TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: Genesis 44:1-5 (NLT*)
Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the top of his sack. Put my cup, the silver cup, in the top of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him. As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to his steward, “Go, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you returned evil for good? Why have you stolen my silver cup? Is it not from this that my lord drinks? Does he not indeed use it for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.’”
AN IMAGINARY JOURNAL ARTICLE
When I stood in front of the Pharaoh to interpret his dream, I did not hesitate. When I gave him advice about how to save his kingdom, I did not hesitate. When people come to me from distant lands to ask for favors, or when I need to make decisions with far-reaching consequences, I do not hesitate. So why am I hesitating now? Why am I so unsure about what I need to do with my brothers? Should I reveal myself to them? Should I punish them for what they have done? I wish I knew their hearts. They are strangers to me after so many years, after such betrayal. And yet, I love them. They are my blood, the sons of my beloved father. So, I hesitate. I do not yet know enough to make such an important decision, and I have learned enough wisdom in my years to know when to wait. I need to test them, just a little more. I need to be sure…
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT…
- Why, after such a happy reunion meal, does Joseph decide to test his brothers one more time?
- Why did Joseph not yet reveal his identity to the brothers?
- Imagine yourself as the steward, who had recently welcomed the brothers and watched them treated as honored guests. What would you be thinking as you received these new orders from your master?
- Why does Joseph have the chalice placed in Benjamin’s bag instead of another brother’s bag?
- Why does Joseph allow the brothers to travel a distance before sending the steward after them?
- Why do you think Joseph tells the steward to tell the brothers that Joseph uses the chalice for divination?
“During his service in the Egyptian court narrated in Genesis, Joseph possesses a personal silver cup that he claims to use for divination, particularly in forecasting judgment on evildoers… In Genesis 37-50, Joseph typically receives wisdom from more direct contact with God, mediated sometimes through dreams, but not through divinatory objects.” The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 2 (Abingdon Press: Nashville, 2007, 144.)
* New Revised Standard Version Bible, © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.