“25 Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, 26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left. 27 At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack. 28 “My silver has been returned,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.” Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”29 When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30 “The man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us and treated us as though we were spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies. 32 We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in Canaan.’33 “Then the man who is lord over the land said to us, ‘This is how I will know whether you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for your starving households and go. 34 But bring your youngest brother to me so I will know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will give your brother back to you, and you can trade[a] in the land.’”35 As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his pouch of silver! When they and their father saw the money pouches, they were frightened.”NIV
“As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his pouch of silver!” (35a).
Three times in this passage we are told of the returned “silver” (25, 28, 35). We know from the outset that the silver was returned to all of them (25), but in the middle of the story the brothers thought it was only the experience of ‘’one of them” (27). That was bad enough in their eyes! But eventually they discovered the silver back in all of their sacks. In the light of the trouble they were already in, it’s not surprising that they were horrified. They knew they hadn’t stolen the silver, but they had every reason to believe they would stand accused of the crime.
‘Whether Joseph meant the money to be found at the first halt, or not till the homecoming (if the provision for the way was a separate package), the event proved more effective than either, with its initial shock repeated still more forcibly at home in the presence of Jacob.
The sense of guilt, already aroused (21), made the group quick to see the hand of God in the governor’s action.’ Derek Kidner: Tyndale commentary, p.200.
However, that all said, when I read this story it makes me think of what I will call ‘Kingdom economics’. So many believers will testify to this mysterious truth that, when you seek to give according to Biblical principles (as best you understand them), over and again you find your silver back in your back in your sack (as it were). It is mysteriously wonderful, and one of the ways God ‘proves’ His reality to those who trust Him:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it’’ (Malachi 3:10).
PRAYER: I am grateful to find that I can never out-give you Lord, and I thank you for your extravagant generosity to me.
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