When Jacob heard that grain was available in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you standing around looking at one another? I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy enough grain to keep us alive. Otherwise we’ll die.” So Joseph’s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain.  — Genesis 42:1-3

Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.   — Saint Augustine

 

Was Joseph surprised when his brothers showed up in Egypt? Or did he wake every morning and ask himself if today would be the day when his dream came true? Certainly he remembered the dream, the one where eleven sheaves of wheat bow down to the single standing sheaf?

Today was that day. Ten sons of Jacob show up in Egypt to purchase grain and they are sent to Pharaoh’s right hand man, Zaphenath-paneah. They do not recognize this man as their brother, although Joseph know who they are right off. Don’t expect a Hallmark-style happy ending here. Instead, Joseph accuses them of being spies and throws them in jail.

At first reading, it might seem Joseph enjoys having the upper hand over his brothers this time. He is certainly not forthright with his brothers. Pretending to use an interpreter to speak with his brothers, Joseph fully understands when the brothers say to one another, “Alas, we are paying the penalty for what we did to our brother; we saw his anguish when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this anguish has come upon us.”

Joseph turns aside and weeps.

Mother Teresa said, “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kinds of poverty.”

Joseph’s brothers were hungry. Joseph was hungry, too.

 

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