Why did Joseph keep Simeon while his brothers go back home?


Genesis 42:18 - 25

ESV - 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, "Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households.

Clarify Share Report Asked October 17 2017 Mini Terri Spicer

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I would say that it was because Joseph wanted to see his younger brother (Benjamin)(who was his full brother, since both were the only sons of Rachel, Jacob's favored wife), and also his father (Jacob), who had not made the journey down to Egypt with Jacob's other ten sons to get grain there because of the famine in Canaan (Genesis 42:1-4).

(Jacob had insisted that Benjamin be left behind when his other sons went down to Egypt so that he would not lose all his remaining sons in case something happened to them.) (Jacob believed that Joseph had been killed due to the lie that Joseph's brothers told him after they had sold Joseph into slavery because of their hatred of Joseph (Genesis 37:12-36).) 

Since Joseph (whom his brothers had not recognized when they arrived in Egypt) did not yet want to reveal to his brothers who he was, he demanded that Jacob's son (and Joseph's half-brother) Simeon stay behind in Egypt in order to assure that, after Jacob's other sons had taken grain from Egypt back to Canaan, they would later return again to Egypt with Benjamin (since they would not want to leave Simeon in captivity in Egypt).

October 18 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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