Gen. 43 – Working Through Conflicts
Dear family and friends we are in the mist of conflict between Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 43.
There was a famine in our homeland. Grain was in short supply. They needed food.
Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt for food, Genesis 42.3,10.
Joseph acted like a stranger to his brothers, Genesis 42.7.
Joseph accused his brothers of being spies even though he knew differently, Genesis 42.9,30
Joseph spoke harshly to his brothers, Genesis 42.7
Joseph put his brothers in prison for three days during their first visit, Genesis 42.17
Joseph implied that they were not honest men, Genesis 42.19
Joseph had Simon bound before their brother’s eyes, Genesis 42.24
Joseph dealt harshly with them, Genesis 42.30.
Joseph interrogates his brothers. Is your father still alive? Do you have a brother? Genesis 43.7
Joseph had the money his brothers paid for the grain placed in the mouth of their grain sacks. Why? So that it would appear that his brothers stole the grain, Genesis 42.25-28
On the second visit, Joseph had his brothers come to his home. He invites them to dine with him. He has the dining table set according to his brother’s age from the oldest to the youngest, Genesis 43.32,33
Ha Torah provides us with plenty of emotion. Imagine having a brother like Joseph. How would we feel if we were one of Joseph’s brothers? What would we do? How would we approach Joseph?
The brothers discussed the issues and the accusations against them with their father, Jacob, Genesis 42.29-35. They sought wise counsel.
Initially, Jacob’s position was firm. Jacob says to his sons, ‘You deprived me of children; Joseph is no more, Simon is no more, and you would take Benjamin.’ Genesis 42.36
‘…my son will not go down with you for his brother is dead, and only he remains. Should misfortune befall him on the way you are going, you will bring my white head down to the grave in sorrow, Genesis 42.38.
Jacob is not pleased that his sons revealed too much information.
After they consumed all the grain, they purchased from Egypt, they spoke again with their father, Genesis 43.1-3.
Jacob advises them to take the best fruits of the land in their vessels, Genesis 43.11. Remember they were in a famine. Think about what the best fruits of the land would cost. What would the best fruits look like?
Take an offering to the man of balsam, a little honey, gum, labdanum, pistachios, and almonds, Genesis 4311.
Take double the money. Personally, return the money that was in the mouth of your nap sack. Jacob understood it might have been an error. He left the door open for failure.
Return to the man.
He gave them a blessing. May the Almighty, Shaddai, Grant you compassion in the presence of which the man, so he will release to you your brother and Benjamin.
What did the Brothers Do?
They brought Benjamin down to Egypt as requested.
They approached the man who was in charge of Joseph’s house.
They spoke to him at the entrance of the house. They explained the problem from their point of view. They wanted to address the issues right away.
They attempted to make it right.
They expressed that they did not know what was going on… They did not do anything wrong. They were innocent of wrongdoing in this instant. Yet, in another instance, they were guilty. They kidnapped their brother, sold him into slavery, and deceived their father into thinking Joseph was dead.
They brought the gifts that were in their hand, Genesis 43.26.
They prostrated themselves… They were humble…
Menasheh had Simon brought out. Interestingly, Simon’s name did not come up until after dealing with the money issues first..
At the meal they became intoxicated, Genesis 44.34
What are we to learn from Ha Torah’s description of what happened between Joseph and his brothers?
They sought counsel immediately. They followed the advice of Jacob’s wise counsel. They asked for the blessing of compassion while in the presence of Joseph. The brothers were respectful to Joseph. They deferred to Joseph. They cooperated with Joseph’s requests. They discussed misunderstandings. They tried to do the right things as they saw them. They brought gifts. They honored Joseph.
May we do our best to defuse situations where tension exists. May HaShem Bless us with compassion in the eyes of those who have issues with us. May we be careful to do what is right.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk