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Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt

43 Now the famine in the land was severe. And it happened that as they finished eating the grain which they had brought from Egypt their father said to them, “Return and buy a little food for us.” Then Judah said to him, “The man solemnly admonished us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send[a] our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you, but if you will not send[b] him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’” Then Israel said, “Why did you bring trouble to me by telling the man you still had a brother?” And they said, “The man asked explicitly about us and about our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have a brother?’ And we answered him according to these words. How could we know that he would say, ‘Bring down your brother’?” Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me, and let us arise and go, so that we will live and not die—you, we, and our children. I myself will be surety for him. You may seek him from my hand. If I do not bring him back to you and present him before you, then I will stand guilty before you forever. 10 Surely if we had not hesitated by this time we would have returned twice.” 11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so then do this. Take some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, and pistachios and almonds. 12 And take double the money in your hands. Take back the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13 And take your brother. Now arise and return to the man. 14 And may El-Shaddai[c] grant you compassion before the man that he may release your other brother to you and Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

15 So the men took this gift, and they took double money in their hands, and Benjamin, and they rose up and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them he said to the one who was over his household, “Bring the men into the house and slaughter and prepare an animal, for the men shall eat with me at noon.” 17 And the man did as Joseph had said, and the man brought the men into the house of Joseph. 18 And the men were afraid when they were brought into the house of Joseph. And they said “We were brought here on account of the money that was returned to our sacks the first time, that he might attack us and fall upon us to take us as slaves with our donkeys.” 19 So they approached the man who was over Joseph’s house and spoke to him at the doorway of the house. 20 And they said, “Please, my lord, we surely came down once before to buy food, 21 but when we came to the place of lodging and we opened our sacks, then behold, each one’s money was in the mouth of his sack—our money in its full weight—so we have returned with it in our hands. 22 Now, other money we have brought down in our hand to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23 And he said, “Peace to you; do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father must have given you a treasure in your sacks; your money came to me.” And he brought Simeon out to them. 24 Then the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and he gave them water and washed their feet, and gave fodder to their donkeys. 25 Then they laid out[d] the gift until Joseph came at noon, for they had heard that they were to eat food there. 26 And when Joseph came into the house they brought the gift that was in their hand into the house to him, and they bowed down before him to the ground. 27 And he greeted them[e] and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28 And they said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they knelt and bowed down. 29 Then he lifted up his eyes and saw Benjamin his brother, the son of his mother, and said, “Is this your youngest brother of whom you told me?” And he continued,[f] “God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Then Joseph hurried away,[g] being overcome with emotion[h] toward his brother, and sought for a place to cry. Then he went into a room and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and went out, now controlling himself, and said, “Serve the food.” 32 And they served him[i] by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, for Egyptians could not dine[j] with Hebrews, because that was a detestable thing to Egyptians. 33 And they were seated before him from the firstborn according to his birthright to the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one another[k] amazed. 34 And portions were served to them from his table,[l] and the portion of Benjamin was five times greater than the portion of any of them. And they drank and became drunk with him.


  1. Genesis 43:4 Literally “if there is a sending”
  2. Genesis 43:5 Literally “if there is no sending”
  3. Genesis 43:14 Often translated “God Almighty”
  4. Genesis 43:25 Or “prepared”
  5. Genesis 43:27 Literally “he asked peace for them”
  6. Genesis 43:29 Or “said”
  7. Genesis 43:30 Literally “made haste”
  8. Genesis 43:30 Literally “his compassion boiled up”
  9. Genesis 43:32 That is, Joseph
  10. Genesis 43:32 Literally “were not able to eat food”
  11. Genesis 43:33 Literally “each to his companion”
  12. Genesis 43:34 Literally “his presence”