Genesis 43: 32-34: An abundant table
“32 They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians. 33 The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment. 34 When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.” NIV
Jesus, our Heavenly ‘Joseph’, in His grace and mercy, invites us to eat and drink ‘’freely’’ at His abundant table. We don’t deserve to be there, but He provides for us all the same.
Note here in the text: an explanation, a source of wonder, and a test:
- The explanation concerns the Egyptian eating habits (32). It’s a cultural note. One commentator I read said that this scruple did not simply pertain to the Hebrews; it was, he said ‘’detestable’’ to Egyptians to eat with any foreigners;
- The source of wonder was that this high-ranking Egyptian got it right in terms of their age order (33). What was going on here? There are times, are there not, when we can feel that Jesus knows us through and through? We don’t just believe it as a theological truth, but we know it in a deep down way. (Incidentally, this makes me think about that evidence we see in the universe, which indicates the activity of a higher intelligence. At very least, it surely causes us to question);
- As for the test – well, earlier, when Joseph was favoured, what did the brothers do? How did they treat him? So what was their response going to be to Benjamin’s special treatment? (34). Joseph set things up so that history would essentially repeat itself. It would show if these men had changed.