Beyond the Lectionary Text: Genesis 42

by Marc Nelesen

Textual Points

Outline of some not-to-miss items in the essential story

• Jacob sends 10 sons to Egypt to buy grain during a time of famine and protectively keeps Benjamin close to home.
• Little did anyone know that the Egyptian in charge of grain to whom the brothers would go was none other than Joseph, the brother whom they sold into slavery.
• Joseph recognizes his brothers, though they do not recognize him. He remembers his dreams of his brothers bowing down to him.
• Joseph accuses his brothers of being spies, throws them in jail, and insists that they prove their innocence by bringing their younger brother to Egypt. He holds one of the brothers as insurance that they will return.
• In their distress about the situation, the brothers remember what they did to Joseph, voice their regret about it, and cause Joseph to secretly weep.
• Joseph sends them away, orders their sacks to be filled with grain, and returns the purchase price along with their bags of grain.
• The brothers discover the returned money and tell their father of their experience in Egypt.
• Jacob laments losing two sons – Joseph and captive Simeon – and resists putting Benjamin at risk by sending him to Egypt.

Comments and Observations

Questions to Ponder / Issues to Address

Comments, Observations and Questions

Illustration Ideas