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Benjamin's Journey To Egypt

As Joseph made sure that they would have to do, his brothers made their return journey to Egypt, this time with Joseph's full-brother Benjamin (see Jacob's Family):

"43:15 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 [see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt]. 43:16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon. 43:17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house." (Genesis 43:15-17 KJV)

It wasn't due to hunger alone (although hunger was the sure bet - with their record of selling their brother Joseph away, they were certainly capable of doing it again with Simeon); Joseph was still holding Simeon, taken as a hostage on their first journey (Joseph likely selected Simeon because he had been the most cruel to Joseph when they threw him into the well and then sold him to slave traders - see Joseph's Coat Of Jealousy):

"42:23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. 42:24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes. 42:25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with Corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them. 42:26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence." (Genesis 42:23-26 KJV)

"He lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son"

Joseph had been playing a psychological game with them, partly to get them to bring Benjamin to Egypt, partly as justice for the grief that they had caused Joseph (and their father Jacob, who was falsely told that his beloved son Joseph had been violently killed by a wild animal). Joseph's brothers sensed that they were in grave danger (an effective military tactic as well - put the terror into their minds and eyes first, to crush the "hero" out of them, then unmercifully attack with full force at their weakest physical point), but not in the way that they thought. Joseph wasn't done with them, but they were not in danger. Joseph also released Simeon at that time.


"43:19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, 43:20 And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food [see Joseph's Brothers' First Journey To Egypt]: 43:21 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, 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. 43:22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.

43:23 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." (Genesis 43:19-23 KJV)

They were all then brought before Joseph, when they again fulfilled the Prophecy that they would "bow themselves to him" (see Joseph's Dreams).

"43:24 And the man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. 43:25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.

43:26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth." (Genesis 43:24-26 KJV)

Joseph then asked his brothers about his family. Ironically, they still did not recognize him, while he recognized them. How could that be? The first factor was that Joseph's Egyptian-style clothing and cleanly-shaved head and face would be much different than when they last saw him, whereas his brothers would have looked the same. The second reason is that Joseph, as the youngest son (other than Benjamin) was still a developing youth when they last saw him, while they were adults when he last saw them (the same reason that Joseph recognized his older brothers, but did not recognize his younger brother Benjamin). Joseph would also have spoken Egyptian to them, which they couldn't understand, while Joseph could certainly understand their Hebrew. It was an emotional reunion for Joseph.

"43:27 And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?

43:28 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.

43:29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.

43:31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.

43:32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians. 43:33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another. 43:34 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him." (Genesis 43:27-34 KJV)

Fact Finder: Centuries after the time that Joseph's brother Benjamin lived, Benjamin's descendants had become one of the tribes of Israel. When Israel split into "Israel" and "Judah," in which kingdom were the Benjamites, north or south?
See The Division Of Israel and The Southern Kingdom of Judah; also Was Paul A Jew or a Benjamite?

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