Joseph is now ruler of Egypt. From being sold as a slave, God has raised him up to hold one of the most powerful seats in the entire ancient world.
Furthermore, Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh's dream has come true. There were seven years of abundance, but now the whole land is in a famine, including the land of Canaan where Joseph’s father and brothers still live.
Joseph’s Brothers Come to Egypt
Joseph’s brothers hear that there is grain to buy in Egypt. So they all go to Egypt except Benjamin, the youngest and only other child Jacob had by Rachel.
Upon arriving in Egypt, Joseph recognizes his brothers, but they don’t recognize him. They fall down at his feet, fulfilling the dreams he had before coming to Egypt. Joseph accuses them of being spies, and demands they bring their youngest brother back as proof that they are who they say they are. Joseph holds his brother Simeon as collateral and sends the rest of the brothers away with the grain they bought. But surprisingly the silver the brothers used to buy the grain was still in their sacks.
Once back to their father, Jacob will not let them take his youngest son. It takes them running out of food again to motivate Jacob enough to send the brothers back with Benjamin.
Joseph welcomes them back with a feast, fills their sacks with grain and silver again. Secretly, Joseph adds one more item to the brothers’ bags before letting them leave. He puts his own silver cup in Benjamin's bag. So when the brothers are accused of stealing this cup, they deny it and offer themselves up as slaves if anyone is found with the item. Of course, Benjamin is found with the cup. Benjamin must stay as Joseph’s slave. But Judah intercedes, begging Joseph to let him take the youngest son’s place.
Joseph can’t take the rouse any longer. He clears his court and reveals his true identity.
But there is not one ounce of anger in Joseph’s voice. Instead, he is grateful. He tells his brothers that it was not them that sent him to Egypt, but God. And God did this to save many lives, that there might be a remnant left on the earth after this massive famine.
What is the point of all this secrecy and trickery on Joseph’s part? Well, just as God used the brother’s evil trickery to bring Joseph where he wanted him, God also uses Joseph’s more innocent tricks to bring Jacob and his brothers where he wanted them.
Before this story, the brothers conspire against Jacob’s favorite son and even consider taking his life. By the end of this story, however, the brothers are willing to lay down their lives for Jacob’s new favored son, Benjamin.
Not only have the brothers changed inwardly, but God also has a plan for them to change geographically. As he promised Abraham back in Genesis 15, they were going to live in a foreign land for 400 years and leave it with great riches. We get a glimpse of that as the brothers come to Egypt and leave with silver in their sacks.
On a larger scale, since these brothers represent the 12 tribes of Israel, God is showing them that through their sojourning, through their captivity, and through their trials, he will provide for them and bring good out of bad.
Where is Jesus?
We, of course, see all of this most fully in Jesus.
As Joseph gave grain to his brothers but returned their silver, Jesus is the one who provides us with the food that saves our life at no cost to us.
As the brothers could not see Joseph’s face again until they brought their youngest brother, so Jesus is the brother who allows us to see the face of God.
As Judah offered to substitute himself for innocent Benjamin, Jesus is our innocent substitute who take the penalty for the guilt we deserve.
As Joseph was sold into slavery in order to save lives, so Jesus was sold as a slave to sin so that he could save our lives.
Jesus is the one who provides for us, changes us, and brings us where he wants us to be through all the ups and downs of life. He is in control.
See For Yourself
I pray that the Holy Spirit would give you eyes to see the God who is in control of all things and uses that control to shape us, provide for us, and accomplish his plans. And that you would see Jesus as both the king who provides and the brother who lays down his life.