Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt with Benjamin
1Now the famine in the land continued to grow more severe. 2When all the grain they had brought from Egypt was almost gone, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us more food.”
3But Judah objected, “The Egyptian warned us repeatedly, ‘You will not see my face again, unless Benjamin is with you!’ 4We’ll only go if you’ll let our brother come with us. 5If you insist he remains here, we won’t go, for the man solemnly told us, ‘You will not see my face again, unless your brother is with you!’ ” # 43:5 Jacob’s sons told him, essentially, “We won’t see Joseph’s face until he sees Benjamin.” The name Benjamin means “son of my right hand.” There is One greater than Joseph who is now waiting until he sees “the sons of his right hand,” an overcoming company of sons and daughters who will sit and reign with him in victory (see Rev. 3:21). When the church matures into the full measure of sonship, we will see him whom our soul loves.
6Israel # 43:6 Israel is the name God gave to Jacob. demanded, “Why did you make it so hard for me by telling the man you had another brother?”
7They answered him, “The man interrogated us about ourselves and our family, saying, ‘Is your father still living? Do you have another brother?’ We had to answer his questions! We had no idea he would say, ‘You must bring your brother here to me.’ ”
8-9Then Judah spoke up and said to Israel, “Father, I promise to guarantee his safety with my life. # 43:8–9 This was an amazing statement of sacrificial love from Judah. One day a son of Judah would come, a Lion from the tribe of Judah, Jesus, who would offer his life as a ransom for many. Only a father can understand the loss of two of his children, and Judah had experienced that loss. See Gen. 38:7, 10. You can hold me personally responsible if I don’t return with him. I’ll bear the blame before you for the rest of my life if I fail to bring him safely back to you! You have my promise. Entrust him to my care, and let us be on our way, so that we all don’t die of starvation—we and you and all our children—we will live and not die! 10And besides, if we hadn’t delayed so long, we could have gone and returned twice by now!”
11After considering their words, their father Israel said to them, “If that’s the way it has to be, then do this: Load your donkeys with the very best gifts you can find, choice products of the land, and offer them to the man. Take some balm and some honey, spices, and myrrh, # 43:11 Ironically, these items were the same things carried in the caravan that took Joseph away as a slave (see Gen. 37:25). Now they carry the same items to Joseph as tribute. pistachio nuts and almonds. 12Take double the money with you. Give him back the money that was returned in the top of your sacks, for it may have been a mistake. 13Take your brother, too, and be off! Go back to the man at once. 14May the God who is more than enough # 43:14 Or “El Shaddai.” See second footnote on Gen. 17:1. grant you mercy and favor before the man, so that he may send back both Simeon and Benjamin. As for me, if I suffer loss, then let it be so.”
15So the brothers set off for Egypt and took double the money, the many gifts, and Benjamin. Once they arrived, they presented themselves before Joseph.
Joseph Prepares a Feast for His Brothers
16When Joseph saw his brother Benjamin with them, he said to his chief servant, “Bring the men to my house and make them feel at home. Butcher an animal and prepare a meal, for these men are to dine with me at noon.” 17Joseph’s chief servant did as he was told and brought the men to Joseph’s house.
18Now the brothers were very apprehensive as they were being led inside, and said to each other, “He brought us here because of the money that was put back in our sacks the first time we came to Egypt! He’s looking for an opportunity to arrest us, turn us into his slaves, and take away our donkeys!” 19So they approached the chief servant and spoke to him at the entrance of the house. 20“If you please, my lord,” they said, “we came here once before to buy food, 21-22but on our way home, when we camped for the night and opened our sacks, we found each one’s money in the top of his bag. All our money was there in our bags! We know it must have been an oversight of some kind, and we have no clue who put it there, so we have brought it all back with us. Plus, we have additional money to buy more food.”
23“Relax,” he replied, “don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, must have been the one who put treasure in your bags. I have received your money; it’s all accounted for.” Then the chief servant brought Simeon out to them. 24Then he gave feed to their donkeys and brought the brothers into the house. He gave them water to drink and washed their feet. 25The men laid out their gifts to present to Joseph, for they were told he would appear before them at noon and would dine with them.
26When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought with them into the house. They each bowed low before him with their faces to the ground. 27He asked them how the family was doing, saying, “You mentioned your aging father; is he still alive? Is he doing well?”
28“Yes,” they replied, “our father, your servant, is still alive and doing well.” And they bowed low before Joseph in respect.
29Looking them over, he saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said to them, “So, I see you have returned with your youngest brother, of whom you spoke. God be gracious to you, my son.” 30Joseph hastily left the room, for he was overwhelmed with feelings of love # 43:30 This is the Hebrew word racham. It is used ninety times in the Bible and almost always refers to God’s compassionate, merciful love for us. Racham is also the word for “womb.” Racham is best described as nurturing love, the love a mother would have for her children. for his brother and on the verge of tears. He went into a private room and sobbed, as tears ran down his cheeks. # 43:30 All of a sudden, this world leader, this captain over millions, collapsed inside. It was beginning to make sense to him—all the loneliness, those dark days in prison, the misunderstanding, and the pain of rejection. A family shattered for over two decades was being reunited. It took great discipline for Joseph to keep his secret from them. Joseph’s heart moved him to tears—tears of tenderness and affection for his younger brother and his long-lost family. Like a little boy again, Joseph missed his daddy. 31When he finally composed himself, he washed his face, reappeared, and ordered: “Serve the meal.”
32First, they served Joseph who was seated apart from his brothers, then the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians by themselves. (It would have been utterly offensive for the Egyptians to eat at the same table with the Hebrews.) 33Now, the brothers had been seated before Joseph in their birth order, # 43:33 What a feast was before them! They had not eaten like this for months, maybe years. As they noticed the order of seating, the brothers were amazed but still had no clue. There are 39,916,800 different orders in which eleven individuals could be seated. Did they believe he had supernatural wisdom to know their birth order? from the firstborn at one end of the table to the youngest at the other end. They were all stunned when they realized the seating arrangement and looked at each other in astonishment. 34Eleven plates of food were taken from Joseph’s table and set in front of each of them, but Benjamin’s portion was five times more than any of theirs! # 43:34 Joseph let them understand that Benjamin was his favorite, giving him a portion five times larger than the others. Five times more meat, five times more vegetables, five times more of everything! Why would Joseph have given more to Benjamin? Was he merely following the steps of his father’s favoritism that brought all of this on? No. Joseph was testing them to see if they would be jealous again. Were they truly broken? Could they endure seeing one brother favored over the others and still rejoice? Or, would they get rid of Benjamin as they had him? They feasted and drank their fill with Joseph until they all became drunk.
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Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt
1Now the famine was #ch. 41:54, 57severe in the land. 2And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” 3But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your #ch. 42:20; 44:23brother is with you.’ 4If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.’” 6Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?” 7They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?” 8And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may #ch. 42:2live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. 9I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. #ch. 42:37; 44:32If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. 10If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”
11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little #See ch. 37:25balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money #ch. 42:25, 27, 35that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. 13Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. 14May #See ch. 17:1 God Almighty#43:14 Hebrew El Shaddai #[Neh. 1:11] grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, #ch. 42:36if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”
15So the men took this present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin. They arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.
16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the #ver. 19; ch. 44:1, 4; [ch. 24:2; 39:4]steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 17The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys.” 19So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the door of the house, 20and said, #ch. 44:18 “Oh, my lord, #ch. 42:3, 10we came down the first time to buy food. 21And #ch. 42:27when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it again with us, 22and we have brought other money down with us to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24And when the man had brought the men into Joseph’s house and #See ch. 18:4given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, 25they prepared #ver. 11the present for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there.
26When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and #ch. 42:6; See ch. 37:5-11bowed down to him to the ground. 27And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man #ch. 42:11, 13of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they #ver. 26bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. 29And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, #ch. 35:18 his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, #[See ver. 27 above]of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” 30Then Joseph hurried out, for #1 Kgs. 3:26; [Jer. 31:20] his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and #ch. 42:24wept there. 31Then he washed his face and came out. And #ch. 45:1controlling himself he said, “Serve the food.” 32They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is #ch. 46:34; Ex. 8:26an abomination to the Egyptians. 33And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one another in amazement. 34#[2 Sam. 11:8] Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was #[ch. 45:22]five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry#43:34 Hebrew and became intoxicated with him.
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