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Genesis Chapter 43
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Joseph's Vindication
43:1 The famine became worse in the area.
43:2 When they had used up all the supplies that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, 'Go back and get us a little food.'
43:3 Judah tried to reason with him. He said, 'The man warned us, 'Do not appear before me unless your brother is with you.'
43:4 If you consent to send our brother with us, we will go and get you food.
43:5 But if you will not send [him], we cannot go. The man told us, 'Do not appear before me unless your brother is with you.' '
43:6 Israel said, 'Why did you do such a terrible thing to me, telling the man that you had another brother?'
43:7 [The brothers] replied, 'The man kept asking about us and our family. He asked, 'Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?' We simply answered his questions. How were we to know that he would demand that we bring our brother there?'
43:8 'Send the boy with me,' said Judah to his father Israel. 'Let us set out and get going. Let's live and not die - we, you, and also our children.
43:9 I myself will be responsible for him. You can demand him from my own hand. If I do not bring him back and have him stand before you, I will have sinned for all time.
43:10 But if we had not waited so long, we could have been there and back twice by now!'
43:11 Their father Israel said to them, 'If that's the way it must be, this is what you must do. Take some of the land's famous products in your baggage, a little balsam, a little honey, and some gum, resin, pistachio nuts and almonds.
43:12 Take along twice as much money, so that you will be able to return the money that was put at the tops of your packs - it might have been an oversight.
43:13 And your brother - take him. Go and return to the man.
43:14 May God Almighty grant that the man have pity on you and let you go along with your other brother and Benjamin. If I must lose my children, then I will lose them.'
43:15 The brothers took the gift and also brought along twice as much money [as was needed]. They set out with Benjamin and went to Egypt. [Once again] they stood before Joseph.
43:16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the overseer of his household, 'Bring these men to the palace. Butcher an animal and prepare it. These men will be eating lunch with me.'
43:17 The man did as Joseph said, and he escorted the brothers to Joseph's palace.
43:18 When the men [realized that] they were being brought to Joseph's palace, they were terrified. They said, 'We are being brought here because of the money that was put back in our packs the last time. We will be framed and convicted. Our donkeys can be confiscated, and we can even be taken as slaves.'
43:19 When they were at the door of Joseph's palace, they went over to the overseer and spoke to him.
43:20 'If you please, sir,' they said, 'we originally came down to buy food.
43:21 Then, when we came to the place where we spent the night, we opened our packs, and each man's money was at the top of the pack. It was our own money, in its exact weight. We have brought it back with us.
43:22 We have also brought along other money to buy food. We have no idea who put the money back in our packs!'
43:23 'Everything is fine as far as you are concerned,' replied [the overseer]. 'Don't be afraid. The God you and your father worship must have placed a hidden gift in your packs. I received the money you paid.' With that, he brought Simeon out to them.
43:24 The man brought the brothers into Joseph's palace. He gave them water so they could wash their feet, and had fodder given to their donkeys.
43:25 They got their gifts ready for when Joseph would come at noon, since they heard that they would be eating with him.
43:26 When Joseph arrived home, they presented him with the gifts they had brought. They prostrated themselves on the ground to him.
43:27 He inquired as to their welfare. 'Is your old father at peace?' he asked. 'Remember, you told me about him. Is he still alive?'
43:28 'Your servant our father is at peace,' they replied, 'He is still alive.' They bowed their heads and prostrated themselves.
43:29 [Joseph] looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son. He said, 'This must be your youngest brother, about whom you told me.' [To Benjamin] he said, 'God be gracious to you, my son.'
43:30 Joseph rushed out. His emotions had been aroused by his brother, and he had to weep. He went to a room and there he wept.
43:31 He washed his face and came out. Holding in his emotions, he said, 'Serve the meal.'
43:32 [Joseph] was served by himself, and [the brothers] by themselves. The Egyptians who were eating with them [were also] segregated. The Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, since this was taboo to the Egyptians.
43:33 When [the brothers] were seated before [Joseph], they were placed in order of age, from the oldest to the youngest. The brothers looked at each other in amazement.
43:34 [Joseph] sent them portions from his table, giving Benjamin five times as much as the rest. They drank with him and became intoxicated.



Commentary:

balsam
  See Genesis 37:25. We see there that it was valuable, since special caravans brought it to Egypt. It is ironic that the gift should have consisted of the same substances that were in the caravan that brought Joseph to Egypt.

gum, resin
  Tragacanth and Labdanum, see notes on Genesis 37:25.

brothers
  Literally, 'men.'

donkeys...
  From context. Literally, 'take us for slaves along with our donkeys.' They might have been as concerned for their animals as themselves (cf. Moreh Nevukhim 3:40), since even if they could escape, without animals to transport the grain, their families would die of starvation (Ramban; MeAm Lo'ez/The Torah Anthology 3:412.)

each man's
  This is not what actually happened (Genesis 42:27,35), but they simplified the account (Sekhel Tov).

this was taboo...
  The Egyptians were very careful about eating with strangers (see note on Genesis 39:6). This was because the Hebrews ate sheep, and hence their mouths and utensils were considered contaminated, since sheep were sacred to the Egyptians (Targum; Sekhel Tov). Cf. Genesis 46:34, Exodus 8:22. Actually, only the female animals were sacred (Herodotus 2:41).

from his table
  (Targum Yonathan)





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