When Jacob heard that grain was available in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you standing around looking at one another? I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy enough grain to keep us alive. Otherwise we’ll die.” So Joseph’s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain. — Genesis 42:1-3
Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color. — Author Unknown
Joseph had sent his brothers away from their first encounter filling their bags with grain and the money they had brought to pay for that grain. Only nine brothers returned to their father, Jacob. Joseph said if they were the honest men they claimed to be, they would return with their youngest brother — until that time, one brother would remain in Egypt. Despite his weeping, did Joseph still retain a measure of revenge? The brother chosen to remain behind was Simeon, the hot-headed, impulsive one who was likely the brother who threw Joseph into the pit.
The brothers return to Canaan, but when the grain is gone, Jacob wants them to return to Egypt. It’s then the brothers tell Jacob they cannot return without Benjamin, who is now Jacob’s favorite son.
When the brothers stand before Joseph again, he is overwhelmed at seeing Benjamin and invites them all to his home for the noon meal. The brothers still do not recognized Joseph as their brother, even after he seats and serves them in their Hebrew tradition of birth order.
Sometimes it’s the small details the loom large in scripture, for prejudice, too, was at this dinner table, invited or not. The Egyptian guests sat at one table and the Hebrew guests sat at another table because Egyptians despised shepherds and Hebrews were shepherds.
Despite his high position, Joseph was not quite Egyptian and not so much Hebrew. So Joseph sat at a table for one.