Do you succumb to the temptation to be deceitful? Do you deceive close family and friends? If so, have you considered all the ramifications of deceit? Genesis warns us that our deceit may not only cause pain to close family and friends, it may also cause pain to us.
Joseph’s brothers hated Joseph; and when they had a chance to get rid of him, they took advantage of the opportunity. Notice the words that communicate profit and death.
Gen. 37:23 So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him;
Gen. 37:24 and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it.
Gen. 37:25 ¶ Then they sat down to eat a meal. And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt.
Gen. 37:26 Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood?
Gen. 37:27 “Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him.
Gen. 37:28 Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt.
At first, Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill Joseph, but then they realized they could get some money by selling him. They sold him to some Midianites. Once they had sold Joseph, they had to explain to their father why Joseph was no longer with them. Did they actually tell their father what happened, or did they let him assume what happened?
Gen. 37:29 ¶ Now Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit; so he tore his garments.
Gen. 37:30 He returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is not there; as for me, where am I to go?”
Gen. 37:31 So they took Joseph’s tunic, and slaughtered a male goat and dipped the tunic in the blood;
Gen. 37:32 and they sent the varicolored tunic and brought it to their father and said, “We found this; please examine it to see whether it is your son’s tunic or not.”
Gen. 37:33 Then he examined it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him; Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!”
Joseph’s brothers did not say that Joseph had been killed; instead, they deceived their father into concluding that Joseph had been killed. Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son, so Jacob was devastated at Joseph’s death. Notice the words “many” and “refused”.
Gen. 37:34 So Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days.
Gen. 37:35 Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.” So his father wept for him.
Gen. 37:36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer, the captain of the bodyguard.
When Jacob said he would go down to Sheol in mourning, he was saying that he would mourn for Joseph until the day of his death. In other words, he was not even going to try to move on with life.
Who suffered? Jacob obviously suffered and even though Joseph’s brothers saw their father’s pain, they did not confess to their deeds; they allowed their father to continue to believe that Joseph was dead. However, Joseph’s brothers may have suffered too. Everyday they watched their father mourn for Joseph. As they watched their father mourn, deep down they knew that they were the cause of his pain.
What about you? Are you causing pain to a friend or family member because you used deceit to cover up a misdeed? Is this situation causing pain to you also? As we go through life, we are often tempted to use deceit. However, in addition to the fact that dishonesty is wrong, we should also consider the effect that deceit has on our family and friends, and us.
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