15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. 16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon. 17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house. 18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses.
Jacob’s sons set out as instructed, bringing with them the present, the double-money, and their youngest brother. Once again they come to Egypt, and once again they find themselves dealing directly with the great Egyptian ruler Zaphnath-paaneah, who is in reality Joseph. And so, at last, Joseph sees Benjamin, and he is moved. Shortly he will show an abundance of tender and caring feeling towards him.
Rather than conduct his business with his brothers right away, Joseph makes ready for the second stage of his test. He is going to play the part of gracious host and treat them kindly, presumably to set his brothers at ease.
But Joseph’s brothers do not receive the invitation to his house with any enthusiasm! Thus far Zaphnath-paaneah, has seemed extremely paranoid towards them, and they immediately assume that this is all a trap. What would stop him from doing whatever mischief he desired to them, just as soon as the doors to the outside world were closed?