July/August/September 2015

Benjamin was full of excitement as he and his family loaded the wagons with supplies for their long trip from their home in a place called Hebron to a place called Goshen, near Egypt. There, his father Jacob, and his entire family would gather. There would be more than sixty-seven people who had been invited to come to Egypt.

Benjamin thought of the day that he recognized his lost brother, Joseph, and his embrace when they met again. Benjamin was Joseph’s favorite brother. But many years before, Benjamin’s other ten brothers had done an evil thing and sold Joseph into slavery. They’d put blood from an animal on his coat to make it look as if he had been killed. Joseph had been protected by God, and because he had interpreted dreams for Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, he later was given a ring by Pharaoh and made the second highest ruler of all of Egypt. Joseph stayed close to God. He was given dreams about a time when there would be no corn to eat for seven years. Joseph believed the dreams that God had given to him and was wise. He stored up seven years of grain for his people so that they would not starve during this time of trouble. Benjamin’s father, Jacob, had not wanted his family to starve. There was very little water to grow corn. The wells were running dry in Hebron as well as Egypt. He had heard about the corn that had been stored in Egypt and sent his sons there to buy corn. He did not know that Joseph was still alive.

Joseph had recognized his brothers when they came to him looking for food. But they did not recognize him. He had tested their love for Benjamin by pretending to arrest him for something he did not do. He learned that they had changed, so he told them who he was. Joseph loved his brothers and forgave them. Joseph sent them to get his father Jacob and all of his family. He sent wagons full of food and gifts with them. He told Benjamin and his brothers to bring their father, his family, and his animals to Egypt where they would have what they needed during the seven years of famine. Jacob was very happy when Benjamin and his brothers returned to their home and told him that Joseph was still alive.

The return trip to Egypt was a joyful one. The wives and children rode in the wagons and the men led the cattle as they drove them along. Benjamin was in awe when they stopped to camp at Beer-sheba where Abraham and Isaac, his great-grandfather and grandfather had lived many years before. There, Benjamin watched as Jacob made sacrifices to God. God told Jacob that he should not be afraid to go on to Egypt because God would make his family a great nation there and that one day they would return home. He gave Jacob a new name, Israel, and his family was known as the Israelites from then on.

When they arrived at Goshen, Joseph hurried out in his chariot to meet them. Once again, Benjamin wept with joy as he watched his father and Joseph embrace one another. Joseph took his father and brothers to see Pharaoh and Pharaoh told them that they could live in Goshen which was a rich, fertile land and near a river.

Benjamin stood by his tent and looked out at the good land and saw how relieved and happy his family had become. He was thankful for his brother Joseph who had been obedient and had been used by God. He was glad that Joseph had paid attention to God’s warning to prepare for the famine. He was thankful to be part of this good family called Israel. Mostly, he was thankful for the one true God who had prepared a plan to save and reunite his family.