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Genesis 43

43
The Brothers Return to Egypt
1But the famine continued to ravage the land of Canaan. 2When the grain they had brought from Egypt was almost gone, Jacob said to his sons, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
3But Judah said, “The man was serious when he warned us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you send Benjamin with us, we will go down and buy more food. 5But if you don’t let Benjamin go, we won’t go either. Remember, the man said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”
6“Why were you so cruel to me?” Jacob#43:6 Hebrew Israel; also in 43:11. See note on 35:21. moaned. “Why did you tell him you had another brother?”
7“The man kept asking us questions about our family,” they replied. “He asked, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ So we answered his questions. How could we know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8Judah said to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise we will all die of starvation—and not only we, but you and our little ones. 9I personally guarantee his safety. You may hold me responsible if I don’t bring him back to you. Then let me bear the blame forever. 10If we hadn’t wasted all this time, we could have gone and returned twice by now.”
11So their father, Jacob, finally said to them, “If it can’t be avoided, then at least do this. Pack your bags with the best products of this land. Take them down to the man as gifts—balm, honey, gum, aromatic resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Also take double the money that was put back in your sacks, as it was probably someone’s mistake. 13Then take your brother, and go back to the man. 14May God Almighty#43:14 Hebrew El-Shaddai. give you mercy as you go before the man, so that he will release Simeon and let Benjamin return. But if I must lose my children, so be it.”
15So the men packed Jacob’s gifts and double the money and headed off with Benjamin. They finally arrived in Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the manager of his household, “These men will eat with me this noon. Take them inside the palace. Then go slaughter an animal, and prepare a big feast.” 17So the man did as Joseph told him and took them into Joseph’s palace.
18The brothers were terrified when they saw that they were being taken into Joseph’s house. “It’s because of the money someone put in our sacks last time we were here,” they said. “He plans to pretend that we stole it. Then he will seize us, make us slaves, and take our donkeys.”
A Feast at Joseph’s Palace
19The brothers approached the manager of Joseph’s household and spoke to him at the entrance to the palace. 20“Sir,” they said, “we came to Egypt once before to buy food. 21But as we were returning home, we stopped for the night and opened our sacks. Then we discovered that each man’s money—the exact amount paid—was in the top of his sack! Here it is; we have brought it back with us. 22We also have additional money to buy more food. We have no idea who put our money in our sacks.”
23“Relax. Don’t be afraid,” the household manager told them. “Your God, the God of your father, must have put this treasure into your sacks. I know I received your payment.” Then he released Simeon and brought him out to them.
24The manager then led the men into Joseph’s palace. He gave them water to wash their feet and provided food for their donkeys. 25They were told they would be eating there, so they prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon.
26When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought him, then bowed low to the ground before him. 27After greeting them, he asked, “How is your father, the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?”
28“Yes,” they replied. “Our father, your servant, is alive and well.” And they bowed low again.
29Then Joseph looked at his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother. “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” Joseph asked. “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30Then Joseph hurried from the room because he was overcome with emotion for his brother. He went into his private room, where he broke down and wept. 31After washing his face, he came back out, keeping himself under control. Then he ordered, “Bring out the food!”
32The waiters served Joseph at his own table, and his brothers were served at a separate table. The Egyptians who ate with Joseph sat at their own table, because Egyptians despise Hebrews and refuse to eat with them. 33Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and to their amazement, he seated them according to age, from oldest to youngest. 34And Joseph filled their plates with food from his own table, giving Benjamin five times as much as he gave the others. So they feasted and drank freely with him.
43
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.