Judah Pledges for Benjamin
1Now the famine was severe in the land.
2When they finished eating the grain they had brought from Egypt their father said to them, “Go back. Buy us a little food.”
3But Judah said to him, “The man warned us firmly saying, ‘You won’t see my face unless your brother is with you.’
4If you send our brother with us, we will go down and buy grain for you for food.
5But if you won’t send him, we won’t go down, because the man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face unless your brother is with you.’”
6Then Israel said, “Why did you do evil to me by telling the man that you have another brother?”
7They said, “The man questioned particularly about us and about our relatives saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have a brother?’ So we spoke to him on the basis of these words. How could we possibly know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’”?
8Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Please, send the boy with me and we’ll get up and go, so that we’ll live and not die—we and you, and our children.
9I myself will be his pledge. You can demand him back from my own hand. If I don’t bring him back to you and place him before you, then you can blame me all my days.
10If we had not delayed, we could have returned twice by now.”
11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and bring an offering down to the man—a little balsam and a little honey, gum and myrrh, pistachios and almonds.
12Also take in your hand a double portion of silver, and bring back in your hand the silver that had been returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake.
13Take your brother too—now, get up, go back to the man!
14May El Shaddai grant you mercy before the man, so that he may release your other brother to you, along with Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”
The Brothers Return With Benjamin
15Then the men took this offering. They also took the double portion of silver in their hand, as well as Benjamin. So they got up and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.
16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the one over his house, “Bring the men into the house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for the men will eat with me this afternoon.
17So the man did as Joseph said, and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house.
18But the men were afraid, because they had been brought into Joseph’s house. They said, “It’s because of the silver that was returned to our sacks the first time that we are being brought in—to pounce on us and fall on us and take us as slaves, along with our donkeys.”
19So they approached the man who was over Joseph’s house and spoke to him at the entrance of the house.
20“I beg your pardon, my lord!” they said. “We indeed came down on the previous occasion to buy grain for food.
21When we came to the lodge and opened our sacks, behold, there was each man’s money at the opening of the sack, the full amount of our money. So we’ve returned it in our hand.
22Moreover, we’ve brought down other money in our hand to buy grain for food. We didn’t know who put our money into our sacks.”
23“Be at peace,” he replied. “Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks. Your money had come to me.” Then he brought Simeon out to them,
24and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water and they washed their feet. He also provided fodder for their donkeys.
25So they prepared the offering for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they had heard that they were going to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they brought him the offering in their hand into the house, and they bowed down to the ground to him.
27Then he asked if they were well, and said, “Is he well—your elderly father that you told me about? Is he still alive?”
28“Your servant, our father, is well,” they said. “He’s still alive.” Then they knelt and bowed down.
29Then he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother whom you mentioned to me?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.”
30Then Joseph hurried out because his compassion grew warm and tender toward his brother so that he wanted to cry. So he went into an inner room and wept there.
31Then he washed his face, came out, and controlled himself. “Serve the food,” he said.
32So they served him by himself, them by themselves, and the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves (for Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews because it was an abomination to Egyptians).
33They were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. The men looked at each other in astonishment.
34Then portions were brought to them from before him—and Benjamin’s portion was five times larger than any of their portions. Yet they drank and made merry with him.