This Week's Story

A mystery: Why does a powerful Egyptian official treat ten foreign brothers cruelly and kindly?

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

Joseph: Strange Treatment,
part eight

Masaharta, the palace manager, tried to calm the brothers. “Don’t be stressed. The Egyptian government received the money you paid for grain, even though you say that you found the money packed with your grain. Maybe the god of your ancestors put it there.”

“The nine brothers looked at each other. This manager’s logic was crazy. Why would God put money into their sacks of grain?

They looked up with surprise as Simeon, their imprisoned brother, was brought to them. “Oh----, you look good, Simeon!” He did not look like he had been starved or tortured during his months in an Egyptian prison.

Masaharta led them into the palace. “Here is water to wash your feet and food for your donkeys.”

The brothers were bewildered. Why are we being treated with courtesy? The first time we came to Egypt for grain we did nothing wrong, but we were charged with spying. We were put into prison, and

released three days later. Simeon, was forced to stay in prison. We were told by the man in charge, Zaphenath-paneah, “Go home and bring your youngest brother back to Egypt. Then I will know that you are honest and not spies, and Simeon will be set free.

During our trip home, we found money in one grain sack. At home, we found in our sacks the rest of the money we paid for our grain. Now we are back in Egypt and for some unknown reason we have been invited to the palace of the great Zaphenath-paneah.

Why is he acting cruelly and kindly to us? Who are we to him? Only the pharaoh is greater than Zaphenath-paneah.

Masaharta instructed them, “You will be eating here.”

When the great official came, they gave him gifts they had brought for him from Canaan, their homeland. They bowed deeply to him.

He asked, “How is your father, the old man you told me about on your last trip here?

“Sir, he is alive and well.” They bowed again.

The man looked at the youngest brother Benjamin. “Is this your youngest brother, the one I ordered you to bring to me?”

Before they could answer, he left and went to his private room. He could not keep from crying. “Oh, my brother Benjamin! My little brother!” He got control of himself, washed his face, and came back to the brothers. He told his servants, “Bring the food.”

Zaphenath-paneah sat alone at one table and his brothers at another table. He told each one where to sit, which placed them in the order of their ages. The brothers wondered: How did he know their birth order? As a special courtesy their food was brought to them from their host’s table. Benjamin was given a serving five times the size that his brothers were given. Kings normally received double portions. Benjamin’s portion indicated that the official thought Benjamin was worth more than two kings.

After the meal, the brothers were allowed to leave the palace and prepare to return home. They purchased grain to take to their hungry families. Zaphenath-paneah told Masaharta, “Fill their sacks as full as possible and put into the sacks the money they paid. Place my personal silver cup in the sack of the youngest brother.”

This is Barbara Steiner with a Bible mystery. Part nine comes soon. Enjoy:

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