Did His Brothers Ever Really Repent?

Joseph, Genesis, Joseph's brothers
Did Joseph’s brothers ever sincerely repent of selling him into slavery? 

They acted sorry when they thought they were in trouble (Genesis 42:21), but they didn't ask forgiveness until Jacob died and they feared Joseph’s revenge (50:15-21)

Then they produced a letter that Jacob never mentioned in his final words to Joseph (Genesis 49). Did Jacob write that letter?

If the brothers had repented earlier, they'd have known how forgiving Joseph was. But they didn't. They waited until they thought Joseph might take revenge (and probably used a phoney letter).

When this happened, Joseph wept. Was he weeping because his brothers finally repented or was he weeping because they still didn't get it. 

Whatever his reasons, Joseph showed how much finer his character was than theirs....again:

“Am I God to judge and punish you?” he said, “God turned into good what you meant for evil.”  (Genesis 50:19-20)

Because Joseph loved God, he refused to become bitter or take revenge.

If you're struggling to forgive someone who’s unrepentant, remember that God is able to use any offense for your good.
copyright Gail Burton Purath, 2011
Photo: Stockvault

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  1. I needed to hear this. Thank you for this love note. God is so good.

  2. Often what I write comes from something I'm struggling with in my own life...something I'm seeking God's help in understanding. And that's the case with this devotion. May God help us both to trust Him more. Thanks for sharing. Gail

  3. Thank you for this! Praise God. I am working on this myself with God's help.

    1. I'm so glad it was helpful, Amber. Joseph's story has helped me deal with bitterness...it really is a powerful reflection of what trusting God can help us overcome in life.


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