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Genesis 42

42
Joseph’s Brothers Go Down to Egypt
1Jacob found out that there was grain in Egypt. So he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at one another?” 2He continued, “I’ve heard there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there. Buy some for us. Then we’ll live and not die.”
3So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain there. 4But Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with them. He was afraid Benjamin might be harmed. 5Israel’s sons were among the people who went to buy grain. There wasn’t enough food in the land of Canaan.
6Joseph was the governor of the land. He was the one who sold grain to all its people. When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them. But he pretended to be a stranger. He spoke to them in a mean way. “Where do you come from?” he asked.
“From the land of Canaan,” they replied. “We’ve come to buy food.”
8Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him. 9Then Joseph remembered his dreams about them. So he said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.”
10“No, sir,” they answered. “We’ve come to buy food. 11All of us are the sons of one man. We’re honest men. We aren’t spies.”
12“No!” he said to them. “You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.”
13But they replied, “We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one man. He lives in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is now with our father. And one brother is gone.”
14Joseph said to them, “I still say you are spies! 15So I’m going to test you. And here’s the test. You can be sure that you won’t leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. You can be just as sure of this as you are sure that Pharaoh lives. I give you my word that you won’t leave here unless your brother comes. 16Send one of you back to get your brother. The rest of you will be kept in prison. I’ll test your words. Then we’ll find out whether you are telling the truth. You can be sure that Pharaoh lives. And you can be just as sure that if you aren’t telling the truth, we’ll know that you are spies!” 17So Joseph kept all of them under guard for three days.
18On the third day, Joseph spoke to them again. He said, “Do what I say. Then you will live, because I have respect for God. 19If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The rest of you may go and take grain back to your hungry families. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me. That will prove that your words are true. Then you won’t die.” So they did what he said.
21They said to one another, “God is surely punishing us because of our brother. We saw how upset he was when he begged us to let him live. But we wouldn’t listen. That’s why all this trouble has come to us.”
22Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we’re being paid back for killing him.” 23They didn’t realize that Joseph could understand what they were saying. He was using someone else to explain their words to him in the Egyptian language.
24Joseph turned away from his brothers and began to weep. Then he came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken and tied up right there in front of them.
25Joseph gave orders to have their bags filled with grain. He had each man’s money put back into his sack. He also made sure they were given food for their journey. 26Then the brothers loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
27When night came, they stopped. One of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey. He saw his money in the top of his sack. 28“My money has been given back,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.”
They had a sinking feeling in their hearts. They began to tremble. They turned to one another and said, “What has God done to us?”
29They came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him everything that had happened to them. They said, 30“The man who is the governor of the land spoke to us in a mean way. He treated us as if we were spying on the land. 31But we said to him, ‘We’re honest men. We aren’t spies. 32We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one father. But now one brother is gone. And our youngest brother is with our father in Canaan.’
33“Then the man who is the governor of the land spoke to us. He said, ‘Here’s how I will know whether you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me. Take food for your hungry families and go. 34But bring your youngest brother to me. Then I’ll know that you are honest men and not spies. I’ll give your brother back to you. And you will be free to trade in the land.’ ”
35They began emptying their sacks. There in each man’s sack was his bag of money! When they and their father saw the money bags, they were scared to death. 36Their father Jacob said to them, “You have taken my children away from me. Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is going against me!”
37Then Reuben spoke to his father. He said, “You can put both of my sons to death if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. Trust me to take care of him. I’ll bring him back.”
38But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you. His brother is dead. He’s the only one left here with me. Suppose he’s harmed on the journey you are taking. Then I would die as a sad old man.”
42
1Now Ya‘akov saw that there was grain in Egypt; so Ya‘akov said to his sons, “Why are you staring at each other? 2Look,” he said, “I’ve heard that there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us from there, so that we can stay alive and not die!” 3Thus Yosef’s ten brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt, 4except for Binyamin, Yosef’s brother. Ya‘akov did not send him with his brothers, because he was afraid something might happen to him.
5The sons of Isra’el came to buy along with the others that came, since the famine extended to the land of Kena‘an. 6Yosef was governor over the land; it was he who sold to all the people of the land. Now when Yosef’s brothers came and prostrated themselves before him on the ground, 7Yosef saw his brothers and recognized them; but he acted toward them as if he were a stranger and spoke harshly with them. He asked them, “Where are you from?” They answered, “From the land of Kena‘an to buy food.” 8So Yosef recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him.
9Remembering the dreams he had had about them, Yosef said to them, “You are spies! You’ve come to spot our country’s weaknesses!” 10“No, my lord,” they replied, “your servants have come to buy food. 11We’re all the sons of one man, we’re upright men; your servants aren’t spies.” 12“No,” he said to them, “you’ve come to spy out our country’s weaknesses.” 13They said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Kena‘an; the youngest stayed with our father, and another one is gone.” 14“Just as I said,” replied Yosef, “you’re spies! 15Here’s how you can prove you’re not lying: as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave here unless your youngest brother comes here. 16Send one of you, and let him bring your brother. Meanwhile, you will be kept in custody. This will prove whether there is any truth in what you say. Otherwise, as Pharaoh lives, you are certainly spies.” 17Then he put all of them together in prison for three days.
18On the third day, Yosef said to them, “Do what I say, and stay alive, for I fear God. (v) 19If you are upright men, let one of your brothers remain incarcerated in the prison you’re being kept in, while you go and carry grain back to relieve the famine in your homes. 20But bring your youngest brother to me. In this way your statements will be verified, and you won’t die.”
So they did it. 21They said to each other, “We are in fact guilty concerning our brother. He was in distress and pleaded with us; we saw it and wouldn’t listen. That’s why this distress has come upon us now.” 22Re’uven answered them, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t wrong the boy’? But you wouldn’t hear of it. Now comes the reckoning for his blood!” 23They had no idea that Yosef understood them, since an interpreter was translating for them. 24Yosef turned away from them and wept; then he returned and spoke to them. He took Shim‘on from among them and put him in prison before their eyes. 25Next he ordered that their containers be filled with grain, that every man’s money be put back in his pack and that they be given provisions for the journey. When these things had been done for them, 26they loaded their grain on their donkeys and departed.
27But at camp that night, as one of them opened his pack to give fodder to his donkey, he noticed his money — there it was, just inside his pack. 28He said to his brothers, “My money has been restored — there it is, right in my pack!” At that, their hearts sank; they turned, trembling, to one another and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29They returned to Ya‘akov their father in the land of Kena‘an and told him all that had happened to them. 30“The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly with us. He took us for spies in his country. 31We said to him, ‘We are upright men, we’re not spies; 32we are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is gone, and the youngest stayed with our father in the land of Kena‘an.’ 33But the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘Here is how I will know that you are upright men: leave one of your brothers with me, take grain to relieve the famine in your homes, and go on your way; 34but bring your youngest brother to me. By this I will know that you aren’t spies, but are upright men; then I will return your brother to you; and you will do business in the land.’”
35Next, as they emptied their packs, there was each man’s bag of money in his pack; and when they and their father saw their bags of money, they became afraid. 36Ya‘akov their father said to them, “You have robbed me of my children! Yosef is gone, Shim‘on is gone, now you’re taking Binyamin away — it all falls on me!” 37Re’uven said to his father, “If I don’t bring him back to you, you can kill my own two sons! Put him in my care; I will return him to you.” 38But he replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother is dead, and he alone is left. If anything were to happen to him while traveling with you, you would bring my gray hair down to Sh’ol with grief.”