Judah Vouches For Benjamin

The provisions were used up and famine again threatened Jacob’s household. Jacob asked his sons to return to Egypt to buy food (Genesis 43:4). "If you send our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you," Judah said, “The man warned us repeatedly, saying, 'You shall not see my face if your brother is not with you!”

Jacob did not conceal his great anxiety for Benjamin’s safety, and finally Judah vouched with his own life for the safety of the boy. With starvation threatening the entire household, Jacob could no longer delay his sons’ going to Egypt and permitted Benjamin to go with them. He told his sons to return the money they had found in their sacks, and advised them to take some fine presents for the ruler of Egypt. Then, he blessed them and sent them on their way.

A Friendlier Reception

When the brothers appeared before Joseph, and Joseph saw that Benjamin was among them, he told his representative to bring them into the house, and to prepare a meal for them. The man did so. Joseph’s brothers were suspicious of the unexpected hospitality. They approached the supervisor and told him of the strange return of their money when they had first purchased food in Egypt. They assured him that they had brought the money back with them, together with more money for the new purchases. The supervisor allayed their fears, telling them that he had received the money, and that the money they had found in their sacks was a gift from G‑d. Then he brought Simeon to them. Simeon told them how well he had been treated, and greatly relieved, they all sat down at the table.

When Joseph arrived, his brothers presented him with the gifts Jacob had sent him. He greeted them cordially and inquired after their aged father. Then he welcomed Benjamin; but on seeing his youngest brother, Joseph was overcome with emotion, and had to withdraw, so that his brothers might not see the tears that were about to burst forth from his eyes.

Returning to his brothers, Joseph presided over the feast. For the first time since they had sold Joseph, the brothers felt really merry and happy, for although they did not know it, there they were, all twelve of them together. Only Joseph knew, and he thought how well it was for brothers to live together in peace and harmony!

Many a time Joseph surprised them by his intimate knowledge of their personal lives. For instance, he seated them according to their age, and called them by their names. He pretended to get all this knowledge from his “divine cup” which he kept putting up to his ear, as if it were revealing many secrets to him. After the meal, Joseph gave them all presents; to Benjamin, however, he gave five times as much as to the others.