By Mary Vee
Genesis 42: 7-17
Joseph stood before the ten foreign men. The eldest commanded something to the others in their language. Instantly they fell down to the earth before him. They don't recognize me. My own brothers don't recognize me. Joseph looked away and sighed. Maybe--maybe I don't need to recognize them, either.
He signaled an interpreter to come near. Joseph squared his shoulders and folded his arms. He spoke as an Egyptian to the interpreter. "Where did you come from?"
As the interpreter conveyed his words the brothers cowered and answered. "From the land of Canaan to buy food."
Haze clouded the air. Joseph stared at the horizon above his brother's heads. His mind replayed the dreams he had so many years ago: first his brothers bundles of straw bowing to his then his brother's stars bowing to him. I'm not ready to welcome them. He shook his head. Why did they come today?
Joseph turned again to the interpreter. "You are spies! You have come to see what the great Egyptian land holds." The interpreter paused and raised his eyebrows. Joseph pointed at the foreign men. "Tell them, Interpreter. Now!"
His brothers took a step back and kept their eyes low. Nine of them looked at the eldest with wide eyes. They pressed their hands together, pleading with their leader to say the right words. He lowered his head further and closed his eyes. "No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. We are all one man's sons. We are honest men. Your servants are not spies."
Joseph shook his head. "You've come to see what our land holds. Your faces tell me this is so."
The brothers' jaws dropped. They rubbed the backs of their necks and looked at each other.
What were they thinking? Joseph huffed. Didn't they realize I would be somewhere in Egypt?
Reuben spoke softly. "Please. It is as I said. Your servants are twelve brothers, the son of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is back home with our father. The other--well--he is no more."
They think I'm dead! Joseph looked from one brother's face to another. Do they care? Do any of them care what happened to me? I can't tell. Reuben's eyes seem glassy. Is he afraid, or sorry for mistreating me? I must find out.
"You're spies! I will test you to prove my accusations. By the life of Pharaoh, you shall not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Pick one from your group to return to your home to get your brother. The rest will wait here in Egyptian prison."
Joseph stood tall and raised his chin "Then we shall see who speaks the truth; or else by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies."
Joseph abruptly turned. "Guard. Put these spies in prison."
The brothers cried out. "No! Please! Give us a chance. Please!"
They call out to me like I called out to them when they threw me in the pit and again when the caravan took me away in chains. Joseph's heart ached. He couldn't hurt his brothers as they hurt him. Yet, they needed to know what he felt.
Joseph summoned the head guard. "Insure those men receive the best care. Release them after three days and bring them to me."
"Yes, my lord."
Joseph made a difficult decision. He could have told his brothers who he was right away. He could have given them food and sent them home, but he wanted to hear his brothers say they were sorry and that they loved him.
How will Joseph know for sure if his brothers are sorry when he hasn't told them who he is? What will he say to them when they get out of jail? Will Joseph leave Egypt and go home with his brothers? Click on the comment button to say what you think. Then come back on Saturday to find out what happens.