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GENESIS 43 "2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food. 3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. 8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. 9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: 11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: 12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight: 13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: 14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved."

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The famine was still everywhere in the land except Egypt. Though Jacob had said Benjamin could not go back to Egypt with his brothers, he had no way of providing food for his family without sending his sons back. When he told his sons to go buy more food Judah reminded him they couldn't go without Benjamin. Reuben had promised Jacob earlier that he would bring Benjamin back if Jacob would let him go with them but now it is Judah who is promising to keep him safe. Jacob finally relented and told them to take a present for the Egyptian officer (which was Joseph), double money to make up for the return payment of the first visit and, also, to take Benjamin. He actually pronounced a blessing on them by saying, "God Almighty give you mercy." Then he said, "If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved." Or, "Whatever will be, will be." Sometimes, when life seems stacked against us and our back is to the wall, we just have to ask for God's mercy and turn it over to Him.

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GENESIS 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. 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. 19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, 20 And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: 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. 22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. 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. 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. 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. 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? 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. 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. 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. 31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread. 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. 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. 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."

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When Joseph gave the order that his brothers would eat in his own house at noon, the brothers were afraid of what it meant. They thought it must somehow be beause of their first trip and tried to explain to the steward that their money had been mistakenly returned to them the first time. The steward assured them that he had their money and the money they found in their sacks must have been a gift from their God. He then brought Simeon out to them. We don't know how long Simeon had been in Egypt or where he had been kept but we do know that it took several days just to make the journey from Canaan to Egypt. Given that, and the fact that they had run out of food, it must have been at least a month.

At noon, when Joseph came to the house for the meal, his brothers gave him the present they had brought and he asked them how their father was. When Joseph saw Benjamin, he was overcome with emotion and had to leave the room to compose himself. When he recovered himself, he gave instructions for the meal to be served.

When the 11 brothers were seated, they marveled that they were arranged in order according to age. They could not understand how Joseph could know so much about them. The Egyptians ate at a separate table because it was considered improper for them to eat with Hebrews and Joseph couldn't eat with his brothers because they thought him an Egyptian. Benjamin was given 5 times the amount his 10 brothers received. Joseph may have done this because he and Benjamin had the same mother or he may have been testing his other brothers to see if they showed any signs of jealousy toward their youngest brother. They evidently had gotten over their fear of Joseph for the moment because the last verse of chapter 43 says, "they drank, and were merry with him."

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Why do you think Joseph gave Benjamin 5 times more food than his brothers?

Have you ever been at a place in your life when you had to just ask for God's mercy and hope for the best? What happened? Tell me about it. I'd love to hear from you! You can click on the mail button below, write your experience in the guestbook and share with everyone, or click on the message board link below. I answer all messages and email! Be sure to include which chapter or devotion you are commenting on in your message.

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