4. GRACIOUSNESS OF GOD 26-34 a. Joseph meets with his brothers. The noon hour comes and Joseph leaves his job of selling the grain to eat lunch. When he enters, his brothers, the eleven sheaves of grain, bow down to him and they lie prostrate on the ground. Joseph inquires about his father if he is still alive. They explain that Jacob was alive and well. And then Joseph looks around and sees his brother Benjamin who was just a little boy the last time he saw him. Joseph asks, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” Joseph, being overcome with emotion, quickly leaves the room and goes to his bedroom where he gives vent to his emotions. When he was able to get a hold of himself, he washed his face and returned to the dining area. Moses describes the situation in the room that would have been typical in those days. Joseph sat by himself at a table because he would not have sat with anyone of a lower status and so the Egyptian servants would sit at a separate table. And because the Egyptians believed that eating with foreigners would defile them, Joseph’s brothers would be seated at a separate table. But what came next would astound the brothers. All eleven of them were seated in order of their age. Their looks of amazement show that they believe that this was not a coincidence but that somehow, this governor knew their birth order. Portions of food were taken from Joseph’s table and were given to the brothers with Benjamin’s portion five times as much as the others. It has been recorded that, where cultures like that of the Hebrews would give a double portion to the firstborn or a favored guest the Egyptians liked the number five. This has led some to believe that this is yet another test of the brothers by Joseph. If Benjamin is favored like he was, will the brothers act as if they did in the past? Will they retaliate or complain? The answer is that they just drank and were merry with him. b. The wisdom of the prudent. We can only guess at the full motivation of Joseph’s actions but at this point, he is still not willing to reveal who he is to his brothers. As we’ll see in chapter 44, he has one more test for them before he can trust them. Many have questioned Joseph’s stringing along of his brothers. And that is probably a valid question. Was it right for Joseph to do this? The last time he trusted his brothers they threw him in a pit and then sold him. Only a fool would blindly trust them. And remember, Joseph is no fool. He is the wise and discerning man of Egypt. As the book of Proverbs says, “the wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way…The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”