When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and butcher an animal and prepare a meal, for the men will dine with me at noon.” Bible see other translations

“butcher an animal.” Egypt had a very hot climate and there was no effective refrigeration in ancient times, so animals were butchered right before they were eaten. The butchering, preparation, and cooking of the animal would take time, so this meal was not eaten right away, but likely a couple hours later. The fact that this meal was prepared as the noon meal shows that Joseph’s brothers had appeared before him quite early in the morning. It was common for the business of the day to start early in ancient times, and often official business ended early as well.

Commentary for: Genesis 43:16