The second journey to Egypt
1Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, ‘Go back and buy us a little more food.’
3But Judah said to him, ‘The man warned us solemnly, “You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.” 4If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, “You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.” ’
6Israel asked, ‘Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?’
7They replied, ‘The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. “Is your father still living?” he asked us. “Do you have another brother?” We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, “Bring your brother down here”?’
8Then Judah said to Israel his father, ‘Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.’
11Then their father Israel said to them, ‘If it must be, then do this: put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift – a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14And may God Almighty#43:14 Hebrew El-Shaddai grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.’
15So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, ‘Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal; they are to eat with me at noon.’
17The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house. 18Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, ‘We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.’
19So they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20‘We beg your pardon, our lord,’ they said, ‘we came down here the first time to buy food. 21But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver – the exact weight – in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. 22We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.’
23‘It’s all right,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.’ Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. 25They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. 27He asked them how they were, and then he said, ‘How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?’
28They replied, ‘Your servant our father is still alive and well.’ And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.
29As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, ‘Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?’ And he said, ‘God be gracious to you, my son.’ 30Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.
31After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, ‘Serve the food.’
32They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians. 33The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment. 34When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.
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Joseph's brothers return to Egypt
1The famine was still bad in Canaan. 2Jacob's family ate all the food that they had brought from Egypt. So Jacob said to his sons, ‘Go back to Egypt, and buy some more food for us.’ #43:2 God had changed Jacob's name to ‘Israel’, but the Bible continues to use both names for the same person. We are using the name ‘Jacob’ here. 3But Judah said, ‘The man told us many times, “Unless your brother is with you, I will not let you see me again.” 4So you must send Benjamin with us. Then we will go and buy food for you. 5But if you do not send Benjamin, we will not go. The man clearly said to us, “Unless your brother is with you, you will not see me again.” ’
6Jacob said to them, ‘You have brought great trouble to me! You should not have told the man that you had another brother.’ 7The brothers replied, ‘The man asked us many questions about our family. He asked us, “Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?” We only answered his questions. We did not know that he would say, “Bring your brother here.” ’
8Then Judah said to his father Jacob, ‘Agree to send the boy with me. We will go to Egypt immediately. Then all our family can continue to live. We will not die. #43:8 Judah says ‘we will not die’ because he would bring back food from Canaan. The famine would not kill them. 9I promise you to keep Benjamin safe. I myself will take care of him and I will bring him back to you. If I do not bring him back home, then you should say that I am guilty. I will be guilty for all of my life. 10We must go now! We have already talked for too long. By now, we could have gone to Egypt and returned twice!’
11Then their father Jacob said to them, ‘If you must take Benjamin, do what I tell you. Put some of the best things from our land in your bags. Take them to the man as a gift. Take some oil, some honey and some spices. Also take some myrrh, and some nuts. #43:11 All these gifts were things that Egyptian people usually had to buy from other countries. Nuts are hard seeds that people eat, like almonds. 12Also take twice the amount of money with you. You must give back the money that they put back into your bags last time. It may have been a mistake. 13Take your brother Benjamin too. Go back to the man now. 14I pray that God Almighty will help you. I pray that God will cause the man to be kind to you. Then he will let your older brother go free. He and Benjamin will return here with you. As for me, if I must lose my sons, then I will lose them. There is nothing that I can do to stop it.’
15So the brothers took the gifts, and they took twice as much money with them. They took Benjamin and they hurried to Egypt. When they arrived there, they went to meet Joseph.
16Joseph saw that Benjamin was with them. So he said to his servant who took care of his house, ‘Take these men to my house. Kill an animal and prepare it for a meal. These men will eat with me at noon.’ 17The servant did as Joseph told him. He took the men to Joseph's house.
18The brothers were frightened when the servant took them to Joseph's house. They thought, ‘He has brought us here because of the money that we found in our bags last time. Someone put it there before we returned home. Now he wants to punish us. He will take us to be his slaves. He will take our donkeys too.’
19So the brothers went to Joseph's servant. They spoke to him at the door of Joseph's house before they went in. 20They said, ‘Please sir. The first time we came here, we came to buy food. 21But on our journey back, we stopped at a place to sleep for the night. When we opened our bags, each of us found our money there. It was the same amount of money that each of us had taken to buy food in Egypt. The money was in the top of our bags. Now we have brought the money back here. 22We have also brought more money so that we can buy more food. We do not know who put the money back into our bags.’
23The servant replied, ‘Do not worry. Everything is all right. Your God, the God of your father, put the valuable silver coins there. I received your money. No problem!’ Then the servant brought Simeon out to see his brothers.
24The servant took the men into Joseph's house. He gave them water to wash their feet. He also gave food to their donkeys. 25The brothers prepared their gifts to give to Joseph when he would arrive at noon. The servant had told them that they would eat a meal there.
26When Joseph arrived home, the brothers gave him the gifts that they had brought with them. They bent down low to the ground in front of him. 27Joseph asked them if they were well. Then he said, ‘You told me last time about your old father. How is he? Is he still alive?’ 28The brothers replied, ‘Your servant, our father, is still alive. And he is well.’ They bent down to the ground again, to respect Joseph.
29Then Joseph saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother's son. #43:29 Only Joseph and Benjamin were sons of Rachel. Jacob's other wives had given birth to the other brothers. Joseph asked, ‘Is this your youngest brother? Is he the one that you told me about?’ Joseph said to Benjamin, ‘I pray that God will bless you, my son.’ 30Joseph loved Benjamin very much. He quickly went out of the room because he wanted to weep. Joseph went into his own room and he wept there. 31After that, he washed his face. He returned to his brothers. He controlled himself and he said, ‘Prepare the food for them to eat.’ 32The servants gave food to Joseph at his own table. The brothers sat together at a different table. And the Egyptians who ate there also sat together. The Egyptians could not eat a meal with Hebrews, because that would make the Egyptians ashamed. 33The brothers sat in a place where Joseph could see them. The servants told each of them where to sit, by their age. The oldest brother was at one end, all along to the youngest brother at the other end. The brothers were very surprised to see this. #43:33 The brothers were surprised because Joseph knew their ages.
34Then the servants took food from Joseph's table and they gave it to the brothers. Benjamin received the biggest amount of food. It was five times more than any of his brothers. The brothers also drank wine with Joseph and they were all very happy.
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