This Week's Story

Have Jacob's ten sons been betrayed for someone's evil deeds?

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

Joseph: You are spies! part five

Ten brothers looked at the mighty official standing before them. A royal gold chain was around his neck and he wore a royal signet ring. Why was he accusing them of being spies? Is it possible to defend ourselves without making him angry?

“Sir, we are not spies! We have come to Egypt to buy grain. Our families are starving in a famine and live many miles away in Canaan. We are brothers, and we are honest.”

“Mockery! You are here to discover if famine has made Egypt weak. You, Hebrew fools! Egypt is the greatest nation in the world.”

Reuben, the oldest brother, was too startled to be angry. What is happening? Have we been betrayed for someone’s evil deeds?

The official watched the faces of the brothers. They were confused and scared. Of course, they were not spies. He knew them.

For twenty years, he had heard their voices shouting in his memory. “Here comes the Dreamer. He dreams and the moon, sun, and stars bow to him. Does he think we will bow to him?”

He remembered how their faces twisted when Father gave him a special coat. None of them received one.

I worked in the fields with them. When they did wrong, I told Father. I was a snitch. Did Father see our family’s unfairness?

He had a favorite wife, my mother. He had a favorite son, me. No wonder my brothers threw me into a pit. Oh, dear God, I was terrified. I was seventeen and I cried, “Please, we are family. Take me out of the pit. Don’t leave me to be torn apart and eaten by wild animals.” Only Judah’s pity convinced them to pull me out and sell me.

When I was forced to become a slave, God, you gave me a special position in Potiphar’s house. When I was rotting in an Egyptian prison, you gave me understanding to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams about the famine. He thinks I have great spiritual power and wisdom. Though I was a slave and a foreigner, he made me second-in-command and in charge of Egypt’s survival during the famine.

How should I treat my brothers? Revenge is not in my heart. I long to see my father, my little brother Benjamin, all my family. I must control my feelings.

Reuben is speaking to me.

“Sir, we are twelve brothers. The youngest is home with our father and our brother Joseph is no longer with us.”

The official declared, “I will test your word. Unless your youngest brother comes to Egypt, none of you will leave Egypt. One of you must go home and get your youngest brother. If he doesn’t come, then I will know you are liars and spies.”

He ordered, “Guard, take four soldiers with you and place all these men in prison.”

For three days, the brothers were kept in prison and then brought to the official. As they waited for him, they talked privately, “We are to blame for our trouble. We’ve lived twenty years of lies about our cruelty to our brother Joseph. We saw his terror. We heard him begging for help, but we ignored him.”

Reuben declared to them, “I told you not to hurt him, but you would not listen. We will die because we murdered him.”

Return soon to hear more about the brothers and their missing brother.

This is Barbara Steiner inviting you to follow thisweeksstory.com.

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