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Genesis 43 English Standard Version (ESV)
16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 17 The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18 And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys.” 19 So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the door of the house, 20 and said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food. 21 And when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it again with us, 22 and we have brought other money down with us to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23 He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24 And when the man had brought the men into Joseph’s house and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, 25 they prepared the present for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there.
26 When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. 27 And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28 They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. 29 And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” 30 Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out. And controlling himself he said, “Serve the food.” 32 They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one another in amazement.34 Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him.
If time permits, it’s best to read through the whole chapter.
Upon returning to Canaan the brothers had to persuade Jacob to let Benjamin accompany them on their next trip to Egypt, which they did with considerable difficulty. When they went back to Egypt, they tried to return the money they had found in their sacks.
Joseph hosted a meal for his brothers who years before had callously sat down to eat while he languished in a pit. Joseph showered Benjamin lavishly by giving him larger and better servings of food than his brothers received (v. 34). With this favor Joseph sought not only to honor Benjamin but also to test his other brothers’ feelings toward Benjamin. He wanted to see if they would hate him as they had hated himself, his father’s former favorite. Evidently they passed this test.
How important is family meals for you? On what occasions will you eat with your family (or some closest friends)? What’s the atmosphere? Do you look forward to these gatherings or do you dread going?
“Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9). How do you prepare to attend this banquet? How will God work in you and your family to bring healing and reconciliation?
When is the next occasion for eating together? Why not invite them this time and treat them a nice Reunion meal? Remember to invite Jesus as well.