Genesis chapter 42 - 45 recount story of Joseph tricking his brothers who are in Egypt to buy grain, into going back and forth several times from Canaan to Egypt in an attempt exonerate themselves in the (feigned) accusation from Joseph of being a spy. Eventually Joesph reveals himself as their brother, and Jacob and his family move to Egypt as a result.
Why did Joseph trick them in this way? I can think of only a few reasons:
- He wanted to get all of his brothers and father back to Egypt before he revealed himself.
- He distrusted his brothers, since they had tried to kill him, and sold him into slavery years prior to this event, he was trying to ascertain if his younger brother and father were in fact still alive.
- He was punishing his brothers by making them suffer this way in an act of revenge.
In any event the author of Genesis spends a lot of precipitous time and space recounting this deception, is there some cultural aspect to this that I am missing? Is there some context to the story that would reveal more about the characters involved or the nature of God or their relationship to him?