The danger of making grand promises 

Old Testament: Gen 42.37

To read the Bible in a year, read Genesis 42–43 on January 18, In the year of our Lord Christ 2023

By Don Ruhl 

Joseph in Egypt, told his brothers that he would not release Simeon unless they brought back Benjamin, Joseph’s younger brother. So the brothers returned to their home in the land of Canaan and told their father how Joseph (though they did not know it was Joseph), treated them, and that they had to bring Benjamin to Egypt. 

Jacob grieved that he had already lost Joseph (thinking that a wild animal had killed him), and that he had now lost Simeon, and would lose Benjamin. Reuben, seeing the deep grief of his father wanted to assure him that he would bring Benjamin back: 

Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, “Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you; put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.”

– Genesis 42.37 

I understand what Reuben was doing, but could he truly expect his father to kill two of his grandsons after having lost a few of his own sons? Reuben probably believed that such would never happen, because he knew in his heart that he would bring Benjamin home. Still, what if he did not; would he truly want his father to kill two of his grandsons? 


  • Have you made a promise and put a condition on it that if it was not fulfilled you should suffer a severe penalty? 
  • Do you have grandchildren? 

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