This Week's Story

Jacob's sons can starve at home or go to Egypt hoping to buy food.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Joseph: Where is my brother? part four

“Reuben, every night my family goes to bed hungry and I don’t know how to help them.”

“That’s how it is with us. My wife says, ‘Reuben, you’re a hunter. Get a skinny desert fox for us to eat. If I add some salt to it, we might have a meal.’

“I tell her, ‘Don’t count on it. Scrawny foxes are still sneaky.’”

“Judah, what farm animals do you have left?”

“Few! There’s no grass on the hills to fatten my sheep. Last night goats destroyed the last limp plants in our garden. Our lambs, die at birth or live a few days and whimper. Reuben, Father is walking towards us. What are you going to tell him about the garden?”

“Nothing, except: ‘What can we expect from a shriveling garden and starving goats?”

Jacob greeted his sons, “Get your brothers. I want you to leave this week for Egypt. By a straight route the trip will take you about a month.”

That evening Father Jacob met with his eleven sons. Except for Benjamin, they were men with families. “Sons, we can all starve here or you can go to Egypt and possibly get food. Leave Benjamin here. He is too young and I have already lost one son to wild animals.”

Reuben and Judah felt the dirt of guilt. They had known for twenty years that their father lived with a lie that they and their brothers had told him. The truth was they had hated their missing brother Joseph, and sold him to be a slave.

When the brothers had plotted against Joseph, Reuben told them, “Instead of killing Joseph, let’s throw him into a pit. That way he will die and our hands will be clean of his blood.” Reuben had hoped to secretly get Joseph out of the pit.

Judah had protested, “If we kill our brother, we will have guilt. Let’s sell him to Ishmaelite salespeople.”

Joseph disappeared after the sale, but guilt and grief remained.

Now Jacob told his sons, “I have heard that Egypt also has a famine. Their fields are parched. No crops are growing. When the Egyptians began starving, they begged their pharaoh, ‘Give us food.’

“He told them, ‘Go to Zaphenath-paneah and do whatever he tells you to do.’

“The pharaoh had put him in charge of gigantic storage sheds filled with grain. He sold grain to Egyptians and people coming from other countries.

“Sons, we starve here. It is not the same in Egypt. Before the famine, Egypt had bumper crops. Zaphenath-paneah predicted the bumper crops would come for seven years. During the following seven years, famine would come and destroy Egypt. He said, ‘People will forget that once they were happy and had full stomachs.’

“The pharaoh appointed him to be second in command over all Egypt. He told him, “Prepare Egypt for the coming famine. You will manage my officials and all my people.”

“Sons, Jacob concluded, “Egypt is our hope for food. Go there with camels, donkeys, and money.”

The men were soon on their trip with other people from Canaan in search of grain. When they arrived in Egypt, they were directed to the governor of Egypt, Zaphenath-paneah. They bowed low with their faces pointed to the ground. He instantly recognized them, but he did not tell them.

“Where are you from?” he asked.

“From Canaan.”

“No, you are spies.”

Soon we can learn what happened to Jacob’s sons.

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