Remember last time, that Joseph kept Simeon as a prisoner until the brothers would come back with their brother Benjamin.
After all this happened, they were now ready to leave to go back to Canaan, so Joseph gave orders to have their bags filled with grain.
He also had each of his brother’s money put back into his sack, and gave them plenty of food for their journey.
Then the brothers loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
When night came, they stopped. One of Joseph’s brothers opened his sack to get feed for his donkey. He saw his money in the top of his sack. “My money has been given back,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.”
They got very scared and began to tremble. They turned to each other and said, “What has God done to us?”
When they arrived back home, they told their father Jacob everything that had happened to them.
They said, “The man who is the governor of the land spoke to us in a mean way. He treated us as if we were spying on the land. But we said to him, ‘We’re honest men. We aren’t spies. We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one father. But now one brother is gone. And our youngest brother is with our father in Canaan.’
“Then the man who is the governor of the land spoke to us. He said, ‘Here’s how I will know if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me. Take food for your hungry families and go. But bring your youngest brother to me. Then I’ll know that you are honest men and not spies. I’ll give your brother back to you. And you will be free to trade in the land.’”
Their father Jacob said to them, “Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is going against me!”
Then Reuben spoke to his father. He said, “You can put both of my sons to death if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. Place him in my care. I’ll bring him back.”
But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you. His brother is dead. He’s the only one left here with me. Suppose he’s harmed on the journey you are taking. Then I would die as a sad old man.”
Time went by and there was still not enough food in the land. After a while Jacob’s family had eaten all of the grain the brothers had brought from Egypt.
So their father said to them, “Go back. Buy us a little more food.”
But Judah said to him, remember father, “The man gave us a strong warning. He said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother Benjamin is with you.’ So you need to send our brother along with us. Then we’ll go down and buy food for you. If you won’t send him, we won’t go down, because the man is not going to give us any more food.
Jacob was sad and said why did you tell the man you had another brother?
The man asked and we just answered his questions. How could we possibly know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
So Judah spoke to his father. Let Benjamin come with us and I promise to keep him safe.
So Jacob agreed and told them to take some gifts with them of balm, a little honey, some myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. He also told them to take twice the amount of money to give back the money that was put in your sacks. Thank he blessed them.
So the men took the gifts. They took twice the amount of money. They also took Benjamin. They hurried down to Egypt and went to see Joseph.
When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he spoke to the administrator of his house. “Take these men to my house,” he said. “Prepare a wonderful meal. I want them to eat with me at noon.”
The administrator did what Joseph told him to do. He took the men to Joseph’s house.
But they were all frightened when they were taken to Joseph’s house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the money that was put back in our sacks the first time. He wants to punish us and make us his slaves.
So they went up to Joseph’s administrator. They spoke to him at the entrance to the house. “Please, sir,” they said. “We came down here the first time to buy food. When we opened our sacks at the place where we stopped for the night, we each found in our sacks the exact amount of the money we had paid. So we’ve brought it back with us. We’ve also brought more money with us to buy more food. We don’t know who put our money in our sacks.”
“It’s all right,” the manager said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you riches in your sacks. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. Remember Simeon had stayed in Egypt as a prisoner.
Then he took the men into Joseph’s house. He gave them water to wash their feet and he provided feed for their donkeys. The brothers got their gifts that they had brought for Joseph. He was planning to arrive at noon. They had heard that they were going to eat there.
When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought into the house.
They bowed down low in front of him. He asked them how they were. Then he said, “How is your old father you told me about? Is he still living?”
They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down to show him honor. It was happening just in Joseph’s dreams when he was younger.
Joseph looked around. Then he saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son. He asked, “Is this your youngest brother? Is he the one you told me about?” Then he said to Benjamin, “May God be gracious to you, my son.”
It was a very special moment for Joseph and he was so happy that he knew he was going to cry. So Joseph hurried out and went into his own room and cried there.
Then he washed his face and came out. He had calmed down and said, “Serve the food.”
They served Joseph by himself and they served the brothers by themselves. They also served the Egyptians who ate with Joseph by themselves. Because of their beliefs, Egyptians couldn’t eat with Hebrews.
The brothers had been given places in front of Joseph. They had been seated in the order of their ages, from the oldest to the youngest. That made them look at each other with great surprise.
While they were eating, some food was brought to them from Joseph’s table. Benjamin was given five times as much as anyone else. So all Joseph’s brothers ate with him and had a wonderful time.
Afterwards Joseph told the administrator of his house what to do. “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry,” he said. “Put each man’s money in his sack. Then put my silver cup in the youngest one’s sack. Put it there along with the money he paid for his grain.” So the administrator did what Joseph told him to do.
The next morning, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys.
They hadn’t gone very far from the city when Joseph spoke to his administrator. “Go after those men right away,” he said. “Catch up with them. Say to them, ‘My master was good to you. Why have you paid him back by doing evil?
When the administrator caught up with them, he told them what Joseph had said. But they said to him, “Why do you say these things? We would never do anything like that! We even brought back to you from Canaan the money we found in our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? If you find out that any of us has the cup, he will die. And the rest of us will become your slaves.”
“All right, then,” he said. The one found to have the cup will become my slave. But the rest of you will not be blamed.”
So each of them quickly put his sack down on the ground and opened it. Then the administrator started to search. He began with the oldest and ended with the youngest.
The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. When that happened, they were so upset they tore their clothes. Then all of them loaded their donkeys and went back to the city where Joseph lived.
Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in. They threw themselves down on the ground in front of him. Joseph said to them, “What have you done? Don’t you know that a man like me has ways to find things out?”
“What can we say to you?” Judah replied. “How can we prove we haven’t done anything wrong? God has shown you that we are guilty. We are now your slaves. All of us are, including the one found to have the cup.”
But Joseph said, “I would never do anything like that! Only the man found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you may go back to your father in peace.”
Then Judah went up to him. He said, “Please, sir. Let me speak a word to you. Don’t be angry with me, even though you are equal to Pharaoh himself. ‘We have an old father. A young son was born to him when he was old. His brother is dead. He’s the only one of his mother’s sons left. And his father loves him.’
“So now, what will happen if the boy isn’t with us when I go back to my father? His life depends on the boy’s life. When he sees that the boy isn’t with us, he’ll die. Because of us, he’ll go down into the grave as a sad old man. I promised my father I would keep the boy safe. I said, ‘Father, I’ll bring him back to you. If I don’t, you can put the blame on me for the rest of my life.’
“Now then, please let me stay here. Let me be your slave in place of the boy. Let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy isn’t with me? No! Don’t let me see the pain and suffering that would come to my father.”
Wow, Judah was really pleading with Joseph. What do you think will happen next?
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Good bye, until next time when we will learn what happened after Joseph heard his brother’s plea.
Until then, remember to say your prayers obey your mom and dad and do not forget to go to church and Sunday school next week.
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