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Genesis 43

43
Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt
1Now the famine in the land was severe. 2And it happened that as they finished eating the grain which they had brought from Egypt their father said to them, “Return and buy a little food for us.” 3Then Judah said to him, “The man solemnly admonished us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will send#Literally “if there is a sending” our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you, 5but if you will not send#Literally “if there is no sending” him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ ” 6Then Israel said, “Why did you bring trouble to me by telling the man you still had a brother?” 7And they said, “The man asked explicitly about us and about our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have a brother?’ And we answered him according to these words. How could we know that he would say, ‘Bring down your brother’?” 8Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me, and let us arise and go, so that we will live and not die—you, we, and our children. 9I myself will be surety for him. You may seek him from my hand. If I do not bring him back to you and present him before you, then I will stand guilty before you forever. 10Surely if we had not hesitated by this time we would have returned twice.” 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 take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, and pistachios and almonds. 12And take double the money in your hands. Take back the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13And take your brother. Now arise and return to the man. 14And may El-Shaddai#Often translated “God Almighty” grant you compassion before the man that he may release your other brother to you and Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”
15So the men took this gift, and they took double money in their hands, and Benjamin, and they rose up and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them he said to the one who was over his household, “Bring the men into the house and slaughter and prepare an animal, for the men shall eat with me at noon.” 17And the man did as Joseph had said, and the man brought the men into the house of Joseph. 18And the men were afraid when they were brought into the house of Joseph. And they said “We were brought here on account of the money that was returned to our sacks the first time, that he might attack us and fall upon us to take us as slaves with our donkeys.” 19So they approached the man who was over Joseph’s house and spoke to him at the doorway of the house. 20And they said, “Please, my lord, we surely came down once before to buy food, 21but when we came to the place of lodging and we opened our sacks, then behold, each one’s money was in the mouth of his sack—our money in its full weight—so we have returned with it in our hands. 22Now, other money we have brought down in our hand to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23And he said, “Peace to you; do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father must have given you a treasure in your sacks; your money came to me.” And he brought Simeon out to them. 24Then the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and he gave them water and washed their feet, and gave fodder to their donkeys. 25Then they laid out#Or “prepared” the gift until Joseph came at noon, for they had heard that they were to eat food there. 26And when Joseph came into the house they brought the gift that was in their hand into the house to him, and they bowed down before him to the ground. 27And he greeted them#Literally “he asked peace for them” and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28And they said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they knelt and bowed down. 29Then he lifted up his eyes and saw Benjamin his brother, the son of his mother, and said, “Is this your youngest brother of whom you told me?” And he continued,#Or “said” “God be gracious to you, my son.” 30Then Joseph hurried away,#Literally “made haste” being overcome with emotion#Literally “his compassion boiled up” toward his brother, and sought for a place to cry. Then he went into a room and wept there. 31Then he washed his face and went out, now controlling himself, and said, “Serve the food.” 32And they served him#That is, Joseph by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, for Egyptians could not dine#Literally “were not able to eat food” with Hebrews, because that was a detestable thing to Egyptians. 33And they were seated before him from the firstborn according to his birthright to the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one another#Literally “each to his companion” amazed. 34And portions were served to them from his table,#Literally “his presence” and the portion of Benjamin was five times greater than the portion of any of them. And they drank and became drunk with him.
43
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.