Friday, March 17, 2017

Brothers Reconciled- Part Four

So the family packed up everything they owned and traveled to the edge of Canaan, where their father ordered them to halt. The brothers were anxious to get to Egypt, but Father needed confirmation from God that they were supposed to go. After talking with God, their father told them to pack up again, they were going to Egypt, and God was going with them.
The brothers loaded their father, children, and wives into the wagons that Pharaoh had given them. They traveled out of Canaan, their home of many years, and down to Egypt- all seventy of them!
As they approached Egypt, Judah was sent by their father ahead to lead the way to Goshen...and Joseph. Judah appeared at Joseph's house and was welcomed with an embrace.
"Is my father on his way?" Joseph asked.
"Yes, the whole family is not far away," Judah replied. He returned to his family, and Joseph followed shortly.
When Joseph arrived, he arrived in all his Egyptian splendor. He rode in a chariot, was dressed in his finest, and rode up to the giant group of Hebrews. But the brothers noticed something. When he saw his father, Joseph leapt from the chariot and fell into his father's arms, as if he was a child again. And their father said, "Now I can die in peace because I have seen my son again."
Joseph turned to his brothers and gave them instructions. "I will go up and tell Pharaoh that you are here. I will also tell him that you are shepherds. Now, Pharaoh himself will want to meet you. He will ask you what your occupation is, and this is what you need to say, 'Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.' If you do this, he will allow you to settle in Goshen, because shepherds are an abomination to the Egyptians, and you will be safe."
The brothers nodded their understanding and waited to be summoned into the presence of Pharaoh.
When Joseph returned he chose Judah, Naphtali, Benjamin, Asher, and Dan to visit Pharaoh.
Pharaoh greeted the men, and then asked them, "What is your occupation?"
Judah replied, "Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were." Then he cleared his throat and continued. "We have come to sojourn here in the land, because the famine is severe in Canaan, and there are no fields for our flocks. Now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen."
Then Pharaoh said, "Behold, the land is before you. Settle in Goshen." He turned to Joseph. "Settle your family in Goshen, and put them in charge of my livestock."
The brothers went back to their families and waited while Joseph took his father to see Pharaoh.
Within a matter of days, the Hebrew clan was settled in the best of the land of Goshen. And Joseph provided for them.

Now, the famine became more and more severe. The brothers had plenty to eat because Joseph was providing for them, but the rest of Egypt was hungry...and running out of money. Joseph gathered livestock from them in exchange for food, and the brothers cared for all the livestock that was now Pharaoh's.
As the men sat in the fields with their flocks, they reflected on the fateful day when they had been in the fields and had seen Joseph at a distance and plotted to kill him. How much had changed since that day! Over the last few months, Judah had risen to a place of leadership in the family, and the family had been reconciled. They no longer fought over every little thing, and their father trusted them more than he ever had.

Well, seventeen happy years passed with the brothers caring for Pharaoh's livestock. One day, Joseph came to see them. "I have just spoken with my father," he said. "He has asked me to swear to bring his bones out of Egypt and bury them with the bones of his fathers. Please tell me if he becomes ill."
The brothers promised. They knew how important it would be to Joseph to see his father one last time before he died.

(Based on Genesis 46-47)

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