Genesis 44:1 through 45:15

Daybreak for Students

Genesis 44:1 through 45:15

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK
Genesis 44
Genesis 45
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. — Genesis 45:7

A few decades ago, a man invented a wristwatch movement that was based on a vibrating quartz crystal. He tried to sell the idea to the major watchmakers, who were using springs and gears in their watches, but the new technology was not in their business plans so they rejected it. Other companies, however, envisioned that this could be the watch of the future. They decided to invest in the technology that would make it possible to create quartz-movement wristwatches, and incorporated it into their plans. The new watches were so accurate and trouble free that they soon cornered the market.

Most successful businesses have a plan — a set of guidelines which directs their activities. The plan usually states the goals of the company and the steps to reaching their goals. The leadership of a company tries to look at the big picture and sometimes must make decisions that have a long-term impact on the organization. Those decisions may not initially make sense to the employees who do not have all the information, but they must rely on the judgment of those in the leadership positions.

In a much greater sense, down through the ages, God has always had a plan. As humans, we do not see the big picture and it may be easy to question life’s events. However, God’s purpose is always good. His goal in today’s account was for the preservation of His chosen people, Israel. It could not have been easy for Joseph to understand what the plan was. During the trials and discomforts he went through, there must have been times when he wondered why such adversities were coming his way. Yet he retained his confidence in God. In today’s text, Joseph told his brothers that the events that had befallen him were used so their family would have food in the time of famine.

Today, God has a plan for our lives. When trials come, we must remember that God is in control. When we are called to go through difficult circumstances, we can trust His plan because we know it ends in Heaven. Some have abandoned God in a time of trial and made a shipwreck of their lives. Others, though, have hung on in quiet faith and confidence until God brought them through. Let us choose to follow their example and that of Joseph!

BACKGROUND

Chapter 44 is the narrative of Joseph’s continued testing of his brothers. His interaction with them climaxes in chapter 45 with the revelation of his identity.

Joseph instituted a plan which placed guilt upon Benjamin and thereby would keep him in Egypt. Divining by a cup (Genesis 44:5) was a custom of the eastern cultures at that time. Such vessels were considered sacred, and theft could be punished by slavery or death. Because of Joseph’s belief in God, it is highly doubtful that he used his silver cup for this purpose. Rather, he was no doubt setting up a situation to see how his brothers would react. He wanted to know if they truly cared about Jacob and Benjamin.

When the cup was found, the brothers offered to all remain in Egypt as slaves. Joseph asserted that only Benjamin would need to stay, and the brothers were free to leave if they so chose. Joseph even told them to “get you up in peace unto your father” (verse 17). Judah’s plea, recorded in verses 18-34, was passionate and profound. Judah, who had been instrumental in Joseph being sold into slavery rather than killed, volunteered to become a slave in Benjamin’s place so Benjamin could return to his father. The phrase “Judah and his brethren” shows that he had become the spokesperson for the family. Joseph observed the change that had occurred in Judah’s attitude.

Verses 1-15 of Chapter 45 contain the emotion-packed account of Joseph revealing himself to his brothers. When Judah finished speaking, Joseph could no longer refrain himself. With great feeling, he told them who he was. Although his brothers were amazed and speechless, his statement, “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt” was full proof of his identity, because only those involved knew those details. 

Although Joseph was in a position of complete control, he extended forgiveness. While he did not condone his brothers’ wrongdoing, he assured them that God had overruled their actions and used the circumstances as a way to preserve them. Five more years of famine were ahead, and it was illogical for Joseph’s family to stay in their homeland, thus necessitating repeated trips for supplies. Joseph arranged for his family to relocate to Goshen, a fertile area in the northeastern section of the Nile Delta, where Jacob’s family and his descendants could be provided for and live without fear.

AMPLIFIED OUTLINE

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The early history of the chosen race
     D.   Joseph
           5.   Joseph’s sojourn in Egypt
                 c.   As an administrator
                      (3)   The second visit of Joseph’s brothers
                              (d)   The arrest of Benjamin (44:1-34)
                                     [1]   The plot (44:1-5)
                                     [2]   The arrest (44:6-17)
                                     [3]   The intercession (44:18-34)
                              (e)   The revealing of Joseph’s identity (45:1-15)

A CLOSER LOOK

  1. Who was present when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers?

  2. What might have been the first thoughts of these brothers when they realized this man of great power was Joseph? 

  3. What are the benefits of patiently waiting in faith for God’s plan to be revealed?

CONCLUSION

God’s ways are best. After our trials pass we may look back and see God’s plan, and observe that He was orchestrating all the events for good.