In yesterday’s reading, it was Reuben that appealed to Jacob to let them take Benjamin to Egypt. In today’s reading it is Judah, and going forward we see that it is Judah that takes the lead in all the conversations with the brothers.
This is to set up the idea that the tribe of Judah will one day take the lead over all the nation of Israel. Reuben offered to have his two sons killed if he failed to bring Benjamin home. Judah offers to take the responsibility on himself.
When the brothers get to Joseph’s house, they make a point of trying to give back the silver that they had found in their sacks from the last time they were in Egypt. They demonstrate their integrity by not wanting to lie or steal, even by accident.
After having a great meal with his brothers, Joseph decides to test them one last time. He persuades one of his servants to slip a silver cup into Benjamin’ sack, and then after they leave, chase them down and accuse them. And so he does.
The brothers at first deny it, but when the cup is found they can’t argue. They go back to Joseph and Judah pleads with him, begging Joseph to take him and not Benjamin. This is the evidence that Joseph needs.
Many years later, here are his brothers now living with integrity, and willing to sacrifice themselves to protect one another. They are different men from the ones that sold him into slavery all those years ago.
Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and tells them to go home, get the whole family, and move up to Egypt to live with him. We see the abundant generosity of Pharaoh who so deeply values Joseph and wants to bless his whole family.
The brothers go back to Jacob laden with gifts and tell him all that has happened. But Jacob’s one and only care was that his son was alive and that he would see him.
This psalm is attributed to King David and is often considered a lament psalm, but it’s not that clear. We’ve established before that the common beats of a lament psalm are; turning to God, bringing the complaint, making a request of God, and then declaring trust in God.
But this psalm has less of the feel of someone bringing their complaints to God and asking him to intervene, and more of the feel of someone who is teaching on the nature of a fallen earth. There are fools who are corrupt, and those with understanding who seek after God.
We similar language in the book of Proverbs, and so it may that this psalm is a wisdom psalm (see Psalm 37, 49, 73, 112). These psalms seek to educate and teach the reader. The psalm has a duplicate later on (Psalm 53) which is almost identical with some slight variations.
The psalm can be broadly broken into two parts; wisdom’s lament and looking forward to deliverance. But the first part can be broken down even further.
Psalm 14:1 - The foolish
Psalm 14:2-3 - Are there any who are wise? (Spoiler, no)
Psalm 14:4 - Why do the wicked attack my people?
Psalm 14:5-6 - God is refuge to the poor
Psalm 14:7 - The future hope of Zion
The psalm opens on a problem that foolish corrupt people exist. And there seem to be a lot of them. These foolish people do not believe in God, and they do wicked things.
In response, God searches the earth for those who aren’t foolish. Those who have understanding and who seek God. But all have them have allowed themselves to become foolish.This is hyperbole (over-exaggeration) as we’ll see there are still those who are innocent and righteous.
Turning back to the foolish, the psalmist notes how they oppress and consume ‘my people’. Who is the person talking? As the psalm is attributed to King David, this could be from the point of the king. But it is perhaps more likely that the psalmist is talking from the point of lady wisdom.
Lady wisdom is a character that appears in a lot of wisdom literature, who is the embodiment of wisdom. Her people are those who seek after and live by wisdom.
Lady wisdom condemns the wicked. They will be terrorised because God is the God of the righteous. As much as they might try to shame the poor, God will protect them.
And so lady wisdom looks forward to the day where there will be no more wicked. Where God restores the good fortunes to his people. This will be a day of celebration.
Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.
God raises up one man, Joseph, to save many. Joseph then tests his brothers to see if they are still the same people when they sold him into slavery.
Understanding the context of your passage is always important. BibleProject always do an incredible job of breaking down each book so you can see how your passage fits into the wider story.
BibleProject have done an animated recap of Genesis 12-50 to help you fit today's passage into the overarching story of Genesis.
Spoken Gospel outlines the book of Genesis and point out some of the key themes, all in the medium of spoken word.