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.”