Joseph Forgives His Brothers

Based on Genesis 42:1-45:9

Joseph’s family was also suffering from the famine. When Joseph’s father heard that there was grain available, he sent his sons, Joseph’s ten older brothers to buy grain. Their father wouldn’t let Joseph’s younger brother go with them, however, because he was afraid some harm might come to him.

When the brothers arrived, they bowed low to the ground before Joseph. They didn’t recognize him, but Joseph recognized them. And he remembered the dreams he had had many years before. He said to them, “You are spies!” “No!” they exclaimed. “We have come to buy food. We are all brothers and honest men, not spies!” Joseph said, “We will see. Only one of you will remain in the prison. The rest of you may go on home with grain. But bring your youngest brother back to me, then I will know whether or not you are telling me the truth.”They agreed, and Joseph kept one brother with him while the rest went home to their father with the grain. When their father heard everything, he didn’t want to send his youngest son to the distant country.

Finally, when all the grain was gone, he allowed the youngest son to go back to buy grain with his brothers. So they took their youngest brother and went back to Joseph, where they again bowed low before him. He asked them how they had been getting along, and then he said, “How is your father? Is he still alive?”“Yes,” they replied. “He is alive and well.”When his brothers were ready to leave, Joseph gave these instructions to his servant:“Fill each of their sacks with as much grain as they can carry. Then put my personal silver cup at the top of the youngest brother’s sack.” So the servant did as he was told. When the brothers left, Joseph sent someone after them to stop them. The cup was found intheyoungestbrother’ssack!Josephsaid,“Themanwhostolethecupwillbemyslave.Therestofyoumaygohome toyourfather.”Thenonebrothersteppedforwardandsaid,“Icannotgobacktomyfatherwithouttheboy.Whenhe sees that the boy is not with us, our father will die of sorrow! Please let me stay here as a slave instead of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers.”

Joseph could stand it no longer and began to cry. “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. But his brothers were speechless. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother whom you sold into slavery. But don’t be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, because it was really God who planned it. He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. God has sent me here to keep you and your families alive so that you will become a great nation just as he has promised. Hurry, go back to my father and tell him! So Joseph’s father and brothers came to live in the land where Joseph was.

Drawing Elements: Joseph’s Father (sun), Brothers (stars), Joseph, Tears, Sack of grain, Peace

Joseph’s Father (on the thumb with tear drops) – His sadness to send his youngest son; appears again near Joseph Star (on thumb) – Represents the youngest son, who does not go to distant land the first time Tears – Drawn on Joseph because he cried and forgave his brothers Peace – Shows forgiveness and restored relationship


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