Joseph's brothers return to Egypt
1The famine was still bad in Canaan. 2Jacob's family ate all the food that they had brought from Egypt. So Jacob said to his sons, ‘Go back to Egypt, and buy some more food for us.’ #43:2 God had changed Jacob's name to ‘Israel’, but the Bible continues to use both names for the same person. We are using the name ‘Jacob’ here. 3But Judah said, ‘The man told us many times, “Unless your brother is with you, I will not let you see me again.” 4So you must send Benjamin with us. Then we will go and buy food for you. 5But if you do not send Benjamin, we will not go. The man clearly said to us, “Unless your brother is with you, you will not see me again.” ’
6Jacob said to them, ‘You have brought great trouble to me! You should not have told the man that you had another brother.’ 7The brothers replied, ‘The man asked us many questions about our family. He asked us, “Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?” We only answered his questions. We did not know that he would say, “Bring your brother here.” ’
8Then Judah said to his father Jacob, ‘Agree to send the boy with me. We will go to Egypt immediately. Then all our family can continue to live. We will not die. #43:8 Judah says ‘we will not die’ because he would bring back food from Canaan. The famine would not kill them. 9I promise you to keep Benjamin safe. I myself will take care of him and I will bring him back to you. If I do not bring him back home, then you should say that I am guilty. I will be guilty for all of my life. 10We must go now! We have already talked for too long. By now, we could have gone to Egypt and returned twice!’
11Then their father Jacob said to them, ‘If you must take Benjamin, do what I tell you. Put some of the best things from our land in your bags. Take them to the man as a gift. Take some oil, some honey and some spices. Also take some myrrh, and some nuts. #43:11 All these gifts were things that Egyptian people usually had to buy from other countries. Nuts are hard seeds that people eat, like almonds. 12Also take twice the amount of money with you. You must give back the money that they put back into your bags last time. It may have been a mistake. 13Take your brother Benjamin too. Go back to the man now. 14I pray that God Almighty will help you. I pray that God will cause the man to be kind to you. Then he will let your older brother go free. He and Benjamin will return here with you. As for me, if I must lose my sons, then I will lose them. There is nothing that I can do to stop it.’
15So the brothers took the gifts, and they took twice as much money with them. They took Benjamin and they hurried to Egypt. When they arrived there, they went to meet Joseph.
16Joseph saw that Benjamin was with them. So he said to his servant who took care of his house, ‘Take these men to my house. Kill an animal and prepare it for a meal. These men will eat with me at noon.’ 17The servant did as Joseph told him. He took the men to Joseph's house.
18The brothers were frightened when the servant took them to Joseph's house. They thought, ‘He has brought us here because of the money that we found in our bags last time. Someone put it there before we returned home. Now he wants to punish us. He will take us to be his slaves. He will take our donkeys too.’
19So the brothers went to Joseph's servant. They spoke to him at the door of Joseph's house before they went in. 20They said, ‘Please sir. The first time we came here, we came to buy food. 21But on our journey back, we stopped at a place to sleep for the night. When we opened our bags, each of us found our money there. It was the same amount of money that each of us had taken to buy food in Egypt. The money was in the top of our bags. Now we have brought the money back here. 22We have also brought more money so that we can buy more food. We do not know who put the money back into our bags.’
23The servant replied, ‘Do not worry. Everything is all right. Your God, the God of your father, put the valuable silver coins there. I received your money. No problem!’ Then the servant brought Simeon out to see his brothers.
24The servant took the men into Joseph's house. He gave them water to wash their feet. He also gave food to their donkeys. 25The brothers prepared their gifts to give to Joseph when he would arrive at noon. The servant had told them that they would eat a meal there.
26When Joseph arrived home, the brothers gave him the gifts that they had brought with them. They bent down low to the ground in front of him. 27Joseph asked them if they were well. Then he said, ‘You told me last time about your old father. How is he? Is he still alive?’ 28The brothers replied, ‘Your servant, our father, is still alive. And he is well.’ They bent down to the ground again, to respect Joseph.
29Then Joseph saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother's son. #43:29 Only Joseph and Benjamin were sons of Rachel. Jacob's other wives had given birth to the other brothers. Joseph asked, ‘Is this your youngest brother? Is he the one that you told me about?’ Joseph said to Benjamin, ‘I pray that God will bless you, my son.’ 30Joseph loved Benjamin very much. He quickly went out of the room because he wanted to weep. Joseph went into his own room and he wept there. 31After that, he washed his face. He returned to his brothers. He controlled himself and he said, ‘Prepare the food for them to eat.’ 32The servants gave food to Joseph at his own table. The brothers sat together at a different table. And the Egyptians who ate there also sat together. The Egyptians could not eat a meal with Hebrews, because that would make the Egyptians ashamed. 33The brothers sat in a place where Joseph could see them. The servants told each of them where to sit, by their age. The oldest brother was at one end, all along to the youngest brother at the other end. The brothers were very surprised to see this. #43:33 The brothers were surprised because Joseph knew their ages.
34Then the servants took food from Joseph's table and they gave it to the brothers. Benjamin received the biggest amount of food. It was five times more than any of his brothers. The brothers also drank wine with Joseph and they were all very happy.