Joseph Accepts His Brothers’ Presents

“And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.” (Genesis 43:26)

There is something very striking about Joseph’s dealings with his brothers that might be easily overlooked. After their first journey into Egypt, as the brothers are returning home, they are startled to discover that the money which they gave to pay for their grain had been returned to them (Gen. 43:21). After the second trip, Joseph again orders that their money be discreetly restored unto them: commanding that it be secretly placed back in their sacks, as had been done the first time (Gen. 44:1). Twice the brothers attempted to pay for the food they received and twice the money was returned to them. They even tried to give double the price after the first visit and their money was not accepted (Gen. 43:23).

Yet we are told that at the urging of their father, Jacob, the brothers brought a present to give to Joseph on their second visit, and the present was received. Oh, the present wasn’t really much: a little balm, a little honey, some spices, myrrh, nuts, and almonds. But we know that it was from the best fruits the brothers had to offer (Gen. 43:11). Joseph would not accept payment for the food that he had provided to his brothers, but he would accept a freely given gift.
Continuing with our look at Joseph as a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, we see another wonderful similarity in this. As Joseph would not accept any payment for the food that he provided to his brothers, neither will our Lord accept payment from us for the Bread of Life which He provides. Our money, our possessions, our good works, our acts of righteousness are all unacceptable currency for securing for us the gift of Eternal Life that Jesus offers. There is absolutely nothing which we can use to purchase Eternal Life because it was paid for by His own blood. But a gift — a present freely offered to the Lord out of our gratitude — that He will accept. God will honor that which we bring to Him voluntarily from our own best fruits.