by Rev Joel Yong
When Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.” So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might happen to him. Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
He was desperate for food amidst this famine so he sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain.
But he is traumatized by the loss of Joseph, who disappeared years ago and he was allegedly killed by wild animals, according to the account told.
I do not know if he believed those accounts, and blamed himself.
After all, Jacob was the one who sent Joseph out to look for his brothers.
Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
Or perhaps he found something fishy, and did not trust his sons, thinking something else may have happened to Joseph.
Whatever the case, because of his loss, he now clings tightly to his precious youngest, Benjamin. A son even younger than Joseph was.
But watch what happens next.
Joseph now unrecognizable in Egyptian garb, meets his brothers, plots to make them bring Benjamin down to Egypt for he longs to see him. He does so, by pretending to remand Simeon as prisoner until they return with Benjamin.
Jacob’s response to this, is telling.
But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is the only one left. If harm should happen to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”
He chose to keep Benjamin by his side and let Simeon languish in prison.
Sometimes when losses are inflicted upon our lives, we react by doing whatever we can to cling onto what is left and prevent a similar outcome from ever happening …
Our colleague backstabs us and we become suspicious of what other colleagues now mean when they say something to us …
Our heart gets broken when our lover leaves, and we become jealously protective of our next boyfriend or girlfriend, even stifling them …
Our tendency seems to deviate towards that of a scarcity mindset …
Instead of one that trusts God for what is ahead …
It even blinds us, like it did Jacob.
Such that he devalued one son for another by effectively letting Simeon remain in captivity, out of his fear of losing Benjamin.
We wind up hurting those around us, with our responses created by our fear of further losses …