Joseph's Brothers Return
1The famine in Canaan got worse, 2until finally, Jacob's family had eaten all the grain they had bought in Egypt. So Jacob said to his sons, “Go back and buy some more grain.”
3-5Judah replied, “The governor strictly warned us that we would not be allowed to see him unless we brought our youngest brother with us. If you let us take Benjamin along, we will go and buy grain. But we won't go without him!”
6Jacob asked, “Why did you cause me so much trouble by telling the governor you had another brother?”
7They answered, “He asked a lot of questions about us and our family. He wanted to know if you were still alive and if we had any more brothers. All we could do was answer his questions. How could we know he would tell us to bring along our brother?”
8Then Judah said to his father, “Let Benjamin go with me, and we will leave at once, so that none of us will starve to death. 9I promise to bring him back safely, and if I don't, you can blame me as long as I live. 10If we had not wasted all this time, we could already have been there and back twice.”
11Their father said:
If Benjamin must go with you, take the governor a gift of some of the best things from our own country, such as perfume, honey, spices, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Also take along twice the amount of money for the grain, because there must have been some mistake when the money was put back in your sacks. 13Take Benjamin with you and leave at once.
14When you go in to see the governor, I pray that God All-Powerful will be good to you and that the governor will let your other brother and Benjamin come back home with you. But if I must lose my children, I suppose I must.
15The brothers took the gifts, twice the amount of money, and Benjamin. Then they hurried off to Egypt. When they stood in front of Joseph, 16he saw Benjamin and told the servant in charge of his house, “Take these men to my house. Slaughter an animal and cook it, so they can eat with me at noon.”
17The servant did as he was told and took the brothers to Joseph's house. 18But on the way they got worried and started thinking, “We are being taken there because of the money that was put back in our sacks last time. He will arrest us, make us his slaves, and take our donkeys.”
19So when they arrived at Joseph's house, they said to the servant in charge, 20“Sir, we came to Egypt once before to buy grain. 21But when we stopped for the night, we each found in our grain sacks the exact amount we had paid. We have brought that money back, 22together with enough money to buy more grain. We don't know who put the money in our sacks.”
23“It's all right,” the servant replied. “Don't worry. The God you and your father worship must have put the money there, because I received your payment in full.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24The servant took them into Joseph's house and gave them water to wash their feet. He also tended their donkeys. 25The brothers got their gifts ready to give to Joseph at noon, since they had heard they were going to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought, and they bowed down to him. 27After Joseph had asked how they were, he said, “What about your elderly father? Is he still alive?”
28They answered, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And again they bowed down to Joseph.
29When Joseph looked around and saw his brother Benjamin, he said, “This must be your youngest brother, the one you told me about. God bless you, my son.”
30Then, because of his love for Benjamin, he rushed off to his room and cried. 31After washing his face and returning, he was able to control himself and said, “Serve the meal!”
32Joseph was served at a table by himself, and his brothers were served at another. The Egyptians sat at yet another table, because Egyptians felt it was disgusting to eat with Hebrews. 33To the surprise of Joseph's brothers, they were seated in front of him according to their ages, from the oldest to the youngest. 34They were served food from Joseph's table, and Benjamin was given five times as much as each of the others. So Joseph's brothers ate and drank with him and had a good time.
It is not until they have eaten through all of their grain and are once again facing starvation that Jacob finally allows his older sons to take Benjamin with them, and he sends many extra gifts along and a double payment for the grain, hoping this will appease the governor of Egypt.
When the brothers get to Egypt, they are summoned to Joseph’s house where they fully expect to be arrested. Instead they, including Simeon, are invited to dine with the governor.
When Joseph arrives, they give him the gifts that they have brought and they bow down to him, again fulfilling the dream Joseph had so many years before. But it is not this which moves Joseph to tears again but the sight of his younger brother, Benjamin.
Joseph, as governor of Egypt, has every material thing he could desire. God has also blessed him with a wife and two sons. In an earlier chapter, Joseph declared that God had helped him to forget the home and family that had been torn away from him as a child. But often God knows, even better than we do, what we need, and as it says in the Psalms: “Do what the Lord wants, and he will give you your heart’s desire” (Psalm 37:4).
God graciously restored Joseph’s most-beloved younger brother back to him, even though Joseph had thought he would never see him again. Likewise, God will give us our heart’s desire if we faithfully follow his path for our lives.
Precious Lord, you know our heart’s desires. We ask that you would guide us on your path so that we may be ready to receive the gracious gifts you wish to bestow upon us. In Jesus’ name. Amen