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Genesis 42:6 & meaning...


was the governor over the land. It was he who sold to all the people of the land. Joseph’s brothers came, and bowed themselves down to him with their faces to the earth.

Genesis 42:6


Genesis 42 [1.] Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” He said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy for us from there, so that we may live, and not die.” Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. But Jacob didn’t send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers; for he said, “Lest perhaps harm happen to him.” The sons of Israel came to buy among those who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. Joseph was the governor over the land. It was he who sold to all the people of the land. Joseph’s brothers came, and bowed themselves down to him with their faces to the earth. Joseph saw his brothers, and he recognized them, but acted like a stranger to them, and spoke roughly with them. He said to them, “Where did you come from?”

They said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.”

Genesis 42 [8.] Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him. Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed about them, and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land.”


  • Joseph as Governor:

The verse opens with a profound statement—Joseph is now the governor over the land. This is a striking transformation from his earlier circumstances when he was sold into slavery by his own brothers. Joseph's journey from the pit to the pinnacle of power showcases the providence of God and the redemptive arc within his life.

  • Seller to Sustainer:

The mention that Joseph sold to all the people of the land carries a twofold significance. Firstly, it alludes to Joseph's role as the provider of grain during the years of famine. Secondly, it draws a subtle parallel to the time when he was sold by his brothers. The one who was once sold into slavery now holds a position of authority, becoming a source of sustenance for the very land he was taken from.

  • Brothers' Arrival and Bowing Down:

The narrative takes a dramatic turn with the arrival of Joseph's brothers. The fulfillment of Joseph's earlier dreams, where his brothers would bow down to him, is now unfolding. Their act of bowing down signifies not only the fulfillment of the dream but also the recognition of Joseph's authority and the gravity of the situation they find themselves in.


Divine Providence: The overarching theme of divine providence is evident in Joseph's journey. From being betrayed and sold by his brothers to rising as the governor who sustains a nation, Joseph's story reflects the mysterious ways in which God orchestrates events for the ultimate good.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation: The encounter between Joseph and his brothers sets the stage for a powerful narrative of forgiveness and reconciliation. Despite the wrongs committed against him, Joseph's response to his brothers will reveal the transformative power of grace and compassion.

Fulfillment of Dreams: The arrival of Joseph's brothers and their bowing down aligns with the dreams Joseph had as a young man. This fulfillment underscores the divine orchestration of events and highlights the overarching sovereignty of God in shaping human destinies.

  • Personal Reflection:

Genesis 42:6 invites personal reflection on the themes of providence, forgiveness, and reconciliation. It prompts individuals to consider the ways in which God may be working in the midst of challenging circumstances, ultimately leading toward a greater purpose.

Cross References:

Genesis 37:7-10: Joseph's dreams, where his brothers' sheaves bowed down to his sheaf and the sun, moon, and stars bowed down to him, find their echo in Genesis 42:6. The fulfillment of these dreams marks a crucial point in Joseph's story.

Genesis 45:4-5: In the subsequent chapters, when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, he emphasizes the divine purpose behind their actions. This reference underscores the redemptive arc within Joseph's life.

In Conclusion: Genesis 42:6 captures a pivotal moment in the biblical narrative, symbolizing the convergence of Joseph's journey from slavery to rulership and the beginning of a process of forgiveness and reconciliation with his brothers. The verse stands as a testament to the overarching providence of God and the transformative power of grace within the tapestry of human stories.

PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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