Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 99
Foundational themes in Genesis – Study 99 (Key verses: Gen 44:1-13)
In our theme of spiritual glorification as typified in the life of Joseph, the role which money or silver played in the interaction between Joseph and his brothers is very significant. The words “money” and “silver” appears 19 times in the interaction between Joseph and his brothers, and in these instances both these words are translated from the one Hebrew word “keseph” (ref: Gen 37:28; Gen 42:25; Gen 42:27-28 (2); Gen 42:35 (2); Gen 43:12 (2); Gen 43:15; Gen 43:18; Gen 43:21-23 (5); Gen 44:1-2 (3); Gen 44:8). The spiritual application of money or silver (“keseph”) helps us to see how we first live through the negative application of this “keseph” being ensnared by the spirit of the world:
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
This earthly existence and the spirit of the world provide the initial realm where we can trade our “keseph”, or spiritual currency, in deceptive schemes and strategies. Driven by their earthly pride, lusts and hatred for Joseph, his ten brothers sold him as a slave for a few pieces of silver (Mat 18:18):
Gen 37:28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver [Hebrew: “keseph”]: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
This spirit of the world is the spirit of the first man Adam and not the spirit of the Father because Adam was “made subject to vanity” and “was marred in the hand of the potter” (Gen 2:7; Rom 8:20; Jer 18:4). But naturally we are not even aware of this, and like the church in Laodicea we reject God’s testimony about this condition of Adam, and we cannot see our own righteous works are actually filthy rags (Isa 64:6):
Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Like this church and the brothers of Joseph, we want to present our “keseph” for God’s corn and be fed by His Word as we also use His silver and wrap the idols of our carnal hearts around them:
Eze 16:17 Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them.
Joe 3:5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things.
That is why Joseph, whom his brothers could not even recognise, returned their “keseph” in secret which caused deep torment in their hearts:
Gen 42:25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money [Hebrew: “keseph“] into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.
By accusing these brothers of being spies and then returning their money in secret, Joseph started a process of judgment on them. They claimed that they were “true men” not realizing Joseph knew them and who they truly were:
Gen 42:8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.
Gen 42:9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.
Gen 42:10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.
Gen 42:11 We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.
From the scriptures we learn that judgment is the process which God ordained by which all must learn His righteousness and where the self-righteous flesh is exposed:
Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Joseph is the type of God’s elect who is given the desire by God’s spirit to “seek [Him] early” and to be the first who is judged in order for them to be kings and priests in the thousand year reign on earth and also the judges in the lake of fire judgment (1Pe 4:17; 1Co 6:2-3; Rev 20). Joseph is now in a position to help his brothers, and in this interaction between Joseph and them we are provided with beautiful insight into the process involved in the lake of fire judgment. It is especially a torment and a crushing experience for those who are convinced that they are “true” disciples of Jesus and are not even aware that they are filled with self-righteousness and are indeed workers of iniquity:
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day [of judgment], Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
On their second journey to Egypt the brothers of Joseph were taken to his house for a meal, when as yet they could not recognize Joseph:
Gen 43:32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
The brothers of Joseph were seated in a specific order according to their birth and Joseph openly favoured Benjamin in the sight of the other ten brothers by giving him five times more portions than what he gave to the other brothers:
Gen 43:33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another.
Gen 43:34 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him.
This focus will be further highlighted when Benjamin will be instrumental in the next trial Joseph will put them through. Benjamin was Joseph’s brother from the favourite wife of Jacob, Rachel, and in this sense both of them represented the elect of God. What the ten brothers did to Joseph they could as well have done to Benjamin. God has an elect whom He chooses to be judged first and taken through much tribulation in this life. This is what those who oppose God’s elect cannot see, and in blind jealousy they say and do horrible things to God’s elect. To be given spiritual rulership is not for the glorification of flesh however, but to establish servants who will help others through their time of judgment (Isa 53):
1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
1Co 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
1Co 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Joseph went through seventeen years of slavery and humiliation, but God was with him, and that is why he was overcoming every trial which God placed on him. The spirit of God was Joseph’s source for everything, even the interpretation of the dreams of the Pharaoh and this was also the testimony of the Pharaoh when Joseph was given rulership over Egypt by him:
Gen 41:38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?
Gen 41:39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:
Gen 41:40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.
But Joseph was hated by his ten brothers, and we also know that a true prophet “is not without honour, except in his own country and in his own house”, which Jesus also admonished his elect about (Mat 10:5-42; Mat 13:57). By their words and actions Joseph’s brothers showed that they despised him:
Gen 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Gen 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
We are first Joseph’s ten brothers, and we fail the test when we, too, hate God’s elect and cannot speak peaceably to them and do evil to them, even murder them in our hearts:
1Jn 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
We all drink this cup of hatred, and this is what the brothers of Joseph at this stage could not admit. We all will be brought to see our hatred for our brothers in Adam, especially God’s elected ones when we find their doctrine and life offensive. This is what the cup of the blood of Jesus is about which was given to all His disciples to drink. Jesus’s disciples on the evening before His arrest swore their allegiance to Him:
Mat 26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
Mat 26:32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
Mat 26:33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.
Mat 26:34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Mat 26:35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
It is very easy to speak the words of Christ, but very hard to do those words, as we all find out in our own time:
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Rev 10:9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
We all betray His truths and deny that Jesus will actually save all His carnal creation in the first Adam, and even save our enemies whom we rather naturally want to see burning in an eternal hell fire:
Mat 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
Mat 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
Mat 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Benjamin was shown the same favour by his father Jacob, and also here in Egypt at this meal his ten brothers witnessed this favour bestowed on him. But Joseph was doing all of this to help his brothers to accept that there is an elect of God and wanted them to give an honest account of their deeds to him. Now he will bring Benjamin more into focus, and again “keseph” will be used. This time he added his own silver cup! On his brothers’s return to Canaan, Joseph commanded his steward that the money of the brothers must be secretly returned again, but that his silver cup be placed in Benjamin’s sack:
Gen 44:1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man’s money in his sack’s mouth.
Gen 44:2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
Gen 44:3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
When they were not far outside the city, Joseph commanded his steward to confront the brothers concerning the missing cup:
Gen 44:4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?
Gen 44:5 Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.
This cup had two functions according to Joseph: it was a drinking cup and also a cup “whereby indeed he divineth”. It is these two functions which make this cup of spiritual significance for us. We already established why the drinking of the cup is ordained for all, even as Jesus shares His cup first with His elect to see their part in God’s plan. But it is also important to see that this cup was also “whereby indeed [Joseph] divineth”. Some believe that these words “whereby indeed he divineth” prove that Joseph was involved in divination according to Egyptian or worldly traditions. But divination according to Egyptian or worldly traditions is an abomination to the Lord, which was later codified in the law of Moses:
Deu 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
Deu 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
Deu 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
Deu 18:13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.
Deu 18:14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
Deu 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.
Here we see what divides God’s elect from the rest – it is His Word, which is Jesus Christ. Here we have the difference between the false spirit of the world ruling the nations and the true spirit of the Father which rules His elect (Jer 14:14). Divination of the world has self-interest and self-glorification at heart which is in rebellion against God’s Word and His sovereignty and authority over all (1Sa 15:10; Psa 119:160; Mat 4:4; Mat 20:25-28; 1Co 4:6; 1Jn 4:1-9). But God speaks only through His Prophet, Jesus Christ, and all attention is placed on Him for those who follow Him and know His voice (Deu 29:29; Joh 10:7-18; Heb 1:2). This truth helped the apostle Paul to rebuke the woman who spoke true words, but with the wrong motive:
Act 16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
Act 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
Act 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
This spirit wanted to place the emphasis on the wrong place, but Paul placed the emphasis on Jesus, not on them. Jesus Himself never allowed evil spirits to testify about Him. In His time in flesh this is how Jesus always handled evil spirits who bring praise to Him, but reject the ordained torment and destruction of the old self:
Mar 5:7 And [the man with unclean spirits] cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
Mar 5:8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
The Word of God reveals the only true knowledge of God and His creatures, and it exposes the flesh as having an evil desire to be puffed up and serve its own evil agenda, even claiming having access to secret or higher knowledge outside of the scriptures (Psa 119:160; Isa 8:19-20; 1Co 4:6; 1Ti 6:20-21; 2Ti 3:15):
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Joseph’s life, however, speaks openly of self-denial and an acceptance of being humbled and obedient. Joseph displayed a spirit of diligence to observe Godly things rather than self-interest and was honoured in that process by his masters. Joseph openly confessed on at least two occasions that God alone was at work in him and that God was his source of true knowledge:
Gen 40:8 And they [Pharaoh’s butler and baker who were with Joseph in jail] said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
Gen 41:16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
Joseph therefore never placed the emphasis on this silver cup as having magic powers, but rather points to it as a symbol of God’s work through him. When God uses physical things in scripture to show direction, His emphasis is never on the thing used, but on God because “the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD” (Rom 1:20; Pro 16:33; Exo 28:30; Jdg 6:36-40; 1Sa 14:9; 2Ki 13:14-19; 2Co 1:20). The divination is rather in terms of the truth that this silver cup points to God’s atoning redemption through Jesus Christ which He brings even through His elect (Lev 16; Col 1:23-29; Oba 1:21):
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [Greek: “hilasmos” = atonement] for our sins.
1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation [Greek: “hilasmos” = atonement] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
The brothers of Joseph were shocked at the accusations of this steward when he overtook them on their way back to Canaan:
Gen 44:6 And he [Joseph’s steward] overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words [of Joseph].
Gen 44:7 And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing:
Gen 44:8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold?
Gen 44:9 With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.
But the steward did not acknowledge their self-righteous terms and conditions, but rather pointed out that only the one in whose possession the cup was will be guilty:
Gen 44:10 And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.
Gen 44:11 Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack.
Gen 44:12 And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.
Benjamin is brought into focus for a purpose because the cup was specifically placed in Benjamin’s sack. This brings us back to the cup of Jesus which associates with His death:
Mat 26:27 And he [Jesus] took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them [His disciples], saying, Drink ye all of it;
Mat 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Mat 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
This cup of Jesus makes all guilty of His blood, and it is the elect, typified here by Benjamin, who are brought to first see their guilt in this death of Christ and to accept God’s choices and conditions. The cup of judgment is also given to the elect to drink first, but all will be made to drink of this cup to see their part in God’s plan (1Pe 4:17; Jer 25:15-29):
Jer 49:12 For thus saith the LORD; Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken; and art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished? thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it.
The cup of Jesus is what brings separation from flesh, but it indeed is also the cup of reconciliation to be joined with the spirit of God in His kingdom:
Psa 116:12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
Psa 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
Psa 116:14 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
Psa 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
When the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, this time the ten brothers did not desert him like they did with Joseph many years ago. They rent their clothes, and in this sense they started a process of stripping themselves of their old way of thinking and doing things:
Gen 44:13 Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city.
This is what repentance signifies. For the first time they showed repentance by returning to face judgment which will still continue for them. Repentance never replaces judgment, but initiates the process. It was this silver cup which was also used to bring the brothers back to Joseph in order to make him known to them, which spiritually emphasizes the reconciliation function of the elect, even through Benjamin:
2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Detailed studies and emails relating to these foundational themes in Scripture are available on the www.iswasandwillbe.com website, including these topics and links:
Other related posts
- Psalms 68:24-35 "Ascribe Ye Strength Unto God" - Part 4 (December 10, 2015)
- Is There Spiritual Significance to Being Right or Left-handed? (February 19, 2015)
- Foundations Themes in Genesis - Study 115 (October 29, 2015)
- Foundational Themes in Genesis - Study 99 (July 2, 2015)
- Children's Study - Joseph, Part 8 Joseph Reveals Himself (January 23, 2017)
- Children's Study - Joseph, Part 6 Joseph Torments His Brothers (January 8, 2017)