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Genesis 42

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.”
42
Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt for Food
1When Jacob realized that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” 2Then he said, “Look, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy grain for us there that we may live and not die.” 3And the ten brothers of Joseph went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Benjamin, the brother of Joseph, for he feared harm would come to him.#Literally “he thought, lest harm encounter him” 5Then the sons of Israel went to buy grain amid those other people who went as well, for there was famine in the land of Canaan. 6Now Joseph was the governor over the land. He was the one who sold food to all the people of the land. And the brothers of Joseph came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7And Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger to them. And he spoke with them harshly and said to them, “From where have you come?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.” 8And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9And Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed concerning them, and he said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land!” 10And they said to him, “No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. 11We all are sons of one man. We are honest men. We, your servants, are not spies.” 12Then he said to them, “No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land.” 13Then they said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, but behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no more.” 14But Joseph said to them, “It is what I said to you—you are spies. 15By this you shall be tested. By the life of Pharaoh you will not go out from here unless your youngest brother comes here. 16Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, but you will be kept in prison so that your words might be tested to see if there is truth with you. And if not, by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies.” 17Then he gathered them into the prison for three days. 18On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live; I fear God. 19If you are honest, let one of your brothers be kept in prison where you are now being kept,#Literally “in the house of your custody” but the rest of you go, carry grain for the famine for your households. 20You must bring your youngest brother to me, and then your words will be confirmed and you will not die.” And they did so. 21Then each said to his brother, “Surely we are guilty on account of our brother when we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded for mercy to us and we would not listen. Therefore this trouble has come to us.” 22Then Reuben answered them, saying, “Did I not say to you, do not sin against the boy? But you did not listen, and now, behold, his blood has been sought.” 23Now they did not know that Joseph understood, for the interpreter was between them. 24And he turned away from them and wept. Then he returned to them and spoke to them, and took Simeon from them and tied him up in front of them. 25Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to return their money to each sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. Thus he did for them. 26Then they loaded their grain upon their donkeys and went away from there. 27And one of them later opened his sack to give fodder to his donkey at the lodging place and saw his money—behold, it was in the mouth of his sack. 28And he said to his brothers, “My money was returned and moreover, behold, it is in my sack!” Then their hearts failed them#Literally “their heart went out” and each of them trembled and said, “What is this God has done to us?”
29And when they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan they told him everything that had happened to them, saying, 30“The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us and treated us as if we were spying out the land. 31But we said to him, ‘We are honest; we are not spies. 32We are twelve brothers, the sons of our father. One is no more and the youngest is with our father now in the land of Canaan.’ 33Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I will know that you are honest. Leave one brother with me, and take food for the famine in your households and go. 34And bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies but you are honest. And I will give your brother back to you, and you will trade in the land.’ ” 35And it happened that when they emptied their sacks, behold, each one’s pouch of money was in his sack. And when they and their father saw the pouches of their money, they were greatly distressed. 36And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me—Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and Benjamin you would take! All of this is against me! 37Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hand and I myself will return him to you.” 38But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone remains. If harm meets him on the journey that you would take, you would bring down my gray head in sorrow to Sheol.”