Genesis 42:6-9: A supernatural revelation

Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.”Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”

“Although Joseph recognised his brothers, they did not recognise him” (8).

‘As second ruler of the land, Joseph certainly didn’t participate in each individual grain transaction because he had many important things to do. Furthermore, the food supply was stored in several cities (41:46-49), and Joseph had commissioners assisting him (vv.34-36)…In the providence of God, Joseph was on hand when his ten brothers arrived to buy grain, and he recognised them.’ ‘The Wiersbe Old Testament Commentary’, p.125.

Ten of Joseph’s brothers arrived in Egypt. They “bowed down” to Joseph (6), unwittingly fulfilling the two dreams he’d had as a teenager back in Canaan (37:5-7,9). It’s hardly surprising they were unable to recognise him. Twenty-two years had passed, and he spoke to them through an interpreter. He would now be clean-shaven like an Egyptian, and wearing Egyptian clothes. How could they have imagined that this important ruler in Egypt was none other than their little brother?!

As we have noted before, there are many parallels between the Joseph story and Jesus

Why is it that people can’t see Jesus as we see Him? How is it that someone can be blind to the reality of Jesus one day, and become a zealous disciple the next? 2 Corinthians 4 provides a helpful insight into this question. Paul writes:

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (4).

He goes on to say,

“For God, Who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (6)

Joseph’s brothers did not recognise him until the moment he chose to reveal himself to them (Gen.45:1,4). This has its parallel in every conversion story. When someone ‘sees’ Jesus there is a supernatural revelation.

The people of the world live in the presence of Jesus, but they do not recognise Him.

PRAYER: Lord, please open the eyes of many.

THOUGHT: “We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.” C.S. Lewis