But the famine in the country grew worse,
and when they had finished eating the supplies which they had brought from Egypt their father said to them, 'Go back and get us a little food.'
'But', Judah replied, 'the man expressly warned us, "You will not be admitted to my presence unless your brother is with you."
If you are ready to send our brother with us, we will go down and get food for you.
But if you are not ready to send him, we will not go down, in view of the man's warning, "You will not be admitted to my presence unless your brother is with you." '
Then Israel said, 'Why did you bring this misery on me by telling the man you had another brother?'
They replied, 'He kept questioning us about ourselves and our family, asking, "Is your father still alive?" and, "Have you another brother?" That is why we told him. How could we know he was going to say, "Bring your brother down here"?'
Judah then said to his father Israel, 'Send the boy with me, and let us be off and go, if we are to survive and not die, we, you, and our dependants.
I will go surety for him, and you can hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and produce him before you, let me bear the blame all my life.
Indeed, if we had not wasted so much time we should have been there and back twice by now!'
Then their father Israel said to them, 'If it must be so, then do this: take some of the country's best products in your baggage and take them to the man as a gift: some balsam, some honey, gum tragacanth, resin, pistachio nuts and almonds.
Take double the amount of money with you and return the money put back in the mouths of your sacks; it may have been a mistake.
Take your brother, and go back to the man.
May El Shaddai move the man to be kind to you, and allow you to bring back your other brother and Benjamin. As for me, if I must be bereaved, bereaved I must be.'
The men took this gift; they took double the amount of money with them, and Benjamin. They set off, went down to Egypt and presented themselves before Joseph.
When Joseph saw Benjamin with them he said to his chamberlain, 'Take these men into the house. Slaughter a beast and prepare it, for these men are to eat with me at midday.'
The man did as Joseph had ordered, and took the men to Joseph's house.
The men were afraid at being taken to Joseph's house and said, 'We are being taken there because of the money replaced in our sacks the first time. They will set on us; they will fall on us and make slaves of us, and take our donkeys too.'
So they went up to Joseph's chamberlain and spoke to him at the entrance to the house.
'By your leave, sir,' they said, 'we came down once before to get supplies,
and when we reached camp and opened our sacks, there was each man's money in the mouth of his sack, to the full. But we have brought it back with us,
and we have brought more money with us for the supplies. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.'
'Set your minds at ease,' he replied, 'do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.' And he brought Simeon out to them.
The man then took the men into Joseph's house. He offered them water to wash their feet, and gave their donkeys fodder.
They arranged their gift while they waited for Joseph to come at midday, for they had heard they were to dine there.
When Joseph arrived at the house they offered him the gift they had with them, bowing low before him.
He greeted them pleasantly, asking, 'Is your father well, the old man you told me of? Is he still alive?'
'Your servant our father is well,' they replied, 'he is still alive,' and they bowed respectfully.
Looking about, he saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son. 'Is this your youngest brother', he asked, 'of whom you told me?' And he added, 'God be good to you, my son.'
Joseph hurried out; so strong was the affection he felt for his brother that he wanted to cry. He went into his room and there he wept.
After washing his face he returned and, controlling himself, gave the order: 'Serve the meal.'
He was served separately; so were they, and so were the Egyptians who ate in his household, for the Egyptians could not take food with Hebrews; Egyptians have a horror of doing so.
They were placed facing him in order of seniority, from the eldest to the youngest, and the men looked at one another in amazement.
He had portions carried to them from his own dish, the portion for Benjamin being five times larger than any of the others. And they feasted with him and drank freely.