The famine was severe in the land.
When they finished eating the grain they had brought from Egypt, Israel said to his sons, "Go back and buy us a little more food."
Judah said to him, "The man gave us a severe warning: 'You won't be allowed to see me again unless your brother is with you.'
If you let our brother go with us, we'll go and buy food for you.
If you won't let him go, we won't go. The man said to us, 'You won't be allowed to see me again unless your brother is with you.'"
Israel asked, "Why have you made trouble for me by telling the man you had another brother?"
They answered, "The man kept asking about us and our family: 'Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?' We simply answered his questions. How could we possibly know he would say, 'Bring your brother here'?"
Then Judah said to his father Israel, "Send the boy along with me. Let's get going so that we won't starve to death.