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Genesis 42

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Joseph’s Brothers in Egypt
1When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt,#Ac 7:12 he said to his sons, “Why do you keep looking at each other? 2Listen,” he went on, “I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us so that we will live and not die.”#Gn 43:8 3So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he thought, “Something might happen to him.”
5The sons of Israel were among those who came to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6Joseph was in charge of the country; he sold grain to all its people. His brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground.#Gn 37:7–10; 41:43; Is 60:14 7When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them.
“Where do you come from?” he asked.
“From the land of Canaan to buy food,” they replied.
8Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9Joseph remembered his dreams about them#Gn 37:5–11 and said to them, “You are spies. You have come to see the weakness#42:9 Lit nakedness, also in v. 12 of the land.”
10“No, my lord. Your servants have come to buy food,” they said. 11“We are all sons of one man. We are honest; your servants are not spies.”
12“No,” he said to them. “You have come to see the weakness of the land.”
13But they replied, “We, your servants, were twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now#42:13 Or today, also in v. 32 with our father, and one is no longer living.”
14Then Joseph said to them, “I have spoken:#42:14 Lit “That which I spoke to you saying: ‘You are spies!’ 15This 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 from among you to get your brother. The rest of you will be imprisoned so that your words can be tested to see if they are true. If they are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17So Joseph imprisoned them together for three days.
18On the third day Joseph said to them, “I fear God#Gn 39:9; Lv 25:43; Neh 5:15  — do this and you will live. 19If you are honest, let one of you#42:19 Lit your brothers be confined to the guardhouse, while the rest of you go and take grain to relieve the hunger of your households. 20Bring your youngest brother to me so that your words can be confirmed; then you won’t die.” And they consented to this.
21Then they said to each other, “Obviously, we are being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw his deep distress when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this trouble has come to us.”#Gn 37:26–28
22But Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to harm the boy?#Gn 37:22 But you wouldn’t listen. Now we must account for his blood!” #42:22 Lit Even his blood is being sought!”
23They did not realize that Joseph understood them, since there was an interpreter between them. 24He turned away from them and wept. When he turned back and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and had him bound before their eyes. 25Joseph then gave orders to fill their containers with grain, return each man’s silver to his sack, and give them provisions for their journey. This order was carried out. 26They loaded the grain on their donkeys and left there.
The Brothers Return Home
27At the place where they lodged for the night, one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver there at the top of his bag. 28He said to his brothers, “My silver has been returned! It’s here in my bag.” Their hearts sank. Trembling, they turned to one another and said, “What has God done to us?”
29When they reached their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them: 30“The man who is the lord of the country spoke harshly to us and accused us of spying on the country. 31But we told him, ‘We are honest and not spies. 32We were twelve brothers, sons of the same#42:32 Lit of our father. One is no longer living, and the youngest is now with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33The man who is the lord of the country said to us, ‘This is how I will know if you are honest: Leave one brother with me, take food to relieve the hunger of your households, and go. 34Bring back your youngest brother to me, and I will know that you are not spies but honest men. I will then give your brother back to you, and you can trade in the country.’”
35As they began emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his bag of silver! When they and their father saw their bags of silver, they were afraid.
36Their father Jacob said to them, “It’s me that you make childless. Joseph is gone, and Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything happens to me!”
37Then Reuben said to his father, “You can kill my two sons if I don’t bring him back to you. Put him in my care,#42:37 Lit hand and I will return him to you.”
38But Jacob answered, “My son will not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left.#Gn 37:33–34; 42:13; 44:27–28 If anything happens to him on your journey, you will bring my gray hairs down to Sheol in sorrow.”#Gn 44:29
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Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt to Buy Corn
1When Jacob learnt that there was corn in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why don't you do something? 2#Acts 7.12I hear that there is corn in Egypt; go there and buy some to keep us from starving to death.” 3So Joseph's ten half-brothers went to buy corn in Egypt, 4but Jacob did not send Joseph's full-brother Benjamin with them, because he was afraid that something might happen to him.
5The sons of Jacob came with others to buy corn, because there was famine in the land of Canaan. 6Joseph, as governor of the land of Egypt, was selling corn to people from all over the world. So Joseph's brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground. 7When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he acted as if he did not know them. He asked them harshly, “Where do you come from?”
“We have come from Canaan to buy food,” they answered.
8Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9#Gen 37.5–10He remembered the dreams he had dreamt about them and said, “You are spies; you have come to find out where our country is weak.”
10“No, sir,” they answered. “We have come as your slaves, to buy food. 11We are all brothers. We are not spies, sir, we are honest men.”
12Joseph said to them, “No! You have come to find out where our country is weak.”
13They said, “We were twelve brothers in all, sir, sons of the same man in the land of Canaan. One brother is dead, and the youngest is now with our father.”
14“It is just as I said,” Joseph answered. “You are spies. 15This is how you will be tested: I swear by the name of the king that you will never leave unless your youngest brother comes here. 16One of you must go and get him. The rest of you will be kept under guard until the truth of what you say can be tested. Otherwise, as sure as the king lives, you are spies.” 17Then he put them in prison for three days.
18On the third day Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man, and I will spare your lives on one condition. 19To prove that you are honest, one of you will stay in the prison where you have been kept; the rest of you may go and take back to your starving families the corn that you have bought. 20Then you must bring your youngest brother to me. This will prove that you have been telling the truth, and I will not put you to death.”
They agreed to this 21and said to one another, “Yes, now we are suffering the consequences of what we did to our brother; we saw the great trouble he was in when he begged for help, but we would not listen. That is why we are in this trouble now.”
22 # Gen 37.21–22 Reuben said, “I told you not to harm the boy, but you wouldn't listen. And now we are being paid back for his death.” 23Joseph understood what they said, but they did not know it, because they had been speaking to him through an interpreter. 24Joseph left them and began to cry. When he was able to speak again, he came back, picked out Simeon, and had him tied up in front of them.
Joseph's Brothers Return to Canaan
25Joseph gave orders to fill his brothers' packs with corn, to put each man's money back in his sack, and to give them food for the journey. This was done. 26The brothers loaded their donkeys with the corn they had bought, and then they left. 27At the place where they spent the night, one of them opened his sack to feed his donkey and found his money at the top of the sack. 28“My money has been returned to me,” he called to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack!” Their hearts sank, and in fear they asked one another, “What has God done to us?”
29When they came to their father Jacob in Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them: 30“The governor of Egypt spoke harshly to us and accused us of spying against his country. 31‘We are not spies,’ we answered, ‘we are honest men. 32We were twelve brothers in all, sons of the same father. One brother is dead, and the youngest is still in Canaan with our father.’ 33The man answered, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men: one of you will stay with me; the rest will take corn for your starving families and leave. 34Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies, but honest men; I will give your brother back to you, and you can stay here and trade.’ ”
35Then when they emptied out their sacks, every one of them found his bag of money; and when they saw the money, they and their father Jacob were afraid. 36Their father said to them, “Do you want to make me lose all my children? Joseph is gone; Simeon is gone; and now you want to take away Benjamin. I am the one who suffers!”
37Reuben said to his father, “If I do not bring Benjamin back to you, you can kill my two sons. Put him in my care, and I will bring him back.”
38But Jacob said, “My son cannot go with you; his brother is dead, and he is the only one left. Something might happen to him on the way. I am an old man, and the sorrow you would cause me would kill me.”