1. Having returned from Egypt with the necessary grain for food, it was but an inevitable thing that the food would run short, and in this chapter we read about that. The sons of Israel knew what the authority of Pharaoh said concerning their next arrival (42:18-20); if there was no younger brother with them they could not stand before him (44:23), thus they could not get the necessary food to sustain them and their large family.
2. Jacob was told this (42:33-36), but he was not willing to part with his son, who by this time was in his twenties (he was born before Joseph went into slavery and it had been about twenty-two years since that time; 35:18). Judah speaks plainly to his father and, finally, Jacob relents and resigns himself to the possibility of Benjamin not being seen again (43:14). It does not matter, evidently, to Jacob that his fourth son made a solemn promise to him to care and protect him. Already he has lost one son and another is incarcerated.
3. Jacob’s sons arrive in Egypt and Joseph prepares for them a festive occasion. his brothers, not sure how to interpret what was going on, appeal to the servant of the house that their honesty is in full view bringing with them “double-money” for the purchase of the grain needed; though they were reassured (43:23) it is difficult to know how comforting that was to them in in this most unusual circumstance. Joseph comes out; they exchange pleasant greetings and conversation, and then begin to eat.
4. Application: Joseph’s brothers were “haggard” by their guilt/sin (Numbers 32:23); they simply did not allow themselves to be comfortable in an uncomfortable environment. It is not unusual to be uncomfortable in a new environment, but when guilt and sin is added to one’s apprehension, this is multiplied many times. It is obvious as to how one can remedy this, and if we are honest with ourselves the obvious remedy becomes clear.