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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
Joseph’s Brothers Go Down to Egypt Again
1There still wasn’t enough food anywhere in the land. 2After a while Jacob’s family had eaten all the grain the brothers had brought from Egypt. So their father said to them, “Go back. Buy us a little more food.”
3But Judah said to him, “The man gave us a strong warning. He said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother Benjamin is with you.’ 4So send our brother along with us. Then we’ll go down and buy food for you. 5If you won’t send him, we won’t go down. The man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ ”
6Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble to me? Why did you tell the man you had another brother?”
7They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. He asked us, ‘Is your father still living? Do you have another brother?’ We just answered his questions. How could we possibly know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8Judah spoke to Israel his father. “Send the boy along with me,” he said. “We’ll go right away. Then we and you and our children will live and not die. 9I myself promise to keep Benjamin safe. You can blame me if I don’t bring him back to you. I’ll set him right here in front of you. If I don’t, you can put the blame on me for the rest of my life. 10As it is, we’ve already waited too long. We could have made the trip to Egypt and back twice by now.”
11Then their father Israel spoke to them. He said, “If that’s the way it has to be, then do what I tell you. Put some of the best things from our land in your bags. Take them down to the man as a gift. Take some lotion and a little honey. Take some spices and myrrh. Take some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12Take twice the amount of money with you. You have to give back the money that was put in your sacks. Maybe it was a mistake. 13Also take your brother. Go back to the man at once. 14May the Mighty God cause him to show you mercy. May the man let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. And if I lose my sons, I lose them.”
15So the men took the gifts. They took twice the amount of money. They also took Benjamin. They hurried down to Egypt and went to Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he spoke to the manager of his house. “Take these men to my house,” he said. “Kill an animal and prepare a meal. I want them to eat with me at noon.”
17The manager did what Joseph told him to do. He took the men to Joseph’s house. 18They were frightened when they were taken to Joseph’s house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the money that was put back in our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us. Then he can hold us as slaves and take our donkeys.”
19So they went up to Joseph’s manager. They spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20“Please, sir,” they said. “We came down here the first time to buy food. 21We opened our sacks at the place where we stopped for the night. Each of us found in our sacks the exact amount of the money we had paid. So we’ve brought it back with us. 22We’ve also brought more money with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our money in our sacks.”
23“It’s all right,” the manager said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you riches in your sacks. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24The manager took the men into Joseph’s house. He gave them water to wash their feet. He provided feed for their donkeys. 25The brothers prepared their gifts for Joseph. He was planning to arrive at noon. They had heard that they were going to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought into the house. They bowed down low in front of him. 27He asked them how they were. Then he said, “How is your old father you told me about? Is he still living?”
28They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down to show him honor.
29Joseph looked around. Then he saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son. He asked, “Is this your youngest brother? Is he the one you told me about?” He continued, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30It moved him deeply to see his brother. So Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to cry. He went into his own room and cried there.
31Then he washed his face and came out. He calmed down and said, “Serve the food.”
32They served Joseph by himself. They served the brothers by themselves. They also served the Egyptians who ate with Joseph by themselves. Because of their beliefs, Egyptians couldn’t eat with Hebrews. 33The brothers had been given places in front of Joseph. They had been seated in the order of their ages, from the oldest to the youngest. That made them look at each other in great surprise. 34While they were eating, some food was brought to them from Joseph’s table. Benjamin was given five times as much as anyone else. So all Joseph’s brothers ate and drank a lot with him.