Why Is Jacob Filled With Grief?

The Brothers Report To Jacob


When the brothers came to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan, they told him everything that had happened to them. “The man who is governor of the land spoke very harshly to us,” they told him. “He accused us of being spies scouting the land. But we said, ‘We are honest men, not spies. We are twelve brothers, sons of one father. One brother is no longer with us, and the youngest is at home with our father in the land of Canaan.’
“Then the man who is governor of the land told us, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take grain for your starving families and go on home. But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. Then I will know you are honest men and not spies. Then I will give you back your brother, and you may trade freely in the land.’”
As they emptied out their sacks, there in each man’s sack was the bag of money he had paid for the grain! The brothers and their father were terrified when they saw the bags of money.

Genesis 42:29-35 (NLT)


jacob-mourns-his-son-joseph-There report to their father only made the old man feel worse, especially when he heard the news about Simeon’s confinement and the future involvement of Benjamin. The whole episode should have led Jacob and his sons to some heart-searching and confessing of sin, but apparently it didn’t. It would have been a good time for them to seek the Lord and pray for His help and direction. However, in spite of their failures, God was still at work and His purposes would be fulfilled.


If they had told Jacob all the truth twenty-two years before when they led him to believe Joseph had been killed, they wouldn’t have had this situation. We never get good out of lying. This shows they were still putting forth this lie about Joseph being dead. They had not repented at this time.


Jacob Is Beside Himself


Jacob exclaimed, “You are robbing me of my children! Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!”
Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. I’ll be responsible for him, and I promise to bring him back.”

Genesis 42:36-37 (NLT)



Jacob’s reply is obvious: you’ve taken 2 of my children away from me, and now you want to take a 3rd?


Rueben then gives Jacob the guarantee that he will bring Benjamin back. But, if he fails, Jacob can kill Rueben’s two sons as punishment. Though we’re not given Jacob’s reply to this offer, one can only imagine the unbelieving look on Jacob’s face. I think his stunned reply would have been something like,“Brilliant!”


Only you would figure that after I had lost 3 sons, I should now kill my own grandchildren as retribution?
Are you insane?”


More and more we see the wisdom in Rueben being denied his firstborn birthright. Rueben is a politician…a windbag. He is always making these grandiose, unwise statements and promises that are worthless and designed to do little but elicit an emotional response. In fact, we won’t hear from Rueben any more. He is set aside, and we’ll hear Judah’s voice more than any other brother from here forward.


But Jacob replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left. If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave.

Genesis 42:38 (NLT)


For the time being, though, Jacob simply is paralyzed and cannot fathom what to do. All he knows is that should Benjamin be taken from him, he could not survive it. He doesn’t really trust those sons of his anymore, so he’s not about to entrust Benjamin to them.


Yet…how are they going to survive without more grain?




Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Authentic 



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