“My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is the only one left.” Genesis 42:38
The brothers returned from Egypt to their father in Canaan and reported all that had happened. Their big news was that Simeon had been detained. The only way he would be released is if the brothers returned with Benjamin, who was special to Joseph, because these two were the sons of Rachel, the great love of Jacob’s life. Joseph wanted to see Benjamin, his brother. But there was more to this than Joseph’s natural desire to see his brother.
Joseph knew that like him, Benjamin was a loved and favored son. Jacob loved Benjamin as he loved Joseph, and the brothers had hated Joseph because he was so greatly loved by the father. Did they also hate Benjamin? Or had there been some change in the brothers?
But Jacob didn’t want to give up his dearly loved son: “You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has come against me” (42:36). So, Simeon languished in prison. His only hope was that Benjamin should be sent, but Jacob refused to let him go.
Months passed, and eventually the biting famine forced Jacob to change his mind: “Go again, buy us a little food” (43:2). Then Judah reminded his father that the man warned them not to return unless they brought Benjamin (43:3). The brothers wanted to go back to Egypt. Simeon was waiting for their return. But Jacob wouldn’t let him go.
Aren’t you glad God is a better, kinder Father than Jacob? “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Jacob’s reluctance is a window into what it meant for God to send His beloved Son into this world, knowing what we would do to Him when He came.
Can you relate to Jacob’s reluctance? How about God’s willingness to send His Son for us?