Well, I’m back safe and sound from another week at camp! The last two weeks or so have featured a lot of stress – I had my resits to deal with, then I was off to camp with a little bit less time to prepare then I would have liked, but realistically you can never prepare too much for an SU camp!
Now that I’m back I’m resolved to take my bible study much more seriously, both privately and online here, with my blog. Hopefully this time I’ll manage to stick at it longer than a few weeks, and maybe even finish Genesis by Christmas and find something new (and shorter) to captivate my online musings.
The title at the top of that link marks Chapter 44 as “Joseph’s silver cup, but in the English Standard Version (accessible through Biblegateway.com, or by changing the letters NLT to ESV at the end of the link above) it is given the title of “Joseph tests his brothers”.
I really like that as an overview for the whole passage, in context from Genesis 43 (see https://lifeisnotamystery.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/joseph-gets-his-act-together-genesis-43-and-a-springsummer-update/) we know that Joesph is no longer acting maliciously towards his brothers. He has given up trying to punish them, and now he is testing the to see if they have truly changed their ways or not.
Joseph wants to look after his full brother Benjamin, and make sure that Benjamin won’t get mistreated in the same that he (Joseph) did. In order to do so he tricks the brothers into taking a stolen cup with them.
When Benjamin is fingered for the robbery Judah speaks up, Judah who took responsibility for Benjamin is taking his responsibility seriously. He said he would put his life on the line for Benjamin and now he is!
Judah’s self-sacrificing attitude is exactly what God wants to see in his followers. Accepting responsibility, especially when it is a burden rather than something you seek and then dealing with the consequences of that fairly and justly are close to God’s own heart.
New Living Translation (NLT)
4 For you have judged in my favor;
from your throne you have judged with fairness.
Judah’s dedication to his responsibility please God, and as a result it is through Judah’s descendants the greatest kings of Israel are born (David and Jesus).
As tempting as it is to spin off sidey-ways and forget about Genesis 44 and look in detail at how Judah’s many children altered the course of Israel’s history, we’ll follow on with some comments on the content of Genesis 44.
The other thing that really strikes me about this passage is right at the end, Judah is so humble, maybe that is because he is talking to a man “as powerful as Pharaoh himself” or maybe it’s because he has developed a humble attitude in general. Regardless he is humble! I guess humility is a recurring theme because I talked about it in reference to Judah last time as well, last week I pointed out how Judah had an important, but not central role in the story, well this week Judah really does take center stage, as tempting as it would be to talk about how Benjamin feels through all this I think that would be metadata, or not useful really… Benjamin is just there along for the ride! God is working through the family to ensure the starting point for the people of Israel has a strong foundation in Egypt. While this whole passage is centered about Benjamin, with both parties trying to protect him from the other Benjamin himself is helpless!
He relies on Judah to protect him as he promised. In the same way going through life we are mostly helpless – we can’t see the future, we can be proactive for sure, and we should be in dealing with all sorts of things, but at the end of the day we just don’t know what is around the corner.
We have to rely on God to help us find solutions to the problems that arise, to remember that through His grace, and His mercy do we have any chance at all of fulfilled life.