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Genesis 42

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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.
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1Then Iaakob saw that there was foode in Egypt, and Iaakob said vnto his sonnes, Why gaze ye one vpon an other? 2And he said, Behold, I haue heard that there is foode in Egypt, Get you downe thither, and bie vs foode thence, that we may liue and not die. 3So went Iosephs ten brethren downe to bye corne of the Egyptians. 4But Beniamin Iosephs brother woulde not Iaakob send with his brethren: for he saide, Least death should befall him. 5And the sonnes of Israel came to bye foode among them that came: for there was famine in the land of Canaan. 6Now Ioseph was gouerner of the land, who solde to all the people of the lande: then Iosephs brethren came, and bowed their face to the groud before him. 7And when Ioseph sawe his brethren, hee knewe them, and made himselfe straunge toward them, and spake to them roughly, and saide vnto them, Whence come yee? Who answered, Out of the land of Canaan, to bye vitaile. 8(Now Ioseph knewe his brethren, but they knew not him. 9And Ioseph remembred the dreames, which he dreamed of them) and he sayde vnto them, Ye are spies, and are come to see the weaknesse of the land. 10But they sayde vnto him, Nay, my lorde, but to bye vitayle thy seruants are come. 11Wee are all one mans sonnes: wee meane truely, and thy seruants are no spies. 12But he saide vnto them, Nay, but yee are come to see the weakenes of the land. 13And they said, We thy seruants are twelue brethren, the sonnes of one man in the lande of Canaan: and beholde, the yongest is this day with our father, and one is not. 14Againe Ioseph sayde vnto them, This is it that I spake vnto you, saying, Ye are spies. 15Hereby ye shall be proued: by the life of Pharaoh, ye shall not goe hence, except your yongest brother come hither. 16Send one of you which may fet your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proued, whether there bee trueth in you: or els by the life of Pharaoh ye are but spies. 17So he put them in warde three dayes. 18Then Ioseph said vnto them the third day, This do, and liue: for I feare God. 19If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bounde in your prison house, and goe ye, carie foode for the famine of your houses: 20But bring your yonger brother vnto me, that your wordes may be tried, and that ye dye not: and they did so. 21And they said one to another, We haue verily sinned against our brother, in that we sawe the anguish of his soule, when he besought vs, and we would not heare him: therefore is this trouble come vpon vs. 22And Reuben answered them, saying, Warned I not you, saying, Sinne not against the childe, and ye would not heare? and lo, his blood is now required. 23(And they were not aware that Ioseph vnderstoode them: for he spake vnto them by an interpreter.) 24Then he turned from them, and wept, and turned to them againe, and communed with them, and tooke Simeon from among them, and bounde him before their eyes. 25So Ioseph commanded that they should fill their sackes with wheate, and put euery mans money againe in his sacke, and giue them vitaile for the iourney: and thus did he vnto them. 26And they layed their vitaile vpon their asses, and departed thence. 27And as one of them opened his sacke for to giue his asse prouender in the ynne, he espyed his money: for lo, it was in his sackes mouth. 28Then he sayde vnto his brethren, My money is restored: for loe, it is euen in my sacke. And their heart fayled them, and they were astonished, and sayde one to another, What is this, that God hath done vnto vs? 29And they came vnto Iaakob their father vnto the lande of Canaan, and tolde him all that had befallen them, saying, 30The man, who is Lord of the lande, spake roughly to vs, and put vs in prison as spyes of the countrey. 31And we sayd vnto him, We are true men, and are no spies. 32We be twelue brethren, sonnes of our father: one is not, and the yongest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan. 33Then the Lord of the countrey sayde vnto vs, Hereby shall I knowe if ye be true men: Leaue one of your brethren with me, and take foode for the famine of your houses and depart, 34And bring your yongest brother vnto me, that I may knowe that ye are no spies, but true men: so will I deliuer you your brother, and yee shall occupie in the land. 35And as they emptied their sacks, behold, euery mans bundel of money was in his sacke: and when they and their father sawe the bundels of their money, they were afrayde. 36Then Iaakob their father said to them, Ye haue robbed me of my children: Ioseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Beniamin: all these things are against me. 37Then Reuben answered his father, saying, Slay my two sonnes, if I bring him not to thee againe: deliuer him to mine hand, and I will bring him to thee againe. 38But he said, My sonne shall not go downe with you: for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if death come vnto him by the way which ye goe, then ye shall bring my gray head with sorow vnto the graue.