By: Steve Negley
Posted: February 28, 2023
Category: Daily Devotional
16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 17 The man did as Joseph said and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18 Now the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, replaced in our sacks the first time, that we have been brought in, so that he may have an opportunity to fall upon us, to make slaves of us and take our donkeys.” 19 So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the entrance to the house. 20 They said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food, 21 and when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each one’s money in the top of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it back with us. 22 Moreover, we have brought down with us additional money to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23 He replied, “Rest assured; do not be afraid; your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your sacks for you; I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24 When the steward[b] had brought the men into Joseph’s house and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, 25 they made the present ready for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they had heard that they would dine there.
26 When Joseph came home, they brought him the present that they had carried into the house and bowed to the ground before him. 27 He inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28 They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and did obeisance. 29 Then he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” 30 With that, Joseph hurried out, because he was overcome with affection for his brother, and he was about to weep. So he went into a private room and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out, and controlling himself he said, “Serve the meal.” 32 They served him by himself and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33 When they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, the men looked at one another in amazement. 34 Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.
The Old Testament story of Joseph is a must read. It contains all the elements of a great novel, and it shows how God is present though all the seemingly disconnected events in our lives. This episode near the end of the tale includes food and a little dark humor. Joseph provided food for his family earlier on, and also tortured his brothers over the payment for the food. (And they deserved it.) And Joseph played with their heads even at the reunion feast with a seating chart and a special portion for Benjamin.
We are told that we aren’t supposed to play with our food. But sometimes we can use this valuable commodity as a way to give us a little laugh.
God, help us to live our lives with wit and wisdom. Help us to laugh to keep from crying. Help us to simply live the lives you give us. Amen.