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Genesis 42

42
Joseph’s brothers arrive in Egypt
1When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you staring blankly at each other? 2I’ve just heard that there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us so that we can survive and not starve to death.” 3So Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4However, Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin along with his brothers because he thought something bad might happen to him. 5Israel’s sons came to buy grain with others who also came since the famine had spread to the land of Canaan.
6As for Joseph, he was the land’s governor, and he was the one selling grain to all the land’s people. When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him, their faces to the ground. 7When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he acted like he didn’t know them. He spoke to them with a harsh tone and said, “Where have you come from?”
And they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.”
8Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him. 9Joseph remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them, and said to them, “You are spies. You’ve come to look for the country’s weaknesses.”
10They said to him, “No, Master. Your servants have just come to buy food. 11We are all sons of one man. We are honest men. Your servants aren’t spies.”
12He said to them, “No. You’ve come to look for the country’s weaknesses.”
13They said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, but one is gone.”
14Joseph said to them, “It’s just as I’ve said to you. You are spies! 15But here is how to prove yourselves: As Pharaoh lives, you won’t leave here until your youngest brother arrives. 16Send one of you to get your brother, but the rest of you will stay in prison. We will find out if your words are true. If not, as Pharaoh lives, you are certainly spies.”
Joseph’s brothers return to Canaan
17He put them all in prison for three days. 18On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I’m a God-fearing man. 19If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay in prison, and the rest of you, go, take grain back to those in your households who are hungry. 20But bring your youngest brother back to me so that your words will prove true and you won’t die.”
So they prepared to do this. 21The brothers said to each other, “We are clearly guilty for what we did to our brother when we saw his life in danger and when he begged us for mercy, but we didn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this danger now.”
22Reuben responded to them, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t do anything wrong to the boy’? But you wouldn’t listen. So now this is payback for his death.” 23They didn’t know that Joseph was listening to them because they were using an interpreter. 24He stepped away from them and wept. When he returned, he spoke with them again. Then he took Simeon from them and tied him up in front of them.
25Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put back each man’s silver into his own sack, and to give them provisions for their trip, and it was done. 26They loaded their grain onto their donkeys, and they set out. 27When they stopped to spend the night, one of them opened his sack to feed his donkey, and he saw his silver at the top of his sack. 28He said to his brothers, “My silver’s been returned. It’s right here in my sack.” Their hearts stopped. Terrified, they said to each other, “What has God done to us?”
29When they got back to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they described to him everything that had happened to them: 30“The man, the country’s governor, spoke to us with a harsh tone and accused us of being spies in the country. 31We told him, ‘We’re honest men, not spies. 32We are twelve brothers, all our father’s sons. One of us is gone, but the youngest is right now with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33The man, the country’s governor, told us, ‘This is how I will know you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers with me, take grain for those in your households who are hungry, and go. 34But bring back your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies but honest men. I will give your brother back to you, and you may travel throughout the country.’”
35When they opened their sacks, each man found a pouch of his silver in his sack. When they and their father saw their pouches of silver, they were afraid. 36Their father Jacob said to them, “You’ve taken my children from me. Joseph’s gone. Simeon’s gone. And you are taking Benjamin. All this can’t really be happening to me!”
37Reuben said to his father, “You may put both of my sons to death if I don’t bring him back to you. Make him my responsibility, and I will make sure he returns to you.”
38But Jacob said to him, “My son won’t go down with you because his brother’s dead and he’s been left all alone. If anything were to happen to him on the trip you are taking, you would send me—old as I am—to my grave in grief.”
42
The Dreams Come True
1Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, so he said to his sons, “Why are you just sitting here looking at one another? 2I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy grain for us to eat, so that we will live and not die.”
3So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with them, because he was afraid that something terrible might happen to him. 5Along with many other people, the sons of Israel went to Egypt to buy grain, because the people in the land of Canaan were also hungry.
6Now Joseph was governor over Egypt. He was the one who sold the grain to people who came to buy it. So Joseph’s brothers came to him and bowed facedown on the ground before him. 7When Joseph saw his brothers, he knew who they were, but he acted as if he didn’t know them. He asked unkindly, “Where do you come from?”
They answered, “We have come from the land of Canaan to buy food.”
8Joseph knew they were his brothers, but they did not know who he was. 9And Joseph remembered his dreams about his brothers bowing to him. He said to them, “You are spies! You came to learn where the nation is weak!”
10But his brothers said to him, “No, my master. We come as your servants just to buy food. 11We are all sons of the same father. We are honest men, not spies.”
12Then Joseph said to them, “No! You have come to learn where this nation is weak!”
13And they said, “We are ten of twelve brothers, sons of the same father, and we live in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is there with our father right now, and our other brother is gone.”
14But Joseph said to them, “I can see I was right! You are spies! 15But I will give you a way to prove you are telling the truth. As surely as the king lives, you will not leave this place until your youngest brother comes here. 16One of you must go and get your brother. The rest of you will stay here in prison. We will see if you are telling the truth. If not, as surely as the king lives, you are spies.” 17Then Joseph put them all in prison for three days.
18On the third day Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man. Do this and I will let you live: 19If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison while the rest of you go and carry grain back to feed your hungry families. 20Then bring your youngest brother back here to me. If you do this, I will know you are telling the truth, and you will not die.”
The brothers agreed to this. 21They said to each other, “We are being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw his trouble, and he begged us to save him, but we refused to listen. That is why we are in this trouble now.”
22Then Reuben said to them, “I told you not to harm the boy, but you refused to listen to me. So now we are being punished for what we did to him.”
23When Joseph talked to his brothers, he used an interpreter, so they did not know that Joseph understood what they were saying. 24Then Joseph left them and cried. After a short time he went back and spoke to them. He took Simeon and tied him up while the other brothers watched. 25Joseph told his servants to fill his brothers’ bags with grain and to put the money the brothers had paid for the grain back in their bags. The servants were also to give them what they would need for their trip back home. And the servants did this.
26So the brothers put the grain on their donkeys and left. 27When they stopped for the night, one of the brothers opened his sack to get food for his donkey. Then he saw his money in the top of the sack. 28He said to the other brothers, “The money I paid for the grain has been put back. Here it is in my sack!”
The brothers were very frightened. They said to each other, “What has God done to us?”
The Brothers Return to Jacob
29The brothers went to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan and told him everything that had happened. 30They said, “The master of that land spoke unkindly to us. He accused us of spying on his country, 31but we told him that we were honest men, not spies. 32We told him that we were ten of twelve brothers—sons of one father. We said that one of our brothers was gone and that our youngest brother was with our father in Canaan.
33“Then the master of the land said to us, ‘Here is a way I can know you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain to feed your hungry families, and go. 34And bring your youngest brother to me so I will know you are not spies but honest men. Then I will give you back your brother whom you leave with me, and you can move about freely in our land.’ ”
35As the brothers emptied their sacks, each of them found his money in his sack. When they and their father saw it, they were afraid.
36Their father Jacob said to them, “You are robbing me of all my children. Joseph is gone, Simeon is gone, and now you want to take Benjamin away, too. Everything is against me.”
37Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put my two sons to death if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. Trust him to my care, and I will bring him back to you.”
38But Jacob said, “I will not allow Benjamin to go with you. His brother is dead, and he is the only son left from my wife Rachel. I am afraid something terrible might happen to him during the trip to Egypt. Then I would be sad until the day I die.”