Genesis 43

Joseph's brothers return to Egypt

1 Time passed. And the famine was still bad in the land. 2 Jacob and his household ate all the food from Egypt. So Jacob said, ‘Go back to Egypt, and buy some more food.’ 3 But Judah said, ‘The man told us many times, “Unless your brother is with you, you will not see my face again.” 4 You must send Benjamin with us. Then we will go and buy food for you. 5 But if you do not send Benjamin, we will not go. Because the man said to us, “Unless your brother is with you, you will not see my face again.”’ 6 Israel (that is Jacob) asked, ‘Why did you bring this trouble on me? You should not have told the man that you had another brother.’ 7 The brothers replied, ‘The man asked us many questions about our family. He asked, “Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?” We only answered his questions. We did not know that he would say, “Bring your brother here.”’ 8 Then Judah said to Israel (that is Jacob), ‘Send the boy with me. And we will go at once. Then we, and you, and our children will not die.’

43:8Verse 8 ‘we will not die’ Judah says this because he would bring back food from Canaan.

9 Judah said, ‘I will make you a promise. I will keep Benjamin safe. He will be with me. I will bring him back to you. If I do not, then you can say that it was because of me. And you can say this for all of my life. 10 Now say what you want to do. We have wasted much time, talking about this. We could have gone to Egypt and returned twice.’

11 Then their father Israel (Jacob) said to them, ‘If you must take Benjamin, do what I tell you. Put some of the best things from the land in your bags. And take them to the man as a gift. Take some balm, some honey and some spices. Also take some myrrh, and pistachio nuts and almond nuts.’

43:11All these gifts were wanted and liked in Egypt. The Egyptians usually had to buy them from other countries. People put spices in food.
43:11Balm is an oil to help make cuts better. It also makes ill people better.
43:11Myrrh comes from the leaves of a special kind of rose (a flower). People put it in a drink. People drink it when they are ill. It helps to stop the pain.

12 Jacob said, ‘Take 2 times the amount of silver with you. This is because you must give back the silver that they put back into your bags. It may have been a mistake. 13 Also take your brother Benjamin. And go back to the man at once. 14 I pray that God Almighty will help you. I pray this: When you go to the man, may he show you mercy. And may he let your older brother and Benjamin return with you. As for me, if I lose my sons, then I lose them.’

15 So the brothers took the gifts. And they took twice as much silver. They also took Benjamin and they hurried to Egypt. When they arrived there, they went to Joseph.

16 Joseph saw that Benjamin was with them. He said to a servant who worked in his house, ‘Take these men to my house. Kill an animal and prepare it for a meal. These men will eat with me at noon.’ 17 The servant did as Joseph told him. He took the men to Joseph's house. 18 The brothers were frightened when the servant took them to Joseph's house. They thought, ‘He has brought us here because of the silver that was in our bags. Someone put it back in when we came here the first time. He wants to attack us. And he will take us to be slaves. And he will take our donkeys.’ 19 So the brothers went to Joseph's servant. And they spoke to him at the door to Joseph's house. 20 They said, ‘Please sir. The first time we came here, we came to buy food. 21 But on our journey back, we stopped because it was night. We opened our bags. And each of us found the same amount of silver that he brought to Egypt. We brought it to pay for the food. It was in our bags. So we have brought the silver back with us. 22 We have also brought more silver. We have brought it so that we can buy food. We do not know who put the silver back into our bags.’ 23 The servant replied, ‘Do not worry. Everything is all right. Do not be afraid. Your God, the God of your fathers put the silver there. I received your silver.’ Then the servant brought Simeon out to his brothers. 24 The servant took the men into Joseph's house. He gave them water to wash their feet. And he gave them food for their donkeys. 25 The brothers prepared their gifts. They made them ready for when Joseph would come at noon. They had heard that they were to eat there.

26 Joseph arrived. And they gave him the gifts that they had brought into his house. And they bowed down before him. They bowed down to the ground. 27 Joseph asked them if they were all right. Then he said, ‘How is your old father whom you told me about? Is he still alive?’ 28 The brothers replied, ‘Your servant, our father is still alive. And he is well.’ And they bowed down low to Joseph. 29 Joseph looked about. And he saw his brother Benjamin, who was his mother's son. Joseph asked, ‘Is this your youngest brother? Is this the one that you told me about?’ And Joseph said to Benjamin, ‘God be kind to you, my son.’ 30 Joseph loved his brother very much and he hurried away. He hurried away because he wanted to weep. He went into his own room. And he wept there. 31 When he had finished weeping, he washed his face. And he returned to his brothers. And he stopped himself from weeping. He said, ‘Give them the food.’ 32 Joseph sat away from his brothers. And he ate there. The brothers sat together. And the Egyptians, who ate there, sat together. The Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, because that would make the Egyptians ashamed. 33 The brothers sat in front of Joseph. The servants told them to sit in special places, from the oldest to the youngest. And the brothers were surprised.

43:33The brothers were surprised because Joseph knew their ages.

34 The servants gave the brothers food from Joseph's table. And they gave Benjamin 5 times more food than his brothers. So the brothers ate and drank wine with Joseph.