43 Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2 So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
3 But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”
6 Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”
7 They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9 I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10 As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”
11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13 Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14 And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”
15 So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph.
(Genesis 43:1-15 NIV)
In Chapter 42, Jacob sends his sons (minus Benjamin) to Egypt to buy grain, as the famine was over the entire region, not just Egypt. Joseph recognized his brothers, but did not disclose his identity to them. Joseph tested his brothers by accusing them of being spies, and required them to bring their brother Benjamin back with them. Joseph held Simeon and sent the rest of the brothers home to bring back Benjamin.
Joseph also returned the brothers’ money in the sacks of grain he had sold them. When they returned home, they told their father Jacob about the strange ordeal. Jacob refused to even consider letting Benjamin go to Egypt.
As we begin Chapter 43, the famine is still raging, and they have consumed all the grain they purchased before. Jacob tells his sons to go back down to Egypt and buy more grain. The brothers remind Jacob that they can’t go back without Benjamin.
Judah steps up and personally takes responsibility for Benjamin’s safety on the journey. This is a surprise, as Judah was the one that had the idea that they should sell Joseph to the traders passing by. Judah’s heart had undergone a transformation, from profit-seeker to family-protector.
Jacob ridicules his sons for having told the Egyptian ruler about their family and bringing up the point about Benjamin. Jacob’s sons remind their father that they were being honest , and had no way of knowing that the ruler (Joseph) would require them to bring Benjamin to Egypt.
Finally, Jacob relents and sends his sons (including Benjamin) to Egypt to buy more grain. Jacob tells his sons to take double the money – returning the original money plus money to buy more grain. Jacob also tells his sons to bring some of the good produce of the land with them as gifts to the Egyptian ruler.
As we look at the gift list that Jacob recommended, we see that times were indeed hard. A little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds were all they had to offer. It was not the cost of the gift or the quantity of the gift – it was the heart attitude reflected by the giving of the gift.
Notice that Jacob counts the cost of sending Benjamin to Egypt. He puts his son in God’s hands, and leaves the matter with the Lord. Jacob offers his blessing on his sons, and prays for God’s mercy when the sons meet with the Egyptian ruler this time, asking the Lord to bring back all his sons, including Simeon and Benjamin.
What (or whom) are we willing to entrust into God’s hands?
What circumstances will it take before we entrust that thing or person to the Lord?
May we release our troubles and trials to the Lord, laying them at the foot of the cross.