Sunday Brunch – Joseph’s Brothers

March 26, 2017 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I hope all of you are well! Today I want to talk about Joseph (the Old Testament Joseph), and I was seeking an answer to this question:

Why didn’t Joseph’s brothers recognize him?

Genesis 45:4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!

Remember the story of Joseph in the Old Testament? Joseph told his brothers about a dream he’d had – in the dream, his brothers were bowing down to him. Hearing about this dream angered Joseph’s brothers. His brothers then sold him into bondage, and Joseph was eventually placed in charge of all of Egypt. There was a great famine in the land and Joseph’s brothers came to him, seeking food. Joseph  recognized his brothers, but, his brothers did not recognize him.  

Why didn’t Joseph’s brothers recognize him?

I’ve always wondered about this. The explanations that have been given to me have never satisfied my curiosity. Yes, I know several years had passed and Joseph had changed a great deal – he was dressed in the finest clothes, and he’d gotten older of course, which may have made him harder to recognize. However, these were his kin, his half-brothers. He used to spend time with his siblings, so I’d imagine some of them (after all there were 11 siblings) would have been able to look at Joseph and recognize his identity, don’t you think?

Did the Lord work through these 11 siblings, make it impossible for them to recognize Joseph for some reason? Joseph sent them back to get Benjamin, his full brother, the only sibling who would not have been able to recognize Joseph. Perhaps the Lord was working on these eleven siblings, making it impossible for them to recognize Joseph, so that they would be agreeable to going back and fetching Benjamin?

So, what do you think? Why didn’t Joseph’s eleven siblings recognize him? Share your thoughts!

If you have any prayer requests, please share them in the comments!

My prayer request? Please pray for guidance and for me to stay focused. My mind has been all over the place, scattered, hard to remember everything that needs to get done. It’s hard to juggle family life, worship, writing life and my job. I just need to calm down and settle down a bit, try and be more peaceful. Prayers appreciated.



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4 Responses to Sunday Brunch – Joseph’s Brothers

  1. Just finished Shades of Chocolate and enjoyed it very much… even got verklempt a couple of times! As to Joseph… would he have shaved off his beard? I would assume so. Also, his brothers just would not be expecting to see him, the total disconnect made it so they couldn’t recognize him… perhaps, like how you are confused when you see familiar people in unfamiliar places. I can totally see them not being able to recognize him!

  2. Mary Ekroos says:

    Shalom‼️ I have read the first two of the Bakery Romance Series, just about to start “Shades of Chocolate” and have enjoyed both, thank you Cecelia!
    Concerning Joseph! The style of dress, judging from carvings and such descriptions, immodestly attired, and the custom of shaving ones head and beard, would have made quite a difference in Joseph’s appearance, in addition to the number of years since the brothers had last seen Joseph would have been the most striking reason not to recognize him. The Hebrew people dressed very modestly and the men would always have had a full bread and full head of hair, at least from their twenties on up. Perhaps Joseph would also have been wearing the “make-up” on his eyes as Egyptians are commonly depicted, adding to the “disguise”. Joseph having been in prison, and the years leading up to the famine, would have taken a toll on his appearance. Thank you for your books, Cecelia, I Love that they are clean and Christian oriented!

    • Cecelia Dowdy says:

      Hi, Mary!

      Thanks so much for commenting. I’m so glad you’ve read and enjoyed my books! Yes, your comment does give new insight into my question about Joseph’s brothers! I suppose that time and dress and makeup may have been factors which caused Joseph’s brothers not to recognize him!

      Thanks again and have a blessed Sunday!

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