1Still no food grew in the land of Canaan. 2When Jacob’s family had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, Jacob said to them, “Go to Egypt again and buy a little more grain for us to eat.”
3But Judah said to Jacob, “The governor of that country strongly warned us, ‘If you don’t bring your brother back with you, you will not be allowed to see me.’ 4If you will send Benjamin with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5But if you refuse to send Benjamin, we will not go. The governor of that country warned us that we would not see him if we didn’t bring Benjamin with us.”
6Israel£ said, “Why did you tell the man you had another brother? You have caused me a lot of trouble.”
7The brothers answered, “He questioned us carefully about ourselves and our family. He asked us, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ We just answered his questions. How could we know he would ask us to bring our other brother to him?”
8Then Judah said to his father Jacob, “Send Benjamin with me, and we will go at once so that we, you, and our children may live and not die. 9I will guarantee you that he will be safe, and I will be personally responsible for him. If I don’t bring him back to you, you can blame me all my life. 10If we had not wasted all this time, we could have already made two trips.”
11Then their father Jacob said to them, “If it has to be that way, then do this: Take some of the best foods in our land in your packs. Give them to the man as a gift: some balm, some honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Take twice as much money with you this time, and take back the money that was returned to you in your sacks last time. Maybe it was a mistake
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Genesis 43:1-12
Judah put it on the line. "You can't continue to delay and deny the situation. I'll take responsibility for Benjamin's life. If anything happens to him, I will bear the consequences for the rest of my days. Come on, Dad, let's cooperate. If we hadn't delayed this long, we could already have been down there and back twice with food."
Judah offered to take the blame, even though blaming is a futile exercise. Yelling at darkness doesn't make it light. But we like to blame. "Dad," said Judah, "if you want to blame somebody, blame me. But let Benjamin go. Man, we're dying here."
Aging Jacob reluctantly gave in. He responded with what I would call tolerance and uncertainty. First he denied and delayed. Then came blame and deceit. And now, finally, tolerance and uncertainty. The old man was one tough nut to crack!
Perhaps his response went something like this: "Oh, all right. If you have to do it, then here's the procedure I want you to follow." See his attitude? And then he reverted to another old pattern. He ordered them to take gifts, things that were native to Canaan. If he had lived in the days of Solomon, he would have claimed Proverbs 21:14: "A gift in secret subdues anger, and a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath."
Years before, he had done that with his brother, Esau, and it had worked. It might work with the Egyptian prime minister too.
Jacob could see all kinds of schemes, but he still refused to see God's hand at work. He could not say, "Look, boys, we don't know what all this means, but we do know that we're confused and we need God's help. Let's trust God for protection and insight on this. Let's ask Him to give us direction on what to do."
Parents, this is an appropriate time for me to urge you to call your families to prayer. "Hey, kids, let's pray about this before we leave the breakfast table." Or, "Let's spend some time Saturday morning asking God for direction in this situation. We don't know what to do." Maybe one of your sons or daughters is edging into rebellion. Listen to them. Listen longer than normal. Try hard not to butt in. Admit it when you're not sure how to respond. Then sit down and pray together, asking for God's direction.