And when Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them as strangers and spoke harshly to them. "Where have you come from?" he asked. "From the land of Canaan," they replied. "We are here to buy food."
The famine was part of God's plan to carry out his promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:13, 14
). But it is not merely a fact in the historical preparation for what he was bringing to pass; a link in the chain of events leading on to Christ. We must look upon it as part of a series of types foreshadowing gospel truths. The famine was a step towards the promised possession, and has its counterpart in the work of the Holy Spirit. It represents the spiritual want of man; conviction of sin (John 16:8
; cf. Romans 7:9
), leading to know the power of Christ's work (Matthew 18:11
I. The first step is CONSCIOUSNESS OF FAMINE; that a man's life is more than meat; more than a supply of bodily wants. It is realizing that he has wants beyond the present life; that in living for time he has been following a shadow. This knowledge is not natural to us. Bodily hunger soon makes itself felt, but the soul's need does not; and until it is known, the man may be "poor and blind and naked," and yet suppose that he is "rich and increased with goods."
II. WE CANNOT OF OURSELVES SUPPLY THAT WANT. Gradually we learn how great it is. We want to still the accusing voice of conscience; to find a plea that shall avail in judgment; to see clearly the way of life that we may not err therein. In vain we look one on another, seeking comfort in the good opinion of men, in their testimony to our upright life. In vain we try to satisfy ourselves, by promises to do better, or by offerings of our substance or of our work. In vain is it to seek rest in unbelief, or in the persuasion that in some way all will be right. The soul cannot thus find peace. There is a voice which at times will make itself heard - "all have sinned" - thou hast sinned.
III. GOD HAS PROVIDED BREAD. "I have heard that there is corn in Egypt" (cf. Romans 10:18), answers to the gospel telling of the bread of life. As to this we mark -
1. It was provided before the want arose (1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8). The gospel tells us of what has already been done, not of a gift to come into existence on certain conditions. The ransom of our souls has been paid. We have to believe and take (Revelation 22:17).
2. How faith works. They must go for that food which was ready for them. To take the bread of life must be a real earnest act, not a listless assent. The manna which was to be gathered, the brazen serpent to which the sick were to look, the command to the impotent "Rise, take up thy bed and walk," all show that it is not enough merely to wish, there must be the effort of faith (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:3). This is a law of the spiritual kingdom. As natural laws regulate results within their, domain, so spiritual results must be sought in accordance with spiritual laws.
3. It is our Brother who has made provision for us. This is our confidence. He waits to reveal himself when in humility and emptiness we come to him, and to give us plenty (1 Corinthians 3:21, 22). - M.
Bring down my gray hairs with sorrow.
Some graceless children despise their fathers and their mothers when they are old, and when their grey hairs claim reverence or compassion. If we must bow before the man of hoary hairs, although he is a stranger, what reverence do we owe to our own parents, when the respect due to age is added to the claims of parental relation! Those children that load the grey heads of their parents with crushing sorrows, are worse than common murderers. Yet, let not parents, by their own frowardness, kill themselves with grief, and load their children with the blame due to themselves. The aged ought to remember that their infirmities may dispose them to make their burdens heavier than God or men have made them. And when we torment ourselves we are too ready to transfer our own folly to the account of others.
Why should Jacob die with grief, if Benjamin should be lost? Is Benjamin his God, his life, his exceeding joy? "The Lord liveth, and blessed be the Rock of Israel." He is the Rock of ages. God had made desolate all Job's company, and his hope had He removed like a tree; but Job knew that his Redeemer lived. "All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field; but the Word of the Lord shall stand for ever." And whilst the Word stands, those whose trust is placed on it are safe. They may, through the prevalence of unbelief, and of earthly affections, speak unadvisedly with their lips; hut the Lord will make them sensible of their folly, and enable them to commit their affairs into His hand, and to east all their cares upon Him who cares for all His people. We shall soon hear Jacob saying, "If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved"; and on his death-bed he says, "I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord!"
PeopleBenjamin, Jacob, Joseph, Pharaoh, Reuben, Simeon
TopicsActed, Brethren, Brothers, Buy, Canaan, Clear, Discerneth, Disguised, Harshly, Joseph, Maketh, Pretended, Recognized, Replied, Roughly, Sharp, Spake, Speaketh, Spoke, Strange, Stranger, Strangers, Talking, Treated, Whence
Outline1. Jacob sends his ten sons to buy grain in Egypt.
16. They are imprisoned by Joseph as spies.
18. They are set at liberty, on condition to bring Benjamin.
21. They have remorse for Joseph.
24. Simeon is kept for a pledge.
25. They return with grain, and their money.
29. Their relation to Jacob.
36. Jacob refuses to send Benjamin.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 42:7
6701 peace, search for
LibraryCorn in Egypt
Now, there are very few minds that can make parables. The fact is, I do not know of but one good allegory in the English language, and that is, the "Pilgrim's Progress in Parables, pictures, and analogies are not so easy as some think; most men can understand them, but few can create them. Happy for us who are ministers of Christ, we have no great trouble about this matter; we have not to make parables; they are made for us. I believe that Old Testament history has for one of its designs the furnishing …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859
Touching Jacob, However, that which He did at his Mother's Bidding...
24. Touching Jacob, however, that which he did at his mother's bidding, so as to seem to deceive his father, if with diligence and in faith it be attended to, is no lie, but a mystery. The which if we shall call lies, all parables also, and figures designed for the signifying of any things soever, which are not to be taken according to their proper meaning, but in them is one thing to be understood from another, shall be said to be lies: which be far from us altogether. For he who thinks this, may …
St. Augustine—Against Lying
The Upbringing of Jewish Children
The tenderness of the bond which united Jewish parents to their children appears even in the multiplicity and pictorialness of the expressions by which the various stages of child-life are designated in the Hebrew. Besides such general words as "ben" and "bath"--"son" and "daughter"--we find no fewer than nine different terms, each depicting a fresh stage of life. The first of these simply designates the babe as the newly--"born"--the "jeled," or, in the feminine, "jaldah"--as in Exodus 2:3, 6, 8. …
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life
Spiritual Hunger Shall be Satisfied
They shall be filled. Matthew 5:6 I proceed now to the second part of the text. A promise annexed. They shall be filled'. A Christian fighting with sin is not like one that beats the air' (1 Corinthians 9:26), and his hungering after righteousness is not like one that sucks in only air, Blessed are they that hunger, for they shall be filled.' Those that hunger after righteousness shall be filled. God never bids us seek him in vain' (Isaiah 45:19). Here is an honeycomb dropping into the mouths of …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
Letter Xliv Concerning the Maccabees but to whom Written is Unknown.
Concerning the Maccabees But to Whom Written is Unknown.  He relies to the question why the Church has decreed a festival to the Maccabees alone of all the righteous under the ancient law. 1. Fulk, Abbot of Epernay, had already written to ask me the same question as your charity has addressed to your humble servant by Brother Hescelin. I have put off replying to him, being desirous to find, if possible, some statement in the Fathers about this which was asked, which I might send to him, rather …
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
Sign Seekers, and the Enthusiast Reproved.
(Galilee on the Same Day as the Last Section.) ^A Matt. XII. 38-45; ^C Luke XI. 24-36. ^c 29 And when the multitudes were gathering together unto him, ^a 38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee. [Having been severely rebuked by Jesus, it is likely that the scribes and Pharisees asked for a sign that they might appear to the multitude more fair-minded and open to conviction than Jesus had represented them to be. Jesus had just wrought …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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