Summary: This is a propositional/expositional sermon with an aim at practical application of Joseph’s dealings with his brothers--likening it to the way God deals with Christians about their sin and lack of repentance.
The Conviction of Sin
1. Joseph’s brothers had undoubtedly learned the art
of subtlety that their father had practiced so
well throughout his young adult life.
2. They had deceived their father many times, the
worst of which was in the matter of Joseph’s
supposed death! Joseph, here, finally puts one
over on them as he frames their youngest brother,
Benjamin, for a crime he did not commit.
3. Remember, Jacob barely let Benjamin accompany his
sons to Egypt for fear that he might lose his only
remaining son by the wife of his love (Rachel), as
he lost Joseph.
4. Joseph does this to his brother to test their
honesty--to see if they had developed any--and to
test their humility.
I. JOSEPH’S BRETHREN ARE FRAMED (v. 1-6).
A. Joseph puts the corn in his brothers’ bags
They had come for corn, so he fills their bags
so full that they can barely carry them! It
seems from the text that they received a
healthier portion than most.
B. Joseph puts the cash in his brothers’ bags
Joseph had given their cash back the first
time to test their honesty—they had returned
it with extra gifts besides (43:21-22). This
alone had proved their honesty to him, but he
had to try them one more time! Remember how
they had treated him!
C. Joseph puts his cup in Benjamin’s bag (v. 2).
Joseph does this so that he can have his way
over them completely. Until this time, they
had done nothing wrong--though he had accused
them of being spies. If he could catch them
doing something wrong, he would have the right
to do anything to them, especially to the
II. JOSEPH’S BRETHREN ARE FRANTIC (v. 7-13).
Joseph gives his brethren a head start and then
sends his steward after them and instructs him to
accuse them of thievery! When Joseph’s men catch
the brethren, they are frightened by the
accusations. They are sure that no one has done
anything wrong, until the silver cup is
discovered in Benjamin’s bag. They quickly
become frantic as they realize that they have
been caught, not by man, but really by God--they
are finally reaping the consequences of what they
have sown (Galatians 6:7-9).
A. Benjamin may have been dishonest (v. 11-12).
They, no doubt, all thought that Benjamin had
actually stolen the cup. The probability of
this guilt may have been heightened by the
circumstance of his having that very cup to
drink out of at dinner; for as he had the most
honorable mess, so it is likely he had the
most honorable cup to drink out of at the
B. Benjamin may have to die (v. 9).
They hastily proclaim, :"With whomsoever of
thy servants it be found, both let him die,
and we also will be my lord’s bondmen,"
because they are assured that it will not be
found in their bags. Imagine their horror
when the cup is discovered indeed. Further
still, think of the sorrow that they must feel
when they find out it is in Benjamin’s bag.
Their father will die if he hears of
Benjamin’s death or even his incarceration!
C. Benjamin will be detained (v. 10).
What a blessing! Joseph will not demand the
death penalty for Benjamin’s alleged
thievery. Joseph’s brothers must have
breathed a sigh of relief indeed. However,
one small matter remains--they promised to
bring Benjamin back to their father unharmed!
Joseph has offered to let all of them go but
III. JOSEPH’S BRETHREN ARE FAITHFUL (v. 14-34)
For the first time in their lives, the patriarchs
start showing a little maturity as Judah
(actually innocent this time!) offers himself for
his guilty brother.
A. They learned faithfulness to their father
When they went home with a bloody strip of
Joseph’s coat of many colors, they did not
even consider their father’s grief at losing
his favorite son! All they could think of was
that they were finally rid of his annoying
presence. This time, it appears as if they
love their father and would rather die than to
see him grieve as he did over Joseph!
B. They learned faithfulness to their family
Oh! how they had hated Joseph, the oldest of
two sons by Rachel (their father’s favorite
wife). It stands to reason that after the
false report of Joseph’s death, Jacob must
have devoted his attention to Benjamin. No
doubt, this enraged the brothers at first, but
eventually they came to love him instead of
hating him as they had hated Joseph. It is
touching to see Judah offer to give his life
for his half-brother. If Joseph would accept
his offer, he would be Joseph’s slave for life
(Judah was the one who had sold Joseph into