a)  Why did Joseph send 10 of his sons to Egypt (1-5)?  

Because he heard that there was grain in Egypt.

How urgent was their problem in Canaan?

There was a famine in Canaan and if they didn't get food, they would die.

Why did he not send Benjamin?

Jacob was afraid that harm would come to him and he didn't want to lose Benjamin thinking that Joseph had been lost already.  The sons of Jacob were not too alert, "Why do you just keep looking at each other?"  They had no sense of purpose or mission.

a)  Describe the initial meeting of Joseph with his brothers.

Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold all the grain to all its people.  So when Joseph's brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.  Then he remembered his dreams about them.  Verse 9a.

What does this show about his faith?

Joseph was probably filled with all sorts of emotions when he saw his brothers for the first time in over 18 years!  But first and foremost, he overcome his emotions and remembered the dreams that God had given him earlier.  He had not forgotten them.  Now he understood them.  He had kept them in his heart all the time of suffering; they kept him from losing hope.  God was fulfilling his desires exactly as he had revealed in the dreams.  Through these dreams, Joseph realized that God had a great purpose for him - for he saw his brothers bow down.  God had sent him to Egypt to save his brothers both physically and spiritually.  His brothers needed to be redeemed.  God wanted to work in them and change them from evil murderers, full of jealousy and hatred into men of God and a nation of God.

a)  Why did he accuse them of being spies?

He wanted to train them and lead them to repentance.

What information about themselves and their family did they divulge (6-13)?

Verse 13.  "Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan.  The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more."

How did he propose to test them?

They were not to leave this place until the younger one comes.  They were to send one to get him while the rest were to be kept in prison.  Then he called them "spies!"  He kept them in custody for three days.  After that he said, "Do this and you will live, for I fear God."  He mentioned God's name to them so that they might begin to see God's purpose for this.  Then he said that one would stay in prison here while the others could go back to bring grain and also they must come back with the youngest brother.

a)  When the brothers talked among themselves, what did they reveal about their burden of guilt (21-23)?

They saw that they were being punished because of what they had done to Joseph.  What they did in the past still remained in them when they didn't repent.  They remembered Joseph's pleading and distress.

How did their confession affect Joseph?

He began to weep.  He felt pain for them and was leading them step by step to repent of their sins.  Joseph created many problems for his brothers to lead them to repentance.  Their trouble stirred their guilty conscience and they began to talk about what they had done.  They confessed the evilness of their deed to each other.  This was a giant step towards true repentance.  Their guilty consciences made them interpret even the good things Joseph did for them in a negative way and they were terrified. (28)

What shows that he was not acting according to his feelings?

Verse 24.  He had Simeon bound before them and taken away from them.

a)  What additional anxiety did Joseph give his brothers?

He put each man's silver, the silver they came to buy the grain with back in each man's pouches and sacks.


To make them fear God.

When they discovered money in one grain sack, what was their reaction?

Verse 28.  Their hearts sand and they turned to each other trembling and said, "What is this that God has done to us?"

Why weren't they happy to get their money back?

They sensed that something was wrong and that they did something wrong and that God's anger was on them.

a)  What report did they give their father?

The man over the land spoke harshly to them, treated them like spies.  They said that they were honest and not spies.  12 Brothers the sons of one father and one son is no more.  The youngest is in Canaan with his father.  He tested them in verse 33 and wanted to bring back he youngest one of them to prove what they were saying was true then he would give back the oldest one.

What was their reaction when they discovered the rest of their money in the sacks?

They were frightened.

What reveals the sorrow and fatalism in Jacob's heart?

Jacob was fatalistic about his sons' irresponsibility.  They looked like they couldn't do anything right.  He faulted them for being the ones who lost Joseph and Simeon.  Now they wanted to take Benjamin.  For Jacob to lose another son would be like dying a grievous death.

** JUDAH'S CHANGE (43-44)

a)  Why did Judah refuse to go back to Egypt for food, even though the family was running out of grain because of the famine?

Judah reminded Jacob that the man in charge had warned them solemnly, "You will not see my face again unless your is with you."

When and how was Jacob finally persuaded to send Benjamin? (42:37-43:10)

Judah took personal responsibility.  Verse 9, "I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him.  If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you I will bear the blame before you all my life.  As it is, if we had not delayed, we would have gone and returned twice."

a)  When they arrived in Egypt with Benjamin, how did Joseph receive them?

He would meet them for dinner at his house at noon.  He received them well.

Why were they so frightened and upset? (15-22)

They were frightened when they were taken into his house because they thought they were brought there to be punished for the silver.  They thought they would be overpowered and seized as slaves.  Joseph's brothers suspected his motives.  They thought that they would be arrested for failing t pay for the grain they previously gotten and their donkeys would be confiscated.  When guilt and fear occupy a person's heart, even the kindness of others seems an harassment.  

a)  How did the steward reassure them?

Verse 23.  He mentioned the God of their father and hen he brought Simeon out to them.

Describe their meeting with Joseph. (26-30)  Why was Joseph so moved?

When they saw Joseph, they bowed down to him to the ground in verse 26.  Joseph asked how their father was.  When he saw Benjamin he recognized him.  He was moved by this event because he hadn't seen Benjamin in a real long time.

Describe the banquet in Joseph's house?

They ate separately.  He had his brothers seated before him in the age order.  Benjamin was given five times the amount of food as his brothers.

What astonished his brothers? 

That he had them seated all in age order.  From the firstborn to the youngest.  See verse 33.

a)  What serious problem did Joseph create for his brothers as they were leaving Egypt? (44:1-13)

He had his cup used for divination to be put in Benjamin's sack.  This was the final climactic event.  There were two options:  Just leave the guilty man and go home or go back to the city and take responsibility.

a)  How did the brothers respond to the crisis? 

They told Joseph that they were his slaves.

How have they changed?

They began to take responsibility of their wrong doing.  They had care for their youngest brother.

Look at Judah's plea (18-34).  What is the basis of his plea?

Judah kept his word.  He was willing to stay in Benjamin's place and be a slave for life as long as Benjamin could be freed.  Basis of Judah's pleas is in verse 32:  "Your servant guaranteed the boys safety to my father.  I said, 'If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!"  Judah was also concerned about how Jacob would react if he came back and Benjamin wasn't with them.

What did he offer to do on Benjamin's behalf?

To stay in Benjamin's place and be Joseph's slave because he had repented.

How had he been changed?

He had been a man who had kept his word.  He had now taken responsibility.  Judah's unselfish act was the fruit of true repentance.

How did God use Joseph to bring his brothers to repentance?

Joseph loved his brothers in God's way.  It is redemptive love or tough love.  His brothers had committed great sins against him by selling him into Egypt.  God hates sin and loves the sinner.  Joseph didn't hate his brothers or hold a grudge against them.  He only wanted his brothers to recognize their sins and repent.  God wants us to confess our sins.  In order to lead his brothers to repent before God and be forgiven, he made them suffer anguish for a short time.  His brothers had lived with unrepentant sins so they were suffering anguish for a short time.  They were suffering in guilt, fear and fatalism.  Judah thought of his father when he saw the cup in Benjamin's sack and offered to take Benjamin's place.  He had been the original ring leader and tried to escape responsibility for many years.  Now by God's grace he had come home.  Real love is helping the one we love come to God and repent and live in a right relationship with God.

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