February 6, 2018: Day 43 – Genesis 43

This is a bit of a strange feast, but one that will have significance in the chapters to come.  Jacob agrees to send Benjamin down, but only with the assurances of Judah.  Remember, it was Judah who was trying to get Joseph out of the pit to begin with.  So here Judah assures his father that he will serve as a guarantor for Benjamin.  If he does not bring him back then he would be willing to sacrifice himself and his entire family for the sake of Benjamin.  As a result Jacob allows it to happen with the phrase: If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.  Basically in 21st century speak he said: It is what it is.  I’m not a huge fan of that statement because it smacks of fatalism.

When they arrive Joseph arranges with his chief steward to have them over for dinner.  Before the dinner he sees Benjamin and is overcome with emotion and almost gives the whole plot away.  But he doesn’t, and he eats in a separate room and the Egyptians eat in a separate room, and the sons of Jacob eat in a separate room, because Egyptians would not be caught dead eating in the same room as the Hebrews.  Isn’t that backwards?  We always think that the Hebrews had all of these purity codes and rules and regulations, which they did, but here we see that it was the Egyptians who were not allowed to eat with Hebrews.  Maybe the rules that they pick up later are somehow parallel to those that they followed in Egypt?  But we end with the youngest, Benjamin, getting five times the amount of food that the other brothers received, and no one complained, in fact they celebrated.

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