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B'resheet (Gen) 42

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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.”
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Joseph and his brothers
Joseph's brothers go to Egypt to buy grain
1When Jacob found out there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you just sitting here, staring at one another? 2I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Now go down and buy some, so we won't starve to death.”#Ac 7.12.
3Ten of Joseph's brothers went to Egypt to buy grain. 4But Jacob did not send Joseph's younger brother Benjamin with them; he was afraid that something might happen to him. 5So Jacob's sons joined others from Canaan who were going to Egypt because of the terrible famine.
6Since Joseph was governor of Egypt and in charge of selling grain, his brothers came to him and bowed with their faces to the ground. 7-8They did not recognize Joseph, but straight away he knew who they were, though he pretended not to know. Instead, he spoke harshly and asked, “Where do you come from?”
“From the land of Canaan,” they answered. “We've come here to buy grain.”
9Joseph remembered what he had dreamed about them and said, “You're spies! You've come here to find out where our country is weak.”#Gn 37.5-10.
10“No sir,” they replied. “We're your servants, and we have only come to buy grain. 11We're honest men, and we come from the same family—we're not spies.”
12“That isn't so!” Joseph insisted. “You've come here to find out where our country is weak.”
13But they explained, “Sir, we come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and one of our brothers is dead.”
14Joseph replied:
It's just like I said. You're spies, 15and I'm going to find out who you really are. I swear by the life of the king that you won't leave this place until your youngest brother comes here. 16Choose one of you to go after your brother, while the rest of you stay here in jail. That will show whether you are telling the truth. But if you are lying, I swear by the life of the king that you are spies!
17Joseph kept them all under guard for three days, 18before saying to them:
Since I respect God, I'll give you a chance to save your lives. 19If you are honest men, one of you must stay here in jail, and the rest of you can take the grain back to your starving families. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me. Then I'll know that you are telling the truth, and you won't be put to death.
Joseph's brothers agreed 21and said to one another, “We're being punished because of Joseph. We saw the trouble he was in, but we refused to help him when he begged us. That's why these terrible things are happening.”
22Reuben spoke up, “Didn't I tell you not to harm the boy? But you wouldn't listen, and now we have to pay the price for killing him.”#Gn 37.21,22.
23They did not know that Joseph could understand them, since he was speaking through an interpreter. 24Joseph turned away from them and cried, but soon he turned back and spoke to them again. Then he had Simeon tied up and taken away while they watched.
Joseph's brothers return to Canaan
25Joseph gave orders for his brothers' grain sacks to be filled with grain and for their money#42.25 money: Probably in the form of small pieces of silver and/or other precious or semi-precious metals; there were no coins or paper money at this time. to be put in their sacks. He also gave orders for them to be given food for their journey home. After this was done, 26they each loaded the grain on their donkeys and left.
27When they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to get some grain for his donkey, and straight away he saw his money bag. 28“Here's my money!” he told his brothers. “Right here in my sack.”
They were trembling with fear as they stared at one another and asked themselves, “What has God done to us?”
29When they returned to the land of Canaan, they told their father Jacob everything that had happened to them:
30The governor of Egypt was rude and treated us like spies. 31But we told him, “We're honest men, not spies. 32We come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and the other is dead.”
33Then the governor of Egypt told us, “I'll find out if you really are honest. Leave one of your brothers here with me, while you take the grain to your starving families. 34But bring your youngest brother to me, so I can be certain that you are honest men and not spies. After that, I'll let your other brother go free, and you can stay here and trade.”
35When the brothers started emptying their sacks of grain, they found their money bags in them. They were frightened, and so was their father Jacob, 36who said, “You have already taken my sons Joseph and Simeon from me. And now you want to take away Benjamin! Everything is against me.”
37Reuben spoke up, “Father, if I don't bring Benjamin back, you can kill both of my sons. Trust me with him, and I will bring him back.”
38But Jacob said, “I won't let my son Benjamin go down to Egypt with the rest of you. His brother is already dead, and he is the only son I have left.#42.38 only son I have left: Jacob had only two sons by Rachel, his favourite wife. I am an old man, and if anything happens to him on the way, I'll die from sorrow, and all of you will be to blame.”