This week’s Portion, Miketz (“At the End”) continues the story of Joseph. He is still in prison, waiting to be delivered when Pharaoh had two dreams (just as Joseph had almost 20 years earlier in Canaan); the Butler then remembered the imprisoned Hebrew that was able to interpret his dreams. Joseph was cleaned up (i.e. made to look Egyptian), brought before Pharaoh and correctly interpreted his dreams – with revelation from God. God was telling Pharaoh to use the next 7 prosperous years to prepare for 7 lean years following. Pharaoh recognized that God was with Joseph and that he was the only man to guide E\ypt through those perilous times. So he appointed Joseph the #2 Man in the known world to oversee this project.
When famine struck, Joseph had stored the excess from the previous good years to provide during the lean years. He had stored enough to provide for Egypt as well as the surrounding nations. When Joseph’s starving brothers heard there was food in Egypt, they headed south…. all but Benjamin
Joseph immediately recognized them, but they didn’t recognize him – he still looked, talked and acted like an Egyptian. Even though he treated them “roughly”, he returned their evil with good. He caused them increasing anxiety by accusing them of being spies, yet he sent them back to Canaan with the money they came with AND food for their family…. but also with the demand that they return with his brother Benjamin. After much pleading with Jacob, Judah was able to convince him to allow Benjamin to return with them on their next food-gathering trip. Joseph did all of this to test their hearts for repentance.
The Portion ends with one final test: Benjamin is found with Joseph’s silver cup in his possession (remember that Joseph is the 2nd most powerful person in the world!) But we must wait until next week’s Portion for resolution!