What does Genesis 45:26 mean?With great fear and anxiety, Jacob sent ten of his twelve sons to Egypt to buy grain from a demanding ruler there (Genesis 43:3–6). From Jacob's perspective, one of his beloved sons had been lost long ago to a wild animal attack (Genesis 37:31–34). Another was held captive in Egypt by the very ruler who then demanded his beloved youngest son Benjamin return with the other brothers (Genesis 42:36). Jacob could not know if he would ever see Benjamin again or, for that matter, if his other sons would return with grain in time to keep the family from starving during the famine (Genesis 43:14).
Now they have returned, including Benjamin and the formerly imprisoned brother. They are also loaded down with grain and, for some reason, accompanied by empty wagons. Jacob probably would have been elated and confused.
One can only imagine how awkward the conversation would have been, as Jacob's sons explain this turn of events. They will have to admit their lie about Joseph's death (Genesis 37:24–28). They will reveal that Jacob's once-favorite son, thought dead for decades, has been alive this entire time (Genesis 45:1–4). Judah had been worried that further bad news would kill their elderly father (Genesis 44:34). In this case, even good news comes as a shock. As one might expect, it's too much for Jacob to process. His reaction is numbness—a stupefied level of disbelief. His sons must have wondered if Jacob would die on the spot.
Pharaoh and Joseph planned well, however (Genesis 45:16–23). Their careful attention to detail will convince Jacob that these stories are true (Genesis 45:27).