“Go back, buy us a little food,” the father, Isaac, instructed his sons.
But Judah spoke to him saying, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”
The brothers’ response was that they wouldn’t go without young Benjamin.
Torn between the need for food and fear for his youngest son, Israel blamed his other sons… ‘Why did you tell him you had another brother?’
They replied that ‘the man’ asked him about themselves. Was our father still alive? Do you have another brother? Then defending themselves… asked how they could possibly have known that he would say ‘Bring your brother down.”
This conversation can be found in Gen 43: 2 – 7.
The brothers still didn’t know with whom they had dealt in Egypt.
Perhaps they would have been more anxious had they known it was their brother, Joseph. But they didn’t know. All they were aware of is that he was a high official in Pharaoh’s court… enough to strike fear in them and have them reluctant to not follow ‘the man’s’ instructions.
Backed into a corner their father had no choice. He did all he could, hoping to gain favour with the Egyptian official. He told his sons to take some of the best fruits of the land, a present for the man, balm, honey, spices and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. Then also “take the money back that you found in your sacks, take your brother. And may God Almighty have mercy on you before the man that he may release your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved, I am bereaved.” Gen 42 14
So they went, back to Egypt. They took the first amount of money and extra to purchase more wheat, and their youngest brother. What a responsibility!
When they were taken to Joseph’s house they really were concerned, fearing they would be punished because of the money they had found in their sacks. Did they wonder if they should have turned back immediately and returned it? It would have been an anxious wait till Joseph joined them for the meal he had ordered prepared.
Joseph enquired about their father, was introduced to his young brother… his blood brother, which touched him deeply. But still he didn’t tell them who he was. He ate with the Egyptians keeping the custom that Egyptians didn’t eat with Hebrews. (One wonders how many of then knew that Joseph was a Hebrew.)
But then the plot thickens. The men are sent on their way, probably sighing with relief that they were taking their youngest brother with them. Unbeknown to them Joseph had ordered that not only were their sacks well filled, but that the money was returned to them again. Joseph ordered that as well as putting his money in the sack of the youngest that Joseph’s silver cup be put in the sack.
Unsuspecting the men left early in the morning.
To be continued…
In the meantime, at this busy time of year, take care and remember to tread softly because you might be treading on someone’s dreams.