January 27: Revenge Isn’t Sweet
Genesis 42:29–43:34, Hebrews 5:11–7:28, Ecclesiastes 10:10–20
It’s easy to revel in vigilante justice, be joyful in the irony of someone getting “what’s coming to them,” or feel satisfied when “bad Karma comes back around” to others. The colloquialisms around the subject alone demonstrate our infatuation with justice. Joseph is similarly impassioned; he schemes against his brothers who sold him into slavery. At the beginning of Gen 43, Joseph’s brothers must go back to Egypt to request food from him—their younger brother, whom they do not recognize. Joseph waits for the youngest,
Benjamin, to join them. What Joseph intends to do when he does, we’re not told.
When Benjamin and the other brothers arrive, Joseph is either moved with empathy or chooses to act upon his original plan of revealing himself in front of all his brothers (Gen 43:16, 29). Joseph even helps them financially, signaling that he somehow still cares for them (Gen 44). Yet it doesn’t seem that Joseph has forgiven them yet, because in Genesis 44, more evil schemes emerge.
The thought of others feeling the same kind of pain they have inflicted can cause us to feel remorse. But we’re always aware of the choice; we can choose to fight our instincts. We can recognize that instead of lashing back, the best answer is turning the other cheek. This may be easy for some, but for others—especially those who have been deeply hurt—abandoning the urge to inflict injury will require spiritual strength, prayer, and self-control.
Whom do you currently desire to see hurt? How can you let that feeling go? How can God help you release the situation to Him?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that had befallen them, saying, The man who is lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and put us in prison as spies of the country. And we said unto him We are true men, and are no spies. We be twelve brethren, sons of our father: one is not, and the youngest is this da with our father in the land of Canaan. Then the lord of the country said unto us, Hereby shall I know if ye be true men: Leave one of your brethren with me, and take food for the famine of your houses, and depart, And bring your youngest brother unto me, that I may know that ye are no spies, but true men: so will I deliver youyour brother, and ye shall occupy in the land. And as they emptied thier sacks, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack: and when they and their father saw the bundles of their money, they were afraid. Then Jacob their father said to them, Ye have robbed me of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin: all these things are against me. Then Reuben answerd his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee again: deliver him to mine hand, and I will bring him to htee again. But he said, My son shall nto go down with you: for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if death come unto him by the way which ye go, then ye shall bring my gray head with sorrow unto the grave. Now great famine was in the land. And when they had eaten up the vittles, which they had brought from Egypt, their father said unto them, Turn again and buy us a little food. And Judah answered him, saying, The man charged us by an oath, saying, Never see my face, except your brother be with you. If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down, and buy thee food. But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Look me not in the face, except your brother be with you. And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so evil with me, as to tell the man, wheter ye had yet a brother or no? And they answered, The man asked straightly of ourselves and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye any brother? And we told him according to these words: could we know certainly that he would say, Bring your brother down? Then said Judah to Israel his father, Send the boy with me, that we may rise and go, and that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, adn our children. I will be surety for him: of mine hand shalt thou require him. If I bring him not to thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame forever. For except we had made this tarrying, doubtless by this we had returned the second time. Then their father Israel said unto them, If it must needs be so now, do thus: take of the best fruits of the land in your vessels, and bring the man a present, a little rosin, and a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: And take double money in your hand, and the money, that was brought again in your sacks’ mouths carry it again in your hand, lest it were some oversight. Take also your brother and arise, and go again to the man. And God Almighty give you mercy in the sight of the man, that he may deliver you your other brother, and Benjamin: but I shall be robbed of my child, as I have been. Thus the men took this present, and took twice so much money in their hand with Benjamin, and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his steward, Bring these men home and kill meat, and make ready: for the men shall eat iwth me at noon. And the men did as Joseph bade, and brought the men nto Joseph’s house. Now when the men were brought into Joseph’s house, they were afraid, and said, Because of the money, that came in our sack’s mouths at the first time, are we brought, that he may pick a quarrel against us, and lay something to our charge, and bring us in bondage to buy food. And as we came to an Inn and opened our sacks, behold, every man’s money was in his sack’s mouth, even our money in full weight, but we have brought it in our hands. Also other money have we brought in our hands to buy food, but we cannot tell, who put our money in our sacks. And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father hath given you that treasure in your sacks, I had your money: and he brought forth Simeon to them. So the man led them into Joseph’s house, and gave them water to wash their feet, and gave their asses provender. And they made ready their present against Joseph came at noon, (for they heard say, that they should eat bread there.) When Joseph cmae home, they brought the present into the house to him, which was in their hands, and bowed down to the ground before him. And he asked them of their posterity, and said, Is your father the old man, of whom ye told me, in good health? is he yet alive? Who answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive: and they bowed down, and made obeisance. And he lifting up his eyes, beheld his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother of whom ye told me? And he said, God be merciful unto thee, my son. And Joseph made haste (for his affection was inflamed toward his brother, and sought where to weep) and entered into his chamber and wept there. Afterward he washed his face, and came out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on meat. And they prepared for him by himself, and for them by themselves, adn for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves, because the Egyptans might not eat bread with the Hebrews: for that was an abomination unto the Egyptians. So they sat before him: the eldest according unto his age, and the youngest according unto his youth: and the men marveled among themselves. And they took meats from before him, and sent to them: but Benjamin’s meat was five times so much as any of theirs: and they drank, and had of the best drink with him. Genesis 42:29–43:34
- Of whom we have many things to say, which are hard to be uttered, because ye are dull of hearing. For when as concerning the time ye ought to be teachers, yet have ye need again that we teach you what are the first principles of the word of God: and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk, is inexpert in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of age, which through long custom have their wits exercised, to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the doctrine of the beginning of Christ, let us be led forward unto perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from the dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and laying on of hands, and of the resurrectino from the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do if God permit. For it is impossible that they which were once lightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy Ghost, And have tested of the good word of God, and of the powers of the world to come, If they fall away, should be renewed again by repentance: seeing they crucify again to themselves the Son of God, and make a mock of him. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing of God. But that which beareth thorns and briars, is reproved, and is near unto cursing, whose end is to be burned. But beloved, we have persuaded ourselves better things of you, and such as accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous, that he should forget your work, and labor of love, which ye showed toward his Name, in that ye have ministered unto the Saints, and yet minister. And we desire tha tevery one of you show the same diligence, to the full assurance of hope unto the end, That ye be not slothful, but followers of them, which through faith and patience, inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Abraham, because he had no grater to swear by, he swore by himself, Saying, Surely I will abundantly bless thee, and multiply thee marvelously. And so after that he had tarried patiently, he enjoyed the promise. For men verily swear by him that is greater than themselves, and an oath of confirmation is among them an end of all strife. So God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the stableness of his counsel, bound himself b an oaht, That by two immutable things, wherein it is impossible that God should lie, we might have strong consolation, which have our refuge to lay hold upon that hope tha tis set before us, Which hope we have, as an anchor of the soul, but sure and steadfast, and it entereth into that which is within the veil. Whither the forerunner is for us entered in, even Jesus that is made an high Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. For this Melchizedek was King of righteousness: after that, he is also King of Salem, that is, King of peace, Without father, without mother, without kindred, and hath neither beginning of his days, neither end of life: but is likened unto the Son of God, and continueth a Priest forever. Now consider ow great this man was, unto whom even the Patriarch Abraham gave the tithe of the spoils. For verily the ywhich are the children of Levi, which receive the office of the Priesthood, have a commandment ot take, according to the Law, tithes of the people (that is, of their brethren) though they came out of the loins of Abraham. But he whose kindred isnot counted among them, received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had tthe promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the greater. And here men that die, receive tithes: but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed, that he liveth. And to say as the thing is, Levi also which receiveth tithes, payeth tithes in Abraham. for he was yet in the loins of his father Abraham, when Melchizedek met him. If therefore perfectio had been by the Preisthood of the Levites (for under it the Law was established to the people) what neeed it furthermore, that another Priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek, and not to be called after the order of Aaron? for if the Priesthood be changed, then of necessity must there be a change of the Law. For he of whom these things are spoken, pertaineth unto another tribe, wherof no man served at the altar. For it is evident, that our Lord sprung out of Judah, concerning the which tribe Moses spake noting, touching the Priesthood. And it is yet a more evident thing, because that after the similitude of Melchizedek, ther is risen up anothe Priest, Which is not made Priest after the Law of the carnal commandment, but after the powe rof the endless life. For he testifieth thus, Thou art a Priest forever, ater the order of Melchizedek. Forthe commandment that went afore, is disannulled, because of the weakness thereof, and unprofitableness. For the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope made perfect, whereby we draw near unto God. And forasmuch as it is not without an oath (for these are made Priests without an oath: But htis is made with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek. By so much is Jesus made a surety of a better Testament. And among them many were amde Priests, because they were not suffered to endure, by the reason of death. But this man, because he endureth ever, hath a Priesthood, which cannot pass from one to another. Wherefore, he is able also perfectly to save them that come unto God by him, seeing he even liveth, to make intercession for them. For such an high Priest it became us to have, which is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens: Which needeth not daily as those high Priests to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, adn then for the peoples: for that did ne once, when he offered up himself. For the Law maketh men high Priests, which have infirmity: but the word of the oath that was since the Law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. Hebrews 5:11–7:28
- If the iron be blunt, and one hath not whet the edge, he must then put to more strength: but the excellency to direct a thing is wisdom. If the serpent bite, when he is not charmed: no better is a babbler. The words of the mouth of a wise man have grace: but the lips of a fool devour himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the latter end of his mouth is wicked madness. For the fool multiplieth words, saying, Man knoweth not what shall be: and who can tell him what shall be after him? The labor of the foolish doth weary him: for he knoweth not to go into the city. Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning. Blessed art thou, O land, when thy King is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in time, for strength and not for drunkenness. By slothfulness the roof of the house goeth to decay, and by the idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. They prepare bread for laughter, and wine comforteth the living, but silver answereth to all. Curse not the king, no not in thy thought, neither curse the rich in thy bed chamber: for the fowl of the heaven shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings, shall declare the matter. Ecclesiastes 10:10–20