Reading 13/341, Genesis 43-45

Jacob’s family needs food, so he sends all his sons (including Benjamin) to Egypt. Joseph tries to keep Benjamin with him and send the others home, but they will not leave. Joseph hears that Jacob thinks he is dead, so Joseph reveals himself. When Jacob hears Joseph is alive, he plans to go to Egypt.
[A] It seems that Joseph's plan was to keep Benjamin in Egypt and forget about the rest. The words that change everything is when he hears that his father has mourned him as dead. Perhaps he had thought that his father did not care.
[B] I wonder how that conversation went when the brothers finally admit to Israel that they had sold Joseph and kept it secret for 30 years.


The famine was severe in the land. It happened, when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said to them, "Go again, buy us a little more food." Judah spoke to him, saying, "The man solemnly warned us, saying, 'You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.' If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food, but if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, 'You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.'" Israel said, "Why did you treat me so badly, telling the man that you had another brother?" They said, "The man asked directly about us and our relatives saying, 'Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?' We just answered his questions. Is there any way we could know that he would say, 'Bring your brother down?'" Judah said to Israel, his father, "Send the boy with me, and we will get up and go, so that we may live, and not die, both we, and you, and also our little ones. I will be collateral for him. From my hand will you require him. If I do not bring him to you, and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever, for if we had not delayed, surely we would have returned a second time by now." Their father, Israel, said to them, "If it must be so, then do this. Take from the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry down a present for the man, a little balm, a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts, and almonds, and take double money in your hand, and take back the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. Take your brother also, get up, and return to the man. May God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release to you your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved."

The men took that present, and they took double money in their hand and Benjamin and got up, went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, "Bring the men into the house, and butcher an animal, and make ready; for the men will dine with me at noon." The man did as Joseph commanded, and the man brought the men to Joseph's house. The men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph's house, and they said, "Because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time, we were brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, attack us, and seize us as slaves, along with our donkeys." They came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they spoke to him at the door of the house, and said, "Oh, my lord, we indeed came down the first time to buy food. When we came to the lodging place, we opened our sacks, and behold, every man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. We have brought it back in our hand. We have brought down other money in our hand to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks." He said, "Peace be to you. Do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks. I received your money." He brought Simeon out to them.

The man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet. He gave their donkeys fodder. They made ready the present for Joseph's coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there. When Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves down to him to the earth. He asked them of their welfare, and said, "Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he yet alive?" They said, "Your servant, our father, is well. He is still alive." They bowed their heads and did homage. He lifted up his eyes, and saw Benjamin, his brother, his mother's son, and said, "Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?" He said, "God be gracious to you, my son." Joseph hurried, for his heart yearned over his brother, and he sought a place to weep. He entered into his room and wept there. He washed his face and came out. He controlled himself, and said, "Serve the meal." They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians, that ate with him, by themselves, because the Egyptians do not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. They sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at one another in amazement. He sent portions to them from before him, but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. They drank and were merry with him. He commanded the steward of his house, saying, "Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth. Put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his grain money." He did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.

As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys. When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, "Up, follow after the men. When you overtake them, ask them, 'Why have you rewarded evil for good? Is not this cup the one from which my lord drinks, and by which he practices divination? You have done evil in so doing.'" He overtook them, and he spoke these words to them. They said to him, "Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing! Behold, the money, which we found in the mouths of our sacks, we brought again to you out of the land of Canaan. How then should we steal silver or gold out of your lord's house? With whomever of your servants it be found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's servants." He said, "let it be as you say: he with whom it is found will be my servant, and you will be blameless." Then they hurried, and every man took his sack down to the ground, and every man opened his sack. He searched, beginning with the eldest, and ending at the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin's sack. Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey and returned to the city.

Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house and he was still there. They fell on the ground before him. Joseph said to them, "What deed is this that you have done? Do not you know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?" Judah said, "What will we tell my lord? What will we say? Or how will we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also in whose hand the cup is found." He said, "Far be it from me that I should do so. The man in whose hand the cup is found, he will be my servant; but as for you, go up in peace to your father." Then Judah came near to him, and said, "Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord's ears, and do not let your anger burn against your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord asked his servants, saying, 'Have you a father or a brother?' We said to my lord, 'We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one, and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.' You said to your servants, 'Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.' We said to my lord, 'The boy cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.' You said to your servants, 'Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will see my face no more.' It happened when we came up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. Our father said, 'Go again, buy us a little food.' We said, 'We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down: for we may not see the man's face, unless our youngest brother is with us.' Your servant, my father, said to us, 'You know that my wife bore me two sons: and the one left me, and I said, "Surely he is torn in pieces;" and I have not seen him since. If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.' Now therefore when I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the boy's life; it will happen, when he sees that the boy is no more, that he will die. Your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant, our father, with sorrow to Sheol. For your servant became collateral for the boy to my father, saying, 'If I do not bring him to you, then I will bear the blame to my father forever.' Now therefore, please let your servant stay instead of the boy, a servant to my lord, and let the boy go up with his brothers. For how will I go up to my father if the boy is not with me?-- lest I see the evil that will come on my father."

Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood before him, and he cried, "Let every man to go out from me!" No one else stood with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He wept aloud. The Egyptians heard, and the house of Pharaoh heard. Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Does my father still live?" His brothers could not answer him; for they were terrified at his presence. Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, please." They came near. "He said, I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are yet five years, in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to save you alive by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God, and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his house, and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry, and go up to my father, and tell him, 'This is what your son Joseph says, "God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me. Do not wait. You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you will be near to me, you, your children, your children's children, your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. There I will nourish you; for there are yet five years of famine; lest you come to poverty, you, and your household, and all that you have."' Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaks to you. You shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. You shall hurry and bring my father down here." He fell on his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He kissed all his brothers, and wept on them. After that his brothers talked with him.

The report of it was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, "Joseph's brothers have come." It well pleased Pharaoh and his servants. Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Tell your brothers, 'Do this. Load your animals, and go, travel to the land of Canaan. Take your father and your households, and come to me, and I will give you the bounty of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.' Now you are commanded: do this. Take wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Also, do not concern yourselves about your belongings, for the bounty of all the land of Egypt is yours." The sons of Israel did so. Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. He gave each one of them changes of clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of clothing. To his father, he sent this: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and provision for his father on the way. So he sent his brothers away, and they departed. He said to them, "See that you do not quarrel on the way." They went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan, to Jacob their father. They told him, saying, "Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt." His heart fainted, for he did not believe them. They told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them. When he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob, their father, revived. Israel said, "It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die."

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