November 15, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

23  We know from this verse that Joseph has already informed his steward about his brothers and the restored money. Probably it was this same steward to whom Joseph gave the order in the first place to replace the money in the brothers’ grain bags (42:25). It is most unlikely that the steward is himself making up this explanation about how the money got into their bags. He is passing along the answer Joseph instructed him to give. Joseph’s later disclaimer “am I in the place of God?” (50:19) might not be wide of the mark as an affirmation here. That is, while the steward states that it is God who has put the treasure in their bags, we know that it was Joseph who gave orders that the silver be returned to the sacks (42:25). What we know, the brothers do not know. “Its [viz., the steward’s response] dark ambiguity touches the innermost mystery of the whole Joseph story: God’s concealed guidance.”

The steward claims that God … must have put a treasure [maṭmôn] into your bags. He avoids using the word kesep̄, “money.” The word he does use (see Job 3:21; Prov. 2:4; Isa. 45:3; Jer. 41:8) is more dramatic. It refers specifically to buried treasure, as can be seen with the verb ṭāman, “to bury” (Gen. 35:4; Exod. 2:12). It was treasure, but they did not have to excavate far to find it. It was at the “mouth” of their bags.

The brothers must still be outside or near the entrance of Joseph’s house, for the steward brought out Simeon to them. One might have expected the recording of a happy reunion scene between Simeon and his brothers, but none is related. Simeon’s release was tied to the appearance of Benjamin in Egypt. That requirement now met, Simeon is given his freedom. If the brothers are elated to see him alive and free, then the narrator does not record that jubilation. Earlier, when the brothers first returned from Egypt, they never mentioned Simeon by name to Jacob. They only quoted Joseph’s terms for his release (42:33). At the beginning of ch. 43 the brothers appear in no particular hurry to return to Egypt to liberate Simeon, for they do not return to Egypt until their rations are used up (43:1, 2). Yes, Simeon is free now. Yes, they are off the hook as suspected thieves. But doxology may be premature. They are still in Joseph’s house, or the house’s courtyard. Only when they leave Egypt will they be able to breathe easily.[1]

43:23 Your God … has given. An indication of Joseph’s steward either having come to faith in God or having become very familiar with how Joseph talked of his God and life. So concerned were the brothers to protest their ignorance of the means of the money being returned and to express their desire to settle this debt (vv. 20–22), that they missed the steward’s clear reference to the God of Israel (“the God of your father”) and his oversight of events in which he had played a part (“I had your money”).[2]

[1] Hamilton, V. P. (1995). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18–50 (p. 550). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ge 43:23). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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