Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 9, 2022

“May God be gracious to you, my son.”

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 43:26-34.

“When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present which was in their hand and bowed to the ground before him.  Then he asked them about their welfare, and said, “Is your old father well, of whom you spoke?  Is he still alive?”  They said, “Your servant our father is well;  he is still alive.”  They bowed down in homage.  As he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?”  And he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.”  Joseph hurried out for he was deeply stirred over his brother, and he sought a place to weep;  and he entered his chamber and wept there.  Then he washed his face and came out; and he controlled himself and said, “Serve the meal.”  So they served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians.  Now they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in astonishment.  He took portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs.  So they feasted and drank freely with him.”   Genesis 43:26-34.


Joseph was gracious to Benjamin.  Joseph blessed Benjamin:  “May God be gracious to you, my son.”  Joseph also gave five times as much food to Benjamin as any of the other brothers.  Verse 34.   

Joseph and Benjamin were the only sons of Rachel.  Genesis 35:24.  The rest of their brothers were half-brothers, having different mothers but the same father, Israel.  It may be that Joseph wanted to give a subtle clue to all of his his brothers that he was Joseph, Benjamin’s brother, by giving Benjamin five portions and presumably an equal amount for himself totaling ten portions so that he (Joseph) and Benjamin would have a total of ten portions, the same amount of the total of ten portions of one portion for each of the ten other brothers.

Or, maybe, there was not that specific reasoning for the five portions that he gave Benjamin.

In any event, today’s Scripture gives us opportunity to think of God’s grace, reminding us of the Parable of the Laborers of the Vineyard.  The brothers should not grumble at five portions given to Benjamin, even though he was the last (youngest) brother.  Joseph was kind enough to his ten other brothers;  Joseph did not do any injustice to them.  “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?  Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’  So the last shall be first, and the first last.”  Matthew 20:15-16.    


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