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Genesis 42

42
Chapter 42
Joseph's brothers go to Egypt #42:1 Jacob is living in Canaan with his sons, except for Joseph. There is no food in Canaan, but Jacob knows that there is food in Egypt.
1Jacob heard that there was food in Egypt. So he said to his sons, ‘There is no food here, so why are you just sitting there? 2I have heard that there is food in Egypt. Go there and buy some for us. Then we may continue to live and not die.’
3So 10 of Joseph's brothers went to Egypt to buy food. 4But Jacob did not send his youngest son, Benjamin, with them. Jacob was afraid that something bad might happen to Benjamin. 5Jacob's sons went to Egypt, as well as other people who went there to buy food. They all went to Egypt because there was a bad famine in Canaan.
6Joseph had authority to rule Egypt at that time. He was the man who sold food to all the Egyptians. When Joseph's brothers arrived there, they bent down in front of him, with their faces to the ground. #42:6 Joseph's first dream had showed his brothers bending down to respect him.
7As soon as Joseph saw the men, he knew that they were his brothers. But he spoke to them as if they were strangers. He did not speak to them in a kind way. He asked them, ‘Where do you come from?’ They replied, ‘We come from the land of Canaan. We have come here to buy food.’ 8Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. #42:8 Joseph was only 17 years old when they sold him as a slave. He now looked like an Egyptian. Probably he spoke to his brothers in the language of Egypt. Then a man who could speak Hebrew told the brothers what Joseph had said. That is why they did not recognize him.
9Then Joseph remembered the dream that he had dreamed about his brothers. He said to them, ‘You have come here secretly to see how your people can attack our land.’ 10They replied ‘No, my lord, that is not true! We are your servants and we have come to buy food. 11We are all the sons of one man. We are honest men. We are not your enemies.’
12But Joseph said, ‘No! You have come here to see if our country is weak so that you can attack us.’ 13Joseph's brothers replied, ‘We belong to a family of 12 brothers. We are the sons of one man who lives in Canaan. Our youngest brother stayed at home with our father. One other brother is not with us any more.’ 14Joseph said to them, ‘It is as I told you. You are our enemies! 15I will see if what you say is true. This is what I will do. I promise by the life of Pharaoh himself, I will not let you leave this place. #42:15 Joseph made a promise ‘by the life of Pharaoh’. He wanted to show his brothers that he meant what he said. You must first bring your youngest brother here. Only then I will let you go. 16One of you must go to bring your brother here. I will keep you others in prison. In that way I will know if what you said is true. If your youngest brother does not come, then I will certainly know that you are enemies!’
17Then Joseph put his brothers in prison for three days.
18On the third day Joseph said to them, ‘Do what I say. Then you will stay alive, because I respect God. #42:18 Joseph showed his brothers that he was under God's authority, so he would not cheat them. 19If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The other brothers can go back to Canaan. You may take food back with you, because your families are hungry. 20But you must return to Egypt and you must bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that what you have said is true. Then you will not die.’ Joseph's brothers agreed to do what he told them.
21The brothers said to each other, ‘This punishment is happening to us because of what we did to Joseph. We saw how upset he was when he asked us not to kill him. But we refused to be kind to him. That is why we have all this trouble.’ 22Reuben said, ‘I told you not to do anything bad to the boy. But you would not agree! We killed him and now we must receive the punishment.’ 23While they said all this, they did not know that Joseph could understand them. Joseph had been speaking in the Egyptian language and someone else told the brothers his message in Hebrew. #42:23 The brothers still did not know that the important officer was Joseph. They thought that he was an Egyptian. They did not know that he spoke Hebrew too.
24Joseph went away from his brothers and he began to weep. But then he returned to speak to them again. While they watched, Joseph told his men to tie Simeon's hands and take him away. 25Then Joseph told his servants to fill the brothers' bags with food. He also told them to put each man's money back into his bag. #42:25 The brothers had brought the money to pay for the food. He told them to give the brothers enough food for their journey. The servants did what Joseph told them. 26Then the brothers put the bags of food on to their donkeys. Then they left.
27They travelled until they reached a place to sleep that night. One of the brothers opened his bag to get food for his donkey. Then he saw his money inside his bag, at the top. 28He said to his brothers, ‘They have given back my money! Here it is in my bag!’ All the brothers were upset and frightened. They asked each other, ‘What has God done to us?’
29After some time they arrived back in Canaan. They went to their father, Jacob. They told him everything that had happened to them. 30They said, ‘We met the man who is lord over Egypt. He spoke strong words to us. He thought that we were enemies who had come to find a way to attack Egypt. 31But we said to him, “We are honest men. We are not your enemies. 32We belong to a family of 12 brothers, all the sons of one father. One brother is not with us any more, and the youngest brother is at home with our father in Canaan.” 33Then the man who is lord over Egypt said, “I want to know if your are an honest men. This is what I will do. You must leave one of your brothers here, with me. Then take food for your hungry families and leave Egypt. 34But then you must bring your youngest brother here to me. If you do that, I will know that you are really honest men. I will know that you are not our enemies. Then I will give your brother back to you. You will be able to stay in Egypt and you can buy and sell things here.” ’
35The brothers started to take the food out of their bags. And in their bags, they found each man's money! When the brothers and their father saw the money, they were frightened. 36Their father Jacob said to them, ‘You are taking my children away from me! Joseph is not here any more. Simeon also is not here. Now you want to take Benjamin away from me. Everything that happens is hurting me!’
37Then Reuben said to his father, Jacob, ‘I will bring Benjamin back to you. If I do not, then you can kill both of my sons. Trust me to take care of him. I will bring him back.’ 38But Jacob said, ‘My son will not go with you. His brother is already dead. Benjamin is the only one left. Something bad may happen to him on your journey. I am already an old man. If I lose Benjamin, I would be so sad that I would die.’ #42:38 Benjamin is Jacob's youngest son. Benjamin's mother was Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel more than he loved his other wives. Jacob thinks that Joseph, Rachel's other son is dead. Jacob shows that he loves Benjamin more than he loves his other sons. Even when Simeon is in prison, Jacob does not want Benjamin to go to Egypt.
42
Jacob [Israel] Sends Ten Sons to Egypt
1When Jacob found out that grain was for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you keep looking at each other? 2I’ve heard there’s grain for sale in Egypt. Go there and buy some for us so that we won’t starve to death.”
3Ten of Joseph’s brothers went to buy grain in Egypt. 4Jacob wouldn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with the other brothers, because he was afraid that something would happen to him. 5Israel’s sons left with the others who were going to buy grain, because there was also famine in Canaan.
Joseph Sends Nine of His Brothers Back to Canaan
6As governor of the country, Joseph was selling grain to everyone. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed in front of him with their faces touching the ground. 7As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them. But he acted as if he didn’t know them and spoke harshly to them. “Where did you come from?” he asked them.
“From Canaan, to buy food,” they answered.
8Even though Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him. 9Then he remembered the dreams he once had about them. “You’re spies!” he said to them, “And you’ve come to find out where our country is unprotected.”
10“No, sir!” they answered him. “We’ve come to buy food. 11We’re all sons of one man. We’re honest men, not spies.”
12He said to them, “No! You’ve come to find out where our country is unprotected.”
13They answered him, “We were 12 brothers, sons of one man in Canaan. The youngest brother stayed with our father, and the other one is no longer with us.”
14“It’s just as I told you,” Joseph said to them. “You’re spies! 15This is how you’ll be tested: I solemnly swear, as surely as Pharaoh lives, that you won’t leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16One of you must be sent to get your brother while the rest of you stay in prison. We’ll see if you’re telling the truth. If not, I solemnly swear, as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17Then he put them in jail for three days.
18On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this, and you will live. I, too, fear God. 19If you are honest men, you will let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The rest of you will go and take grain back to your starving families. 20But you must bring me your youngest brother. This will show that you’ve been telling the truth. Then you won’t die.” So they agreed.
21They said to each other, “We’re surely being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw how troubled he was when he pleaded with us for mercy, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in trouble now.”
22Reuben said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen. Now we must pay for this bloodshed.”
23They didn’t know that Joseph could understand them, because he was speaking through an interpreter. 24He stepped away from them to cry. When he could speak to them again, he came back. Then he picked Simeon and had him arrested right in front of their eyes.
25Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain. He put each man’s money back into his sack and gave them supplies for their trip. After their bags were filled, 26they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
27At the place where they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to feed his donkey. His money was right inside his sack. 28He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back! It’s right here in my sack!”
They wanted to die. They trembled and turned to each other and asked, “What has God done to us?”
Jacob’s [Israel’s] Sons Report to Him
29When they came to their father Jacob in Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30“The governor of that land spoke harshly to us and treated us like spies. 31But we said to him, ‘We’re honest men, not spies. 32We were 12 brothers, sons of the same father. One is no longer with us. The youngest brother stayed with our father in Canaan.’
33“Then the governor of that land said to us, ‘This is how I’ll know that you’re honest men: Leave one of your brothers with me. Take food for your starving families and go. 34But bring me your youngest brother. Then I’ll know that you’re not spies but honest men. I’ll give your brother back to you, and you’ll be able to move about freely in this country.’ ”
35As they were emptying their sacks, each man found his bag of money in his sack. When they and their father saw the bags of money, they were frightened. 36Their father Jacob said to them, “You’re going to make me lose all my children! Joseph is no longer with us, Simeon is no longer with us, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything’s against me!”
37So Reuben said to his father, “You may put my two sons to death if I don’t bring him back to you. Let me take care of him, and I’ll bring him back to you.”
38Jacob replied, “My son will not go with you. His brother is dead, and he’s the only one left. If any harm comes to him on the trip you’re taking, the grief would drive this gray-haired old man to his grave!”