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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.”

Genesis 42

42
The Brothers’ First Journey to Egypt.#The first journey of the brothers to Egypt. Its cause is famine, which was also the reason Abraham and Sarah undertook their dangerous journey to Egypt. The brothers bow to Joseph in v. 6, which fulfills Joseph’s dream in 37:5–11. Endowed with wisdom, Joseph begins a process of instruction or “discipline” for his brothers that eventually forces them to recognize the enormity of their sin against him and the family. He controls their experience of the first journey with the result that the second journey in chaps. 43–44 leads to full acknowledgment and reconciliation. 1When Jacob learned that grain rations were for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons: “Why do you keep looking at one another?” 2He went on, “I hear that grain is for sale in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, that we may stay alive and not die.”#Acts 7:12. 3So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he thought some disaster might befall him. 5And so the sons of Israel were among those who came to buy grain, since there was famine in the land of Canaan.#Jdt 5:10; Acts 7:11.
6Joseph, as governor of the country, was the one who sold grain to all the people of the land. When Joseph’s brothers came, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.#Ps 105:21. 7He recognized them as soon as he saw them. But he concealed his own identity from them and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked them. They answered, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.”
8When Joseph recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him, 9he was reminded of the dreams he had about them. He said to them: “You are spies.#Gn 37:5. You have come to see the weak points#42:9, 12] Weak points: lit., “the nakedness of the land”; the military weakness of the land, like human nakedness, should not be seen by strangers. of the land.” 10“No, my lord,” they replied. “On the contrary, your servants have come to buy food. 11All of us are sons of the same man. We are honest men; your servants have never been spies.” 12But he answered them: “Not so! It is the weak points of the land that you have come to see.” 13“We your servants,” they said, “are twelve brothers, sons of a certain man in Canaan; but the youngest one is at present with our father, and the other one is no more.”#Gn 44:20. 14“It is just as I said,” Joseph persisted; “you are spies. 15This is how you shall be tested: I swear by the life of Pharaoh that you shall not leave here unless your youngest brother comes here. 16So send one of your number to get your brother, while the rest of you stay here under arrest. Thus will your words be tested for their truth; if they are untrue, as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17With that, he locked them up in the guardhouse for three days.
18On the third day Joseph said to them: “Do this, and you shall live; for I am a God-fearing man. 19If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in this prison, while the rest of you go and take home grain for your starving families. 20But you must bring me your youngest brother. Your words will thus be verified, and you will not die.” To this they agreed.#Gn 43:5. 21To one another, however, they said: “Truly we are being punished because of our brother. We saw the anguish of his heart when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen. That is why this anguish has now come upon us.”#Gn 37:18–27. 22Then Reuben responded, “Did I not tell you, ‘Do no wrong to the boy’? But you would not listen! Now comes the reckoning for his blood.”#Gn 37:22. 23They did not know, of course, that Joseph understood what they said, since he spoke with them through an interpreter. 24But turning away from them, he wept. When he was able to speak to them again, he took Simeon from among them and bound him before their eyes. 25Then Joseph gave orders to have their containers filled with grain, their money replaced in each one’s sack, and provisions given them for their journey. After this had been done for them, 26they loaded their donkeys with the grain and departed.
27At the night encampment, when one of them opened his bag to give his donkey some fodder, he saw his money there in the mouth of his bag. 28He cried out to his brothers, “My money has been returned! Here it is in my bag!” At that their hearts sank. Trembling, they asked one another, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29When they got back to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. 30“The man who is lord of the land,” they said, “spoke to us harshly and put us in custody on the grounds that we were spying on the land. 31But we said to him: ‘We are honest men; we have never been spies. 32We are twelve brothers, sons of the same father; but one is no more, and the youngest one is now with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33Then the man who is lord of the land said to us: ‘This is how I will know if you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, then take grain for your starving families and go. 34When you bring me your youngest brother, and I know that you are not spies but honest men, I will restore your brother to you, and you may move about freely in the land.’”
35When they were emptying their sacks, there in each one’s sack was his moneybag! At the sight of their moneybags, they and their father were afraid. 36Their father Jacob said to them: “Must you make me childless? Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin away! All these things have happened to me!” 37Then Reuben told his father: “You may kill my own two sons if I do not return him to you! Put him in my care, and I will bring him back to you.” 38But Jacob replied: “My son shall not go down with you. Now that his brother is dead, he is the only one left. If some disaster should befall him on the journey you must make, you would send my white head down to Sheol in grief.”#Gn 37:35.