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Genesis 42

42
The Dreams Come True
1Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt. So he said to his sons, “Why are you just sitting here looking at one another? 2I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy grain for us to eat. Then we will live and not die.”
3So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with them. Jacob was afraid that something terrible might happen to Benjamin. 5Along with many other people, the sons of Jacob, also called Israel, went to Egypt to buy grain. This was because the people in the land of Canaan were hungry also.
6Now Joseph was governor over Egypt. He was the one who sold the grain to people who came to buy it. So Joseph’s brothers came to him. They bowed facedown on the ground before him. 7When Joseph saw his brothers, he knew who they were. But he acted as if he didn’t know them. He asked unkindly, “Where do you come from?”
They answered, “We have come from the land of Canaan to buy food.”
8Joseph knew they were his brothers. But they did not know who he was. 9And Joseph remembered his dreams about his brothers bowing to him. He said to them, “You are spies! You came to learn where the nation is weak!”
10But his brothers said to him, “No, my master. We come as your servants just to buy food. 11We are all sons of the same father. We are honest men, not spies.”
12Then Joseph said to them, “No! You have come to learn where this nation is weak!”
13And they said, “We are 10 of 12 brothers. We are sons of the same father. We live in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is there with our father right now. And our other brother is gone.”
14But Joseph said to them, “I can see I was right! You are spies! 15But I will give you a way to prove you are telling the truth. As surely as the king lives, you will not leave this place until your youngest brother comes here. 16One of you must go and get your brother. The rest of you will stay here in prison. We will see if you are telling the truth. If not, as surely as the king lives, you are spies.” 17Then Joseph put them all in prison for three days.
18On the third day Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man. Do this thing, and I will let you live: 19If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The rest of you go and carry grain back to feed your hungry families. 20Then bring your youngest brother back here to me. If you do this, I will know you are telling the truth. Then you will not die.”
The brothers agreed to this. 21They said to each other, “We are being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw his trouble. He begged us to save him, but we refused to listen. That is why we are in this trouble now.”
22Then Reuben said to them, “I told you not to harm the boy. But you refused to listen to me. So now we are being punished for what we did to him.”
23When Joseph talked to his brothers, he used an interpreter. So they did not know that Joseph understood what they were saying. 24Then Joseph left them and cried. After a short time he went back and spoke to them. He took Simeon and tied him up while the other brothers watched. 25Joseph told his servants to fill his brothers’ bags with grain. They were to put the money the brothers had paid for the grain back in their bags. They were to give them things they would need for their trip back home. And the servants did this.
26So the brothers put the grain on their donkeys and left. 27When they stopped for the night, one of the brothers opened his sack. He was going to get food for his donkey. Then he saw his money in the top of the sack. 28He said to the other brothers, “The money I paid for the grain has been put back. Here it is in my sack!”
The brothers were very frightened. They said to each other, “What has God done to us?”
The Brothers Return to Jacob
29The brothers went to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him everything that had happened. 30They said, “The master of that land spoke unkindly to us. He accused us of spying on his country. 31But we told him that we were honest men, not spies. 32We told him that we were 10 of 12 brothers—sons of one father. We said that 1 of our brothers was gone. And we said that our youngest brother was with our father in Canaan.
33“Then the master of the land said to us, ‘Here is a way I can know you are honest men: Leave 1 of your brothers with me. Take back grain to feed your hungry families, and go. 34And bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies but honest men. And I will give you back your brother whom you leave with me. And you can move about freely in our land.’”
35Then the brothers emptied their sacks. And each of them found his money in his sack. When they and their father saw it, they were afraid.
36Their father Jacob said to them, “You are robbing me of all my children. Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. And now you want to take Benjamin away, too. Everything is against me.”
37Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put my 2 sons to death if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. Trust him to my care. I will bring him back to you.”
38But Jacob said, “I will not allow Benjamin to go with you. His brother is dead. He is the only son left from my wife Rachel. I am afraid something terrible might happen to him during the trip to Egypt. Then I would be sad until the day I die.”
42
1When Jacob found out grain was available in Egypt, he asked his sons, “Why do you keep on looking at each other to do something? 2I've heard there's grain in Egypt. Go there and buy some for us so we can stay alive—if not, we're going to die!”
3So ten of Joseph's brothers went to Egypt to buy grain. 4But Jacob did not send Joseph's brother Benjamin with his other brothers, for he said, “I'm afraid something bad might happen to him.” 5So Israel's sons went to buy grain along with everyone else, because there was famine in Canaan too.
6Joseph was the governor of the country and he sold grain to all the people there. So Joseph's brothers went to him, and bowed low before him with their faces to the ground. 7Joseph recognized them as soon as he saw them, but he acted like a stranger towards them and spoke to them in a severe way, saying, “Where are you from?”
“From the country of Canaan,” they replied. “We've come to buy food.”
8Even though Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn't recognize him. 9Joseph thought back to the dreams he'd had about them, and told them, “No! You're spies! You've come to discover our country's weaknesses!”
10“That's not true, my lord!” they responded. “We, your servants, have just come to buy food. 11We're all the sons of one man and we're honest. We're not spies!”
12“No! You've come to find our country's weaknesses!” he insisted.
13“Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man living in the country of Canaan,” they explained. “The youngest is right now with our father, and one has passed away.”
14“As I said before, you're spies!” Joseph declared. 15“This is how your story will be checked. I swear on Pharaoh's life that you'll never leave this country unless your younger brother comes here. 16One of you go back and bring your other brother here. The others of you will be kept here in prison until it's clear that you're telling the truth. If not, then I swear on Pharaoh's life it proves you're spies!”
17So Joseph put all of them in prison for three days. 18On the third day he told them, “Since I'm someone who respects God, do as I tell you and you'll live. 19If you're truly honest, choose one of your brothers to stay here in prison. The rest of you can go back home with grain for your hungry families. 20But you must bring your youngest brother here to me to prove what you're saying is true. If not, you will all die.” They agreed to do this.
21“Clearly we're being punished for what we did to our brother,” they said to each other. “We watched him in agony pleading with us for mercy, but we refused to listen to him. That's why we're in all this trouble.”
22Reuben said to them, “Didn't I tell you, ‘Don't harm the boy!’ But you didn't listen to me. Now we're paying the price for what we did to him.”#42:22. Literally, “Now his blood is required.” The concept is that the blood of the victim cries out for vengeance. 23They didn't realize that Joseph understood what they were saying because they were talking to him through an interpreter. 24Joseph stepped away from them because he started crying. He came back when he was able to speak to them again. He chose Simeon and had him tied up as they watched.
25Joseph gave the order to fill up their sacks with grain, and also to return the money they had paid by placing it in the sacks as well. He also ordered that they should be provided with food for their journey home. All this was done. 26The brothers loaded the grain onto their donkeys and then set off.
27On their way they stopped for the night, and one of them opened up his sack to give his donkey something to eat and saw his money there at the top of the sack. 28He told his brothers, “My money's been returned to me. It's right here at the top of my sack!” They were horrified! Trembling with fear they asked each other, “What is this that God's done to us?”
29When they arrived home in Canaan, they told their father Jacob everything that had happened. 30“The man who is the country's governor spoke to us in a severe way, and accused us of spying on the land,” they explained. 31“We told him, ‘We are honest men. We're not spies! 32We are twelve brothers, the sons of one father. One has passed away and the youngest is right now with our father in the country of Canaan.’ 33Then the man who is the country's governor said to us, ‘This is how I'll find out if you're telling the truth: you are to leave one of your brothers here with me while the rest take grain home for your hungry families. 34Then bring your youngest brother to me. That way I'll know you're not spies but you're telling the truth. I'll release your brother to you, and you can stay in the country and trade.’”
35As they emptied their sacks, each one's money bag was there in his sack! When they and their father saw the money bags, they were horrified. 36Jacob their father accused them, “You have taken Joseph from me—he's gone! Simeon is gone too! Now you want to take Benjamin away! I'm the one who's suffering from all of this!”#42:36. The sentence is literally, “on me are all these things.” The Hebrew construction focuses “on me” making it clear that Jacob is holding them responsible for his suffering.
37“You can kill my two sons if I don't bring him back to you,” Reuben assured him. “Trust me with him, and I will bring him home to you myself.”
38“My son won't go there with you!” Jacob declared. “His brother is dead, and he's the only one I have left. If anything bad happens to him on the journey you're planning, you'll send this old man to his grave in grief.”