Leaving Simeon in custody in Egypt, the nine remaining brothers returned home. When they had depleted their grain supplies, Israel (Jacob) reluctantly allowed them to return to Egypt with Benjamin, his youngest son — they were not to return for more without him.
Israel sent them with money to buy the grain, gifts for the Egyptians, and a blessing invoking God’s powerful name, El Shaddai: “May God grant you mercy before the Egyptian ruler, and may you return with Simeon and Benjamin.”
When they arrived they were sent directly to Joseph’s personal residence where he had a bar-b-que lunch prepared. At Joseph’s direction, his steward spoke kindly to them, released Simeon, washed their feet, and cared for their mounts. The brothers were suspicious and paranoid (v.18). They were projecting their own way of thinking onto their host: if they were in his place they would take advantage. But Joseph wasn’t like them. He was a man who knew the heart of God and had faith in His plan.
Arriving home to eleven kneeling siblings, Joseph saw his baby brother. His heart filled with emotion, overflowing in a stream of tears, and he ran to his room weeping.
After regaining control Joseph called for the meal. First he assigned seats to his brothers. To their amazement he arranged them in perfect birth order — maybe subconsciously — from Reuben down to Benjamin (as least that’s the way I read v.33).
The bewildered brothers partied on, not knowing their missing, mistreated brother was in the other room. Through Joseph, God was exercising His sovereign grace, planning for their survival and arranging for a home for Israel’s tribes…and they didn’t even know it.
Be encouraged today — God is working all things together for your good! He is in control, even when it seems that your life is out of control! Have faith, sit back, and enjoy the ride!