And the famine was sore in the land.…
I. The chief lesson of this chapter is the MINGLING TOGETHER OF THE PROVIDENTIAL GOVERNMENT OF GOD WITH HIS PURPOSE OF GRACE. It was part of the Divine plan that Jacob and his family should be settled for a long period in Egypt. It could only be brought about by the transference in some way of the point of attraction to Jacob's heart from Canaan to the strange land. Hence c, Jacob" is now "Israel," reminding us how the future is involved in all the events of this time. "Judah" is the chief agent in this matter. The very names are significant of Divine promises - "Judah," "Israel," "Joseph," "Benjamin." The conduct of Joseph cannot be explained except on the ground of his inspiration. He is not acting. He is not trifling with human feelings. He is not merely following the dictate of his own personal affections. He is, under Divine direction, planning for the removal of his father's house to Egypt that the people of God may pass through their season of trial in the house of bondage. Another point -
II. God's blessing on a TRUE HUMANITY THE THOROUGHLY HUMAN CHARACTER OF THE NARRATIVE. The tenderness, the pathos, the simplicity, the truthfulness, especially in the case of Joseph himself. How little he had been spoiled by prosperity! That is the criterion of real greatness. The Bible histories help us to keep in mind that real religion does not suppress the human, but preserves and develops all that is best and noblest in the man.
III. THE GRACIOUS WISDOM OF THE GOOD MAN IN HIS CONDUCT TOWARDS OTHERS. Joseph's dealing with his brethren gradually preparing their minds for the great announcement which was soon to be made. Both his kindness to them and his particular inquiries after Jacob, and affectionate salute of Benjamin, must have roused their curiosity and disarmed their terrors. As they "drank and were merry" with the great Egyptian ruler, and their youngest brother rejoiced in the special mark of favor, which was favor to all, they must have felt the bondage of their previous apprehensions slipping away from them, and have anticipated some good thing in preparation for them. Moreover, there may have been the intention working in Joseph's mind of accustoming the Egyptians to the sight of those Hebrew people, and so opening the way to their subsequent elevation when as his brethren he should settle them in Goshen. There was great wisdom in all this lingering in divulging the great secret.
IV. THE MARK OF FAITH IS A SINGLE EYE TO GOD'S GLORY. We should endeavor to blend the personal with the larger interests of God's kingdom, Family life should be based upon religious foundations. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the famine was sore in the land.