Summary: God uses even evil deeds to serve His purpose in preserving a remnant for Israel.
In the last chapter Joseph’s brothers stood before him and bowed on their faces. He accused them of being spies and placed Simeon under arrest until Benjamin could come and prove otherwise. He sent the others home with full grain sacks and secretly returned their money, and once they realize they’re too afraid to return. At least a full year passes before we come to the next chapter:
And the famine was sore in the land. 2And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food. 3And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. 4If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food: 5But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. 6And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother? 7And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down? 8And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. 9I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: 10For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time. 11And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: 12And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight: 13Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: 14And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
Jacob and his children have money and gifts but no food. Egypt is their last resort, but none of the brothers will go unless Benjamin goes with them because they fear being taken again for spies. Judah guarantees that Benjamin won’t be taken and offers to let the blame fall entirely on him if otherwise. Jacob finally gives in and allows them to go.
15And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. 16And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon. 17And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house. 18And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses. 19And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, 20And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: 21And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. 22And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. 23And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them. 24And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. 25And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.