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Genesis 42

42
Joseph’s brothers go to Egypt
1When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, ‘Why do you just keep looking at each other?’ 2He continued, ‘I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.’
3Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.
6Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognised them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. ‘Where do you come from?’ he asked.
‘From the land of Canaan,’ they replied, ‘to buy food.’
8Although Joseph recognised his brothers, they did not recognise him. 9Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, ‘You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.’
10‘No, my lord,’ they answered. ‘Your servants have come to buy food. 11We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.’
12‘No!’ he said to them. ‘You have come to see where our land is unprotected.’
13But they replied, ‘Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.’
14Joseph said to them, ‘It is just as I told you: you are spies! 15And this is how you will be tested: as surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!’ 17And he put them all in custody for three days.
18On the third day, Joseph said to them, ‘Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19if you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.’ This they proceeded to do.
21They said to one another, ‘Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.’
22Reuben replied, ‘Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.’ 23They did not realise that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.
24He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.
25Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, 26they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
27At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack. 28‘My silver has been returned,’ he said to his brothers. ‘Here it is in my sack.’
Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, ‘What is this that God has done to us?’
29When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30‘The man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us and treated us as though we were spying on the land. 31But we said to him, “We are honest men; we are not spies. 32We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in Canaan.”
33‘Then the man who is lord over the land said to us, “This is how I will know whether you are honest men: leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for your starving households and go. 34But bring your youngest brother to me so I will know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will give your brother back to you, and you can trade#42:34 Or move about freely in the land.” ’
35As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his pouch of silver! When they and their father saw the money pouches, they were frightened. 36Their father Jacob said to them, ‘You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!’
37Then Reuben said to his father, ‘You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back.’
38But Jacob said, ‘My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my grey head down to the grave in sorrow.’
42
1-2When Jacob learned that there was food in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you sit around here and look at one another? I’ve heard that there is food in Egypt. Go down there and buy some so that we can survive and not starve to death.”
3-5Ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to get food. Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with them; he was afraid that something bad might happen to him. So Israel’s sons joined everyone else that was going to Egypt to buy food, for Canaan, too, was hit hard by the famine.
6-7Joseph was running the country; he was the one who gave out rations to all the people. When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they treated him with honor, bowing to him. Joseph recognized them immediately, but treated them as strangers and spoke roughly to them.
He said, “Where do you come from?”
“From Canaan,” they said. “We’ve come to buy food.”
8Joseph knew who they were, but they didn’t know who he was.
9Joseph, remembering the dreams he had dreamed of them, said, “You’re spies. You’ve come to look for our weak spots.”
10-11“No, master,” they said. “We’ve only come to buy food. We’re all the sons of the same man; we’re honest men; we’d never think of spying.”
12He said, “No. You’re spies. You’ve come to look for our weak spots.”
13They said, “There were twelve of us brothers—sons of the same father in the country of Canaan. The youngest is with our father, and one is no more.”
14-16But Joseph said, “It’s just as I said, you’re spies. This is how I’ll test you. As Pharaoh lives, you’re not going to leave this place until your younger brother comes here. Send one of you to get your brother while the rest of you stay here in jail. We’ll see if you’re telling the truth or not. As Pharaoh lives, I say you’re spies.”
17Then he threw them into jail for three days.
18-20On the third day, Joseph spoke to them. “Do this and you’ll live. I’m a God-fearing man. If you’re as honest as you say you are, one of your brothers will stay here in jail while the rest of you take the food back to your hungry families. But you have to bring your youngest brother back to me, confirming the truth of your speech—and not one of you will die.” They agreed.
21Then they started talking among themselves. “Now we’re paying for what we did to our brother—we saw how terrified he was when he was begging us for mercy. We wouldn’t listen to him and now we’re the ones in trouble.”
22Reuben broke in. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t hurt the boy’? But no, you wouldn’t listen. And now we’re paying for his murder.”
23-24Joseph had been using an interpreter, so they didn’t know that Joseph was understanding every word. Joseph turned away from them and cried. When he was able to speak again, he took Simeon and had him tied up, making a prisoner of him while they all watched.
25Then Joseph ordered that their sacks be filled with grain, that their money be put back in each sack, and that they be given rations for the road. That was all done for them.
26They loaded their food supplies on their donkeys and set off.
27-28When they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to get food for his donkey; there at the mouth of his bag was his money. He called out to his brothers, “My money has been returned; it’s right here in my bag!” They were puzzled—and frightened. “What’s God doing to us?”
29-32When they got back to their father Jacob, back in the land of Canaan, they told him everything that had happened, saying, “The man who runs the country spoke to us roughly and accused us of being spies. We told him, ‘We are honest men and in no way spies. There were twelve of us brothers, sons of one father; one is gone and the youngest is with our father in Canaan.’
33-34“But the master of the country said, ‘Leave one of your brothers with me, take food for your starving families, and go. Bring your youngest brother back to me, proving that you’re honest men and not spies. And then I’ll give your brother back to you and you’ll be free to come and go in this country.’”
35As they were emptying their food sacks, each man came on his purse of money. On seeing their money, they and their father were upset.
36Their father said to them, “You’re taking everything I’ve got! Joseph’s gone, Simeon’s gone, and now you want to take Benjamin. If you have your way, I’ll be left with nothing.”
37Reuben spoke up: “I’ll put my two sons in your hands as hostages. If I don’t bring Benjamin back, you can kill them. Trust me with Benjamin; I’ll bring him back.”
38But Jacob refused. “My son will not go down with you. His brother is dead and he is all I have left. If something bad happens to him on the road, you’ll put my gray, sorrowing head in the grave.”