by Rev Joel Yong
Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him.
In the Hebrew perspective, firstborn sons got the double portion of any sons born thereafter.
If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him children, and if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn, but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the firstfruits of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.
That is why Esau wailed when Jacob was blessed as if he were the firstborn.
But here, Joseph, despite being a Hebrew, gives Benjamin – the youngest son of Israel, 5 times what his older brothers received!
This probably surprised the brothers who may have subsequently written it off as the ignorance of an Egyptian unfamiliar with Hebrew customs.
But Joseph did so deliberately.
Inspired, I would think.
He was showing us, how God would not let earthly rank, determine how He shows His favor or showers His blessings.
Jesus would reiterate the same truth much later on when he would teach:
However, many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
Jesus was teaching about how the disciples’ sacrifice, in terms of leaving their livelihoods to follow Him, in comparison with the rich young ruler’s reluctance to give up his possessions- will be duly rewarded in the kingdom of God.
There are other biblical examples of this truth.
Judas Iscariot was an early follower of Jesus but wound up betraying Him.
Paul was one of the last apostles but wound up writing many of the epistles and working so very hard for the kingdom of God.
The Israelites were the first whom Jesus made Himself known to, but the Gentiles made up many of those who began following Jesus first.
Being a last born child, I fully appreciate and understand this good news.
Thank You God, that earthly rank is no determiner or bias that influences how You operate and how Heaven’s blessings are poured forth.