Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 97

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Foundational themes in Genesis – Study 97

(Key sections from Genesis chapters 41 to chapter 43)

After suffering many trials and tribulations for thirteen years in Egypt, Joseph is given rulership in Egypt under the Pharaoh after Joseph gave him wise counsel concerning his two dreams (Gen 41:14-46). Pharaoh also acknowledged that Joseph was “a man in whom the Spirit of God is” and that he was indeed “discreet and wise” (Gen 41:38-39). In the first seven years of plenty in Egypt under Joseph’s rulership, he stored up food from every part of the country, and the corn was “as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number” (Gen 41:47-49). This great provision period links to the symbolic thousand-year period when the elect will reign on the earth after they are part of the first resurrection (Rev 20:4-6). It is also within the time of Joseph’s rulership that the seven years of famine came on the whole earth, which forced all the countries to come to Joseph to buy food:

Gen 41:56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.

Joseph first supplied the Egyptians and afterward his family, which confirms these scriptures concerning the physical Jews showing God’s disdain on those whose pride makes them believe that physical attributes and preferences will influence His election and salvation (Pro 16:5; Jas 4:6):

Eze 16:55 When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou [physical Jerusalem – Gal 4:25] and thy daughters shall return to your former estate.

Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Rom 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.

The family of Joseph was also forced to go to Egypt to buy food, and little did they know how this would end for them. In our last discussion we started to touch on significant patterns in the way Joseph and his family were interacting within this time of getting food in order to survive the famine, which was also felt in Canaan. It all started off with the first command from Jacob:

Gen 42:1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another?
Gen 42:2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.

Several journeys back and forth between Egypt and Canaan will follow, and each journey brings deeper torment to these brothers as their evil hearts were systematically unveiled:

Gen 42:3 And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.
Gen 42:4 But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.
Gen 42:5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

These ten brothers then appeared before Joseph, whom they could not recognise as he accused them of being spies, which they flatly denied. Our flesh and its carnal mind see spiritual things as foolish as they also speak and act against God and His elect (1Co 2:14; Rom 8:33; Isa 50:8; Luk 18:7; Rev 11:7-12). This passage is about the Christ whom the flesh cannot appreciate or value:

Isa 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
Isa 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
Isa 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

This accusation from Joseph that these ten brothers were spies connects to the evil report and slanders of the ten spies in the days of Moses against the promised land, which points to God’s spiritual provision and inheritance (Num 13:1-33; Num 14:1-45). Just as Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden could not recognise or appreciate the tree of life, these ten brothers of Joseph were spiritually blind (Gen 3:6-24; Gen 37:2-36). The revelation of the coming of Jesus starts off with the unveiling of our old man, the “man of sin”, and this is what is happening in the lives of these brothers (Gen 1:24-30; Ecc 3:18; 2Th 2:1-4; Rev 13). Before they could recognise Joseph, his brothers had to see themselves for who they are. Joseph was the “voice like a trumpet” to these fleshly brothers as he was used by God on several occasions to bring down their walls of iniquities and sin and show them their transgressions (Jer 4:5, 19, 21; Jer 6:1, 17; Rev 1:10):

Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Isa 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

It is when the seven seals on our books are being opened that we can hear the trumpets of God announcing the judgment through which God’s righteousness are brought into our lives (Isa 26:9; Rev 8:1-2). The revelation of Jesus Christ unveils our old nature (the opening of the seals) and that goes with the sounding of the trumpets which connects with the judgement of God on our old man of sin. There is no perfection of the flesh, and our spiritual walk and understanding is being developed and going through a process as long as we live in this vessel of clay. It is only at the first resurrection that the elect in Christ will be given spiritual perfection. Our souls are indeed afflicted when our book is unsealed when we hear God’s trumpets, when we go through His judgments. The feeling of being forsaken should rather be seen as the birth pains of being redeemed from the old man (Isa 54:7-8; Mat 27:46):

Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Rom 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Through the interrogation by Joseph, more and more of the evil dealings of the brothers are confessed, and they were placed in jail for three days:

Gen 42:21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
Gen 42:22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.
Gen 42:23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.

We will get back to this interpreter a bit later. The second command which these brothers received within this time of famine came from Joseph. Joseph kept one brother, Simeon, in jail on the condition that he will be released if the other nine brothers bring their youngest brother, Benjamin, with them the next time they come to Egypt. The number nine spiritually links and confirms that judgment is for sure on these brothers of Joseph (Gen 17:24; 2Ki 25:1-3; Mat 27:45-46). Joseph also commanded his stewards to fill the sacks of the brothers with corn, and that their money is to be placed within their sacks without their knowledge. A new aspect in this process of judgment is now introduced which also relates to the theme of spiritual glorification and rulership of the elect:

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.
Gen 42:26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence.

The word “money” in verse 25 is translated from the Hebrew word “keseph”, and this is how Dr. James Strong defines this Hebrew word “keseph” and its root word “kâsaph” in his dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words:

H3701 – keseph – From H3700; silver (from its pale color); by implication money: – money, price, silver (-ling).

H3700 – kâsaph – A primitive root; properly to become pale, that is, (by implication) to pine after; also to fear: – [have] desire, be greedy, long, sore.

This Hebrew word “keseph” appears no less than 19 times in chapters 42 to 44 in Genesis which involved Joseph and his brothers (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).

Silver is a precious metal because of its scarcity, and spiritually it is also to be valued as such. That this word “keseph” appears so many times in this interaction between Joseph and his brothers therefore needs closer scrutiny. We also know that the Word of God deals both with the good and the evil, the light and the darkness, and therefore all symbols used in the scripture have both negative and positive applications, even in our own lives (Gen 1:2-5; Isa 45:7). This is how the Word of God is perceived from the two opposing viewpoints – the flesh and the spirit:

Exo 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
Exo 14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

In the case of Joseph’s ten brothers, the negative application of the word “keseph” applies first in their dealings with him. Joseph himself was sold for twenty pieces of silver to the slave traders by his ten brothers:

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.

The ten brothers now brought “keseph” again to buy food from the very person whom they sold as a slave to Egypt, although they did not know it was Joseph. This is what they confessed when he accused them of being spies:

Gen 42:11 We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.

This was their outward confession, but Joseph knew who they were and what they were hiding. God indeed reveals His mysteries and the plan of salvation to His elect (Amo 3:7; 1Co 2:6-10):

Psa 25:14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

By God’s design, the natural man is hooked to earthly things which are all corruptible, and spiritually this points to a dependence on the unfulfilling, self-righteous, carnal mind and its stubborn belief in Babylon’s false doctrines (Isa 1:22; Eze 7:19). Here we also see this negative spiritual application of the earthly silver:

Ecc 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
Ecc 5:11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

It is the true silver and gold of God found in His Word and true doctrine that brings spiritual atonement and redemption from this old mind set with its old vain conversations and traditions of men:

1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.

We only see this corruptible silver, and all the other corrupt spiritual merchandise within ourselves, when this spiritual whore, Babylon, is brought to the ground and destroyed:

Rev 18:10 …. Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Rev 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
Rev 18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
Rev 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

This is what Joseph’s brothers must be taken through for their own good. However, this will take a long journey, as Joseph’s nine brothers also begin to realize on their way back to Canaan:

Gen 42:27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack’s mouth.
Gen 42:28 And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?

Only one of them discovered the money in his sack, and the shock and fear was very real as they also knew God was punishing them. More shocks and torment awaited them later. Joseph returned their money because he had no need of it in one sense, but also to deepen their torment in order to reveal their self-righteous hearts… “we are true men.” Christ also said that He has no need for us when we come to Him with our self-righteous deeds forgetting what we have done to our own brothers and sisters (Mat 5:23-24):

Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, 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.

God does not know us and will reject us when we use His silver and His gold to do good works with the wrong motives, which are filled with the pride and lusts of our hearts (Eze 14:3-5; Eze 16:17; Eze 28):

Joe 3:5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things.

Joseph’s brother’s self-righteous hearts are being revealed, and their torment is now taken to a deeper level yet again as they also have to give an account to their father of this money and all that happened in Egypt:

Gen 42:29 And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying,
Gen 42:30 The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country.
Gen 42:31 And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies:
Gen 42:32 We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.
Gen 42:33 And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your households, and be gone:
Gen 42:34 And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land.

Then they made a bigger discovery that brought more fear on them all:

Gen 42:35 And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.

Jacob’s response to their story did not bring much comfort either. This is also where Jacob’s heart is tormented with the thoughts that he will lose more of his sons:

Gen 42:36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.

“Jacob’s trouble”, in this sense, is also now brought to its finality as this day of judgment will actually bring him to be united with his whole family, which he could not yet see at this point in time:

Jer 30:7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

Jacob did not want to lose any more sons, but Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob, is now even prepared to give up his own sons to be taken from him in the place of Benjamin, who was to be brought to Egypt:

Gen 42:37 And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.

Joseph’s command brought deep torment not only to his brothers, but also to Jacob:

Gen 42:38 And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

Jacob finally commanded the nine brothers to return to Egypt with double the money and Benjamin:

Gen 43:12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight:
Gen 43:13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:
Gen 43:14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
Gen 43:15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.

God will destroy all flesh, but he will set up an occasion for that. God wanted to destroy the Philistines in Samson’s days, and God then brought a woman of the uncircumcised Philistines into Samson’s life of whom his parents did not approve.

Jdg 14:4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

Our natural observations and our carnal understanding of this life will never agree with God’s ways (Isa 55:8-9). This we also see with Joseph’s brothers as they arrived back in Egypt and were taken to Joseph’s house by one of Joseph’s stewards:

Gen 43:18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses.

The steward of Joseph’s house communed with the brothers at the door:

Gen 43:19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they communed with him at the door of the house,
Gen 43:20 And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food:
Gen 43:21 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand.
Gen 43:22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.

This was the reply of this steward:

Gen 43:23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.

We hear comforting and encouraging words from the mouth of Joseph’s steward, who is also called the ruler in Joseph’s house (Gen 43:16). This steward spoke with authority and even released Simeon from prison. He also brought them water to wash their feet and food for their beasts:

Gen 43:24 And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender.

These stewards are mentioned several times in this interaction between Joseph and his brothers. They function as interpreters (Gen 42:23), they fill the sacks with corn and provisions (Gen 42:25; Gen 44:1), they are rulers of the house of Joseph (Gen 43:16), they are doorkeepers (Gen 43:19), they speak words of peace and comfort (Gen 43:23; Gen 44:4), and they are givers of water and food (Gen 43:24). These stewards expose the role and function of the elect of Christ within His household which is what spiritual glorification is all about:

Luk 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
Luk 12:43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Luk 12:44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

In our next discussion, God willing, we will look at the positive application of this Hebrew word “keseph” in this interaction between Joseph and his brothers.

[Here is a link to the next study in this series.]


Detailed studies and emails relating to these foundational themes in Scripture are available on the website, including these topics and links:

Numbers in Scripture
The Lake of Fire in Genesis
Metals – Precious Metals, Silver – Negative, Part 1
The Biblical Overview of the Plan of God – Part 5
The Biblical Overview of the Plan of God – Part 6
The Biblical Overview of the Plan of God – Part 14

Other related posts