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Genesis 42

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Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt To Buy Grain
1When Jacob found out there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you just sitting here, staring at one another? 2#Ac 7.12. I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down and buy some, so we won't starve to death.”
3Ten of Joseph's brothers went to Egypt to buy grain. 4But Jacob did not send Joseph's younger brother Benjamin with them; he was afraid that something might happen to him. 5So Jacob's sons joined others from Canaan who were going to Egypt because of the terrible famine.
6Since Joseph was governor of Egypt and in charge of selling grain, his brothers came to him and bowed with their faces to the ground. 7-8They did not recognize Joseph, but at once he knew who they were, though he pretended not to know. Instead, he spoke harshly and asked, “Where do you come from?”
“From the land of Canaan,” they answered. “We've come here to buy grain.”
9 # Gn 37.5-10. Joseph remembered what he had dreamed about them and said, “You're spies! You've come here to find out where our country is weak.”
10“No sir,” they replied. “We're your servants, and we have only come to buy grain. 11We're honest men, and we come from the same family—we're not spies.”
12“That isn't so!” Joseph insisted. “You've come here to find out where our country is weak.”
13But they explained, “Sir, we come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and one of our brothers is dead.”
14Joseph replied:
It's like I said. You're spies, 15and I'm going to find out the truth. I swear by the life of the king that you won't leave this place until your youngest brother comes here. 16Choose one of you to go after your brother, while the rest of you stay here in jail. That will show whether you are telling the truth. But if you are lying, I swear by the life of the king that you are spies!
17Joseph kept them all under guard for three days, 18before saying to them:
Since I respect God, I'll give you a chance to save your lives. 19If you are honest men, one of you must stay here in jail, and the rest of you can take the grain back to your starving families. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me. Then I'll know that you are telling the truth, and you won't be put to death.
Joseph's brothers agreed 21and said to one another, “We're being punished because of Joseph. We saw the trouble he was in, but we refused to help him when he begged us. That's why these terrible things are happening.”
22 # Gn 37.21,22. Reuben spoke up, “Didn't I tell you not to harm the boy? But you wouldn't listen, and now we have to pay the price for killing him.”
23They did not know that Joseph could understand them, since he was speaking through an interpreter. 24Joseph turned away from them and cried, but soon he turned back and spoke to them again. Then he had Simeon tied up and taken away while they watched.
Joseph's Brothers Return to Canaan
25Joseph gave orders for his brothers' grain sacks to be filled with grain and for their money#42.25 money: Probably in the form of small pieces of silver and/or other precious or semi-precious metals; there were no coins or paper money at this time. to be put in their sacks. He also gave orders for them to be given food for their journey home. After this was done, 26they each loaded the grain on their donkeys and left.
27When they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to get some grain for his donkey, and at once he saw his moneybag. 28“Here's my money!” he told his brothers. “Right here in my sack.”
They were trembling with fear as they stared at one another and asked themselves, “What has God done to us?”#42.28 What has God … us: They thought God had put the money in their bags, so they would be caught and punished.
29When they returned to the land of Canaan, they told their father Jacob everything that had happened to them:
30The governor of Egypt was rude and treated us like spies. 31But we told him, “We're honest men, not spies. 32We come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and the other is dead.”
33Then the governor of Egypt told us, “I'll find out if you really are honest. Leave one of your brothers here with me, while you take the grain to your starving families. 34But bring your youngest brother to me, so I can be certain that you are honest men and not spies. After that, I'll let your other brother go free, and you can stay here and trade.”
35When the brothers started emptying their sacks of grain, they found their moneybags in them. They were frightened, and so was their father Jacob, 36who said, “You have already taken my sons Joseph and Simeon from me. And now you want to take away Benjamin! Everything is against me.”
37Reuben spoke up, “Father, if I don't bring Benjamin back, you can kill both of my sons. Trust me with him, and I'll bring him back.”
38But Jacob said, “I won't let my son Benjamin go down to Egypt with the rest of you. His brother is already dead, and he is the only son I have left.#42.38 only son I have left: Jacob had only two sons by Rachel, his favorite wife. I am an old man, and if anything happens to him on the way, I'll die from sorrow, and all of you will be to blame.”
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CHAPTER 42
1Forsooth Jacob heard that foods were sold in Egypt, and he said to his sons, Why be ye negligent?
2I [have] heard that wheat is sold in Egypt; go ye down, and buy ye necessaries to us, that we may live, and be not wasted by neediness.
3Therefore ten brethren of Joseph went down to buy wheat in Egypt,
4and Benjamin was withholden of Jacob at home, that said to his brethren, Lest peradventure in the way he suffer any evil.
5Soothly they entered into the land of Egypt, with other men that went thither to buy corn; forsooth hunger was in the land of Canaan.
6And Joseph was the prince of Egypt, and at his will wheats were sold to [the] peoples. And when his brethren had worshipped or honoured him,
7and he had known them, he spake harder to them, as to aliens, and asked them, From whence came ye? Which answered, From the land of Canaan, that we buy necessaries to our lifelode.
8And nevertheless he knew his brethren, and he was not known of them,
9and he bethought on the dreams which he saw sometime. And he said to them, Ye be spyers [or spies], ye came to see the feebler things of the land.
10Which said, Lord, it is not so, but thy servants came to buy meats;
11all we be [the] sons of one man, we came hither peaceably, and thy servants imagine not any evil.
12To which he answered, It is in other manner, ye came to see the feeble things of the land.
13And they said, We thy servants be twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; the youngest is with our father, another is not alive.
14This it is, he said, that I spake to you, ye be spyers [or spies],
15right now I shall take experience or very knowing of you; by the health of Pharaoh ye shall not go from hence, till your least brother come hither;
16send ye one of you, that he bring him, forsooth ye shall be in bonds till those things that ye said be proved, whether those [or they] be false or true; else, by the health of Pharaoh, ye be spies.
17Therefore he betook them into keeping three days;
18soothly in the third day, when they were led out of prison, Joseph said, Do ye that that I said, and ye shall live, for I dread God;
19if ye be peaceable, one brother of you be bound in prison; forsooth the rest go ye, and bear the wheat, which ye have bought, into your houses,
20and bring ye your youngest brother to me, that I may prove your words, and ye die not. They did as he said,
21and they spake together, Worthily we suffer these things, for we sinned against our brother, and we saw the anguish of his soul, while he prayed us, and we heard him not; therefore this tribulation cometh on us.
22Of which one, Reuben, said, Whether I said not to you, Do not ye sin against the child, and ye heard not me? lo! his blood is sought.
23Soothly they knew not that Joseph understood them, for he spake to them by an interpreter or an expounder.
24And he turned away himself a little, and wept; and he turned again, and spake to them. And he took Simeon, and bound him, while they were present;
25and he commanded the servants, that they should fill their sacks with wheat, and that they should put all their money in their bags, and over this give to them meats in the way; which did so.
26And they bare [the] wheats on their asses, and went forth,
27and when the sack of one of them was opened that he should give meat to the work beast in the inn, he beheld the money in the mouth of the bag,
28and he said to his brethren, My money is yielded to me, lo! it is had in the bag; and they were astonied, and troubled, and said together, What thing is this that God hath done to us?
29And they came to Jacob, their father, in the land of Canaan, and told to him all things that befelled to them, and said,
30The lord of the land spake hard to us, and guessed that we were spyers [or spies] of the province;
31to whom we answered, We be peaceable, neither we purpose any treasons;
32we be twelve brethren, engendered of one father, one is not alive, the youngest dwelleth with the father in the land of Canaan.
33And he said to us, Thus I shall prove that ye be peaceable; leave ye one brother of you with me, and take ye meats needful to your houses, and go ye,
34and bring ye to me your youngest brother, that I know that ye be not spyers [or spies], and that ye may receive this brother which is holden in bonds, and that from thenceforth ye have license to buy what things ye will.
35While these things were said, when they all poured out the wheats, they found the money bound in the mouths of their sacks. And when they altogether were afeared,
36their father Jacob said, Ye have made me to be without children; Joseph is not alive, Simeon is holden in bonds, ye shall take away from me Benjamin; all these evils have fallen in on me.
37To whom Reuben answered, Slay thou my two sons, if I shall not bring him again to thee; take thou him in mine hand, and I shall restore him to thee.
38And Jacob said, My son shall not go down with you; his brother is dead, he alone is left; if any adversity shall befall to him in the land to which ye shall go, ye shall lead forth mine hoar hairs with sorrow to hell.