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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 Down to Egypt
1Jacob found out that there was grain in Egypt. So he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at one another?” 2He continued, “I’ve heard there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there. Buy some for us. Then we’ll live and not die.”
3So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain there. 4But Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with them. He was afraid Benjamin might be harmed. 5Israel’s sons were among the people who went to buy grain. There wasn’t enough food in the land of Canaan.
6Joseph was the governor of the land. He was the one who sold grain to all its people. When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them. But he pretended to be a stranger. He spoke to them in a mean way. “Where do you come from?” he asked.
“From the land of Canaan,” they replied. “We’ve come to buy food.”
8Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him. 9Then Joseph remembered his dreams about them. So he said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.”
10“No, sir,” they answered. “We’ve come to buy food. 11All of us are the sons of one man. We’re honest men. We aren’t spies.”
12“No!” he said to them. “You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.”
13But they replied, “We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one man. He lives in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is now with our father. And one brother is gone.”
14Joseph said to them, “I still say you are spies! 15So I’m going to test you. And here’s the test. You can be sure that you won’t leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. You can be just as sure of this as you are sure that Pharaoh lives. I give you my word that you won’t leave here unless your brother comes. 16Send one of you back to get your brother. The rest of you will be kept in prison. I’ll test your words. Then we’ll find out whether you are telling the truth. You can be sure that Pharaoh lives. And you can be just as sure that if you aren’t telling the truth, we’ll know that you are spies!” 17So Joseph kept all of them under guard for three days.
18On the third day, Joseph spoke to them again. He said, “Do what I say. Then you will live, because I have respect for God. 19If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The rest of you may go and take grain back to your hungry families. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me. That will prove that your words are true. Then you won’t die.” So they did what he said.
21They said to one another, “God is surely punishing us because of our brother. We saw how upset he was when he begged us to let him live. But we wouldn’t listen. That’s why all this trouble has come to us.”
22Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we’re being paid back for killing him.” 23They didn’t realize that Joseph could understand what they were saying. He was using someone else to explain their words to him in the Egyptian language.
24Joseph turned away from his brothers and began to weep. Then he came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken and tied up right there in front of them.
25Joseph gave orders to have their bags filled with grain. He had each man’s money put back into his sack. He also made sure they were given food for their journey. 26Then the brothers loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
27When night came, they stopped. One of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey. He saw his money in the top of his sack. 28“My money has been given back,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.”
They had a sinking feeling in their hearts. They began to tremble. They turned to one another and said, “What has God done to us?”
29They came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him everything that had happened to them. They said, 30“The man who is the governor of the land spoke to us in a mean way. He treated us as if we were spying on the land. 31But we said to him, ‘We’re honest men. We aren’t spies. 32We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one father. But now one brother is gone. And our youngest brother is with our father in Canaan.’
33“Then the man who is the governor of the land spoke to us. He said, ‘Here’s how I will know whether you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me. Take food for your hungry families and go. 34But bring your youngest brother to me. Then I’ll know that you are honest men and not spies. I’ll give your brother back to you. And you will be free to trade in the land.’ ”
35They began emptying their sacks. There in each man’s sack was his bag of money! When they and their father saw the money bags, they were scared to death. 36Their father Jacob said to them, “You have taken my children away from me. Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is going against me!”
37Then Reuben spoke to his father. He said, “You can put both of my sons to death if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. Trust me to take care of him. I’ll bring him back.”
38But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you. His brother is dead. He’s the only one left here with me. Suppose he’s harmed on the journey you are taking. Then I would die as a sad old man.”