SynopsisFrom the last chapter: Joseph’s brothers have returned to Jacob, with the grain, and instructions to return to Egypt with Benjamin, if they want to see their brother Simeon alive. Jacob, however, would rather count Simeon as another lost son, rather than risk losing Benjamin.
So Jacob/Israel finally agrees, and sends the men on their way. He sends with them twice the amount of silver—for buying new food, as well as covering the silver they were supposed to pay the first time, just in case it was a mistake that they came home with their silver in the bags—and they set off, Benjamin in tow. Jacob also sends with them some local products, from the land; balm and honey, spices and myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds (verse 11). This is pretty smart, because the Egyptian is probably getting money from all over the place—lots of countries are going through the same famine—but these gifts would be special, because they would only be available in the land where Jacob and his family are living.
So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”
Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”
They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”