Slowly but surely, the grain from Egypt ran out. Soon there was hardly anything left. Jacob and his sons and their wives and children cut back from three meals a day to two. Soon they could only eat one meal a day. Again and again the brothers asked Jacob to let them go back to Egypt. After all, Simeon was still there. But Jacob always said no. He knew it would mean saying good-bye to Benjamin.
Finally he had no choice but to think of his large family. So he said yes. And Judah, the brother who had sold Joseph as a slave, said he would take special care of Benjamin.
“Nothing will happen to him.” He promised.
“Just to make sure.” Jacob said, “Bring twice as much money, that way you can pay the Egyptian back for the last load of grain. Take him gifts of honey, perfume, pistachio nuts and almonds.”
As soon as the brothers arrived in Egypt, they went to Joseph. All he could do was stare at his brother Benjamin. He had grown into a handsome young man.
“Come, stay in my house and we will have a big meal together,” Joseph said. Then he had Simeon brought out of prison. When the brothers arrived at the house, they told the steward about the money they had found on their trip home. He reassured them and they went inside.
“How is your father?” Joseph asked. He held his breath.
“He is alive and well.” The brothers answered.
Joseph looked at Benjamin again. He reached out a hand and put it on his head.
“May God be good to you, my son.” He said. Suddenly he turned away. His brothers were bowing down to him, just like in his dream so long ago.
The memories were suddenly too much for Joseph. He ran from the room. Once alone, he cried and cried. Lord,” he prayed, “You have brought us together again. I love them all so much.”
Joseph wiped away his tears and went back to the brothers. It was a grand party that lasted most of the night but never once did Joseph tell the brothers who he really was. The next morning the brothers rode off for home. They were happy, for they had rescued Simeon, bought food for their families and eaten with an important man. Best of all, Benjamin was safe.
Little did they know that Joseph had a plan. He had ordered a servant to hide his silver cup in Benjamin’s bag told the palace guards to chase them. They galloped alongside the brothers.
“Get off your camels and donkeys.” The guards ordered them.
“What have we done wrong?” Reuben asked.
“One of you has stolen our master’s silver cup!”
“But why would we steal?” The brothers cried.
The guards went from camel to donkey to donkey. They ended at Benjamin’s donkey. When they searched his sack, a shout went up. The guard raised the silver cup into the air.
The brothers groaned. “Oh no! This is terrible. Benjamin what have you done?”
Benjamin was so shocked, he just shook his head. “But, I didn’t take it!”
The guards ordered them back to Joseph’s palace. The brothers begged Joseph. “We never meant to take your silver cup. Please forgive us.”
“You may go.” Joseph said. “Only the thief must stay behind.”
Judah said. “But our father will die if we don’t bring Benjamin back to him. He has already lost one son. He could not bear to lose this one, too. Please, I beg of you, let me stay here in his place. Please. If Benjamin stays here, none of us can face our father again.” Judah fell to his knees.
Joseph looked at Judah on his knees. He saw how scared Benjamin was so he told the servants.
“Leave us. I want to be alone with these men!”
The servants left the room and Joseph said. “I am your brother Joseph.”
They did not believe him. They were so terrified they could not look or listen.
“Open your eyes.” Joseph said coming closer to them. “I am Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!”
When Joseph said that, the brothers took a good look. Then they became even more afraid. If he really were Joseph, then he should kill them for what they had done to him.
“No, no, don’t be afraid anymore, brothers. Don’t be angry with yourselves. God sent me here to make sure there would be enough food for our family.”
Joseph’s brothers stared at him with big eyes.
“Don’t you see?” He said. “You did not send me here, God did. God made me ruler of all Egypt, over everyone but Pharaoh. This was all part of God’s plan for taking care of our family. Now hurry back to my father. Tell him to bring our whole family to Egypt and to hurry. I will make sure you have enough to eat.”
Joseph threw his arms around Benjamin. He gave him a big bear hug and started crying. He was so happy to see him again. When Pharaoh heard the news, he gave the brothers many carts so they could bring their wives and children and things back to Egypt. Pharaoh was happy for Joseph. Before they left, Joseph gave the brothers many animals and other beautiful gifts. “Give them to my father.” He told them.