And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry…
I. That there is sorrow, and sorrow on a vast scale, is a great fact — a fact both too patent and too painful to be gainsaid. Joseph put the cup in the sack to try his brothers' faith, love, and loyalty to their father.
1. Sorrow was sent into the world as a preventive of greater sorrow.
2. Sorrow gives occasion for the exercise of many an else impossible virtue.
3. This would be a lame excuse indeed if it stood alone. But grief is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.
4. When we remember our sins, we wonder, not that life has had so many sorrows, but that it has had so few.
II. Why should sorrow so often smite us in the most sensitive place? or, to take up the parable of the text —
1. Why should the cup be in Benjamin's sack? Just because it is Benjamin's, we reply. The very thing that leads God to smite at all, leads Him to smite you here. God takes away earthly pleasure, and thus helps you to remember your sin and repent of it.
2. The cup was put there to bring them to a better mind ever after.
3. It was put there to give Joseph the opportunity of making himself known to his brethren.
4. It was put there to lead them out of the land of famine into the land of plenty. From this we may learn three lessons:(1) Learn to think more kindly of God and His dispensations, as you see how much reason you have to expect sorrow, how little right to look for joy;
(2) Learn the lesson the lesser sorrows are meant to teach, lest you need the greater;
(3) Take care lest you not only lose the joy, but lose the good the loss of joy was meant to give.
(J. B. Figgis.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth.