Today’s reading begins with the return to Egypt of Joseph’s brothers and concludes with the return home of Joseph’s brothers to tell their father that Joseph is still alive.
With the famine in the land continuing, Israel’s family is running out of food and it becomes necessary for a return trip to Egypt for more. Judah reminds Israel that the Pharaoh’s commander would refuse to see them and likely not provide them with any additional grain unless they bring their youngest brother Benjamin along with them on the journey. Israel is extremely distraught but feels that there is no way out of the situation than to let Benjamin go on the journey. Judah promises Israel that he will bear all blame for all time if they do not return with Benjamin. After preparing a substantial gift for the Egyptian lord, and the money from the bags of grain and more money for additional grain, Israel sends his sons on to Egypt.
When they arrive in Egypt, Joseph’s steward greets them and Joseph’s brothers attempt to explain what happened with their money on their prior visit. Joseph’s steward tells the brothers that they needn’t worry because they had paid for the grain and that the money must have been a gift from God. Joseph meets them soon after and inquires about their family. Upon seeing Benjamin, Joseph leaves the room and goes to weep. After this, Joseph prepares a great feast for himself and his brothers.
Joseph commands that the bags of his brothers be filled full of grain, but also that Joseph’s cup be placed in Benjamin’s bag of grain. The brothers are then sent on their way back home, but soon Joseph sends his steward in chase of his brothers, and upon overtaking them the steward accuses the brothers of stealing Joseph’s cup. The brothers are incredulous and tell the steward that whoever has stolen the cup shall die. The cup is found in Benjamin’s bag and the brothers become despondent at the prospect of losing their youngest brother.
When they return to Joseph’s house, Judah does he very best to explain the situation and proclaim their innocence. He tells Joseph that he fears for his father’s life if they do not return with Benjamin. At this point Joseph cannot control himself anymore and admits to his brothers that he is their brother Joseph. Joseph tells his brothers not to be upset with themselves for their actions against him so many years ago because God was using their actions to preserve their family. He commands his brothers to return to Israel and tell him that he is alive and that they are to all return to Egypt and live because the famine will continue for five more years.
For their return journey, Joseph provides an abundance of supplies and equipment to assist in moving Israel and his entire family to Egypt to survive the famine. Upon their return, Israel is incredulous of the story he is told by his sons, but after telling their father all that Joseph had said his mood changes and agrees to move to Egypt to see his long lost son and to preserve his family.