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.
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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).
I firmly believe that Joseph looked back in time and afforded to Simeon just punishment due him. See Genesis 34:13-30. Simeon and Levi had taken the Holy Covenant of the LORD and had imposed it on a gentile city for revenge. They had taken the privilege of their father Jacob to do the right thing, they had stolen sacred rituals and given them to an idolatrous city for their own personal satisfaction of anger. Their sister Dinah is never spoken of again. Some say she died in the chaos of that night with her husband. Personal anger and its demands for satisfaction, unwillingness to wait on their father Jacob for his decree in the matter, unwilling to seek the LORD in the matter cost so much more than just a city of peaceful men. They lost their sister, Rebecca was lost in their flight from the place, and the blessing of the Holy Covenant was surely lost. Joseph must have recognized this as he took Simeon and placed him in prison. Levi, his twin, must have felt every pang of anxiety while he was there. Levi was destined to be the holy priesthood, but he still could feel the pain of his brother's suffering. Just as twins today experience each and every day. Joseph is a wonderful example of how to love and how to forgive. Sometimes to love, you must separate them from the herd mentality and give them a chance to think for themselves. They can then come to a place to accept the forgiveness you are readily extending towards them. Thank you for the question! Be Blessed Lena
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