2. JOSEPH’S TEST 7-20 a. Joseph’s test. Joseph recognizes his brothers as they bow down to him but he realizes that they do not recognize him. He decides to treat them as strangers and asks them where they came from and they told him. Then Joseph accuses them of being spies that have come to spy out the land’s nakedness, in other words, their weaknesses in fortification and defense. They protest and say that they are honest men. Which, is quite ironic, especially in the ears of Joseph and so he presses his accusation. They defend themselves by saying that they are twelve brothers, one is at home and one is no more. Joseph rejects their defense and says that they must be tested. If they are who they say they are then they will have to bring their younger brother to appear before him. And so he tells them that they will all be confined but one will be allowed to go fetch Benjamin. Joseph confines them all for three days and then returns. He changes what he says and tells them that now all of them may go home with the grain that they came to buy but one would have to stay as a guarantee that they would bring Benjamin to prove that they are honest. b. Why the test? As we have seen before, Joseph is an honest, hard-working, God-fearing man. Are this test and his rough speech a change in Joseph? Well, there are some clues in the text that point to Joseph’s motivation for his actions. Verse 9 says that he remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. Joseph’s mind goes back to those dreams that God gave him back twenty years ago and remembered what must happen. And so, his actions are based on the fact that his 11 brothers, according to the dreams, must bow before him. Of course, there is a problem because there is only 10 of them. And so Joseph maintains his role as governor and protector of the land. Also, Joseph knows that his brothers are proven liars and, not being aware of the status of his brother or his father, this test would allow him to know for certain if his brother and father were still alive. Thirdly, when Joseph returns to them on the third day he begins to tip his hand by saying, “For I fear God.” His promise to let them go is based on his fear of their mutual God. He does not swear by the life of Pharaoh, which is what Egyptians do, but that he will let them go because he fears God. Fourth, Joseph explicitly states that this is a test of their honesty.