Joseph Entertains His Brethren. B. C. 1707.
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. 16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready for these men shall dine with me at noon. 17 And the man did as Joseph bade and the man brought the men into Joseph's house. 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. 19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, 20 And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: 21And 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. 22And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. 23And 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. 24And the man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet and he gave their asses provender. 25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.
Jacob's sons, having got leave to take Benjamin with them, were observant of the orders their father had given them, and went down the second time into Egypt to buy corn. If we should ever know what a famine of the word means, let us not think it much to travel as far for spiritual food as they did for corporal food. Now here we have an account of what passed between them and Joseph's steward, who, some conjecture, was in the secret, and knew them to be Joseph's brethren, and helped to humour the thing I rather think not, because no man was permitted to be present when Joseph afterwards made himself known to them, Genesis 45:1. Observe, 1. Joseph's steward has orders from his master (who was busy selling corn, and receiving money) to take them to his house, and make ready for their entertainment. Though Joseph saw Benjamin there, he would not leave his work at working-time, nor trust another with it. Note, Business must take place of civility in its season. Our needful employments must not be neglected, no, not to pay respect to our friends. 2. Even this frightened them: They were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house, Genesis 43:18. The just challenges of their own consciences, and Joseph's violent suspicions of them, forbade them to expect any favour, and suggested to them that this was done with a bad design upon them. Note, Those that are guilty and timorous are apt to make the worst of every thing. Now they thought they should be reckoned with about the money in the sacks' mouths, and should be charged as cheats, and men not fit to be dealt with, who had taken advantage of the hurry of the market to carry off their corn unpaid for. They therefore laid the case before the steward, that he, being apprized of it, might stand between them and danger and, as a substantial proof of their honesty, before they were charged with taking back their money they produced it. Note, Integrity and uprightness will preserve us, and will clear themselves as the light of the morning. 3. The steward encouraged them (Genesis 43:23): Peace be to you, fear not though he knew not what his master drove at, yet he was aware these were men whom he meant no harm to, while he thus amused them and therefore he directs them to look at the divine Providence in the return of their money: Your God, and the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks. Observe, (1.) Hereby he shows that he had no suspicion at all of dishonesty in them: for of what we get by deceit we cannot say, "God gives it to us." (2.) Hereby he silences their further enquiry about it. "Ask not how it came thither Providence brought it to you, and let that satisfy you." (3.) It appears by what he said that, by his good master's instructions, he was brought to the knowledge of the true God, the God of the Hebrews. It may justly be expected that those who are servants in religious families should take all fit occasions to speak of God and his providence with reverence and seriousness. (4.) He directs them to look up to God, and acknowledge his providence in the good bargain they had. We must own ourselves indebted to God, as our God and the God of our fathers (a God in covenant with us and them) for all our successes and advantages, and the kindnesses of our friends for every creature is that to us, and no more, which God makes it to be. The steward encouraged them, not only in words but in deeds for he made very much of them till his master came, Genesis 43:24.