A Lost Brother Found
Joseph and his Brothers
Genesis xliii: 1,
to xlv: 24.
which Jacob's sons had brought from Egypt did not
last long, for Jacob's family was large. Most of his
sons were married and had children of their own; so
that the children and grand-children, were
sixty-six, besides the servants who waited on them,
and the men who cared for Jacob's flocks. So around
the tent of Jacob was quite a camp of other tents
and an army of people.
When the food that had come from Egypt was nearly
eaten up, Jacob said to his sons:
"Go down to Egypt again, and buy some more food for
And Judah, Jacob's son, the man who years before had
urged his brothers to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites,
said to his father:
"It is of no use for us to go to Egypt, unless we
take Benjamin with us. The man who rules in that
land said to us, 'You shall not see my face, unless
your youngest brother be with you.' "
Israel said, "Why did you tell the man that you had
a brother? You did me great harm when you told him."
"Why," said Jacob's sons, "we could not help telling
him. The man asked us all about our family. Is your
father yet living? Have you any more brothers? And
we had to tell him, his questions were so close. How
should we know that he would say, 'Bring your
brother here for me to see him.' "
And Judah said, "Send Benjamin with me, and I will
take care of him. I promise you, that I will bring
him safely home. If he does not come back, let me
bear the blame forever. He must go, or we shall die
for want of food; and we might have gone down to
Egypt and come home again, if we had not been kept
back." And Jacob said, "If he must go, then he must.
But take a present to the man, some of the choicest
fruits of the land, some spices, and perfumes, and
nuts, and almonds. And take twice as much money,
besides the money that was in your sacks. Perhaps
that was a mistake, when the money was given back to
you. And take your brother Benjamin; and may the
Lord God make the man kind to you, so that he will
set Simeon free, and let you bring Benjamin back.
But if it is God's will that I lose my children, I
cannot help it."
So ten brothers of Joseph went down a second time to
Egypt, Benjamin going in place of Simeon. They came
to Joseph's office, the place where he sold grain to
the people; and they stood before their brother, and
bowed as before. Joseph saw that Benjamin was with
them, and he said to his steward, the man who was
over his house: "Make ready a dinner, for all these
men shall dine with me to-day."
When Joseph's brothers found that they were taken
into Joseph's house, they were filled with fear;
they said to each other:
"We have been taken here on account of the money in
our sacks. They will say that we have stolen it; and
then they will sell us all for slaves."
But Joseph's steward, the man who was over his
house, treated the men kindly, and when they spoke
of the money in their sacks, he would not take it
again, saying: "Never fear; your God must have sent
you this as a gift. I had your money." The steward
received the men into Joseph's house, and washed
their feet, according to the custom of the land. And
at noon, Joseph came in to meet them. They brought
him the present from their father, and again they
bowed before him, with their faces on the ground.
And Joseph asked them if they were well, and said:
"Is your father still living, the old man of whom
you spoke? Is he well?"
And they said, "Our father is well, and he is
living." And again they bowed to Joseph. And Joseph
looked at his younger brother, Benjamin, the child
of his own mother, Rachel; and he said: "Is this
your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God
be gracious unto you, my son."
And Joseph's heart was so full that he could not
keep back his tears. He went in haste to his own
room, and wept there. Then he washed his face, and
came out again, and ordered the table to be set for
dinner. They set Joseph's table for himself, as the
ruler, and another table for his Egyptian officers,
and another for the eleven men from Canaan; for
Joseph had brought Simeon out of the prison, and had
given him a place with his brothers.
Joseph himself arranged the order of the seats for
his brothers, the oldest at the head; and all in
order of age down to the youngest. The men wondered
at this, and could not see how the ruler of Egypt
should know the order of their ages. And Joseph sent
dishes from his table to his brothers; and he gave
to Benjamin five times as much as to the others.
Perhaps he wished to see whether they were as
jealous of Benjamin as in other days they had been
After dinner, Joseph said to his steward, "Fill the
men's sacks with grain, as much as they can carry;
and put each man's money in his sack. And put my
silver cup in the sack of the youngest, with his
The steward did as Joseph had said; and early in the
morning the brothers started to go home. A little
while afterward, Joseph said to his steward:
"Hasten, follow after the men from Canaan, and say,
'Why have you wronged me, after I had treated you
kindly? You have stolen my master's silver cup, out
of which he drinks.' " The steward followed the men,
and overtook them, and charged them with stealing.
And they said to him:
"Why should you talk to us in this manner? We have
stolen nothing. Why, we brought back to you the
money that we found in our sacks; and is it likely
that we would steal from your lord his silver or
gold? You may search us; and if you find your
master's cup on any of us, let him die, and the rest
of us may be sold as slaves."
Then they took down the sacks from the asses, and
opened them; and in each man's sack was his money,
for the second time. And when they came to
Benjamin's sack, there was the ruler's silver cup!
Then, in the greatest sorrow, they tied up their
bags again, and laid them on the asses, and came
back to Joseph's palace.
And Joseph said to them:
"What wicked thing is this that you have done? Did
you not know that I would surely find out your
Then Judah said, "O my lord, what can we say? God
has punished us for our sins; and now we must all be
slaves, both us that are older, and the youngest in
whose sack the cup was found."
"No," said Joseph, "only one of you is guilty, the
one who has taken away my cup; I will hold him as a
slave, and the rest of you can go home to your
Joseph wished to see whether his brothers were still
selfish, and were willing to let Benjamin suffer, if
they could escape.
Then Judah, the very man who had urged his brothers
to sell Joseph as a slave, came forward, and fell at
Joseph's feet, and pleaded with him to let Benjamin
go. He told again the whole story, how Benjamin was
the one whom his father loved the most of all his
children, now that his brother was lost. He said:
"I promised to bear the blame, if this boy was not
brought home in safety. If he does not go back, it
will kill our poor old father, who has seen much
trouble. Now let my youngest brother go home to his
father, and I will stay here as a slave in his
Joseph knew now what he had longed to know, that his
brothers were no longer cruel nor selfish, but one
of them was willing to suffer, so that his brother
might be spared. And Joseph could not any longer
keep his secret, for his heart longed after his
brothers, and he was ready to weep again, with tears
of love and joy. He sent all his Egyptian servants
out of the room, so that he might be alone with his
brothers, and then said:
"Come near to me, I wish to speak with you;" and
they came near, wondering. Then Joseph said:
"I am Joseph, is my father really alive?" How
frightened his brothers were, as they heard these
words, spoken in their own language by the ruler of
Egypt, and for the first time, knew that this stern
man, who had their lives in his hand, was their own
brother whom they had wronged! Then Joseph said
"I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.
But do not feel troubled because of what you did.
For God sent me before you to save your lives. There
have been already two years of need and famine, and
there are to be five years more, when there shall
neither be plowing of the fields nor harvest. It was
not you who sent me here, but God, and he sent me to
save your lives. God has made me like a father to
Pharaoh and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Now,
go home, and bring down to me my father and all his
family, for that is the only way to save their
Then Joseph placed his arms around Benjamin's neck,
and kissed him, and wept upon him. And Benjamin wept
on his neck. And Joseph kissed all his brothers, to
show them that he had fully forgiven them; and after
that his brothers began to lose their fear of
Joseph, and talked with him more freely.
Afterward Joseph sent his brothers home with good
news, and rich gifts, and abundant food. He sent
also wagons in which Jacob and his wives and the
little ones of his family might ride from Canaan
down to Egypt. And Joseph's brothers went home
happier than they had been for many years.
Joseph and his Brothers