When Jacob (now Yisharal) heard that grain was available in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you all standing around looking at each another? Egypt has an abundance of grain, so go down there and buy enough to keep us alive, otherwise we’re not gunna make it.”
So Joseph’s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain, but Yisharal wouldn’t let them take Benjamin (Joseph’s younger brother and Rachel’s only “surviving” son) with them, for he was afraid that something terrible might happen to him (as it did Joseph).
So Yisharal’s ten sons arrived in Egypt along with others from their clans to buy food, for the famine was intense in Canaan also. And since Joseph was the Governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, his brothers had to go directly to him.
And when they arrived, they bowed down before Joseph with their faces to the dirt and Joseph recognised his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger, speaking loud and harshly to them. “WHERE ARE YOU FROM?”He demanded.
“From the land of Canaan” they replied. “We have come to buy grain.”
And even though Joseph looked at his brothers, they didn’t recognise him for his demeanor was that of royalty, he was much older (deeper voice than the wacky teenager they knew) and he was dressed in official Egyptian garb (clean shaven, cosmetics etc). And, remembering the dreams he’d had about them many years before, he wondered whether they had treated Benjamin (his only other brother from Rachel) as harshly as they had him.
It was time to test them. “YOU ARE SPIES! YOU HAVE COME TO SEE HOW NAKED AND VULNERABLE OUR LAND HAS BECOME.”
“No Master!” They cried out, “Your servants have simply come to buy food. We’re all brothers, trustworthy men and all the sons of one man. We are definitely not spies!”
“YES, YOU ARE!” Joseph insisted. “You’ve come to see how helpless and powerless we are!”
“No Master!” They pleaded, “There are actually twelve of us. We, your servants, are all brothers, sons of a man living in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is back there with our father right now, and our other brother died.”
But Joseph insisted, “WHATEVER!! As I said, you are spies! But we’ll soon see if you’re telling the truth or not. By the power of the Pharaoh, you’re not leaving Egypt until your youngest brother comes here to me! One of you must go and get him and I’ll keep the rest of you here in prison. Then we’ll see if your story is true!”
So Joseph put them all in prison for three days and on the third day he said to them, “If you do as I say, you’ll live, for I fear Alahim too, so if you’re really so honest, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison and the rest of you can go home with grain for your starving families. But you must bring your youngest brother back to me and this will prove that you’re telling me the truth, and then you won’t die.”
And completely terrified, they gathered together, saying, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph years ago. We saw how petrified and distressed he was when he pleaded for his life, but we didn’t care. Now the same thing is happening to us!”
“Didn’t I tell you all not to sin against the boy and do such an evil thing?”Reuben said, “But you wouldn’t listen. And now his blood is on us!” (Of course, they didn’t know that Joseph understood them, for he had been speaking to them in egyptian, through an interpreter). And hearing their distressed words of repentance (they’d been living with this guilt for 13 years) Joseph turned aside from them and began to weep for he saw that their hearts had changed.
But when he regained his composure, he spoke to them again, choosing Simeon to tie up, right before their eyes. Then Joseph ordered his servants to fill the men’s sacks with grain, but he also gave secret instructions to return each brother’s payment at the top of his sack. He also gave them supplies for their journey home.
So the brothers loaded their donkeys with the grain and headed back to Canaan. But when they stopped for the night and one of them opened his sack to get grain for his donkey, he found his money in the top of his sack. “Guys, look at this!! My money has been returned, it’s right here in my sack!”
Then their hearts sank and, trembling, and they said to each other, “What has Yahuah done to us?”
And when the brothers came to their father Yisharal, in the land of Canaan, they told him everything that had happened to them and how the Governor had demanded that they bring Benjamin back with them.
And Yisharal cried out, “YOU’RE RIPPING MY CHILDREN AWAY FROM ME! JOSEPH IS GONE! SIMEON IS GONE! AND NOW YOU WANT TO TAKE BENJAMIN TOO. WILL NOTHING GO RIGHT FOR ME?”
Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. I’ll be responsible for him, and I promise I will bring him back.”
But Yisharal replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left. If anything happened to him on your journey, I would surely die of sorrow!”
But the famine continued to ravage the land of Canaan and when the grain they had brought from Egypt was gone, Yisharal said to his sons, “Go back and buy us some more food.”
But Judah said, “Father, the Governor was deadly serious when he told us to bring back BENJAMIN. So if you’re not gunna let us take him, there’s no way we’re go’in back there!”
“Why on earth were you so cruel to me, telling him you had another brother?” Yisharal moaned.
“The man kept asking us questions about our family,”they replied. “He asked, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ So we answered his questions. How could we know he would say, ‘Bring your brother here’?”
And Judah said to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise we’ll all die of starvation, I personally guarantee his safety. You may hold me responsible if I don’t bring him back to you. I will bear the blame forever. We could have been there and back twice by now without all this stupid time-wasting!”
So Yisharal finally said to them, “If it can’t be avoided, then at least do this. Pack your bags with the best products of this land, take them down to this man as gifts. Take balm, honey, spice, myrrh, nuts, and almond, and take double the money that was put back in your sacks, as it was probably someone’s screw-up. Then take your brother, and go back to the man and may Al Shaddai (Strong Sufficient Alahim of the Mountain) Himself give you favor as you go before the man, so that he will release Simeon and let Benjamin return. But if I must lose my children, so be it.”
JUDAH IS A VERY CHANGED MAN AFTER HIS BATTERING EXPERIENCES OF DISOBEDIENCE. HE ALSO FEARS BEING `DISOWNED’ LIKE HIS OLDER THREE BROTHERS (REUBEN TRIED TO STEAL THE INHERITANCE BY SLEEPING WITH HIS FATHER’S SERVANT-WIFE AND SIMEON AND LEVI WENT ON A MURDEROUS KILLING SPREE AFTER THE RAPE OF THEIR SISTER DINAH). THIS IS WHY HE DECIDES IT’S TIME TO STEP UP AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, DO THE RIGHT THING AND START BEHAVING & RESTORING HIS REPUTATION.