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Genesis 43

43
The Return to Egypt
1Now the famine was very severe in the land [of Canaan]. 2And it happened that when the families of Jacob’s sons had finished eating [all of] the grain which they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” 3But Judah said to him, “The man [representing Pharaoh] solemnly and sternly warned us, saying, ‘You will not see my face [again] unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will send our brother with us, we will go down [to Egypt] and buy you food. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go down there; for the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ ” 6And Israel (Jacob) said, “Why did you treat me so badly by telling the man that you had another brother?” 7And they said, “The man asked us straightforward questions about ourselves and our relatives. He said, ‘Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?’ And we #Lit told him upon the mouth of these words.answered him accordingly. How could we possibly know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down [here to Egypt]’? ” 8Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the young man with me and we will get up and go [buy food], so that we may live and not die [of starvation], we as well as you and our little ones. 9I will be security (a guarantee) for him; #Lit from my hand you shall require him.you may hold me [personally] responsible for him. If I do not bring him [back] to you and place him [safely] before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever. 10For if we had not delayed like this, surely by now we would have returned the second time.”
11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this; take some of the choicest products of the land in your sacks, and carry it as a present [of tribute] to the man [representing Pharaoh], a little balm and a little honey, aromatic spices or gum, resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Take double the [amount of] money with you, and take back the money that was returned in the opening of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight. 13Take your brother [Benjamin] also, and get up, and go to the man; 14and may #Heb El Shaddai.God Almighty grant you compassion and favor before the man, so that he will release to you your other brother [Simeon] and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children [Joseph, Simeon, and Benjamin], I am bereaved.” 15Then the men took the present, and they took double the [amount of] money with them, and Benjamin; then they left and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.
Joseph Sees Benjamin
16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and kill an animal and make [a meal] ready; for the men will dine with me at noon.” 17So the man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18The men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph’s house; and [expecting the worst] they said, “It is because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time [we came] that we are being brought in, so that he may find a reason to accuse us and assail us, and take us as slaves, and seize our donkeys.” 19So they approached the steward of Joseph’s house, and talked with him at the entrance of the house, 20and said, “Oh, my lord, we indeed came down here the first time to buy food; 21and when we arrived at the inn [after leaving here], we opened our sacks and there was each man’s money [with which he had paid for grain], in full, returned in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back [this time]. 22We have also brought down with us additional money to buy food; we do not know who put our money [back] in our sacks [last time].” 23But the steward [encouraged them and] said, “Peace be to you, do not be afraid; your God and the God of your father has [miraculously] given you treasure in your sacks. I [already] had your money [which you paid to us].” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24Then the steward brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water, and they washed [the dust off] their feet; and he gave their donkeys feed. 25So they prepared the present [of tribute] for Joseph before his arrival at noon; for they had heard that they were to eat a meal there.
26When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present [of tribute] which they had with them and bowed to the ground before him. 27He asked them about their well-being, and said, “Is your old father well, of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28And they answered, “Your servant our father is in good health; he is still alive.” And they bowed down [their heads before Joseph] in respect. 29And he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s [only other] son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?” And Joseph said, “God be gracious to you and show you favor, my son.” 30Then Joseph hurried out [of the room] because his heart was deeply touched over his brother, and he sought privacy to weep; so he entered his chamber and wept there. 31Then he washed his face and came out, and, restraining himself, said, “Let the meal be served.” 32So the servants served Joseph by himself [in honor of his rank], and his brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because [according to custom] the Egyptians could not eat food with the Hebrews, for that is #I.e. an abomination, a violation of holiness or distinction.loathsome to the Egyptians. 33Now Joseph’s brothers were seated [by the steward] before him [in the order of their birth]—the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men looked at one another in astonishment [because so much was known about them]. 34Joseph selected and sent portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they feasted and drank freely and celebrated with him.
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.