Questions to Consider
1. Genesis 44:1 begins with the word “then.” What happened prior to the action in chapter 44? Briefly review recent lessons (links above) to refresh your memory on the background for today’s lesson.
2. Review question 5 from Lesson 32. How much time might have passed between the brothers’ first trip to Egypt (and Joseph’s rough treatment of them) in Genesis 42 and their second trip to Egypt (and Joseph’s rough treatment of them) in Genesis 44? It’s important to keep in mind that the events of these two chapters did not occur back to back in real time.
3. Review question 4 from Lesson 32, and consider again: why did Joseph act the way he did toward his brothers? (44:1-17) Why did he again return their money into their sacks and plant “evidence” in Benjamin’s sack that he could use for a false accusation? Was it revenge for how they had treated him? Was he trying to find out if their character had changed since that time? Was he trying to find out how they were accustomed to regarding and treating Benjamin so he could keep Benjamin in Egypt and protect him from them if necessary? Could it have had something to do with guiding them toward repentance for what they had done to him? (Hint: Notice that the further Joseph carries the rough treatment, the more information he draws out of his brothers about themselves and the rest of his family.)
4. What did Judah’s plea in 44:18-34 reveal to Joseph about his brothers’ regard for their father and for Benjamin? What was Judah willing to do (44:33) out of concern for them? Considering the reasons (from question 3) Joseph may have treated his brothers roughly, what response did this treatment draw out of Judah and the other brothers (44:12-17)?
5. What finally convinced Joseph it was time to reveal his identity to his brothers? (45:1-4) Compare 45:3 with 44:30-34. Why would Joseph ask if his father were still alive?
6. In what specific ways in chapters 44-45 is God’s sovereignty over man’s circumstances showcased? What does Joseph believe about God’s sovereignty in his own life? (45:5-8)
7. Compare 45:5 and 45:7. Distinguish between these two purposes for which God sent Joseph to Egypt. Notice the word “you” in verse 7. To whom does “you” refer? What were the implications for the future of Israel of God preserving a remnant of survivors of Joseph’s brothers?
8. What can we learn about repentance and forgiveness from today’s passage? In 45:5, is Joseph brushing aside his brothers’ sin?
9. Write about joy as it is portrayed in chapter 45. What is the source of joy? How is it expressed, and to/between whom?
10. Compare 45:5 to Isaiah 53:10. How does God sending Joseph – via the route of suffering – to save people point us ahead to Christ? Did Joseph’s hard work and suffering save everyone affected by the famine, or only those who came to him seeking the “bread of life”?
What did you learn from 44:9 about the imprudence of speaking rashly when you don’t know all the facts of the situation? What does the Bible teach about speaking or vowing rashly? Consider these passages, noticing how some of them are worded in the positive (“do this”) and some are worded in the negative (“don’t do that”). Make a two column chart listing all of the positive statements in these passages in one column. In the second column, accurately re-word this statement in the negative. For example: Part of James 1:19 says “be quick to hear”. You might re-word this as “don’t be someone who doesn’t listen to others”.) Make a second chart for the negative statements in these passages, rewording them into positive statements.
Apply these concepts to a current or past situation you’ve been in. In what ways were you obedient to these biblical instructions? Are there any you were disobedient to and need to repent of?
Suggested Memory Verse
And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.