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Genesis 43

43
Decision to Return to Egypt
1Now the famine in the land was severe.#Gn 12:10; 41:56–57; 47:20 2When they had used up the grain they had brought back from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little food.”
3But Judah said to him, “The man specifically warned us, ‘You will not see me again unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go, for the man said to us, ‘You will not see me again unless your brother is with you.’”#Gn 42:18–20; 44:23
6“Why have you caused me so much trouble?” Israel asked. “Why did you tell the man that you had another brother?”
7They answered, “The man kept asking about us and our family: ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ And we answered him accordingly. How could we know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother here’?”
8Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me. We will be on our way so that we may live and not die — neither we, nor you, nor our dependents. 9I will be responsible for him. You can hold me personally accountable!#43:9 Lit can seek him from my hand If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, I will be guilty before you forever.#Gn 42:37; 44:32 10If we had not delayed, we could have come back twice by now.”
11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your packs and take them down to the man as a gift — a little balsam and a little honey, aromatic gum and resin, pistachios and almonds.#Gn 37:25; Jr 8:22; Ezk 27:17 12Take twice as much silver with you. Return the silver that was returned to you in the top of your bags. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13Take your brother also, and go back at once to the man. 14May God Almighty cause the man to be merciful to you so that he will release your other brother and Benjamin to you. As for me, if I am deprived of my sons, then I am deprived.”#Gn 42:36
The Return to Egypt
15The men took this gift, double the amount of silver, and Benjamin. They immediately went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.
16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his steward, “Take the men to my house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for they will eat with me at noon.” 17The man did as Joseph had said and brought them to Joseph’s house.
18But the men were afraid because they were taken to Joseph’s house. They said, “We have been brought here because of the silver that was returned in our bags the first time. They intend to overpower us, seize us, make us slaves, and take our donkeys.” 19So they approached Joseph’s steward#43:19 Lit approached the one who was over the house and spoke to him at the doorway of the house.
20They said, “My lord, we really did come down here the first time only to buy food. 21When we came to the place where we lodged for the night and opened our bags of grain, each one’s silver was at the top of his bag!#Gn 42:27,35 It was the full amount of our silver, and we have brought it back with us. 22We have brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in the bags.”
23Then the steward said, “May you be well. Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your bags. I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24The steward brought the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet,#Gn 18:4; 19:2; 24:32 and got feed for their donkeys. 25Since the men had heard that they were going to eat a meal there, they prepared their gift for Joseph’s arrival at noon. 26When Joseph came home, they brought him the gift they had carried into the house, and they bowed to the ground before him.
27He asked if they were well, and he said, “How is your elderly father that you told me about? Is he still alive?”
28They answered, “Your servant our father is well. He is still alive.” And they knelt low and paid homage to him.
29When he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother that you told me about?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30Joseph hurried out because he was overcome with emotion for his brother, and he was about to weep. He went into an inner room and wept there. 31Then he washed his face and came out. Regaining his composure,#Gn 45:1 he said, “Serve the meal.”
32They served him by himself, his brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, since that is detestable to them.#Gn 46:34; Ex 8:26 33They were seated before him in order by age, from the firstborn to the youngest. The men looked at each other in astonishment. 34Portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, and Benjamin’s portion was five times larger than any of theirs.#Gn 35:24; 45:22 They drank and became drunk with Joseph.
43
1The famine continued to be really bad in Canaan, 2so once they had finished the grain they'd brought from Egypt, their father told them, “You have to go back and buy some more grain for us.”
3But Judah responded, “The man was adamant when he warned us, ‘I won't even see you unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you send our brother Benjamin with us then we'll go and buy food for you. 5But if you won't send him, then we won't go, because the man was very clear, ‘I won't even see you unless your brother is with you.’”
6“Why have you made things so bad for me by telling the man you had another brother?” Israel asked.
7“The man kept on asking direct questions about us and our family like ‘Is your father still alive?’ and ‘Do you have another brother?’” they replied. “We just answered his questions. How were we to know he'd say, ‘Bring your brother here!’?”
8Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy in my care, and we'll leave immediately, so that we can stay alive and not die—and that includes you and us and our children! 9I promise to take care of him—I'll be personally responsible for bringing him back to you. If I don't, then I will always carry the blame! 10Now let's go, because if we hadn't hesitated, we could have gone there and come back twice by now.”
11“If it has to be, then this is what you'll do,” Israel replied. “Take with you the best our country produces. Pack your bags with gifts for the man—balm, a little honey, spices, myrrh, pistachios, and almonds. 12Take double the money that was returned to you in your sacks—maybe it was a mistake. 13Take your brother and go back to the man right away. 14May God Almighty make the man treat you kindly so when you come before him he'll release your other brother and send Benjamin back. As for me, if I am to lose all my children, then so be it.”
15So they packed the gifts, took double the money, and set off, accompanied by Benjamin. They arrived in Egypt and went to have an audience with Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin was with them, he told his household supervisor, “Take these men to my house. Slaughter an animal and make a meal, for they are going to eat with me at noon.”
17The man did as Joseph ordered and took them to Joseph's house. 18They were really worried that they were being taken to Joseph's house. “It's because of the money that was put in our sacks the first time we came,” they said to each other. “That's why we're being brought in—so he can accuse us and attack us! He'll make us his slaves and take our donkeys!”
19So they went and spoke to Joseph's household supervisor at the entrance to the house. 20“Please excuse us, my lord,” they said. “We came down the first time to buy food, 21and when we stopped for the night, we opened our sacks and each of us found our money—the exact amount—at the top of our sacks. So we've brought it back with us. 22We've also brought more money to buy food. We've no idea who put our money in our sacks!”
23“Everything's fine!” he told them. “Don't worry! Your God, the God of your father, must have given you the treasure#43:23. “Treasure”: the word refers of course to the money, and is one used to describe money that is hidden or buried. hidden in your sacks. I got your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to meet them. 24The steward took them inside Joseph's house, gave them water to wash their feet, and supplied food for their donkeys. 25They got their gifts ready for when Joseph would come at noon, because they had found out that they were going to eat there.
26When Joseph arrived at the house they gave him the gifts they had brought for him, and bowed low to the ground before him. 27He asked how they were, and then he asked, “How is your elderly father doing that you spoke of? Is he still alive?”
28“Yes, your servant our father is still alive, and is well,” they replied and bowed low in respect.
29Then Joseph looked over at his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother. “Is this your youngest brother that you told me about?” he asked. “God be gracious to you, my son,” he said.
30Joseph had to run out quickly because he was becoming so emotional at seeing his brother.#43:30. He hadn't seen Benjamin for more than 20 years. He looked for a place to cry, and went to his room to weep there. 31Then he washed his face, got his emotions under control, and went back out. “Serve the food,” he ordered.
32Joseph was served at a table by himself, and his brothers were served at a separate table. The Egyptians were also served at another table, because Egyptians cannot eat with Hebrews because they find this repulsive.#43:32. It appears that since the Egyptians revered the cow goddess Isis they viewed anyone (including Hebrews) who ate such meat as unclean. 33The brothers had been seated in front of him in order by age, from the firstborn, the oldest, down to the youngest, and they looked at each other in complete surprise.#43:33. It would of course have been impossible for anyone without intimate family knowledge to do this. 34The food was served to them from Joseph's table, and Benjamin received five times as much as anyone else. So they ate and drank plenty with him.