Decision to Return to Egypt
1Now the famine in the land was severe.#Gn 12:10; 41:56–57; 47:20 2When they had used up the grain they had brought back from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little food.”
3But Judah said to him, “The man specifically warned us, ‘You will not see me again unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go, for the man said to us, ‘You will not see me again unless your brother is with you.’”#Gn 42:18–20; 44:23
6“Why have you caused me so much trouble?” Israel asked. “Why did you tell the man that you had another brother?”
7They answered, “The man kept asking about us and our family: ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ And we answered him accordingly. How could we know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother here’?”
8Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me. We will be on our way so that we may live and not die — neither we, nor you, nor our dependents. 9I will be responsible for him. You can hold me personally accountable!#43:9 Lit can seek him from my hand If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, I will be guilty before you forever.#Gn 42:37; 44:32 10If we had not delayed, we could have come back twice by now.”
11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your packs and take them down to the man as a gift — a little balsam and a little honey, aromatic gum and resin, pistachios and almonds.#Gn 37:25; Jr 8:22; Ezk 27:17 12Take twice as much silver with you. Return the silver that was returned to you in the top of your bags. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13Take your brother also, and go back at once to the man. 14May God Almighty cause the man to be merciful to you so that he will release your other brother and Benjamin to you. As for me, if I am deprived of my sons, then I am deprived.”#Gn 42:36
The Return to Egypt
15The men took this gift, double the amount of silver, and Benjamin. They immediately went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.
16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his steward, “Take the men to my house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for they will eat with me at noon.” 17The man did as Joseph had said and brought them to Joseph’s house.
18But the men were afraid because they were taken to Joseph’s house. They said, “We have been brought here because of the silver that was returned in our bags the first time. They intend to overpower us, seize us, make us slaves, and take our donkeys.” 19So they approached Joseph’s steward#43:19 Lit approached the one who was over the house and spoke to him at the doorway of the house.
20They said, “My lord, we really did come down here the first time only to buy food. 21When we came to the place where we lodged for the night and opened our bags of grain, each one’s silver was at the top of his bag!#Gn 42:27,35 It was the full amount of our silver, and we have brought it back with us. 22We have brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in the bags.”
23Then the steward said, “May you be well. Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your bags. I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24The steward brought the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet,#Gn 18:4; 19:2; 24:32 and got feed for their donkeys. 25Since the men had heard that they were going to eat a meal there, they prepared their gift for Joseph’s arrival at noon. 26When Joseph came home, they brought him the gift they had carried into the house, and they bowed to the ground before him.
27He asked if they were well, and he said, “How is your elderly father that you told me about? Is he still alive?”
28They answered, “Your servant our father is well. He is still alive.” And they knelt low and paid homage to him.
29When he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother that you told me about?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30Joseph hurried out because he was overcome with emotion for his brother, and he was about to weep. He went into an inner room and wept there. 31Then he washed his face and came out. Regaining his composure,#Gn 45:1 he said, “Serve the meal.”
32They served him by himself, his brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, since that is detestable to them.#Gn 46:34; Ex 8:26 33They were seated before him in order by age, from the firstborn to the youngest. The men looked at each other in astonishment. 34Portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, and Benjamin’s portion was five times larger than any of theirs.#Gn 35:24; 45:22 They drank and became drunk with Joseph.
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The Second Journey to Egypt.#The second journey to Egypt. Joseph the sage has carefully prepared the brothers for a possible reconciliation. In this chapter and the following one Judah steps forward as the hero, in contrast to chaps. 37 and 42 where Reuben was the hero. Here Judah serves as guarantee for Benjamin. 1Now the famine in the land grew severe. 2So when they had used up all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.” 3But Judah replied: “The man strictly warned us, ‘You shall not see me unless your brother is with you.’#Gn 44:23. 4If you are willing to let our brother go with us, we will go down to buy food for you. 5But if you are not willing, we will not go down, because the man told us, ‘You shall not see me unless your brother is with you.’”#Gn 42:20. 6Israel demanded, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man that you had another brother?” 7They answered: “The man kept asking about us and our family: ‘Is your father still living? Do you have another brother?’ We answered him accordingly. How could we know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8Then Judah urged his father Israel: “Let the boy go with me, that we may be off and on our way if you and we and our children are to keep from starving to death.#Gn 42:37. 9I myself will serve as a guarantee for him. You can hold me responsible for him. If I fail to bring him back and set him before you, I will bear the blame before you forever.#Gn 44:32. 10Had we not delayed, we could have been there and back twice by now!”
11Israel their father then told them: “If it must be so, then do this: Put some of the land’s best products in your baggage and take them down to the man as gifts: some balm and honey, gum and resin, and pistachios and almonds.#Gn 45:23. 12Also take double the money along, for you must return the amount that was put back in the mouths of your bags; it may have been a mistake. 13Take your brother, too, and be off on your way back to the man. 14May God Almighty grant you mercy in the presence of the man, so that he may let your other brother go, as well as Benjamin. As for me, if I am to suffer bereavement, I shall suffer it.”
15So the men took those gifts and double the money and Benjamin. They made their way down to Egypt and presented themselves before Joseph. 16When Joseph saw them and Benjamin, he told his steward, “Take the men into the house, and have an animal slaughtered and prepared, for they are to dine with me at noon.” 17Doing as Joseph had ordered, the steward conducted the men to Joseph’s house. 18But they became apprehensive when they were led to his house. “It must be,” they thought, “on account of the money put back in our bags the first time, that we are taken inside—in order to attack us and take our donkeys and seize us as slaves.” 19So they went up to Joseph’s steward and talked to him at the entrance of the house. 20“If you please, sir,” they said, “we came down here once before to buy food.#Gn 42:3. 21But when we arrived at a night’s encampment and opened our bags, there was each man’s money in the mouth of his bag—our money in the full amount! We have now brought it back.#Gn 42:27–28. 22We have brought other money to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our bags.” 23He replied, “Calm down! Do not fear! Your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your bags for you. As for your money, I received it.” With that, he led Simeon out to them.
24The steward then brought the men inside Joseph’s house. He gave them water to wash their feet, and gave fodder to their donkeys. 25Then they set out their gifts to await Joseph’s arrival at noon, for they had heard that they were to dine there. 26When Joseph came home, they presented him with the gifts they had brought inside, while they bowed down before him to the ground. 27After inquiring how they were, he asked them, “And how is your aged father, of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”#Tb 7:4. 28“Your servant our father is still alive and doing well,” they said, as they knelt and bowed down. 29Then Joseph looked up and saw Benjamin, his brother, the son of his mother. He asked, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you told me?” Then he said to him, “May God be gracious to you, my son!”#Gn 42:13. 30With that, Joseph hurried out, for he was so overcome with affection for his brother that he was on the verge of tears. So he went into a private room and wept there.
31After washing his face, he reappeared and, now having collected himself, gave the order, “Serve the meal.” 32It was served separately to him,#Separately to him: that Joseph did not eat with the other Egyptians was apparently a matter of rank. to the brothers, and to the Egyptians who partook of his board. Egyptians may not eat with Hebrews; that is abhorrent to them. 33When they were seated before him according to their age, from the oldest to the youngest, they looked at one another in amazement; 34and as portions were brought to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as large as#Five times as large as: probably an idiomatic expression for “much larger than.” Cf. 45:22. anyone else’s. So they drank freely and made merry with him.
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