Today's scripture: Genesis 43:11-25 (NIV*)
And their father Israel said unto them, If it be so now, do this: take of the choice fruits of the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spicery and myrrh, nuts, and almonds; and take double money in your hand; and the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks carry again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight: take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: and God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release unto you your other brother and Benjamin. And if I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved. And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.
And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, Bring the men into the house, and slay, and make ready; for the men shall dine with me at noon. And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men to Joseph’s house. And the men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our donkeys. And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they spake unto him at the door of the house, and said, Oh, my lord, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: and it came to pass, when we came to the lodging-place, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. And other money have we brought down in our hand to buy food: we know not who put our money in our sacks. And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them. And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their donkeys provender. And they made ready the present against Joseph’s coming at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT...
- Why does Jacob finally agree to allow Benjamin to travel to Egypt?
- Why does Jacob also allow all the brothers to go? Why does he send them all?
- What must the journey back to Egypt have been like for the brothers? For Benjamin? What must the intervening time have been like for Jacob?
- Why do you think Jacob does not accompany his sons on this journey?
- What is the purpose of taking the extra money and gifts to Egypt, when the agreement was simply to bring Benjamin?
- What do you imagine the reunion of Simeon and his brothers might have been like?
- If you were in the brothers' shoes, and were waiting for Zaphenath-paneah to show up for lunch, what would have been running through your mind?
- Do you think the brothers believe the steward's words?
"The steward assures them that everything is in order... and they need not be afraid. He tells them that God must have put the 'treasure' in their sacks. His statement about receiving their money renounces any claim to it; he does not offer a half-truth. He thus does not feign ignorance about the money; rather, he puts the truth in theological terms... The steward brings Simeon out to fulfill Joseph's pledge to release him if Benjamin was brought along. The steward sees that the brothers' needs are met... They are Joseph's guests. The story invites us to think that everything will now be fine between Joseph and his brothers. But not yet."
The New Interpreter's Bible, vol. I (Abingdon Press: Nashville, 1994, 634.)
* American Standard Version (ASV), Public Domain