“12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, ‘As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.’‘Very well,’ he replied.14 So he said to him, ‘Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.’ Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, ‘What are you looking for?’16 He replied, ‘I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?’17 ‘They have moved on from here,’ the man answered. ‘I heard them say, “Let’s go to Dothan.”’So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.19 ‘Here comes that dreamer!’ they said to each other. 20 ‘Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.’21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. ‘Let’s not take his life,’ he said. 22 ‘Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.’ Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe – the ornate robe he was wearing – 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.” NIV
‘’As they sat down to eat their meal…’’ (25a)
How callous these brothers were. The only one to really come out well in the story is Reuben, and, arguably, he had the most to lose as the firstborn. We gain an insight into just how hard-hearted they were on this occasion when they later said to one another:
“Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen…” (42:21).
We may believe we are not so bad as they, but how de-sensitised have many become to the great sufferings of humanity. We sit eating our TV dinners, and watching the news, and somehow that screen comes between us and the appalling realities of life in this fallen world.
I so need to pray this prayer. How about you?
PRAYER: ‘Soften my heart Lord, soften my heart. From all indifference set me apart.