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Genesis 42

42
Joseph Meets His Brothers
1Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, so Jacob said to his sons, “Why are you looking at each other?”
2Then he said, “Look! I’ve heard that there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some grain for us there so that we’ll live and not die.”
3So Joseph’s brothers went down, ten of them, to buy grain from Egypt.
4But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob did not send, for he said, “An accident might happen to him.”
5The sons of Israel went to buy grain among the others who were coming, because the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6Now Joseph was the ruler over the land. He was the provider of grain for all the people of the earth.
7Then Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to him with faces to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he made himself unrecognizable to them. Then he spoke harshly and said to them, “Where have you come from?” “From the land of Canaan,” they said, “to buy grain as food.”
8Though Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.
9Then Joseph remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them. He said to them, “You’re spies! You’ve come to see the undefended places in the land.”
10“No, my lord!” they said to him. “Your servants came to buy grain as food.
11All of us—we are sons of one man. We’re honest. Your servants have never been spies.”
12“Not so,” he said to them. “Rather, you’ve come to see the undefended places in the land.”
13But they said, “We your servants are twelve brothers, sons of one man in the land of Canaan. Look, the youngest is with our father today and the other one is no more.”
14Joseph said to them, “It’s just like I told you when I said, ‘You’re spies.’
15By this you’ll be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you’ll not leave from here until your youngest brother comes here!
16Send one from among yourselves to get your brother, while you remain confined, in order to test your words, to see whether the truth is with you. If not, by the life of Pharaoh, you’re definitely spies!”
17So he put them together in custody for three days.
18Then Joseph said to them on the third day, “Do this and you will live. I fear God.
19If you’re honest, let one of your brothers remain as a prisoner in the guardhouse where you’ve been, while you, go and bring grain for the hunger in your homes.
20And your youngest brother, bring to me so that your words can be verified—and you won’t die.” So they did.
21Then each man said to his brother, “We’re truly guilty for our brother. We saw the distress of his soul when he begged us for mercy, but we didn’t listen. That’s why this distress has come to us.”
22Reuben answered them and said, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t sin against the boy’? But you didn’t listen. Now, see how his blood is now being accounted for.”
23They did not know that Joseph was listening, since there was an interpreter between them.
24He turned away from them and wept. When he turned back to them and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and tied him up before their eyes.
25Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to return each man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. So it was done for them.
26Then they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left from there.
27As one of them opened his sack to give fodder to his donkey at the lodge, he saw his money—behold, it was in the opening of his bag.
28So he said to his brothers, “My money has been returned! Look, it’s in my bag.” Their hearts sank. Trembling, each one turned to his brother and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29When they came to their father Jacob, in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying,
30“The man, the lord of the land, spoke with us harshly, and took us as spies of the land.
31But we said to him, ‘We’re honest. We’ve never been spies.
32We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One is no more and the youngest is with our father today in the land of Canaan.’
33Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I’ll know if you’re honest: leave one of your brothers with me. As for the hunger of your homes: take and go!
34Then bring your youngest brother to me, so that I may know you are not spies, but you are honest. I’ll give you back your brother and you can move about freely in the land.’”
35Now as they were emptying their sacks, behold, there was each man’s bundle of money in his sack. When they saw their money bundles, they and their father, they were afraid.
36Then their father Jacob said to them, “You’ve made me childless! Joseph is no more. Now Simeon is gone, and next you’ll take Benjamin! Everything is against me!”
37Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, “You can put my two sons to death if I don’t bring him back to you. Put him in my hand and I—I will return him to you.”
38But he said, “My son will not go down with you—for his brother is dead and he alone remains. And if harm should happen to him along the way you’re going, you’ll bring my grey hair down to Sheol in grief.”
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.