Judah stared at the carts stuffed with gifts. Servants hauled donkeys and carts before the entrance of Joseph’s palace. “They’re brimming with clothing, food, and provisions for the journey. Look at this, Reuben!”
“Unbelievable. There’s so much here!”
The eleven brothers walked along each cart amazed at the amount. They rifled their hands through the garments, and sifted through the grain.
Dan laughed. “Won’t Father be surprised?”
Reuben lowered his head and sighed. “Yeah, he’ll be happy to hear Joseph is alive all right…I only hope the news doesn’t kill him.”
Judah laid his hand on Reuben’s shoulder. “It’s going to be OK. Father will be all right. You want to take the lead?”
Reuben wiped a tear then shook his head.
The brothers grabbed ropes and led the donkeys and carts home. A few days later they arrived in Canaan.
When they reached the top of the last hill, Asher pressed ahead. “There’s father! One of the servants must have seen us and told him we arrived.”
Judah grabbed his arm and held him back. “Let Reuben go first.”
They pulled the carts to the family camp and stopped. Jacob held his arms out. “My sons, you’ve returned. Now tell me, you know my eyes are not young, how many are you?”
Reuben stepped forward and accepted his father’s hug. “We are eleven, Father.”
“Eleven? God be praised! Simeon has returned? And Benjamin is with you?”
“Yes, Father. We are all here.” Reuben cringed as the words fell out of his mouth. How am I going to tell him Joseph is alive?
Jacob walked to each son and hugged him. When he reached Benjamin, he hugged him longer. “Benjamin, I’m glad you’re home.”
“Father, you wouldn’t believe the sights we saw in Egypt. And guess who was there?”
Judah raced up and shoved his hand over Benjamin’s mouth. “Perhaps Reuben should tell him, don’t you think?”
Benjamin backed away and nodded.
Jacob squinted towards Reuben. “Have you something to say?”
“Yes—I—well—yes we have news for you.” He took a deep breath and slowly released the air. “When we reached the front of the food line in Egypt, a servant notified the governor. Moments later the governor appeared. He eyed Benjamin then had the servants escort us to his palace. Not long after, guards led Simeon into our room. He brought water for us to wash then escorted us to a banquet hall. After our meal the governor told everyone to leave the room except us.”
Reuben combed his fingers through his hair and turned to his brothers. They lowered their heads and sighed. Jacob raised his hands. “Is that it?”
“Well, no. The governor stepped closer to us—and—and he said---“ Reuben bit his lip. “He said he was Joseph--our brother.”
Jacob grabbed his chest and stumbled back. The brothers help him to a chair. “Don’t play tricks on me, Reuben. I am an old man. Don’t tell me such tales.”
Reuben walked closer and placed his hand on his father’s shoulder. “I’m speaking the truth. My brothers are witnesses. The governor of Egypt is your son, Joseph.”
“It’s true.” Judah gently pushed his way through the other brothers and knelt before his father. “We all saw Joseph. Come see the gifts Joseph sent you.”
Judah and Reuben helped Jacob stand. Jacob walked to each cart and felt the bundles. “What is all of this? Did you pay for these things?”
Reuben smiled. “They’re gifts from Joseph.”
“Then he truly is alive? My son Joseph is alive?” Jacob raised his hands toward the sky. “My son Joseph is alive!” He turned to Reuben, Judah, and the others. “I must go see him before I die.”
Reuben laughed at the twinkle in his father’s eyes. “He wants to see you too. He sent carts and donkeys and everything we’d need for the return trip.”
What did Reuben have to do? Did he do it? How did his heart feel afterwards? Did you ever have to do this?