Well, time passed, and the family was well fed by the grain for Egypt. But in the back of their minds, the brothers knew that the grain would run out and they would have to go get more. They also knew that they would have to convince Dad to let Benjamin go to Egypt, or the family would die of starvation.
One day, the food finally ran out. Then Dad said, "Boys, go down to Egypt for some more food."
The boys looked at each other and cleared their throat. Then Judah exclaimed, "The man warned us that we would not see his face unless Benjamin is with us. If you will send him, we will go and buy food. If you will not send him, we will not go get food, for the man said, 'You won't see my face unless you bring your brother.'"
Dad said, "Why did you treat me this way? Did you have to tell the man that you had a brother?"
Levi replied, "The man questioned us carefully about our family and background. How were we supposed to know he would demand our brother from us?"
Judah stepped forward and spoke to his Dad. "Send the boy with me, and we will go so that we may live and not die. I will be a pledge of his safety. You shall require him from my hand. If I do not bring him back and set him before you, I will bear the blame forever. If we had not delayed, we could have gone to Egypt and back twice!"
The other brothers looked at one another in surprise. Judah had been the one who suggested selling Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders thirteen years ago. He had hated the boy who was their father's favorite. Now, Judah was pledging himself as protection for Benjamin, Dad's new favorite son.
Their thoughts were interrupted by Dad's decision. "If it must be this way, then do this: take some fruit, balm, honey gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds as a present to the man. Take double the money with you, and carry back the money that was returned in your sacks. Perhaps that was a mistake. Take your brother with you, and go to the man. May El Shaddai grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back both Simeon and Benjamin with you. As for me, if I am bereaved of my children, well, I am bereaved."
So the brothers took the present and the money and Judah took Benjamin. They set off for Egypt and stood before the governor.
The governor's steward brought the men into his master's house. Then men talked in hushed voices. "Why are we in here?" Issachar asked.
"I don't know," Levi replied.
"It is probably because of the money," Asher said. "He is going to assault us and make us servants and take our donkeys!"
The men went up the steward and Reuben said, "Oh, my lord, the first time we came down here, the money we had paid with was replaced in our sacks. We have brought the money with us this time, and more to buy more food. We don't know how it got in our sacks."
The steward smiled and said, "Shalom. Don't be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I got the money."
The brothers were again surprised. How did this man know about Elohim, the God of the Hebrews?
Then they cried out in joy as Simeon was brought to them.
"What took so long?" Simeon asked. "I've been in the dungeon forever!"
"Dad didn't want to let Benjamin go with us," Judah replied.
"You are going to be eating the noon meal here in the house," the steward said. "Come, let me wash your feet."
After their feet were washed, the men prepared the present for the governor. When the Egyptian entered the house for the noon meal, they bowed to the ground and presented the gift to him.
He inquired, "Is your father well? Is he alive?"
Dan said, "Yes, he is well and alive."
The brothers bowed even lower until they were laying face down on the ground.
The governor's eyes rested on Benjamin and he cried, "Is that your youngest brother, whom you told me about? God be gracious to you, my son!" Then the man was suddenly gone.
The brothers were shocked at the hasty departure of their host. After a while, he returned and ordered that the food be served. He was served apart from the Hebrews, because the Hebrews were an abomination to the Egyptians.
When the brothers were seated, they were amazed to see that they were seated in birth order- first Reuben, then Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin. Simeon voiced their thoughts. "How could this man know our birth order?" He asked. No one had an answer.
As the food was brought out, they noticed that Benjamin's portions were five times the size of the rest. But it didn't bother them, they were used to Benjamin getting the special treatment. So they ate and drank and were merry with their host.
(Based on Genesis 43)