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Genesis Chapter 43 | Parsha: Mikkets

1But the famine in the land was severe. 2And when they had eaten up the rations which they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again and procure some food for us.” 3But Judah said to him, “The man warned us, ‘Do not let me see your faces unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will let our brother go with us, we will go down and procure food for you; 5but if you will not let him go, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘Do not let me see your faces unless your brother is with you.’” 6And Israel said, “Why did you serve me so ill as to tell the man that you had another brother?” 7They replied, “But the man kept asking about us and our family, saying, ‘Is your father still living? Have you another brother?’ And we answered him accordingly. How were we to know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother here’?”

8Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy in my care, and let us be on our way, that we may live and not die—you and we and our children. 9I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible: if I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, I shall stand guilty before you forever. 10For we could have been there and back twice if we had not dawdled.”

11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, do this: take some of the choice products of the land in your baggage, and carry them down as a gift for the man—some balm and some honey, gum, ladanum, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12And take with you double the money, carrying back with you the money that was replaced in the mouths of your bags; perhaps it was a mistake. 13Take your brother too; and go back at once to the man. 14And may El Shaddai dispose the man to mercy toward you, that he may release to you your other brother, as well as Benjamin. As for me, if I am to be bereaved, I shall be bereaved.”

15So the men took that gift, and they took with them double the money, as well as Benjamin. They made their way down to Egypt, where they presented themselves to Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his house steward, “Take the men into the house; slaughter and prepare an animal, for the men will dine with me at noon.” 17The man did as Joseph said, and he brought the men into Joseph’s house. 18But the men were frightened at being brought into Joseph’s house. “It must be,” they thought, “because of the money replaced in our bags the first time that we have been brought inside, as a pretext to attack us and seize us as slaves, with our pack animals.” 19So they went up to Joseph’s house steward and spoke to him at the entrance of the house. 20“If you please, my lord,” they said, “we came down once before to procure food. 21But when we arrived at the night encampment and opened our bags, there was each one’s money in the mouth of his bag, our money in full. So we have brought it back with us. 22And we have brought down with us other money to procure food. We do not know who put the money in our bags.” 23He replied, “All is well with you; do not be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, must have put treasure in your bags for you. I got your payment.” And he brought out Simeon to them.

24Then the man brought the men into Joseph’s house; he gave them water to bathe their feet, and he provided feed for their asses. 25They laid out their gifts to await Joseph’s arrival at noon, for they had heard that they were to dine there.

26When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts that they had brought with them into the house, bowing low before him to the ground. 27He greeted them, and he said, “How is your aged father of whom you spoke? Is he still in good health?” 28They replied, “It is well with your servant our father; he is still in good health.” And they bowed and made obeisance.

29Looking about, he saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and asked, “Is this your youngest brother of whom you spoke to me?” And he went on, “May God be gracious to you, my boy.” 30With that, Joseph hurried out, for he was overcome with feeling toward his brother and was on the verge of tears; he went into a room and wept there. 31Then he washed his face, reappeared, and—now in control of himself—gave the order, “Serve the meal.” 32They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves; for the Egyptians could not dine with the Hebrews, since that would be abhorrent to the Egyptians. 33As they were seated by his direction, from the oldest in the order of his seniority to the youngest in the order of his youth, the men looked at one another in astonishment. 34Portions were served them from his table; but Benjamin’s portion was several times that of anyone else. And they drank their fill with him.

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