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Good from Evil

"And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." Genesis 50:20 NASB

It was nine years after Joseph ascended to his position of power, ten of Joseph's brothers-the brothers that threw him into the pit and sold him into slavery-showed up to ask for grain. Joseph recognized them, but they didn't recognize him. Joseph immediately accused them of spying and threw them in prison for three days. Was he getting even? Not exactly. Three days later, he released all but one of them, gave them the grain they requested, and even returned their money to them. He kept one of the brothers in jail to insure they would return with Benjamin, the brother they told Joseph was still at home with their aged father. When they returned home, Israel refused to let Benjamin go to Egypt to secure the release of his other son. But when they ran out of food-and options-Israel agreed to send Benjamin. This time, Joseph threw a banquet feast for his brothers and instructed his stewards to give them the grain they needed, and to insert his special cup into Benjamin's bag. Soon after they left for home, Joseph sent his men to intercept them, search through their bags for his cup and when they found it to accuse them of stealing and bring them back to him.

Joseph had them right where he wanted them. His plan was to throw Benjamin in jail so that his father would come to Egypt to get him. Then Joseph could be reunited with his father before he dies. What Joseph didn't count on was an impassioned plea by Judah to put him in jail instead of Benjamin so that the sorrow wouldn't kill his father. For the third time Joseph broke down, but this time it was in front of his brothers. The first time, Joseph overheard the brothers lamenting what they'd done to him. Joseph was overcome with emotion to hear their contrition so he went into a private chamber and wept. The second time, Joseph wept when he saw his younger brother Benjamin. Again, he went into a private chamber and wept. This time, he didn't hide his passion from his brothers. He sent his attendants from the room, but he wept so loud that they heard him. He revealed himself to his brothers and told them that God had turned their evil into His good. He gave them wagons to carry their food and fresh garments for their back, and sent them back to get their father so they could live in Egypt and avoid the five years of famine to come.

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