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.