1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another?

2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.

The famine was so severe that all circumstances were taken into account. Previously, in time of famine, Abraham (Gen. 12:10) had made his way to Egypt, and Isaac (Gen. 26:2) contemplated doing so until restrained by God. On those occasions, however, the famine had not afflicted that country.

It was different now. Famine had reached Egypt which normally is not dependent upon rain (Zech. 14:18), but there was corn still to be purchased.

"That we may live, and not die" —

This describes the extremity of their need. It foreshadows the future "time of Jacob's

trouble" out of which he shall be delivered by the antitypical Joseph (Jer. 30:7).

The Christadelphian Expositor

3 And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.

4 But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.

5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.

7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.

8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.

It is like a scene at the judgment seat. Joseph interrogates them remembering how they treated him when he gave to them explanations of his dreams.

9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.

11 We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.

12 And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

13 And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.

14 And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies:

15 Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.

16 Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies.

They are most obsequious in their deference. He uses the whip severely, because he knows the end will be sweetness for all. He speaks roughly to them, and puts them through direful exercises of mind, until he can stand it no longer. No more exquisite story was ever written or conceived.

Ways of Providence Ch 8

17 And he put them all together into ward three days.

18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:

19 If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses:

20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.

21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

Before their judge there are great searchings of the heart. They recall how indifferent they were to Joseph's sufferings, how hard hearted. The brothers were slowly having to consider then own position and come face to face with their own guilt,

Compare Acts 2:

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

See, also, how naturally God brought about Joseph's sweet revenge on his brothers. They came to buy corn. They did not know him; for, whereas he was seventeen when they sold him, he is now over thirty-seven, and attired as an Egyptian official, speaking the Egyptian language, which he has learnt during his servitude.

But he knows them, for they were grown men when he saw them last, and they are in the main unaltered, and they are dressed in the same way as when they handed him over to the Ishmaelites.

Ways of Providence Ch 8

22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.

23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.

24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.

It breaks down the strong man today every time it is realised. It is part of a story yet unfinished, for Joseph has yet to reappear in the land of the living to learn of the deliverance of his people from Egypt, and of the long, sad, yet God-illuminated history coming after; and to take part in a still more thrilling situation when another, who, like himself, was hated by his brethren, and sold for thirty pieces of silver, makes himself known to his misguided brethren for the joy of Israel and the blessedness of all mankind.

Ways of Providence Ch 8

25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.

26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence.

27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack's mouth.

28 And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that Elohim hath done unto us?

29 And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying,

30 The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country.

Joseph not being without artifice, had placed their money in the mouths of their sacks. This they had discovered enroute home to Jacob and were perplexed., On reaching home, they recounted their experiences to Jacob and how "the, man" (Hb. Ish ('Behold the man - Jhn:19.5) had treated them roughly. He had demanded them to return with their younger brother, and held Simeon hostage. They also refer to Joseph as lord (Adon). Him who they had despised and rejected, was now revered as lord or sovereign ruler.

31 And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies:

32 We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.

33 And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your households, and be gone:

34 And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land.

35 And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.

36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.

37 And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.

38 And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

As far as Jacob was concerned there was no way he was going to let the brothers take Benjamin from him, as they had bereft him of Joseph and possibly Simeon, It all seemed woe, woe, but their was light ahead.

Bro Richard Lister