Genesis 43:1-44:34

 |  April 9, 2018

Gen. 43:1-44:34

  1. Locate the passage

After an unspecified amount of time, the grain that the brothers had purchased from Egypt was depleted. However, the narrator informs the reader that the famine was still severe on the land. Now, the tension of the text is Jacob, who believes himself to already be bereft of two of his children, will be forced to risk a third and the only other son of Rachel.

  1. Genre

The passage is narrative. It records the conversations between Jacob and his sons and the brothers and Joseph.

  1. Determine the structure of the passage

43:1-7 – The brothers propose returning to Egypt with Benjamin

43:8-15 – Jacob consents to send Benjamin

43:16-24 – The brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin who invites them to dine with him

43:25-34 – Joseph dines with his brothers

44:1-6 – Joseph sends the brothers away, but puts his cup in Benjamin’s bag

44:7-13 – The steward accuses the brothers of stealing Joseph’s cup. The brothers pledge that if the cup is found with any of them, they deserve to die. The cup was found in Benjamin’s bag

44:14-34 – Joseph interrogates the brothers for stealing his cup. Judah recounts the story and offers himself in place of Benjamin

  1. Exegete the passage

This passage demonstrates the ascendancy of Judah among his brothers. He intervenes with his father (who consents); he offers to accept responsibility for returning Benjamin safely; he is listed separately from his brothers (Judah and his brothers); he accepts responsibility for the theft on behalf of his brothers; he is the spokesman with Joseph; and offers himself in the place of Benjamin.

Note also, Judah accurately recounts history with both his father and Joseph in extended dialogue in the text.

43:1-7 – You will not see my face unless your brother is with you

43:8-10 – Send the lad with me … I will be surety for him

43:11-15 – Jacob was persuaded by Judah

43:16-24 – Joseph saw Benjamin

43:25-27 – Joseph received the gift from his brothers and inquired about Jacob

43:28 – Joseph’s brothers, now including Benjamin (Cf. Gen. 37:9), bowed before him

43:29-30 – Joseph addressed Benjamin and blessed him, causing him to weep

43:31-34 – Joseph and his brother eat “together”

44:1-6 – Joseph sent the brothers away, but had his cup placed in Benjamin’s bag

44:7-13 – Why does my lord say these things?

44:14-16 – Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house

44:17 – Now, the crux of Joseph’s plan is revealed

44:18-34 – Judah pleads for Benjamin and offers himself in Benjamin’s place

  1. Let the structure of the text drive the sermon

Exp. This passage reveals the true nature of taking responsibility

Exp. It is possible that Joseph, out of care for Benjamin, is testing his brother to see if  they are willing to accept responsibility or think only of themselves as they had before when they allowed him to be sold into slavery.

Category: Sermon Structure
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