Highlights of Genesis 43 - 46

Highlights From Bible Reading ‒ 43 - 46

Download file with all references

Download file with all references

GENESIS 43 - 46

*** w04 1/15 p. 29 par. 1 Highlights From the Book of Genesis—II ***
43:32—Why was eating a meal with the Hebrews detestable to the Egyptians? This may largely have been because of religious prejudice or racial pride. The Egyptians also detested shepherds. (Genesis 46:34) Why? Sheepherders may simply have been near the bottom in the Egyptian caste system. Or it could be that since the land available for cultivation was limited, the Egyptians despised those seeking pasture for flocks.

*** w04 5/15 p. 16 pars. 5-6 Caring for the Elderly—A Christian Responsibility ***
5 For more than 20 years, Joseph had no contact with his elderly father, the patriarch Jacob. However, Joseph had evidently not lost his filial love for Jacob. In fact, when Joseph revealed his true identity to his brothers, he asked: “Is my father still alive?” (Genesis 43:7, 27; 45:3) At that time, the land of Canaan was in the grip of famine. Thus, Joseph sent word to his father, saying: “Come down to me. Do not delay. And you must dwell in the land of Goshen, and you must continue near me . . . And I will supply you with food there.” (Genesis 45:9-11; 47:12) Yes, honoring aged parents includes protecting them and providing for them materially when they are not in a position to care for themselves. (1 Samuel 22:1-4; John 19:25-27) Joseph gladly accepted this responsibility.
6 With Jehovah’s blessing, Joseph had become one of Egypt’s richest and most powerful men. (Genesis 41:40) But he did not consider himself too important or too busy to honor his 130-year-old father. On learning that Jacob (or Israel) was approaching, “Joseph had his chariot made ready and went up to meet Israel his father at Goshen. When he appeared to him he at once fell upon his neck and gave way to tears upon his neck again and again.” (Genesis 46:28, 29) This welcome was much more than a formal show of respect. Joseph dearly loved his elderly father and was not ashamed to demonstrate his love. If we have aging parents, are we similarly unstinting in our expressions of affection for them?

*** w04 1/15 p. 29 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Genesis—II ***
44:5—Did Joseph actually use a cup to read omens? The silver cup and what was said about it were evidently part of a subterfuge or stratagem. Joseph was a faithful worshiper of Jehovah. He did not really use the cup to read omens, even as Benjamin did not actually steal it.

*** w06 2/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
Did Joseph, a faithful servant of Jehovah, use a special silver cup to read omens, as seems to be indicated at Genesis 44:5? There is no reason to believe that Joseph actually employed any form of divination.
The Bible reveals Joseph’s real understanding on the use of magical arts to learn the future. Earlier, when he was asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph repeatedly insisted that only God can “announce” upcoming events. As a result, Pharaoh himself came to believe that the God whom Joseph worshipped—the true God, not occult powers—caused Joseph to know details about the future. (Genesis 41:16, 25, 28, 32, 39) In the Law given to Moses later on, Jehovah prohibited the use of magic or divination, thus confirming that He alone foretells the future.—Deuteronomy 18:10-12.
Why, then, did Joseph indicate through his servant that he used a silver cup to ‘read omens expertly’? (Genesis 44:5) We need to consider the circumstances under which this statement was made.
Because of a very severe famine, Joseph’s brothers had traveled to Egypt to obtain food. Years earlier, these same brothers had sold Joseph into slavery. Now, unbeknownst to them, they requested assistance from their own brother, who had become Egypt’s food administrator. Joseph did not reveal himself to them. Instead, he decided to test them. Fittingly, Joseph wanted to determine the genuineness of their repentance. He also wanted to find out whether—and to what degree—they loved their brother Benjamin and their father, Jacob, who was especially fond of Benjamin. Thus, Joseph resorted to a ruse.—Genesis 41:55–44:3.
Joseph commanded one of his servants to fill his brothers’ bags with food supplies, return each one’s money in the mouth of his bag, and put Joseph’s silver cup in the mouth of Benjamin’s bag. In all of this, Joseph was representing himself as an administrator of a pagan land. He adapted himself, his actions, and his language to the character of such an administrator, as it would appear in the eyes of his unsuspecting brothers.
When Joseph confronted his brothers, he continued with his subterfuge, asking them: “Did you not know that such a man as I am can expertly read omens?” (Genesis 44:15) Thus, the cup was evidently all part of the stratagem. Joseph’s use of the cup to read omens was no more real than Benjamin’s theft of it.

*** w13 12/15 p. 28 Facing the Loss of Your Mate ***
The Bible confirms that the pain of losing a mate is both cruel and long lasting. When Sarah passed away, Abraham, her husband, “came in to bewail Sarah and to weep over her.” (Gen. 23:1, 2) Despite having faith in the resurrection, Abraham felt intense grief when his loved one died. (Heb. 11:17-19) After his dear wife Rachel died, Jacob did not soon forget her. He spoke tenderly about her to his sons.—Gen. 44:27; 48:7.
What lesson should we learn from these Scriptural examples? Widows and widowers often feel the pain of loss for years. We should view their tears and times of sadness, not as a weakness, but as an understandable consequence of their great loss. They may need our empathy and support for a long time.

*** w09 8/15 p. 32 Did You Once Serve? Can You Serve Again? ***
Joseph did not know that all of this would serve a purpose. He simply continued to do what he could.
Jehovah was thus able to use him to preserve the line leading to the promised Seed. (Gen. 3:15; 45:5-8) While none of us can expect to play as central a role as Joseph did, the inspired account shows that Jehovah’s hand is involved in privileges that His servants receive. Keep the way open by imitating Joseph.

*** w99 1/1 p. 30 An Act of Forgiveness Opens the Way for Salvation *** Joseph’s mercy was not extended without a basis. He had already observed evidence of their repentance. For example, when Joseph accused his half brothers of being spies, he overheard them say among themselves: “Unquestionably we are guilty with regard to our brother . . . That is why this distress has come upon us.” (Genesis 42:21) Also, Judah had offered to become a slave in Benjamin’s place in order that the young man could be returned to his father.—Genesis 44:33, 34.
Hence, Joseph was justified in extending mercy. Indeed, he realized that doing so could result in the salvation of his entire family. Therefore, Joseph told his half brothers to return to their father, Jacob, and say to him: “This is what your son Joseph has said: ‘God has appointed me lord for all Egypt. Come down to me. Do not delay. And you must dwell in the land of Goshen, and you must continue near me, you and your sons and the sons of your sons and your flocks and your herds and everything you have. And I will supply you with food there.’”—Genesis 45:9-11.

*** w10 10/15 p. 16 pars. 3-4 Do You Take the Lead in Honoring Fellow Believers? ***
3 The principal Hebrew word for “honor” literally means “heaviness.” A person who is honored is regarded as being weighty or as amounting to something. The same Hebrew word is also often translated in the Scriptures as “glory,” which further indicates the high regard shown to the one being honored. (Gen. 45:13) The Greek word translated “honor” in the Bible conveys the sense of esteem, value, preciousness. (Luke 14:10) Yes, those we honor are precious, valuable to us.
4 What is involved in honoring others? It starts with respect. In fact, the words “honor” and “respect” are often used together because they are closely related. Honor is the manifestation, or outward demonstration, of respect. In other words, respect refers primarily to how we view our brother while honor refers to how we treat our brother.

*** w01 12/1 p. 22 par. 14 Fear Jehovah and Keep His Commandments ***
14 Years later Joseph came face-to-face with his brothers, who had heartlessly sold him into slavery. He could easily have used their desperate need for food as an opportunity to avenge the wrong they had done to him. But treating people tyrannically does not reflect the fear of God. (Leviticus 25:43) Thus, when Joseph saw ample proof of his brothers’ change of heart, he mercifully forgave them. Like Joseph, our godly fear will move us to conquer evil with good, as well as hold us back from falling into temptation.—Genesis 45:1-11; Psalm 130:3, 4; Romans 12:17-21.

*** w87 5/1 p. 20 par. 19 Preserving Life in Time of Famine ***
19 It is of interest that, when Pharaoh arranged to transport Jacob and his households to Egypt, all the male “souls” who settled there numbered 70, a multiple of 7 and 10. (Genesis 46:26, 27) These two numbers are used significantly throughout the Scriptures, “7” often indicating heavenly and “10” earthly completeness.
(Revelation 1:4, 12, 16; 2:10; 17:12) This parallels the situation today, when we may expect that Jehovah will gather into his “land,” the spiritual paradise in which we now rejoice, every last one of his family of Witnesses.
(Compare Ephesians 1:10.) “Jehovah knows those who belong to him,” and even now he is settling them in “the very best of the land,” as was Goshen back in Pharaoh’s domain.—Genesis 47:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:19.

References obtained from the Watchtower Library on CD-ROM and WOL.JW.org

Recommended Contents