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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
The Brothers Return to Egypt
1But the famine continued to ravage the land of Canaan. 2When the grain they had brought from Egypt was almost gone, Jacob said to his sons, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
3But Judah said, “The man was serious when he warned us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you send Benjamin with us, we will go down and buy more food. 5But if you don’t let Benjamin go, we won’t go either. Remember, the man said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”
6“Why were you so cruel to me?” Jacob#43:6 Hebrew Israel; also in 43:11. See note on 35:21. moaned. “Why did you tell him you had another brother?”
7“The man kept asking us questions about our family,” they replied. “He asked, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ So we answered his questions. How could we know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8Judah said to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise we will all die of starvation—and not only we, but you and our little ones. 9I personally guarantee his safety. You may hold me responsible if I don’t bring him back to you. Then let me bear the blame forever. 10If we hadn’t wasted all this time, we could have gone and returned twice by now.”
11So their father, Jacob, finally said to them, “If it can’t be avoided, then at least do this. Pack your bags with the best products of this land. Take them down to the man as gifts—balm, honey, gum, aromatic resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Also take double the money that was put back in your sacks, as it was probably someone’s mistake. 13Then take your brother, and go back to the man. 14May God Almighty#43:14 Hebrew El-Shaddai. give you mercy as you go before the man, so that he will release Simeon and let Benjamin return. But if I must lose my children, so be it.”
15So the men packed Jacob’s gifts and double the money and headed off with Benjamin. They finally arrived in Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the manager of his household, “These men will eat with me this noon. Take them inside the palace. Then go slaughter an animal, and prepare a big feast.” 17So the man did as Joseph told him and took them into Joseph’s palace.
18The brothers were terrified when they saw that they were being taken into Joseph’s house. “It’s because of the money someone put in our sacks last time we were here,” they said. “He plans to pretend that we stole it. Then he will seize us, make us slaves, and take our donkeys.”
A Feast at Joseph’s Palace
19The brothers approached the manager of Joseph’s household and spoke to him at the entrance to the palace. 20“Sir,” they said, “we came to Egypt once before to buy food. 21But as we were returning home, we stopped for the night and opened our sacks. Then we discovered that each man’s money—the exact amount paid—was in the top of his sack! Here it is; we have brought it back with us. 22We also have additional money to buy more food. We have no idea who put our money in our sacks.”
23“Relax. Don’t be afraid,” the household manager told them. “Your God, the God of your father, must have put this treasure into your sacks. I know I received your payment.” Then he released Simeon and brought him out to them.
24The manager then led the men into Joseph’s palace. He gave them water to wash their feet and provided food for their donkeys. 25They were told they would be eating there, so they prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon.
26When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought him, then bowed low to the ground before him. 27After greeting them, he asked, “How is your father, the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?”
28“Yes,” they replied. “Our father, your servant, is alive and well.” And they bowed low again.
29Then Joseph looked at his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother. “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” Joseph asked. “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30Then Joseph hurried from the room because he was overcome with emotion for his brother. He went into his private room, where he broke down and wept. 31After washing his face, he came back out, keeping himself under control. Then he ordered, “Bring out the food!”
32The waiters served Joseph at his own table, and his brothers were served at a separate table. The Egyptians who ate with Joseph sat at their own table, because Egyptians despise Hebrews and refuse to eat with them. 33Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and to their amazement, he seated them according to age, from oldest to youngest. 34And Joseph filled their plates with food from his own table, giving Benjamin five times as much as he gave the others. So they feasted and drank freely with him.