Genesis 42:6 includes a remarkable phrase! ". . . . and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth."
Seems inconsequential. Not especially note worthy. Mostly irrelevant in the big picture. Well, not exactly. It is in this little phrase that we find the big picture.
Taken out of it's context it would appear to be insignificant. In fact only one person present understood the significance. Not only was it not insignificant it was monumental! And it was monumental for the very fact that is was a long time coming!
In this phrase the participants are Joseph and his brethren. They have not seen each other for over twenty years! Ten of Joseph's brethren are bowing down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
For the last nine years Joseph had been second in authority in all of Egypt as he, at the direction of the Pharaoh, managed the grain supply during seven years of plenty and two of the seven years of famine. He was thrust into this position of high standing by the Pharaoh himself after interpreting two dreams that Pharaoh had on the same night.
For over two years before that he was in an Egyptian prison managing the affairs of the keeper of the prison. He was ultimately provided an opportunity to interpret the Pharaoh's dream because he had correctly interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh's butler and baker. The butler who had his head lifted up and restored to his place of service and the baker who had his head lifted up from off him!
Why was he in prison? Because he had been wrongly accused by his master's wife of making advances toward her when in fact it was she who had sought to entice him but his integrity would not submit to the vice. He was a slave in the household of this high ranking Egyptian official for around nine years. He was so trusted before the false accusation sent him to prison that all that his master had was committed to his hand.
Why was he a slave in Egypt? Because his brothers had sold him to a passing band of Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver who brought him down to Egypt and sold him there to the Egyptian official. Joseph's brothers led their father to believe that he had been torn by a wild beast.
Why would his brethren sell him into Egypt? Because they were jealous. Joseph was Jacob's favorite. He had the coat of many colors. But mostly their envy and hatred was driven by two dreams that Joseph himself had and which he interpreted. The essence of which was that his brothers would bow down to him!
I happen to believe that Joseph was fulfilling the role of a prophet. He was clearly an interpreter of dreams. His brethren's envy, jealousy, and hatred kept them from humbling themselves before the messenger of God. They were skeptical of his dreams and determined that they would not come to pass. At the time they asked, "Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?" Obviously implying they had no
intentions of bowing before Joseph, ever!
But God said they would and they did! Believe God! Believe his sincere, Bible-rooted prophets! When Joseph was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt it certainly did not seem likely his brethren would ever bow before him. When he spent over two years in an Egyptian prison it certainly did not seem likely his brethren would ever bow before him. Even when exalted to a place of managing the affairs of Egypt could it be that he would ever even seen his brothers again?
Then it happens! And it was a long time coming! At the beginning of Genesis 42 we follow the narrative as it unfolds the unlikely, the unthinkable, the impossible! We read with heightened awareness as Jacob prepares to send all but one of his sons into Egypt to buy corn! Then all of a sudden we find ourselves standing there on the outskirts watching as the ten brothers of Joseph come before him. Can it be?? Surely not! Not after twenty years? Not after serving as a slave and a prisoner? Not after having been separated by time and distance?
The brothers, they do not recognize him. He speaks Egyptian. He looks Egyptian. He is, in their eyes, an Egyptian! And then the remarkable phrase appears like a bolt of lightening reminding us there is a God in heaven who rules in the affairs of men, "and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth."
There are many lessons here. I would leave you with these two!
Do not despise the prophets/preachers of God!
No matter how it seems believe God!