Joseph's Brothers Return to Egypt with Benjamin
1The famine in Canaan got worse, 2until finally, Jacob's family had eaten all the grain they had bought in Egypt. So Jacob said to his sons, “Go back and buy some more grain.”
3-5Judah replied, “The governor strictly warned us that we would not be allowed to see him unless we brought our youngest brother with us. If you let us take Benjamin along, we will go and buy grain. But we won't go without him!”
6Jacob asked, “Why did you cause me so much trouble by telling the governor you had another brother?”
7They answered, “He asked a lot of questions about us and our family. He wanted to know if you were still alive and if we had any more brothers. All we could do was answer his questions. How could we know he would tell us to bring along our brother?”
8Then Judah said to his father, “Let Benjamin go with me, and we will leave at once, so that none of us will starve to death. 9I promise to bring him back safely, and if I don't, you can blame me as long as I live. 10If we had not wasted all this time, we could already have been there and back twice.”
11Their father said:
If Benjamin must go with you, take the governor a gift of some of the best things from our own country, such as perfume, honey, spices, pistachio nuts, and almonds.#43.11 honey, spices, pistachio nuts, and almonds: Some of these foods were still available in Canaan, but the main food was bread, and there was no grain to make bread. 12Also take along twice the amount of money for the grain, because there must have been some mistake when the money was put back in your sacks. 13Take Benjamin with you and leave at once.
14When you go in to see the governor, I pray that God All-Powerful will be good to you and that the governor will let your other brother and Benjamin come back home with you. But if I must lose my children, I suppose I must.
15The brothers took the gifts, twice the amount of money, and Benjamin. Then they hurried off to Egypt. When they stood in front of Joseph, 16he saw Benjamin and told the servant in charge of his house, “Take these men to my house. Slaughter an animal and cook it, so they can eat with me at noon.”
17The servant did as he was told and took the brothers to Joseph's house. 18But on the way they got worried and started thinking, “We are being taken there because of the money that was put back in our sacks last time. He will arrest us, make us his slaves, and take our donkeys.”
19So when they arrived at Joseph's house, they said to the servant in charge, 20“Sir, we came to Egypt once before to buy grain. 21But when we stopped for the night, we each found in our grain sacks the exact amount we had paid. We have brought that money back, 22together with enough money to buy more grain. We don't know who put the money in our sacks.”
23“It's all right,” the servant replied. “Don't worry. The God you and your father worship must have put the money there, because I received your payment in full.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24The servant took them into Joseph's house and gave them water to wash their feet. He also tended their donkeys. 25The brothers got their gifts ready to give to Joseph at noon, since they had heard they were going to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought, and they bowed down to him. 27After Joseph had asked how they were, he said, “What about your elderly father? Is he still alive?”
28They answered, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And again they bowed down to Joseph.
29When Joseph looked around and saw his brother Benjamin, he said, “This must be your youngest brother, the one you told me about. God bless you, my son.”
30Then, because of his love for Benjamin, he rushed off to his room and cried. 31After washing his face and returning, he was able to control himself and said, “Serve the meal!”
32Joseph was served at a table by himself, and his brothers were served at another. The Egyptians sat at yet another table, because Egyptians felt it was disgusting to eat with Hebrews. 33To the surprise of Joseph's brothers, they were seated in front of him according to their ages, from the oldest to the youngest. 34They were served food from Joseph's table, and Benjamin was given five times as much as each of the others. So Joseph's brothers ate and drank with him and had a good time.
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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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