The Return to Egypt
1Now the famine was very severe in the land [of Canaan]. 2And it happened that when the families of Jacob’s sons had finished eating [all of] the grain which they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” 3But Judah said to him, “The man [representing Pharaoh] solemnly and sternly warned us, saying, ‘You will not see my face [again] unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will send our brother with us, we will go down [to Egypt] and buy you food. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go down there; for the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ ” 6And Israel (Jacob) said, “Why did you treat me so badly by telling the man that you had another brother?” 7And they said, “The man asked us straightforward questions about ourselves and our relatives. He said, ‘Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?’ And we answered him accordingly. How could we possibly know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down [here to Egypt]’? ” 8Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the young man with me and we will get up and go [buy food], so that we may live and not die [of starvation], we as well as you and our little ones. 9I will be security (a guarantee) for him; you may hold me [personally] responsible for him. If I do not bring him [back] to you and place him [safely] before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever. 10For if we had not delayed like this, surely by now we would have returned the second time.”
11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this; take some of the choicest products of the land in your sacks, and carry it as a present [of tribute] to the man [representing Pharaoh], a little balm and a little honey, aromatic spices or gum, resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Take double the [amount of] money with you, and take back the money that was returned in the opening of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight. 13Take your brother [Benjamin] also, and get up, and go to the man; 14and may God Almighty grant you compassion and favor before the man, so that he will release to you your other brother [Simeon] and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children [Joseph, Simeon, and Benjamin], I am bereaved.” 15Then the men took the present, and they took double the [amount of] money with them, and Benjamin; then they left and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.
Joseph Sees Benjamin
16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and kill an animal and make [a meal] ready; for the men will dine with me at noon.” 17So the man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18The men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph’s house; and [expecting the worst] they said, “It is because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time [we came] that we are being brought in, so that he may find a reason to accuse us and assail us, and take us as slaves, and seize our donkeys.” 19So they approached the steward of Joseph’s house, and talked with him at the entrance of the house, 20and said, “Oh, my lord, we indeed came down here the first time to buy food; 21and when we arrived at the inn [after leaving here], we opened our sacks and there was each man’s money [with which he had paid for grain], in full, returned in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back [this time]. 22We have also brought down with us additional money to buy food; we do not know who put our money [back] in our sacks [last time].” 23But the steward [encouraged them and] said, “Peace be to you, do not be afraid; your God and the God of your father has [miraculously] given you treasure in your sacks. I [already] had your money [which you paid to us].” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24Then the steward brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water, and they washed [the dust off] their feet; and he gave their donkeys feed. 25So they prepared the present [of tribute] for Joseph before his arrival at noon; for they had heard that they were to eat a meal there.
26When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present [of tribute] which they had with them and bowed to the ground before him. 27He asked them about their well-being, and said, “Is your old father well, of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28And they answered, “Your servant our father is in good health; he is still alive.” And they bowed down [their heads before Joseph] in respect. 29And he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s [only other] son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?” And Joseph said, “God be gracious to you and show you favor, my son.” 30Then Joseph hurried out [of the room] because his heart was deeply touched over his brother, and he sought privacy to weep; so he entered his chamber and wept there. 31Then he washed his face and came out, and, restraining himself, said, “Let the meal be served.” 32So the servants served Joseph by himself [in honor of his rank], and his brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because [according to custom] the Egyptians could not eat food with the Hebrews, for that is loathsome to the Egyptians. 33Now Joseph’s brothers were seated [by the steward] before him [in the order of their birth]—the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men looked at one another in astonishment [because so much was known about them]. 34Joseph selected and sent portions to them from his own table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they feasted and drank freely and celebrated with him.