Daily Devotional: Genesis 42:1-38

I do not know what Joseph’s motivation is for treating his brothers harshly instead of revealing himself from the outset. We can see, in the text, that Joseph is grieving and not spiteful. This is likely one of those “shrewd as a serpent, innocent as a dove” situation. He truly wants to see if his brothers have become honest and caring men before he reveals himself and invites them to Egypt.

In the New Testament, Jesus instructs His disciples to be as shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves because the days are evil (cf. Matthew 10:16). Shrewdness is a form of wisdom required when surrounded by enemies. While we can be shrews with selfish intent, like a shrewd businessman, shrewdness can also be motivated by a love for God and an interest in the wellbeing of others.


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