Joseph’s brothers return with Benjamin
1The famine was severe in the land, 2and when they had eaten all the grain that they brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little food.”
3Judah said to him, “The man was absolutely serious when he said, ‘You may not see me again without your brother with you.’ 4If you agree to send our brother with us, then we will go down and buy you food. 5But if you don’t agree to send him, then we can’t go down because the man said to us, ‘You may not see me again without your brother with you.’”
6Israel said, “Why have you caused me such pain by telling the man you had another brother?”
7They said, “The man asked us pointedly about our family: ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have a brother?’ So we told him just what we’ve said. How were we to know he’d say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the young man with me. Let’s get ready to leave so that we can stay alive and not die—we, you, and our children. 9I will guarantee his safety; you can hold me responsible. If I don’t bring him back to you and place him here in front of you, it will be my fault forever. 10If we hadn’t waited so long, we would’ve returned twice by now.”
11Their father Israel said to them, “If it has to be, then do this. Take in your bags some of the land’s choice produce, and bring it down to the man as a gift: a little medicinal resin, a little honey, gum, resin, pistachios, and almonds. 12Take twice as much silver with you, and take back the silver returned in the top of your sacks. It might have been a mistake. 13And take your brother, get ready, and go back to the man. 14May God Almighty#43.14 Heb El Shaddai or God of the Mountain make the man compassionate toward you so that he may send back your other brother and Benjamin with you. But me, if I’m left childless, then I’m left childless.”
15So the men took this gift. They took twice as much silver with them, together with Benjamin. They left, traveled down to Egypt, and received an audience with Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the manager of his household, “Bring the men to the house and slaughter an animal and prepare it because the men will have dinner with me at noon.” 17The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house.
18When they were brought to Joseph’s house, the men were frightened and said, “We’ve been brought here because of the silver put back in our sacks on our first trip so he can overpower us, capture us, make slaves of us, and take our donkeys.”
19They approached the man who was Joseph’s household manager and spoke to him at the house’s entrance: 20“Please, Master, we came down the first time just to buy food, 21but when we stopped to spend the night and opened our sacks, there was the exact amount of each man’s silver at the top of his sack. We’ve brought it back with us, 22and we’ve brought down with us additional silver to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.”
23He said, “You are fine. Don’t be afraid. Your God and your father’s God must have hidden a treasure in your sacks. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24The manager brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water to wash their feet and feed for their donkeys. 25They prepared the gift, anticipating Joseph’s arrival at noon, since they had heard that they would have a meal there. 26When Joseph came into the house, they presented him the gift they had brought with them into the house, and they bowed low in front of him. 27He asked them how they were and said, “How is your elderly father, about whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”
28They said, “Your servant our father is fine. He’s still alive.” And they bowed down again with deep respect.
29Joseph looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, and he said, “Is this your youngest brother whom you told me about? God be gracious to you, my son.” 30Joseph’s feelings for his brother were so strong he was about to weep, so he rushed to another room and wept there. 31He washed his face, came back, pulled himself together, and said, “Set out the dinner.” 32So they set out his food by himself, their food by themselves, and the Egyptians’ who ate with him by themselves because Egyptians don’t allow themselves to eat with Hebrews; the Egyptians think it beneath their dignity. 33They were seated in front of him from the oldest to the youngest in their exact birth order, and the men looked at each other with amazement. 34Portions of food from Joseph’s table were brought to them, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as large as theirs. So they drank together and were at ease.
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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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