christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

genesis 43-44

Read Genesis 43-44 at Bible Gateway.

The paragraph according to God’s paragraph divisions begun yesterday in Gen 41:1 ends in a weak paragraph division, an “s” division, at the end of Gen 44:17. The very next verse begins a new paragraph, which opens with Judah’s speech to Joseph after Benjamin was found with the silver cup!

Throughout the narrative of Joseph, the Scripture is using its teaching tools to bring attention to Judah! So far, we have seen:

Judah leading his brothers to sell Joseph in slavery in Egypt (Gen 37:26-27);

Judah departing from his brothers to live among the Canaanites (Gen 38), a chapter which paints a less than complimentary picture of Judah at this point in his life;

Judah rejoining his father and brothers, 42:1-3 (with his son Shelah, and Tamar and her sons, for they are with him when Jacob’s household departs for Egypt, Gen 46:8, 12);

Now Reuben, as firstborn, was still the leader of the brothers in Gen 42, during their first trip to Egypt (Gen 42:22, 37). He made himself surety for Benjamin, but Jacob would not consent to Reuben’s surety.

By the second trip to Egypt, Judah had become firmly established as the leader of the brothers. He is the one who speaks to Jacob on their behalf, and who makes himself surety for Benjamin, so that Jacob consents to Judah’s surety (Gen 43:1-4, 8-10). Scripture is revealing that the firstborn status is passing to Judah.

Then in Gen 44:18-34, the Scripture reveals the extent of Judah’s transformation, and the reason Joseph put his brothers through testing. Benjamin was the clear favorite of Jacob, just as Joseph had been. But the brothers do not hate Benjamin because he is favored. They have accepted it and return honor to their brother and their father. Envy and hatred no longer rule them.

Joseph creates for them the same conditions of imprisonment and slavery that they created for him, and yet their response to his tests reveal their greater concern for the welfare of their father, rather than their own position in the household.

For further study: What is the general theme or topic of the weak{s} paragraph from Gen 41:1-44:17? Also, there are numerous repeating elements in these chapters. Can you find the chiastic structures? What are the central axis’, and why does God put neon flashing lights around those passages?

Finding Messiah: Judah in his speech to Joseph, offers himself to be slave in his brother Benjamin’s place. Slavery, we saw earlier, is a type of death, as it ends the way of life previously known. Now Judah had no way of knowing that the whole incident had been staged. He truly believed he was going to spend the rest of his life as a slave in Egypt. He could have let Benjamin bear his punishment, but out of love for his father, he gave himself in his brother’s place. His substitutionary “death” prophesies of Messiah Yeshua!

I have been saying that Joseph is a type of Messiah. Yes, but remember that Scripture tied Joseph and Judah together in Gen 38-39! Judah departed from his brothers and dwelt among the Canaanites, and Joseph departed from his brothers and dwelt among the Egyptians. Here, in Gen 44, Judah’s actions prophesy of Messiah.

For further reading:
Joseph in Egypt, part six (Assoc. for Biblical Research)
Coins of Joseph (Answers in Genesis)
Famine in Egypt (CreationWiki)

<– 41-42 genesis 45-46 –>
genesis index ::: ::: ::: one year reading schedule


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