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27. Famine Strikes God’s Family

June 25, 2009

Text:   Genesis 42:1-44:34

Key Verses:   Genesis 43:14

Outline:                I. Jacob’s 10 Sons Buy Food in Egypt      Gen. 42:1-39

II. Jacob’s 11 Sons Return to Egypt for Food      Gen. 43:1-34

III. Jacob’s 11 Sons are Returned to Egypt for Stealing      Gen. 44:1-34


Pharaoh’s dreams have come true and Egypt together with all the surrounding areas are short of food. Joseph’s wisdom and planning is what is saving people. Jacob’s family is short of food so he directs his 10 sons to go to Egypt and buy some. Joseph recognizes them when they arrive but he pretends to be a stranger so he can find out more information about his family; who is alive and what are their attitudes. He accuses them of being spies and buts them in jail for three days. When he releases them, Joseph insists one brother remain in custody so there is ample reason for them to return with their younger brother as he requests. The brothers immediately begin thinking of the wrong they did to Joseph and believe that somehow they are now being punished for their past sin. Simeon is the one Joseph chooses to keep and sends the others back with their bags full of grain, their money with which they purchased the food, and a cup which obviously belonged to Jacob’s family. The brothers repeat all that happened to them in Egypt to their father but Jacob refuses to let Benjamin go back with them to get Simeon.

The famine continues on so Jacob is forced to reconsider and finally agrees to let Benjamin go back with the brothers after Judah stepped in and agreed to keep watch over Benjamin. They bring twice the money they need for food because they need to pay for their first portion too. Also, Jacob puts together a gift for Pharaoh’s representative, Joseph. The brothers are escorted into Joseph’s house and confess that they are there to buy more food and to pay for their previous purchase which they found in their bags when they returned home. Instead of being made slaves, Simeon is released and they are treated to a banquet where Joseph questions his brothers about their father. Joseph cannot control his emotions and has to leave their presence to weep in private.

Joseph has their sacks filled with grain, returns all their money, and puts his cup in Benjamin’s bag. After they are on their way, Joseph sends his servant after them to accuse them of stealing his cup. The brothers are flabbergasted and virtually destroyed when the servant finds Joseph’s cup in Benjamin’s bag. They are ushered back to Egypt where Josephs grants them mercy except for Benjamin, who had his cup. The brothers bow to Joseph, fulfilling Joseph’s dream which was one of the sources for their hatred of Joseph in the first place. Benjamin was special because Joseph and he had the same mother, Rachel. Judah then goes before Joseph and pleads for Benjamin’s life and asks that he take the place of his brother.


1. God will make you painfully aware of your unconfessed sin. God is capable of exposing what you desire to keep hiding.

2. God is more involved and in control of our lives than we recognize or acknowledge. Look back and see His hand. Acknowledge His activity in the present, And place your faith in Him for your future.

3. One’s moral famine will eventually bring on a spiritual famine and force us to make decisions of life [eternal] or death.

4. When looking to fill you stomach, don’t forget to listen to your heart. God will encourage you with clues from fellow believers/angels of mercy. [examples are Joseph and his steward talking about God].

5. Come to grips with your past sins. God prefers to dispense mercy, not judgment, but confession is necessary.

6. Look for God’s people everywhere and in every situation. You will see their witness if you look and listen carefully. Then life you hands in praise and thanksgiving to God. [Joseph]


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