And Joseph said to them, “What deed is this you have done? Did you not know that such a man as I can certainly practice divination?” Then Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; here we are, my lord’s slaves, both we and he also with whom the cup was found.” (Genesis 44:15-16)
When the steward had first overtaken them, being confident that no one had the Egyptian’s silver cup they had said, “With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves” (Genesis 44:9). (Interestingly, Jacob had said something similar to this not knowing that Rachel had Laban’s teraphim). However, the man responded that only the guilty would be a slave; the rest would be free to go. All of this was designed to show whether or not they would selfishly leave Benjamin in Egypt.
When the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, the brothers rent their clothes in an act that regarded the situation as if Benjamin was dead. Years before, their actions toward Joseph had caused Jacob to rend his clothes; now they were experiencing that same anguish. Led by Judah, as they are led into Joseph’s house, they fall on the ground before him in utter despair. They finally come to understand and confess that their sins of the past have come upon them demanding recompense. They are completely and wholly broken and distraught; in effect, they thrown themselves on the mercy of the court. They were not to be disappointed.
And so what does this say to us? We know that our Father in Heaven is merciful, long suffering and quick to forgive us of our sins. But it is also important to consider that He wants us to be just as quick to acknowledge our sins. The Psalmist said:
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. (Psalm 34:18).
If we want to be shown mercy, we must be willing to extend mercy to others. If we wish to be forgiven of our sins, we must be willing to forgive others of their transgressions against us and we must humble ourselves in such a way that our remorse is viewed as genuine. True and sincere contrition moves the heart of God. Let us then be those who will allow our hearts to be truly broken before Him that we may obtain His mercy. We are going to need it in the days ahead.
Blessings and Shalom,