Daily Word

Present a present | Genesis 43:11-17

11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12 Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. 14 May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

15 So the men took this present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin. They arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 17 The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 

Genesis 43:11-17 (ESV)

Accepting the inevitable

Israel (Jacob) relents. He decides to let the brothers take Benjamin and go get grain. He had no other options. But to help ensure his safe return, he has them bring not just the money for more grain, not just the money that was returned from the first trip’s grain. They were also to present some delicacies of the land as a present to “the man” to “sweeten the deal”. “However, Moses called Jacob “Israel” here (v. 11), which may indicate that Jacob was not relying on the flesh here.” (planobiblechapel.org)

Faith and fatalism

As part of this acceptance, he seems to realize that he may never see Benjamin again. Consider Jacob’s response (v14). We see a mixture of faith (he sought God’s blessing) and fatalism (“if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved”). Do you think this is pleasing to the Lord? Is it really faith?

On the road again

The brothers head off back to Egypt with all the money and the delicacies (and Benjamin, of course) to get more grain – and the return of Simeon. This provided them some time to think about the situation and the possible outcomes – and examine their hearts. 

Before “the man”

They arrive and head to Joseph’s house to do their trading. When Joseph sees Benjamin, he immediately asks them to his home. Maybe he knew that his brothers had changed; they were no longer so ruthless. He probably also surmised that they had made some sacrificial promises to Jacob to allow them to take Benjamin, Jacob’s new favorite son. We’ll see soon that he has a test in store to prove their hearts.

The brothers were naturally anxious. Can you imagine? Lunch with the second in command of the most powerful nation?! There was no mention of the chance to present the present.


  • What do you think of Jacob’s decision? It was part faith, part fatalism. Was God pleased? How do we handle difficult situations? Do we have fatalism mixed in? Or do we have a “Plan B”?
Present present bags of meat sticks. Image from hickorynutgap.com *

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