Daily Devotion for October 22, 2012
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever child-like, no cares could destroy,
Be there at my waking, and give me, I pray,
Your bliss in my heart, Lord, all of this day.
For our Enemies
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer of Surrender
All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give.I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now - always.
~ Albert Schweitzer
Genesis 43:26-34 (ESV)
Joseph's Brothers Meet with Him
When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”
They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!”
Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out. And controlling himself he said, “Serve the food.”
They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth.
And the men looked at one another in amazement. Portions were taken to them from Joseph's table, but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him.
Notes on the Scripture
Joseph finally allows himself to become touched by being reunited with his family. Benjamin is his only full brother, the others having different mothers. But as Jacob favors Joseph and Benjamin because their mother was the wife of his heart, Rachel, so Joseph is attached to his full brother Benjamin.
The Egyptians were a people like few in history, for they were both isolated and powerful, greatly advanced over the outside world. One might compare them to the Japanese or Incas. Such cultures engender peculiar societies and, often, a sense of racial superiority. Notice that, like the Jews of the future, the Egyptians will not eat with others. Joseph's brothers are seated at their own table, and in addition, Joseph himself — one of the most powerful men in Egypt — is still an outsider and eats separately from the Egyptians.
There is something to this, because it will soon become important to the formation of the Jewish identity. The Hebrews will be enslaved by Egypt for perhaps 400 years. Possibly God planned this precisely to prevent them from being assimilated by the much larger Canaanite population. As we have seen, Abraham and his descendants have already had frequent encounters with women of other cultures.
But being enslaved in a country where the natives would not even eat with them means that the Jews will be left to develop their own culture and religion. They would not be assimilated in Egypt. No doubt Hebrew women were taken by Egyptian men at times, for such is the way of the world; but even today, a child inherits his Judaism through his mother, not his father, and this matrilineal racial identity could have originated in Egypt; for the Egyptian father of a Hebrew bastard would not be eager to claim the child.