Joseph’s Brothers Go Down to Egypt Again
1There still wasn’t enough food anywhere in the land. 2After a while Jacob’s family had eaten all the grain the brothers had brought from Egypt. So their father said to them, “Go back. Buy us a little more food.”
3But Judah said to him, “The man gave us a strong warning. He said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother Benjamin is with you.’ 4So send our brother along with us. Then we’ll go down and buy food for you. 5If you won’t send him, we won’t go down. The man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ ”
6Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble to me? Why did you tell the man you had another brother?”
7They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. He asked us, ‘Is your father still living? Do you have another brother?’ We just answered his questions. How could we possibly know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8Judah spoke to Israel his father. “Send the boy along with me,” he said. “We’ll go right away. Then we and you and our children will live and not die. 9I myself promise to keep Benjamin safe. You can blame me if I don’t bring him back to you. I’ll set him right here in front of you. If I don’t, you can put the blame on me for the rest of my life. 10As it is, we’ve already waited too long. We could have made the trip to Egypt and back twice by now.”
11Then their father Israel spoke to them. He said, “If that’s the way it has to be, then do what I tell you. Put some of the best things from our land in your bags. Take them down to the man as a gift. Take some lotion and a little honey. Take some spices and myrrh. Take some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12Take twice the amount of money with you. You have to give back the money that was put in your sacks. Maybe it was a mistake. 13Also take your brother. Go back to the man at once. 14May the Mighty God cause him to show you mercy. May the man let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. And if I lose my sons, I lose them.”
15So the men took the gifts. They took twice the amount of money. They also took Benjamin. They hurried down to Egypt and went to Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he spoke to the manager of his house. “Take these men to my house,” he said. “Kill an animal and prepare a meal. I want them to eat with me at noon.”
17The manager did what Joseph told him to do. He took the men to Joseph’s house. 18They were frightened when they were taken to Joseph’s house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the money that was put back in our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us. Then he can hold us as slaves and take our donkeys.”
19So they went up to Joseph’s manager. They spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20“Please, sir,” they said. “We came down here the first time to buy food. 21We opened our sacks at the place where we stopped for the night. Each of us found in our sacks the exact amount of the money we had paid. So we’ve brought it back with us. 22We’ve also brought more money with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our money in our sacks.”
23“It’s all right,” the manager said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you riches in your sacks. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24The manager took the men into Joseph’s house. He gave them water to wash their feet. He provided feed for their donkeys. 25The brothers prepared their gifts for Joseph. He was planning to arrive at noon. They had heard that they were going to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought into the house. They bowed down low in front of him. 27He asked them how they were. Then he said, “How is your old father you told me about? Is he still living?”
28They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down to show him honor.
29Joseph looked around. Then he saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son. He asked, “Is this your youngest brother? Is he the one you told me about?” He continued, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30It moved him deeply to see his brother. So Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to cry. He went into his own room and cried there.
31Then he washed his face and came out. He calmed down and said, “Serve the food.”
32They served Joseph by himself. They served the brothers by themselves. They also served the Egyptians who ate with Joseph by themselves. Because of their beliefs, Egyptians couldn’t eat with Hebrews. 33The brothers had been given places in front of Joseph. They had been seated in the order of their ages, from the oldest to the youngest. That made them look at each other in great surprise. 34While they were eating, some food was brought to them from Joseph’s table. Benjamin was given five times as much as anyone else. So all Joseph’s brothers ate and drank a lot with him.