Joseph is a big shot in Egypt. His brothers have come to see him because of the famine that Joseph predicted: Joseph’s brothers and fathers have nothing to eat! Of course, they don’t know this guy they’re seeing is the same Joseph they threw in a pit several years before.
Joseph has played a trick on the brothers. He has demanded that Benjamin be held behind in Egypt as a servant because of a trumped-up story about Benjamin being a thief. But things go a little differently than Joseph might have thought. Judah begs Joseph: We have an aged father. Benjamin is the child of his old age. He’ll die if he loses Benjamin. Please, take me, Judah, instead.
Joseph can no longer hold back. He sends all the Egyptians from the room and tells his brothers “I am Joseph.” The brothers are flabbergasted and can’t speak.
Joseph tells his brothers that it was God’s plan that sent him on before his brothers. There are five more years of famine, he says. Go up to Dad and tell him that God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to Goshen and bring your children and your grandchildren and your sheep and your oxen and I’ll support you for the remaining five years of the famine.
Joseph flings himself on Benjamin’s neck and cries. Then he does the same to all his brothers.
Then Joseph gives them wagons, according to Pharoah’s orders, and food for the journey, and clothing.
The brothers go back to Canaan and tell their dad about how Joseph is ruler of Egypt. Jacob doesn’t believe them. Until he sees all the wagons that Joseph has sent him.
Food for thought:
In what ways is this story of brothers reuniting like the story of Jacob and Esau? In what ways is it different?