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Genesis 43

43
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.
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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.