Friday, August 20, 2010

Bible Study: As It Was In The Beginning - Genesis - Chapter 42

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Genesis. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you through this material.


Take a few minutes to savor Genesis Chapter 42. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

42:6 – Joseph is Governor! This is a perfect example of God’s irony! He was sold as a slave into the Egyptian culture – now, he’s second only to Pharaoh!!!

This bowing down may have been fulfillment of Joseph’s first dream. See 37:5-7. There are only ten brothers bowing, and no number is mentioned in the earlier chapter.

The number ten symbolized absolute completeness.

42:7 – Joseph recognized his brothers, but treated them like strangers. As he dealt with them, do you think he was praying for God to reveal His plan to Joseph? Was he in shock? Or overcome with anger, but hesitated to lash out because of his love for the Lord? He was dealing with so many people, do you think he did a double-take?

42:9 – Now Joseph remembers his dreams! Is this because his brothers bowed down as soon as they approached him, so he didn’t get a really good look at them until they stood up? And watching them stand reminded him of the sheaves bowing? This is the first revelation that God is bringing Joseph’s prophetic dreams to fulfillment.

“you are spies” – Was Joseph merely looking for a way to detain his brothers? The Explore the Bible Adult Leader Guide says he accused his brothers to get information from them without revealing his identity. He receives this desired information in v. 13. With stores of grain in a time of famine, Egypt would be a prime target for attack!

42:13-20 – Joseph shows faith and integrity by not abusing his power to punish his brothers. Instead, he mercifully gives them an opportunity to prove themselves changed and honest, humbled and sorry.

42:13 – the brothers divulge the information Joseph wanted: Jacob was alive, Benjamin was safe at home with him, the brothers believed Joseph to be dead.

42:14-17 – by accusing his brothers of being spies a second time and putting them in prison for three days, Joseph forces the brothers to choose truth or lie – revealing their true characters.

The number three was the symbol of holiness. The Holy of Holies occupied one-third, and the Holy Place two-thirds, of the entire Temple. The tapestries were ten times three ells in length, and there were three vessels each for the altar of burnt offering, the altar of incense, and the Ark. The candlestick had twice three arms (besides the shaft, which also held a lamp), and each arm had three knobs. The blessing of the priest consisted of three sections (Num. vi. 24, 25), and in the invocation of God the word "holy" was repeated thrice.

42:15 – by imprisoning the brothers until the youngest came forced the brothers to think about Benjamin, and therefore, Joseph and what they did to him.

42:16 – so that your words may be tested – Joseph’s plan included seeing what sort of men his brothers had become.

42:18 – I fear God – this was the common ground on which Joseph would rebuild relationship with his brothers.

42:19 – the test: “if you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison…” This is a benevolent gift since he originally planned to keep nine of them in prison and only let one brother return home for Benjamin.

42:21-23 – The brothers didn’t know Joseph could understand them, so their discussion/admission of wrongdoing was genuine, honest sorrow!

42:21 – The time in prison had its desired effect: the brothers thought about what they did to Joseph.

42:22-23 – Joseph learns that Reuben didn’t conspire against him.

42:24 – I believe Joseph turned away and wept because he just learned that Reuben tried to save him all those years ago. Our perception of a conflict can be totally wrong! We must seek truth in order for reconciliation to take place.

Why did Joseph choose to imprison Simeon? Was he Joseph’s least favorite brother? Greatest tormenter? The only brother to remain silent during their discussion in verse 21? The most popular among the brothers (the one they would definitely return to claim)? Did he look most afraid? Since Reuben wasn’t part of the plot to harm Joseph, Simeon (as the next oldest brother) was responsible for his demise.

42:33 – see Matthew 9:4; John 2:24-25.

What attributes of God have you observed in your study today? How will this change your relationship with Him?

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