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From Eternity Past

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    Wicked Men Had Learned Repentance

    These sons of Jacob had changed in character. Envious, turbulent, deceptive, cruel, and revengeful they had been; but now, tested by adversity, they were unselfish, true to one another, devoted to their father, and, themselves middle-aged men, subject to his authority.EP 150.3

    Three days in the Egyptian prison were days of bitter sorrow as the brothers reflected upon their past sins. Unless Benjamin could be produced, their conviction as spies appeared certain.EP 150.4

    On the third day, Joseph caused the brothers to be brought before him. He dared not detain them longer. Already his father and the families with him might be suffering for food. “This do, and live,” he said; “for I fear God: if ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: but bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die.”EP 151.1

    Joseph had communicated with them through an interpreter. Having no thought that the governor understood them, they conversed freely with one another in his presence. “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.” Reuben, who had formed the plan delivering Joseph at Dothan, added “Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.”EP 151.2

    Joseph, listening, could not control his emotions, and he went out and wept. On his return, he commanded that Simeon be bound before them and again committed to prison. In the cruel treatment of their brother, Simeon had been the instigator and chief actor.EP 151.3

    Before permitting his brothers to depart, Joseph gave directions that they should be supplied with grain and that each man's money should be secretly placed in the mouth of his sack. On the way, one of the company, opening his sack, was surprised to find his bag of silver. The others were alarmed and said, “What is this that God hath done unto us?”EP 151.4

    Jacob was anxiously awaiting the return of his sons, and on their arrival the whole encampment gathered eagerly around as they related to their father all that had occurred. Apprehension filled every heart. The conduct of the Egyptian governor seemed to imply some evil design, and their fears were confirmed when, as they opened their sacks, the owner's money was found in each. In his distress the aged father exclaimed, “Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.” “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.”EP 151.5

    But the drought continued, and the supply of grain from Egypt was nearly exhausted. Deeper and deeper grew the shadow of approaching famine. In the anxious faces of all in the encampment, the old man read their need. At last he said, “Go again, buy us a little food.”EP 152.1

    Judah answered, “The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food; but if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down; for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.” Seeing that his father's resolution began to waver, he said, “Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones.” He offered to be surety for his brother, and to bear the blame forever if he failed to restore Benjamin to his father.EP 152.2

    Jacob could no longer withhold his consent. He bade his sons take to the ruler a present of such things as the famine-wasted country afforded—“a little balm, and a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts and almonds,” also a double quantity of money. “Take also your brother,” he said, “and arise, go again unto the man.” As his sons were about to depart on their doubtful journey, the aged father arose, and raising his hands to heaven, uttered the prayer, “God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin.”EP 152.3

    Again they journeyed to Egypt and presented themselves before Joseph. As his eye fell upon Benjamin, his own mother's son, he was deeply moved. He concealed his emotion, but ordered that they be taken to his house to dine with him. The brothers were greatly alarmed, fearing to be called to account for the money found in their sacks. They thought that it might have been placed there to furnish occasion for making them slaves. In proof of their innocence they informed the steward of the house that they had brought back the money found in their sacks, also other money to buy food; and they added, “We cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.” The man replied, “Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money.” Their anxiety was relieved; and when Simeon, released from prison, joined them, they felt that God was indeed gracious to them.EP 152.4

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