Joseph’s Brothers in Egypt
1When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt,#Ac 7:12 he said to his sons, “Why do you keep looking at each other? 2Listen,” he went on, “I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us so that we will live and not die.”#Gn 43:8 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, “Something might happen to him.”
5The sons of Israel were among those who came to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6Joseph was in charge of the country; he sold grain to all its people. His brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground.#Gn 37:7–10; 41:43; Is 60:14 7When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them.
“Where do you come from?” he asked.
“From the land of Canaan to buy food,” they replied.
8Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9Joseph remembered his dreams about them#Gn 37:5–11 and said to them, “You are spies. You have come to see the weakness#42:9 Lit nakedness, also in v. 12 of the land.”
10“No, my lord. Your servants have come to buy food,” they said. 11“We are all sons of one man. We are honest; your servants are not spies.”
12“No,” he said to them. “You have come to see the weakness of the land.”
13But they replied, “We, your servants, were twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now#42:13 Or today, also in v. 32 with our father, and one is no longer living.”
14Then Joseph said to them, “I have spoken:#42:14 Lit “That which I spoke to you saying: ‘You are spies!’ 15This is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16Send one from among you to get your brother. The rest of you will be imprisoned so that your words can be tested to see if they are true. If they are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17So Joseph imprisoned them together for three days.
18On the third day Joseph said to them, “I fear God#Gn 39:9; Lv 25:43; Neh 5:15 — do this and you will live. 19If you are honest, let one of you#42:19 Lit your brothers be confined to the guardhouse, while the rest of you go and take grain to relieve the hunger of your households. 20Bring your youngest brother to me so that your words can be confirmed; then you won’t die.” And they consented to this.
21Then they said to each other, “Obviously, we are being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw his deep distress when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this trouble has come to us.”#Gn 37:26–28
22But Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to harm the boy?#Gn 37:22 But you wouldn’t listen. Now we must account for his blood!” #42:22 Lit Even his blood is being sought!”
23They did not realize that Joseph understood them, since there was an interpreter between them. 24He turned away from them and wept. When he turned back and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and had him bound before their eyes. 25Joseph then gave orders to fill their containers with grain, return each man’s silver to his sack, and give them provisions for their journey. This order was carried out. 26They loaded the grain on their donkeys and left there.
The Brothers Return Home
27At the place where they lodged for the night, one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver there at the top of his bag. 28He said to his brothers, “My silver has been returned! It’s here in my bag.” Their hearts sank. Trembling, they turned to one another and said, “What has God done to us?”
29When they reached their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them: 30“The man who is the lord of the country spoke harshly to us and accused us of spying on the country. 31But we told him, ‘We are honest and not spies. 32We were twelve brothers, sons of the same#42:32 Lit of our father. One is no longer living, and the youngest is now with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33The man who is the lord of the country said to us, ‘This is how I will know if you are honest: Leave one brother with me, take food to relieve the hunger of your households, and go. 34Bring back your youngest brother to me, and I will know that you are not spies but honest men. I will then give your brother back to you, and you can trade in the country.’”
35As they began emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his bag of silver! When they and their father saw their bags of silver, they were afraid.
36Their father Jacob said to them, “It’s me that you make childless. Joseph is gone, and Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything happens to me!”
37Then Reuben said to his father, “You can kill my two sons if I don’t bring him back to you. Put him in my care,#42:37 Lit hand and I will return him to you.”
38But Jacob answered, “My son will not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left.#Gn 37:33–34; 42:13; 44:27–28 If anything happens to him on your journey, you will bring my gray hairs down to Sheol in sorrow.”#Gn 44:29
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Berĕshith (Genesis) 42
1And when Ya‛aqoḇ saw that there was grain in Mitsrayim, Ya‛aqoḇ said to his sons, “Why do you look at each other?”
2And he said, “See, I have heard that there is grain in Mitsrayim. Go down to that place and buy for us there, and let us live and not die.”
3And Yosĕph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Mitsrayim.
4But Ya‛aqoḇ did not send Yosĕph’s brother Binyamin with his brothers, for he said, “Lest some harm come to him.”
5And the sons of Yisra’ĕl went to buy grain among those who journeyed, for the scarcity of food was in the land of Kena‛an.
6And Yosĕph was the governor over the land, he was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Yosĕph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth.
7And Yosĕph saw his brothers and recognised them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke to them harshly, and said to them, “Where do you come from?” And they said, “From the land of Kena‛an to buy food.”
8So Yosĕph recognised his brothers, but they did not recognise him.
9And Yosĕph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed about them, and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land!”
10And they said to him, “No, my master, but your servants have come to buy food.
11We are all one man’s sons, we are trustworthy, your servants are not spies.
12But he said to them, “No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land.”
13And they said, “Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Kena‛an. And see, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no more.”
14And Yosĕph said to them, “It is as I spoke to you, saying, ‘You are spies!’
15“By this you shall be proven: By the life of Pharaoh, you do not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.
16“Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you are kept in prison. So let your words be proven to see whether there is any truth in you, or else, by the life of Pharaoh, you are spies!”
17And he put them all together in prison for three days.
18Now Yosĕph said to them the third day, “Do this and live, for I fear Elohim:
19“If you are trustworthy, let one of your brothers be confined to your prison house, and you, go, bring grain for the scarcity of food of your houses.
20“And bring your youngest brother to me, and let your words be confirmed, and you do not die.” And so they did.
21And they said to each other, “Truly, we are guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the distress of his life when he pleaded with us, yet we did not listen, that is why this distress has come upon us.”
22And Re’uḇĕn answered them, saying, “Did I not speak to you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the boy,’ and you would not listen? And see, his blood is now required of us.”
23And they did not know that Yosĕph understood them, for he spoke to them through an interpreter.
24And he turned himself away from them and wept, but came back to them and spoke to them. And he took Shim‛on from them and bound him before their eyes.
25And Yosĕph commanded and they filled their sacks with grain, also to put back every man’s silver to his sack, and to give them food for the journey. And thus it was done for them.
26So they loaded their donkeys with the grain and went from there.
27And as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his silver, for there it was in the mouth of his sack!
28And he said to his brothers, “My silver has been returned, and there it is, in my sack!” And their hearts sank and they were afraid, saying to each other, “What is this that Elohim has done to us?”
29So they came to Ya‛aqoḇ their father in the land of Kena‛an and reported to him all that befell them, saying,
30“The man, the master of the land, spoke to us harshly, and took us for spies of the land.
31But we said to him, ‘We are trustworthy, we are not spies.
32We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One is no more, and the youngest is today with our father in the land of Kena‛an.’
33“And the man, the master of the land, said to us, ‘By this I know that you are trustworthy: Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for the scarcity of food of your households, and go.
34And bring your youngest brother to me, then I know that you are not spies, but that you are trustworthy – I give your brother to you, and you move about in the land.’ ”
35And it came to be as they emptied their sacks, that look, the bundle of each man’s silver was in his sack! And when they and their father saw the bundles of silver, they were afraid.
36And Ya‛aqoḇ their father said to them, “You have bereaved me – Yosĕph is no more, and Shim‛on is no more, and you would take Binyamin! All this is against me.”
37So Re’uḇĕn spoke to his father, saying, “Take the lives of my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands, and I myself bring him back to you.”
38But he said, “My son is not going down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is left alone. If any harm should come to him along the way in which you go, then you would bring down my grey hair with sorrow to She’ol.”
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