Joseph, full of wisdom, had a plan for good, a plan to be reunited with his family, a plan that would save his family. Of course, his interrogation and scolding of his brothers was just a part of that plan. That is why he had to take a break from his encounter with them. We read in verse 24 that “he turned away from them and wept”.
He picked Simeon. Simeon would have to stay behind as a guarantee. In effect, he was a sort of prisoner. That was strategic. Reuben, the eldest, was not part of the plan to sell their brother. Simeon, the next in line, would have been the eldest in the party that decided to sell Joseph into a life of slavery.
Was Joseph seeking vengeance? Of course not. But here Simeon was placed in a position where the captor held him captive. He was going to learn a lesson about forgiveness, the same lesson that Joseph had been taught through his experience in the house of Potiphar and in prison.
After his crying bout, being overwhelmed with sweet sorrow, Joseph gave orders that his brothers’ bags be filled with grain, and that their money for payment be returned! He had a multi-angled strategy to get them to return to Egypt.
Part of the strategy was to request that they bring their youngest brother Benjamin. O how Joseph longed to see his mother’s other child! He would have known how hard it would have been for his father to let Benjamin go. It was no surprise to Joseph that Jacob refused. but again, time would tell. Food would run out, and their basic need would still need to be met.
The story of Joseph and his brothers is full of twists and turns that illustrate how the All-Knowing God uses life situations to prepare and to train us. to correct and improve us. If we learn the lessons that come as a matter of course, we are so much the better for it.
Holy Spirit, help us
daily by your might
what is wrong to conquer,
and to choose the right.
William H. Parker, 1845-1929