The Sons of Jacob couldn't help but wonder - and with good reason! After all this time, they couldn't forget what they had done to their little brother all those years ago.
Before they even stopped to unload all the food they had brought home from their hot, dusty journey to Egypt, they ran in to tell their father Jacob all that had happened.
"The Governor of Egypt spoke harshly to us, and accused us of being spies!" they told him, " And now Simeon is in prison until we bring back our brother Benjamin to prove we were not lying!"
Nope. Their trip didn’t go very well.
But at least they came back with food. So they went back to their donkeys and opened their packs -
- and each one of them found a sack of silver sitting on top!
“Oh, no!” they all cried. “What will become of us now! It was bad enough when we found just ONE of our sacks of silver. Now we have ALL our money back! The Governor of Egypt will accuse us of being spies AND thieves! He will come and put us to death for sure!
"We have to go back with Benjamin right away and prove to him we are honest men!” (Which, of course, they weren’t exactly!)
"What will happen next!" their father Jacob cried. "Joseph is dead, Simeon is gone, and now you want to take Benjamin away from me?!"
Rueben said to his father, "I promise over the lives of my two children that if you send Benjamin back with us, I will bring both Simeon and Benjamin back to you."
But Jacob said, "No, I can't let you take Benjamin from me! If anything were to happen to him, I would die!"
And no matter how hard they tried, they couldn't convince Jacob to part with his youngest son.
And so time went by. The famine got worse and worse, and finally they had eaten all the grain they had bought from Egypt. And they were hungry again.
Finally Jacob said, "You must go back to Egypt and buy us more food."
"But Father!" Judah said, "We can't go unless we bring Benjamin with us! If we don't, when the Governor sees us, he will throw us into prison - or worse!"
"Why did you even tell the Governor that you had a little brother?" Jacob moaned.
"Father, if we don't go, we will ALL starve to death. Send Benjamin with me, and I promise I will bring him back. If we had gone sooner, we could have been there and back two times by now!"
Jacob sighed. There was nothing else he could do. "All right. But do this. We still have some spices, some nuts, and some oils left. Bring them as gifts for this Prince of Egypt. And bring him back twice the amount of silver. Maybe it was just a mistake that your silver was put back into your packs.
"Take your brother and go, but my heart will be breaking."
And so the Brothers Israel packed up their things and hurried back down to Egypt.
When they arrived, they took a deep breath, and entered the magnificent court of the Governor.
When Joseph saw his little brother Benjamin with them, he said to his Chief Steward, "Take these men to my house and prepare a meal. They will be having lunch with me today."
And so the brothers were escorted to the Governor's house. They were scared to death! "This is a trap!" they whispered to each other, "He thinks we stole his silver! His soldiers are going to jump on us and make us his slaves forever!"
When they got to the door of Joseph's house, they grabbed the Chief Steward by the arm and said, "Please sir! We didn't take your master's silver! We found it still in our packs! Honest! And look, we have brought it all back - and more! We don't know who put our money back!"
"Do not be afraid," the Chief Steward said, "Your God, the God of your father Jacob, put treasure in your sacks. Don't worry, I got your money!" And then he brought their brother Simeon out to them.
Then the Chief Steward took them inside, gave them water to wash up with, and food for their donkeys. After they washed up, the brothers laid out the gifts they had brought...
...and then they waited.
The Governor was going to arrive at noon.
"What in the world is going on?" they wondered. What was going to happen next?
What was God up to?
Sometimes we just have to wait and see.
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Bible Stories for Kids by Paul Dallgas-Frey
. Copyright © 2004 Paul Dallgas-Frey. All rights reserved.