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The L-O-N-G Shopping Trip

by Linda Sue Pochodzay Edwards

Joseph did as God told him and stored lots of food so they could be ready for the famine that was coming

Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian

“Aunt Betty, can we pleeeese go home now?” Matt whined.


The day had been loaded with fun. Aunt Betty bought Matt lots of little presents, took him to his favorite restaurant, and even gave him a few dollars to play in the game room, but Matt was growing tired and cranky. He liked the game room and the presents, but all the shopping was making him bored.

“Of course, we can go home, Matt,” Aunt Betty said gently. “I was having such a good time, I forgot how tiring shopping can be for little boys. I'm feeling a bit tired myself. After all, it has been a L-O-N-G day.”

They paid for the last of the purchases, found their car in the parking lot, and drove off. Matt was so tired, he fell asleep almost instantly and slept the rest of the way home.

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Joseph had been made second in command and was the overseer of all King Pharaohs land Things were going very well in Egypt. Joseph had been made second in command and was the overseer of all King Pharaoh's land. The crops were producing abundantly and there was enough food for everyone with plenty leftover. Joseph had several huge warehouses built around the country and the people brought one-fifth of their produce to store away for later. He knew, because of Pharaoh's dreams, that the prosperity would only last seven years. Then there would be a huge famine. The land would dry up, the crops would not be able to grow, and then . . . there would be no food.

Joseph was very wise and an exceptionally good business manager. He began keeping record of all that was brought to the warehouses. But there was so much food that even Joseph could not keep track of it all. He finally gave up counting as the people continued bringing more and more.

Then one day just as God had warned it all stopped Then one day, just as God had warned, it all stopped! . . . The people quit bringing food because there was no more to bring. They ate the food they had stored up in their own cupboards and pantries. Then they were hungry. . . They were very, VERY hungry. A group of them banded together and went to see King Pharaoh.

“Oh, King!” they cried out. “We are starving. Give us some of that food we brought to the warehouses. We know you have it. Give it to us!”

Joseph led them to a warehouse and sold them food King Pharaoh simply said, “Go, see Joseph and do what he tells you.”

The hungry, angry crowd went to see Joseph. “GIVE US FOOD! GIVE US FOOD!” they shouted.

Joseph didn't let the anger of the crowd intimidate him. “Calm down,” he firmly instructed. “There is enough food for everyone . . . Follow me!” In a neat, orderly fashion, he led them to a warehouse and sold them food. It didn't take long for word to spread that there was food for sale in Egypt. The famine was widespread and also affected all the surrounding nations. Some people traveled many days to get to Egypt to buy food.

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Meanwhile back in Canaan Josephs family had also run out of food because of the great famine Meanwhile back in Canaan, Joseph's family had also run out of food because of the great famine. “What are we going to do?” his brothers asked one another with worry and fear in their voices. “There isn't any food and our families are going to starve.” They just looked at one another gloomily. . . No one had an answer. . . .

Their father, Jacob, heard them talking and walked into the room. “Why are you just sitting around here looking at each other?” he asked. “I have heard that there is plenty of corn for sale in Egypt. Get up and go, buy some!” he commanded.

Ten of Joseph's brothers began preparing for the l-o-n-g shopping trip. It would take them several days to get to Egypt, and there were not many hotels or other conveniences along the way, so they would need to set up camp some nights. Reuben read the list as Simeon checked the items.







“Food for the donkeys?” . . .

“There is no food, silly! Remember? That's why we're going. The donkeys are going to have to eat whatever little bit of scraggly grass we can find on the way, and we will just have to go hungry.”

After making sure the supplies were securely tied to the donkeys, they started on their l-o-n-g journey to Egypt.

The heat of the midday sun was nearly unbearable The heat of the midday sun was nearly unbearable. The ground was dry and dusty. The breezes were even hot and did nothing to relieve their discomfort. Even though they were sweltering from the heat, they had to wear long robes and use coverings over their heads and faces to keep from getting sunburned and to keep from choking on the dust.

As they looked around, they noticed that there was no other living thing in sight other than a few weary travelers who were also making their way to Egypt. The land, as far as they could see, was dried up and barren.

After the sun went down in the evening, it was a little more bearable but far from comfortable. They put up their tent, spread their blankets, and tried to sleep; all the while hunger pains rumbled in their tummies.

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After several miserable days and uncomfortable nights, they finally made it to Egypt. They followed other groups of hungry people to the warehouse to buy food. Joseph was in charge of selling, and the people bowed down to him before conducting their business.

When it was their turn all ten of them stepped up and bowed down to Joseph Joseph's brothers were next in line. When it was their turn, all ten of them stepped up and bowed down to Joseph. Of course, Joseph had grown older over the years and his appearance had changed. He had been living in Egypt for quite a long time and had been made ruler over everything, so now he was wearing the kingly robes and headpiece that a ruler would wear. He also was speaking the Egyptian language instead of the Hebrew language. The brothers didn't even recognize Joseph, but Joseph recognized them.

Joseph pretended that he didn't know them and spoke to them roughly Joseph pretended that he didn't know them and spoke to them roughly. “Who are you? Why did you come here?” he asked with an angry sound in his voice.

“We are from the land of Canaan and have come to buy food,” they replied.

Joseph remembered the dream he had dreamed many years before about the sun and moon and eleven stars bowing down to him. But he didn't say a word about all of that to his brothers. “You have not come to buy food. You are spies and have come to see the destruction the famine has brought to our land,” Joseph angrily insisted.

The brothers tried to explain that they were not spies, and they really had come to buy food The brothers tried to explain that they were not spies, and they really had come to buy food. “We are all brothers. There were twelve of us, but our youngest brother stayed home with our father and one of our brothers is dead. We have come to buy food so our families won't starve. We are very hungry. Please sell us some food,” they begged.

“You have to prove to me that what you are saying is true,” Joseph replied. “One of you will have to go back home and bring your youngest brother to me. That's the only way I will believe that what you say is true and you are not spies.” Joseph had all ten of his brothers thrown in prison for three days, then had them brought before him again.

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Joseph had time to think things through and softened a little. He had a new deal to make with his brothers. As they stood before him, he said, “Because I fear God and want to do what is right, I will not make all of you go to prison.”

The brothers were mighty happy to hear that bit of good news. . . but . . . Joseph wasn't finished yet.

“If indeed you are not spies and what you say is true, choose one of you to stay here in prison, and the rest of you will be allowed to go back home with food for your families so they will not starve.”

The ten brothers took time to discuss the situation. They remembered their deeds from years before and they were feeling very guilty. “It is because of what we did to Joseph that all this is happening to us now,” one of them said.

Reuben spoke up. “I told you not to harm the child, but the rest of you wouldn't listen.”

As they were having their conversation, they didn't know that Joseph was the ruler and that he was right there listening to them.

The brothers agreed that Simeon would be left in prison and the rest of them would go home with the foodJoseph commanded his servants to fill their sacks with corn put their money back into the sack with the corn and also give them extra provisions for the trip back home

Joseph walked away from them and went to another room to hide his tears. He was sad that he could not yet tell them he was their brother. When he came back into the room, the brothers had decided that there was just no other way, so they had agreed that Simeon would be left in prison, and the rest of them would go home with the food.

Joseph commanded his servants to fill their sacks with corn, put their money back into the sack with the corn, and also give them extra provisions for the trip back home. Relieved that they were finally allowed to return home, the brothers loaded the sacks of corn onto their donkeys and began their l-o-n-g journey.

He was astonished at what he found That evening when they stopped to rest, one of them opened a sack to give food to the donkeys. He was astonished at what he found. “MY MONEY IS IN MY SACK!” he shouted to the others. That made them all afraid.

“We're doomed now!” one of them exclaimed. “First we were accused of being spies; now we will be accused of being thieves!” Since there was nothing they could do, they spent the night at the inn and continued on their journey home the next morning.

At the end of their journey, their families met them joyfully, glad that they now had food to eat and glad that the brothers had arrived safely home. “But where is Simeon?” they wanted to know.

Simeon cannot come home until we take Benjamin back to Egypt with us The brothers had quite a story to tell. “We don't know why, but the ruler thought we were spies. We couldn't convince him that we were not spies. He made us leave Simeon in prison. Simeon can't come home until we take Benjamin back to Egypt with us,” they explained.

As they unloaded the goods, they began opening the sacks. EVERY sack had a bundle of money in it, not just the one they had previously discovered. This made them even more afraid.

Jacob was terribly distressed. “First Joseph died, and now Simeon is probably dead, and you want to take Benjamin away from me too?” he cried with a shaken voice.

Jacob was terribly distressed Reuben spoke slowly to his father. “I promise Benjamin will come home safely. We have got to take him to Egypt to get Simeon back and to return the money that we found in our sacks. I promise nothing will happen to him. If I don't keep my promise, you can do something very bad to me in return.”

No amount of pleading would convince Jacob to allow Benjamin to go to Egypt. “His mother is dead, his brother Joseph is dead, and Benjamin is the only one left. If he goes with you and doesn't return, I will surely die of grief,” he said to his sons.

A sadness fell upon the house of Jacob that day. Although God had provided food to eat and they were truly thankful for that, Simeon had to stay in prison in Egypt, and the other sons had been falsely accused. Jacob and his family couldn't understand why so many bad things seemed to be happening. Something they all agreed on though, was that that was one l-o-n-g shopping trip that they would never forget!

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1. What is a famine?
2. Where was the home of Joseph's family?
3. How many brothers did Joseph have?
4. How many brothers went to Egypt?
5. How many brothers went back home?
6. Why did Joseph's brothers not know him?
7. What did they find in their sacks besides food?
8. Why was their father, Jacob, so sad?


Even though we may not always know why things happen
as they do, God does, and He is always in control.


“And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God . . .” (Romans 8:28a).


“By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6).


Can you remember what Joseph’s brothers did to him years before their long shopping trip? After all those years, were Joseph’s brothers still thinking about him and what they did to him? What did they say when they were treated as spies in Egypt? Do you think they were sorry about what they did to him?

Is there someone you’ve hurt with your words or actions, or has someone hurt you like that?

[After discussion:] You see, when you hurt someone, that hurt will always come back to haunt you. If you do not make things right with that person immediately, God may take you on "a long journey" through many difficulties, to bring you face-to-face with what you have done. God is not out to hurt you, but to help you learn to forgive others and have a clear conscience. God loves to heal broken hearts and broken relationships.

Always remember, God is for us. He’s not against us. He wants the best for us, and He wants us to be at peace with Him and also with others. Let us take a moment and ask God for forgiveness where we’ve wronged others, and also ask Him to help us make things right with Him and those we have hurt.


Dog and boy praying

Dear God, thank You for always being in control
and knowing what is best for us. Help us to
always trust You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Genesis 41:46-42:38

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