22 Feb. Genesis 43:1-33

22 Feb. Joseph’s brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin

“Still no food grew in the land of Canaan. When Jacob’s family had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, Jacob said to them, ‘Go to Egypt again and buy a little more grain for us to eat.’”

“But Judah said to Jacob, ‘The governor of that country strongly warned us, ”If you don’t bring back your brother with you, you will not be allowed to see me.” If you will send Benjamin with us, we will go down and buy food for you.’…”

“Israel [Jacob] said, ‘Why did you tell the man you had another brother? You have caused me a lot of trouble.’…”

“Then Judah said to his father Jacob, ‘Send Benjamin with me, and we will go at once so that we, you, and our children may live and not die… If we had not wasted all this time, we could already have made two trips.’”

“Then their father Jacob said to them, ‘If it has to be that way, then do this: take some of the best foods in our land in your packs. Give them to the man as a gift: some balm, some honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. Take twice as much money with you this time, and take back the money that was returned to you in your sacks last time. Maybe it was a mistake. And take Benjamin with you. Now leave and go to the man.’…”

“So the brothers took the gifts… They hurried down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.”

“When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the servant in charge of his house, ‘Bring those men into my house. Kill an animal and prepare a meal. These men will eat with me today at noon.’ …”

“When Joseph came home, the brothers gave him the gift they had brought into the house and bowed down to the ground in front of him… When Joseph saw his brother Benjamin, who had the same mother as he, Joseph asked, ‘Is this your youngest brother you told me about?’ Then he said to Benjamin, ‘God be with you, my son!’ Then Joseph hurried off because he had to hold back the tears when he saw his brother Benjamin.”

“So Joseph went into his room and cried there. Then he washed his face and came out. He controlled himself and said, ‘Serve the meal.’”

“So they served Joseph at one table, his brothers at another table, and the Egyptians who ate with him at another table… Joseph’s brothers were seated in front of him in order of their ages, from oldest to youngest. They looked at each other because they were so amazed.”

          (Genesis 43:1-33)


The famine in Canaan got worse so Joseph’s brothers were forced to go back to Egypt. With great reluctance and sorrow, their father Jacob (Israel) eventually agreed to let Benjamin return with them.

The brothers took gifts of resin, honey, spices and almonds in order to placate the governor; but Joseph, unexpectedly, entertained the brothers to a special meal at his private residence.

The brothers were astonished when, without being asked, they were seated in the exact order of their ages.

The story continues in the following chapter (see Genesis 44:1-34) as Joseph sent the brothers back home again with more grain. But as they left, a silver cup (hidden by Joseph) was discovered in Benjamin’s sack. Joseph demanded that Benjamin must become his slave while the other brothers returned to Canaan. The brothers were horrified and begged Joseph to forgive them.

The photo shows items of food and drink depicted on the wall of Pharaoh Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari in Upper Egypt.

You can read more of the background to this story @ The Bible Journey | Joseph becomes Vizier of Egypt

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