The Anguish of Joseph’s Brothers

By Larry Ray Hafley

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Jacob, his father, and Joseph, of course, suffered much agony of spirit.

However, has it ever occurred to you how much his brothers suffered? We feel little or no sympathy for them. If ever any men deserved to suffer for their cold, calloused cruelty, these men did. And suffer they did! Before Joseph was finally revealed to them in Egypt, they said, “We are very guilty concerning our brother (Joseph,  LRH), in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us” (Gen. 42:21). And, so, they argued among themselves, and revealed that they had been tormented by their dear, but despised, brother’s pleadings for help.

Though Scripture does not tell us, who can believe that the brothers were not touched by the heartache of their father, as they saw him mourn day after day, for many years, over Joseph’s “death”? Later, after Joseph’s restoration, the guilt of their betrayal again struck home when Jacob died. They feared that Joseph would hate them, and that he would take out his vengeance upon them (Gen. 50:15-21). Their sin, though long since forgiven, still carried its bitter sting of anguish, grief, and pain.

It is the way of sin. In some form or another, we all bear the anguish of Joseph’s brothers. We bear the haunting specter of our sins. After surgery, the healing begins, but the scar remains forever. After forgiveness, the healing is complete, but the ugly scars, the effects, of our sins may remain to cause us anguish in the night and shame in the light. Let us, therefore, resolve, as much as lieth in us and in him, to “go, and sin no more,” lest we, too, become consumed by the anguish of Joseph’s brothers (Jn. 8:11).

Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 20, p. 8
October 19, 1995