, and if not worked it would die. It would seem too, the people realized that while they needed to eat to survive, they needed to produce; hence they asked for not bread, but seed. In response Joseph accepted their offer on terms. He bought all the land of Egypt, not for himself it is noted; but in the name of and for the Pharaoh. And Joseph said to them, “I have bought from you this day, your bodies as well as your lands for the Pharaoh; now take the seed and go and work your land and sow seed; the terms of our contract is that one fourth of the yield shall be yours and one fifth shall be the Pharaoh’s. So the people accepted the proposal as being more than fair, and said to Joseph, “Let us find grace in your sight; for you have saved our lives.” And so the law was established in Egypt that the Pharaoh was entitled to the fifth part of all the increase over all the lands of Egypt, the lands of the priests being the exception. Wasn’t that one fourth, one fifth much more equitable, much more generous than the later practice in England and the Colonies, where the sharecropper got only two thirds and in some extreme cases only one half of the produce? Many historians and social commentators, especially with regard to American agricultural practices tend to link to or liken sharecropping with slavery. But the idea is older than America, and at least when it was introduced in the land of Egypt was a wholly equitable practice which benefitted the sharecropper even more than the landowner. More

Friday, February 14, 2014


When we look closely at this famine in Egypt, it gives us cause to wonder, what was the physical cause of it? We know that prior to the famine there were seven years of plenty. The main crop was corn and it bore in abundance. This means that there was plenty of rain and sunshine and the weather and the elements were right for corn production. While the corn thrived, the animals would have thrived also; and so cattle would have also increased abundantly. If the weather was the main contributing factor to the years of plenty, what part then did the weather play in the famine? Normally what precedes a famine in an agricultural environment is invariably a long and sustained period of drought. So was drought or lack of rain the cause of the seven years of famine? It would seem not. So then one must conclude that the famine was due to some other cause. Of course taking all the evidence into consideration, Joseph’s false imprisonment; Pharaoh’s dream which only Joseph could interpret; his release from prison and his rise to power in Egypt were all truly within the operative will of God; so that the years of plenty followed by the years of lack were all part of God’s purposes for Joseph and his people. But this still leaves us with the question, “How or by what means did God work His purpose out in sending the famine. Did He, for example caused a great drought so that corn could not grow? Or did He use some other method, perhaps a great plague? It would seem, however, that there was not a drought in Egypt during the years of the famine; for we see that when the money ran out, and the people turned to Joseph and beseeched him to feed them less they die, he told them to bring their cattle, their flocks and their asses in exchange for which, he was able to provide them with bread for a whole year. We also should remember that Israel and his household had brought to Egypt their cattle and their herds and their flocks; we know from Pharaoh’s conversation with Israel that he himself had cattle; the people also had cattle and other livestock which they were able to sell to Joseph. So the conclusion is, if cattle and other animals were in a condition that they could be sold, they had not died or were dying from drought; so that the inference is that the famine was caused by some other act of God not caused by drought. More

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Before ending his meeting with the Pharaoh, Israel told him that he was one hundred and thirty years old; that although he had seen his share of trouble, neither his years nor his trouble could be compared with those of his ancestors. And Israel paid homage to the King; and having done so he blessed him and departed. Israel’s statement to Pharaoh with regard to the shortness of life and the fullness of trouble may be likened to that of Job when he said, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Be that as it may, after his father took his leave of Pharaoh, Joseph having had Pharaoh’s blessing, placed his father and his brethren in a good area of the land of Egypt in the area of Rameses, whereat he fed them with bread according to the size of their families and their needs Eventually, the bread ran out; for the famine grew more and more severe with each passing year; and also because Egypt was the marketplace for all those who wanted to buy food from areas outside Egypt. At that stage Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, and took it to the Pharaoh. There was no more corn left; but apparently there were still some people who had livestock and other consumables about for sale. So the Pharaoh gave them money so they could buy livestock and whatever they could buy with money to survive. The fact that the whole land was in a state of famine, does not mean that, for example, some farmers, shopkeepers, merchants and others did not themselves have some saleable commodities stored up for themselves. It is the way of business that there are always those who would have heard of Joseph’s interpretation of the Pharaoh’s dream and would have made preparations for the famine, some hoping to make a killing from selling goods at exorbitant prices. So when there was no more corn to be doled out, Joseph gave the money from the sale of corn to the Pharaoh who gave it to the people to buy food for themselves; but soon too, that money ran out, and the people once more turned to Joseph. More.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Joseph’s next move was to introduce his father and his brothers to Pharaoh, since he was Pharaoh’s Minister and it would have been in bad taste not to do so. But before doing so, Joseph had a few wrinkles he had to iron out with his father and his brothers. When Israel moved, as has been seen before, he took all his belongings with him, including his sheep and his cattle. But it would seem that at the time, sheep were not welcomed in Egypt; for as we have seen in our time, sheep and cattle do not mix. So then, the keeping of sheep was taboo; Accordingly, Joseph gave his father and his brothers a heads up. He told them that when he introduces them to the Pharaoh, and he asks them what they did for a living, that they should just mention that you were skilled cattlemen; that you have been keeping cattle from your youth up, without any mention of sheep as sheep farmers were an abomination to the Egyptians. The Roman legist would aver that a statement which suppresses the truth is every much a lie, “suppressio veri, expressio falsi,” suppression of the truth is equivalent to a lie. But be that as it way, some would say that to say they kept cattle was indeed the truth. So we see that when Joseph presented his father and five of his brothers to the Pharaoh, he welcomed them, and did in fact asked them what they did for a living, to which they said, they were shepherds, the keeper of cattle. Then Israel spoke to the Pharaoh and told him that because of the famine they could find no pasture in the land of Canaan, and said they had moved to Goshen with all their flocks and wished to settle there. The Pharaoh was pleased with Israel’s request and consented that they should settle in the land of Goshen. Pharaoh even requested that Israel and his sons recommend some good cattlemen to him to attend to his own cattle. So it was settled that Israel and his sons and his household and his cattle and livestock, would settle in the land of Goshen in Egypt. More

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


If we remember our Bible history, we would know that the numbers that Moses led up out of Egypt after 400 years were 600,000 able bodied men; so now we take stock and note how many Jacob alias Israel led down with him, being all members of his own family, that is to say his eleven sons, Joseph was already in Egypt, and their family. Apart from Israel’s daughter Dinah, Israel’s other daughters were not named although mentioned. Dinah had two sons, and all of Israel’s children had children of their own before Israel took the journey down into Egypt. Counting the children of Leah and their sons and Dinah and her two sons, the number of them was thirty three. Also Israel bore some 23 children by the maids of Leah and Rachel and it would seem by the time of the Exodus to Egypt young Benjamin was himself most prolific bearing ten sons. So that apart from any other children born to daughters and any possible great grand children there were at least sixty and six direct offspring of Israel that started off with him as he set out to settle in the land of Egypt. When news reached Joseph that his father had arrived at Goshen in Egypt, the place designated him by his son and the Pharaoh, Joseph made ready his chariot and went and met his father Israel there, whereupon they hugged and clung to each other and wept a good deal of weeping. Then Israel said to Joseph his son, “Now let me die since I have seen your face and you are yet alive.” More

Monday, February 10, 2014


We do not know for sure just how much time elapsed between the time when Israel received the report from his sons that Joseph was still alive and the time when he was finished packing up his household and his belongings and start out on the journey of re-settlement in Egypt; but we know that he eventually did. We can be sure, too, that he made preparations for the journey with all haste, anxious as he would have been to see his son Joseph. However, the day came when he did undertake the journey down to Egypt; and on his way he stopped at Beersheba and there offered sacrifices unto the God of his farther Isaac. And that night God appeared unto him in a vision and spoke with and told him, “I am God, the God of your father; fear not to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation. As I tell you to go, I also tell you that you shall not be alone; for I will go with you; and when the time is right, I will bring you out again.” From Canaan to Beersheba, did Israel journey in fear and apprehension driven only by the overwhelming desire to see his son? We note that God told him not to be afraid to go down to Egypt, which implies that Israel was very much reluctant and afraid with regard to the decision he had taken. So, therefore, God appeared unto him and encouraged him and told him not ot be afraid So rising up from his overnight dream, Israel decided to complete the last leg of his journey; he and his sons, their wives and little ones, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry them. And they took all of their cattle and their goods, and all their belongings and made the journey to Egypt. More

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Accordingly, as the Pharaoh commanded, so did Joseph. He gave them wagons full of provisions and food for the journey. He gave them all changes of clothing; but to Benjamin he gave five changes of clothing as well as 500 pieces of silver. And to his father he sent, ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she-asses laden with corn, and bread and meat for his father to eat on the way down. Then Joseph sent his brothers away and warned them to be careful as they went. One can understand Joseph’s concern. There was a famine all over, and they would be passing through famine stricken areas and a lot of hungry people on the way. They could easily fall into the hands of highwaymen, who would be willing to rob them, maybe even kill them, and steal their food; but Joseph need not have worried there were ten strong able bodied and combat hardened brothers apart from Benjamin; they could take care of themselves; but moreover God was watching over Israel and his children. So they returned home safely to their father. One can only imagine the joy and the elation of Israel to see all eleven of his sons return to him safely. He could see they were well laden with he-asses and she-asses and a good assignment of merchandise. One can also imagine his tears of joy and his shouts of praise and adoration to God his father on hearing the incredible news that his long lost son Joseph was not only alive and well; but that he had found honor and held high office in the land of Egypt; that he was that very lord and ruler of whom his sons had spoken on their first return. In choosing presents for his father, Joseph was very wise; for his brothers found it difficult enough to really convinced their father that he was still alive. An old man mourned and grieved for the loss of his son over many years only to be told he is still alive is not easy to convince; but there before his eyes were the wagons and the supplies his son had sent him, along with the greetings and the testimonies of his own sons including young Benjamin. At last Israel’s faint heart returned to him and so he said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive; I will go unto him.” More

Saturday, February 8, 2014


So Joseph sent his brothers home unto the Land of Canaan where they dwelt with a special message for their father; “tell him I am blessed in Egypt and that he should come down and see me. Not only that, I want him to remain in Egypt in the area called Goshen; in that way he will be nigh unto me. He will be able to dwell there with his children and his children’s children and his flocks and his herds and all that he has.” Once the whole household comes down and is settled, Joseph told them, they would be fed and nourished there for the next five years during the famine, so that the household should not perish. During all of Joseph’s discourse with his brothers, although they must by this time have come to the realization that their long lost brother was indeed yet alive, they must have continued to look upon Joseph with incredulity, as if he was some sort of ghost speaking to them; so Joseph in spite of all he had said and done in their presence, had to assure them further; “As you can see with your eyes, and hear with your ears, it is indeed I your brother Joseph who speaks to you. When you return and you speak to my father Israel, assure him that you have seen and heard me, and that I have received great honor and glory in Egypt; and as I have told you, tell him to make great haste and come on down so that I can meet with him.” Having sort to reassure his brothers he took hold of Benjamin and clinging to him kissed him with great fervor and passion, and weeping, while Benjamin for his part did the same. In addition, he hugged and kissed all his brothers, and after this they were finally convinced that Joseph was indeed who he said he was, and that he was genuinely happy to see them; and they began to speak with him freely as brothers would with one another. When the Pharaoh heard the good news that Joseph had found and was reunited with his brothers, and learnt that Joseph’s father was still alive and dwelt in the land of Canaan, he too was happy for Joseph; and he commanded the brothers to take a goodly supply of wagons and food and supplies and return home, and bring their father and the whole family to settle in the land of Egypt. More

Friday, February 7, 2014


So Judah's plea struck home; and overcome with emotion, Joseph could not contain himself any longer. So he burst into tears and commanded that all should leave the room save the eleven Hebrew boys; but the Pharaoh and all Egypt new the incident. So now alone with his brothers, Joseph revealed himself to them. “I am Joseph he said. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were so shocked by the sudden revelation that they stood speechless and even withdrew from him; but Joseph invited them to come to him that they may verify it was him. And then Joseph explained, “I am your very brother Joseph, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt.” Joseph urged them further and told them not to be grieved or afraid. That in other words he did not hold what they did to him against them. That in fact what they intended for him for evil God intended it for good; and not only his good; but their good also. Joseph explained to them that the famine which had been ravaging the world for the last two years, was destined to continue for another five. To put their minds at ease, Joseph reassured his brothers that they should not be fearful or feel badly about what they had done to him. It was God's way of preparing for them by causing him to be in the position where he would prove to be the savior of Israel. So concluded Joseph, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. “Go ye therefore, with all haste” Joseph commanded them; and tell my father that I am alive; that God has made me ruler over all Egypt; and that he should come down to me as soon as possible.” more

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Judah’s Plea for Benjamin’s Return To His Father.. This young Egyptian Ruler must have appeared to the Hebrew brothers most puzzling and capricious. He displayed to them glimpses of kindness, even gentleness one moment, and would then turn on them fiercely the next. He made them very nervous and they truly feared for their lives, and especially for that of young Benjamin. The Ruler had heard their protestations of innocence; in their heart they new they were innocent at least of stealing or dealing treacherously with the Ruler; yet there he was threatening to take Benjamin and hold him for ransom. First it was Simeon, now it is going to be Benjamin, what was he up to and what would he do next? At that stage, Judah decided to throw caution to the wind, and speak up, so not knowing how it would all end, he launched forth on a plea to save his young brother and spear his father, the heartache the loss of his son Benjamin would cause. So Judah spoke up and said how difficult it was to convince their father in the first place to let his young son out of his sight. Their father bemoaned the fact that he had ten son, one of whom had disappeared presumed dead by being torn by wild beasts. His eldest son was being held in Egypt, and he did not know whether he was dead or alive. His beloved wife Rachael had two sons and he had already lost one; now he was being asked to risk the life of the other. It was only to rescue Simon’s and all their lives from the ravages of the famine, that he was persuaded to allow his son to be taken away. “Should we now go back and tell him that we had to leave Benjamin behind in Egypt, it would surely break his heart and send him to his grave. We just cannot return home without our father’s last son. It would surely kill him as certainly as I stand here before you.” “Therefore,” said Judah, “may it please my lord, hold me instead. I would be your servant for life. Do with me whatever it pleases you to do with me; but I beseech you my lord, let the lad return with the rest of my brethren to his father. More

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


However, Joseph was not done with his game of suspense with his brothers. Was he enjoying this game? It would seem not; for we find that he was oftentimes overcome with tears of sorrow. Was he then been mean spirited? The answer would also be no, the same reason; he was not enjoying watching them suffer. What we have seen and what we may infer so far was that the brothers did not seem to have had any remorse of conscience over what they had done. So now having to reflect on what was happening to them, gave them the opportunity of searching their past, and judging and condemning themselves for what they had done. So after they had been entertained by Joseph, he instructed his men to stuff his brothers’ sacks and send them away. But he also gave them special instructions. The money was to be placed in the mouth of each sack; in addition his golden wine goblet was to be placed in the sack of Benjamin, their youngest brother. And so it was; the sacks were prepared and the eleven brothers bade farewell to their host, and left for home. But Joseph instructed his men to overtake them and accuse them of stealing and when they denied their sacks would be searched starting with the eldest until they got to Benjamin’s sack. And so it was that the golden goblet was found in Benjamin’s sack. Of course, the brothers protested their innocence and swore that they had no idea how the goblet got into Benjamin’s sack. They continued to stress their innocence when brought back to face the Egyptian ruler; but Joseph brushed their protestations aside and ordered that they return to their father and their country minus Benjamin. More

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


To put the rest of the narrative into perspective, the ten Hebrew brothers were led to Joseph’s house, of course they still did not know it was Joseph, and as they went they feared that something sinister lay ahead and they feared for their fate. Accordingly as soon as they got to the house they began to explain to the chief of Joseph’s household that they were not spies, nor were they thieves; that they initially came down to Egypt to buy corn. “With regard to the money in our sacks, we had no idea it was there or how it got there; it was not until we were well on our way home when we stopped by an in to rest and feed the asses that we discovered the money which we had given in payment for the corn still in our sacks. But in any event now we have returned to buy more corn, we have brought that money as well as money to buy future corn.” And so Joseph’s servant said to them, “Don’t worry; the money in your sack was a gift from God your father; but more importantly I have your brother Simeon here with me, and see now I present him to you.” Having presented Simeon, Joseph’s servant then gave them water to wash their feet, a mark of hospitality, and food for their animals. Significantly, water for their feet should have allayed their fears. It should have told them that they were not prisoners, but guests in this man’s household whoever he was. Soon after, Joseph came home and his guests brought him the presents they had brought him, and paid him the respect due his high office. Then Joseph asked about their father, whether he was dead or yet alive. They assured him that he was and he then turned his attention to young Benjamin his mother’s only other child; and seeing him, he was so overcome with emotion that he retreated to his bedchamber where he wept. Refreshing and controlling himself, Joseph returned to sit and have lunch with the brothers and other guests. His brothers were much surprised by the seating arrangement, seeing that the ten of them were seated formally in hierarchical seniority, making sure that Benjamin’s portion was five times more than the others. If the Hebrew brothers noticed the special attention to Benjamin, they must have concluded that the stranger was taking a special liking to their young brother, which they no doubt concluded, forebode well for them all. More

Monday, February 3, 2014


What a hard decision it was for Israel to make. He had lost his beloved son Joseph. His son Simeon was being held for ransom and is probably already dead; and now he is being persuaded because of the hard times that had befallen them, to risk sending all his sons away into a foreign land. So after agonizing much Israel said, “Take Benjamin and go; and if I be bereaved of my children, let me be bereaved.” These words of Israel’s are so reminiscent of future words of Esther when she was forced to break with protocol and risk her neck to save the lives of her people, when she resolved to go and speak to her husband the King; for she said, “I will go and if I perish, I perish.” So with a present in hand, Benjamin their youngest brother and double the money, the sons of Israel stood before the lord of Egypt. Much to their surprise, the Lord told his chief steward, bring these men to my house and slay…. the brothers hearts must have taken a leap of fear at the use of the word slay…. but the words that followed were, ….”and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.” It wasn’t a threat of death, after all; it was an invitation to lunch. But they still did not understand and did not believe what was happening to them. As they were transported to the Ruler’s house they were even more convinced that he planned to do them harm. They speculated it was the affair of the money in the sacks which the Ruler was planning to use as an occasion to accuse and later commit them for infamy; that his intention was to take and imprison them and forfeit all their goods. So it was with fearful hearts they entered upon the doorsteps of Joseph’s house. More.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Israel was not about to risk losing his youngest son Benjamin; but in course of time, the corn that was brought up out of Egypt ran out, and so there was no way to turn again than back towards Egypt. So Israel told his sons to go back down to Egypt to buy more corn. But his son Judah reminded him that the Egyptian ruler was quite firm in his instructions to them that he did not want to see their faces again without young Benjamin. So Israel was told by his sons that they would not go down without Joseph. Now Israel was upset with his sons for shooting their mouths off about Benjamin; for so thought he, this Egyptian ruler would not have known about his youngest son had they not told him. So Israel told them straight up, “I feel as though you boys betrayed me. Why was it necessary to tell him you had a younger brother?” In their defense, the sons told their father that they did not in fact volunteer information about the family. The man asked them, as indeed was the case, “Is your father yet alive, have you another brother?” And of course they explained we answered truthfully according to the questions. “How could we know,” they asked their father, that the man would demand that they bring their youngest brother to Egypt? Then Judah spoke and told his father that he Judah would take full responsibility for what happened to Benjamin. Said he, “I would take full blame for ever if any ill should befall my brother Benjamin, and he was not again returned into your hand after we return from Egypt a second time. Only let us not delay any longer lest we all die from hunger.” Upon hearing Judah’s promise, Israel relented and said, “Alright go; but take a present for the ruler; some spices, a little honey, some fruit and some almonds, whatever you can find, take it and my son too, and go; but make sure you carry twice the money you need, and also the money that was replaced in the sacks. And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man that he may send away your other brother and Benjamin also.” More

Saturday, February 1, 2014


As the brothers made their way back home, one of them decided to open his sack to extract some corn for his donkey, and in opening the sack he saw that his money was still there. Seeing the money, they became afraid fearing that some trap was being set for them. Indeed it was there guilty consciences which made them afraid, fearing that God was about to punish them in some way for the evil they had done toward their younger brother Joseph. So then, they hastened home and reported to their father, the surprising events and details of their trip to Egypt. They spoke of the strange man who was lord of the land of Egypt, who spoke to them roughly and accused them of being spies. We told him that we were not spies; that we are honest men come down to Egypt for no other purpose than to buy corn, owing to the famine in our land; that there were twelve of us brothers, and the youngest of us was yet with you our father in the land of Canaan. But the man, the lord of the land, told us in order to prove ourselves true men and not spies, we had to leave one of us, behind as surety, and take food to our home and be gone. So he took hold of Simeon and bound him and threw him in prison. Then he said; “when you return bring your youngest brother here to me, only then would I believe that you are whom you say you are. Only then may you come and go freely and buy corn as you please.” Having reported to their father, and related the many twists and turns of their journey, they went to open the other un-opened sacks of corn, only to find that each sack contained all the money that each of them took with them to the land of Egypt to buy corn. This made them and their father very much more afraid. Now Israel was sore, afraid and felt that his sons had fallen into some sort of a trap. He had lost his beloved son Joseph; Simeon was in jail and perhaps even killed by this time; now he is being asked to send away his youngest son Benjamin. Suppose, he speculated, that on the way down, something untoward were to happen to Benjamin; Simeon would then be killed for sure, and maybe even the rest of his sons. No, thought Israel; it was too risky. To lose another son would hasten my gray hairs and send me to my grave. Rueben tried to encourage his father and even told him to slay his own two sons should he fail to bring Benjamin back home safely; but Israel could not be persuaded. More.