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Genesis 43

43
1 Meanwhile, the famine pressed heavily on all the land.
2 And having consumed the provisions that they had brought out of Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, "Return and buy us a little food."
3 Judah answered: "The man himself declared to us, under the attestation of an oath, saying: 'You will not see my face, unless you bring your youngest brother with you.'
4 If therefore you are willing to send him with us, we will travel together, and we will buy necessities for you.
5 But if you are not willing, we will not go. For the man, as we have often said, declared to us, saying: 'You will not see my face without your youngest brother.' "
6 Israel said to them, "You have done this for my misery, in that you revealed to him that you also had another brother."
7 But they responded: "The man questioned us in order, concerning our family: whether our father lived, if we had a brother. And we answered him respectively, according to what he demanded. How could we know that he would say, 'Bring your brother with you?' "
8 Likewise, Judah said to his father: "Send the boy with me, so that we may set out and be able to live, lest we and our little ones should die.
9 I accept the boy; require him at my hand. Unless I lead him back and restore him to you, I will be guilty of a sin against you for all time.
10 If a delay had not intervened, by now we would have returned here a second time."
11 Therefore, their father Israel said to them: "If it is necessary to do so, then do what you will. Take, in your vessels, from the best fruits of the land, and carry down gifts to the man: a little resin, and honey, and storax ointment, oil of myrrh, turpentine, and almonds.
12 Also, take with you double the money, and carry back what you found in your sacks, lest perhaps it was done in error.
13 But also take your brother, and go to the man.
14 Then may my Almighty God cause him to be pleased by you. And send your brother, whom he holds, back with you, along with this one, Benjamin. But as for me, without my children, I will be like one who is bereaved."
15 Therefore, the men took the gifts, and double the money, and Benjamin. And they went down into Egypt, and they stood in the presence of Joseph.
16 And when he had seen them and Benjamin together, he instructed the steward of his house, saying: "Lead the men into the house, and kill victims, and prepare a feast, because they will be eating with me at midday."
17 He did what he had been ordered to do, and he brought the men into the house.
18 And there, being terrified, they said one to another: "Because of the money, which we carried back the first time in our sacks, we have been brought in, so that he may unleash a false accusation against us, and by violence subjugate both us and our donkeys into servitude."
19 For this reason, approaching the steward of the house at his door,
20 they said: "We beg you, lord, to hear us. We came down once before to buy food.
21 And having bought it, when we arrived at the inn, we opened our sacks and found the money in the mouths of the sacks, which we now have carried back in the same amount.
22 But we have also brought other silver, so that we may buy those things that are necessary for us. It is not on our conscience who had placed it in our bags."
23 But he responded: "Peace be with you. Do not be afraid. Your God, and the God of your father, has given you the treasure in your sacks. As for the money that you gave to me, I held it as a test." And he led Simeon out to them.
24 And having led them into the house, he brought water, and they washed their feet, and he gave fodder to their donkeys.
25 But they also prepared the gifts, until Joseph entered at midday. For they had heard that they would eat bread there.
26 And so Joseph entered his house, and they offered him the gifts, holding them in their hands. And they reverenced prone on the ground.
27 But he, gently greeting them again, questioned them, saying: "Is your father, the old man about whom you spoke to me, in good health? Is he still alive?"
28 And they answered: "Your servant, our father, is safe; he is still alive." And bowing, they reverenced him.
29 Then Joseph, lifting up his eyes, saw Benjamin, his brother of the same womb, and he said, "Is this your little brother, about whom you spoke to me?" And again, he said, "May God be compassionate to you, my son."
30 And he hurried out, because his heart had been moved over his brother, and tears gushed out. And going into his chamber, he wept.
31 And when he had washed his face, coming out again, he composed himself, and he said, "Set out bread."
32 And when it was set out, separately for Joseph, and separately for his brothers, likewise separately for the Egyptians, who ate at the same time, (for it is unlawful for Egyptians to eat with Hebrews, and they consider feasting in this way to be profane)
33 they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his state of life. And they wondered exceedingly,
34 taking the portions that they received from him. And the greater portion went to Benjamin, so much so that it exceeded five parts. And they drank and became inebriated along with him.
43
1-2The famine got worse. When they had eaten all the food they had brought back from Egypt, their father said, “Go back and get some more food.”
3-5But Judah said, “The man warned us most emphatically, ‘You won’t so much as see my face if you don’t have your brother with you.’ If you’re ready to release our brother to go with us, we’ll go down and get you food. But if you’re not ready, we aren’t going. What would be the use? The man told us, ‘You won’t so much as see my face if you don’t have your brother with you.’”
6Israel said, “Why are you making my life so difficult! Why did you ever tell the man you had another brother?”
7They said, “The man pressed us hard, asking pointed questions about our family: ‘Is your father alive? Do you have another brother?’ So we answered his questions. How did we know that he’d say, ‘Bring your brother here’?”
8-10Judah pushed his father Israel. “Let the boy go; I’ll take charge of him. Let us go and be on our way—if we don’t get going, we’re all going to starve to death—we and you and our children, too! I’ll take full responsibility for his safety; it’s my life on the line for his. If I don’t bring him back safe and sound, I’m the guilty one; I’ll take all the blame. If we had gone ahead in the first place instead of procrastinating like this, we could have been there and back twice over.”
11-14Their father Israel gave in. “If it has to be, it has to be. But do this: stuff your packs with the finest products from the land you can find and take them to the man as gifts—some balm and honey, some spices and perfumes, some pistachios and almonds. And take plenty of money—pay back double what was returned to your sacks; that might have been a mistake. Take your brother and get going. Go back to the man. And may The Strong God give you grace in that man’s eyes so that he’ll send back your other brother along with Benjamin. For me, nothing’s left; I’ve lost everything.”
15-16The men took the gifts, double the money, and Benjamin. They lost no time in getting to Egypt and meeting Joseph. When Joseph saw that they had Benjamin with them, he told his house steward, “Take these men into the house and make them at home. Butcher an animal and prepare a meal; these men are going to eat with me at noon.”
17-18The steward did what Joseph had said and took them inside. But they became anxious when they were brought into Joseph’s home, thinking, “It’s the money; he thinks we ran off with the money on our first trip down here. And now he’s got us where he wants us—he’s going to turn us into slaves and confiscate our donkeys.”
19-22So they went up to Joseph’s house steward and talked to him in the doorway. They said, “Listen, master. We came down here one other time to buy food. On our way home, the first night out we opened our bags and found our money at the mouth of the bag—the exact amount we’d paid. We’ve brought it all back and have plenty more to buy more food with. We have no idea who put the money in our bags.”
23The steward said, “Everything’s in order. Don’t worry. Your God and the God of your father must have given you a bonus. I was paid in full.” And with that, he presented Simeon to them.
24-25He then took them inside Joseph’s house and made them comfortable—gave them water to wash their feet and saw to the feeding of their donkeys. The brothers spread out their gifts as they waited for Joseph to show up at noon—they had been told that they were to have dinner with him.
26When Joseph got home, they presented him with the gifts they had brought and bowed respectfully before him.
27Joseph welcomed them and said, “And your old father whom you mentioned to me, how is he? Is he still alive?”
28They said, “Yes—your servant our father is quite well, very much alive.” And they again bowed respectfully before him.
29Then Joseph picked out his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son. He asked, “And is this your youngest brother that you told me about?” Then he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.”
30-31Deeply moved on seeing his brother and about to burst into tears, Joseph hurried out into another room and had a good cry. Then he washed his face, got a grip on himself, and said, “Let’s eat.”
32-34Joseph was served at his private table, the brothers off by themselves and the Egyptians off by themselves (Egyptians won’t eat at the same table with Hebrews; it’s repulsive to them). The brothers were seated facing Joseph, arranged in order of their age, from the oldest to the youngest. They looked at one another wide-eyed, wondering what would happen next. When the brothers’ plates were served from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s plate came piled high, far more so than his brothers. And so the brothers feasted with Joseph, drinking freely.