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Genesis 43

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.
43
Jacob [Israel] Sends Ten Sons Back to Egypt
1The famine was severe in the land. 2When they finished eating the grain they had brought from Egypt, Israel said to his sons, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
3Judah said to him, “The man gave us a severe warning: ‘You won’t be allowed to see me again unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you let our brother go with us, we’ll go and buy food for you. 5If you won’t let him go, we won’t go. The man said to us, ‘You won’t be allowed to see me again unless your brother is with you.’ ”
6Israel asked, “Why have you made trouble for me by telling the man you had another brother?”
7They answered, “The man kept asking about us and our family: ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How could we possibly know he would say, ‘Bring your brother here’?”
8Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy along with me. Let’s get going so that we won’t starve to death. 9I guarantee that he will come back. You can hold me responsible for him. If I don’t bring him back to you and place him here in front of you, you can blame me the rest of my life. 10If we hadn’t waited so long, we could have made this trip twice by now.”
11Then their father Israel said to them, “If that’s the way it has to be, then take the man a gift. Put some of the best products of the land in your bags. Take a little balm, a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Take twice as much money with you. You must return the money that was put back in your sacks. Maybe it was a mistake. 13Take your brother, and go back to the man. 14May God Almighty make him merciful to you so that he will send your other brother and Benjamin ⌞home⌟ with you. If I lose my children, I lose my children.”
15The men took the gifts, twice as much money, and Benjamin. They went to Egypt, where they presented themselves to Joseph.
The Banquet at Joseph’s House
16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the man in charge of his house, “Take these men to my house. Butcher an animal, and prepare a meal, because they are going to eat with me at noon.”
17So the man did as Joseph said and took them to Joseph’s house. 18The men were frightened, because they had been brought to Joseph’s house. They thought, “We’ve been brought here because of the money that was put back into our sacks the first time. They’re going to attack us, overpower us, take our donkeys, and make us slaves.”
19So they came to the man in charge of Joseph’s house and spoke to him at the door. 20“Please, sir,” they said, “we came here to buy food once before. 21When we stopped for the night, we opened our sacks, and each man found all of his money inside. So we brought it back with us. 22We also brought more money to buy food. We have no idea who put our money back in our sacks.”
23“It’s alright,” he said. “Don’t be afraid! Your God, the God of your father, must have given you treasure in your sacks. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24The man took the brothers into Joseph’s house. He gave them water to wash their feet and feed for their donkeys. 25They got their gifts ready for Joseph’s return at noon, because they had heard they were going to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought to the house. Then they bowed to him with their faces touching the ground. 27He asked them how they were. Then he said, “You told me about your elderly father. How is he? Is he still alive?”
28They answered, “Yes, sir. Our father is alive and well.” Then they knelt, bowing down.
29As Joseph looked around, he saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son. “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” he asked. “God be gracious to you, my son,” he said. 30Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, he hurried away, looking for a place to cry. He went into his private room and cried there.
31Then he washed his face and came out. He was in control of his emotions when he said, “Serve the food.”
32He was served separately from his brothers. The Egyptians who were there with him were also served separately, because they found it offensive to eat with Hebrews. 33The brothers were seated facing him according to their ages—from the oldest to the youngest. They looked at each other in amazement.
34Joseph had portions of food brought to them from his table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times more than any of the others. So they ate and drank with Joseph until they were drunk.