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Looking Evil in the Eye

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Joseph’s brothers realized something we should never forget.

It comes at the end of the story in Genesis 50. This is a long time after the brothers conspired together against Joseph. A lot had happened since then — since they hated their brother enough to sell him to Midianite traders for twenty shekels of silver (Genesis 37:28). That was the evil that started it all.

They grieved their father, Jacob, with a lie about Joseph’s death (Genesis 37:32–35). Joseph eventually was enslaved to Potiphar in Egypt, that is, until Potiphar’s wife slandered him (Genesis 39:11–20), had him thrown into prison (Genesis 39:19–20), and the cupbearer forgot him (Genesis 39:23). Years passed and then the famine came. The sons of Jacob traveled to Egypt in search for food. By this time, Joseph was the top ruler in Egypt next to Pharaoh. “All the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain” (Genesis 41:57). Eventually Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers and dealt kindly with them (Genesis 45:3–8). He was so kind to them, in fact, that he moved the entire family and all their stuff to the land of Goshen, where they were “fruitful and multiplied greatly” (Genesis 47:27). Jacob was old now. He blessed his sons and then he died (Genesis 49:33).

And that’s where we see it:

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” (Genesis 50:15)

So at the end, after a lot of good things had happened to Joseph and his family, when there was “a lot of water under the bridge,” so to speak, Joseph’s brothers were terrified that Joseph would punish them for “all the evil” they did to him. But why is that? Why were they scared about this even after all this time?

[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]

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