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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1 Then Jacob, hearing that food was being sold in Egypt, said to his sons: "Why are you negligent?
2 I have heard that wheat is being sold in Egypt. Go down and buy necessities for us, so that we may be able to live, and not be consumed by destitution."
3 And so, when ten brothers of Joseph went down to buy grain in Egypt,
4 Benjamin was kept at home by Jacob, who said to his brothers, "Lest perhaps he may suffer harm on the journey."
5 And they entered into the land of Egypt with the others who traveled to buy. For the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6 And Joseph was governor in the land of Egypt, and grain was sold under his direction to the people. And when his brothers had reverenced him
7 and he had recognized them, he spoke harshly, as if to foreigners, questioning them: "Where did you come from?" And they responded, "From the land of Canaan, to buy necessary provisions."
8 And although he knew his brothers, he was not known by them.
9 And remembering the dreams, which he had seen in another time, he said to them: "You are scouts. You have come in order to see which parts of the land are weaker."
10 And they said: "It is not so, my lord. But your servants have arrived in order to buy food.
11 We are all sons of one man. We have come in peace, nor do any of your subjects devise evil."
12 And he answered them: "It is otherwise. You have come to examine the unguarded parts of this land."
13 But they said: "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is with our father; the other is not living."
14 He said: "This is just as I have said. You are scouts.
15 I will now continue to put you to the test. By the health of Pharaoh, you will not depart from here, until your youngest brother arrives.
16 Send one of you and bring him. But you will be in chains, until what you have said is proven to be either true or false. Otherwise, by the health of Pharaoh, you are scouts."
17 Therefore, he delivered them into custody for three days.
18 Then, on the third day, he brought them out of prison, and he said: "Do as I have said, and you will live. For I fear God.
19 If you are peaceful, let one of your brothers be bound in prison. Then you may go away and carry the grain that you have bought to your houses.
20 And bring your youngest brother to me, so that I may be able to test your words, and you may not die." They did as he had said,
21 and they spoke to one another: "We deserve to suffer these things, because we have sinned against our brother, seeing the anguish of his soul, when he begged us and we would not listen. For that reason, this tribulation has come upon us."
22 And Reuben, one of them, said: "Did not I say to you, 'Do not sin against the boy,' and you would not listen to me? See, his blood is exacted."
23 But they did not know that Joseph understood, because he was speaking to them through an interpreter.
24 And he turned himself away briefly and wept. And returning, he spoke to them.
25 And taking Simeon, and binding him in their presence, he ordered his ministers to fill their sacks with wheat, and to replace each one's money in their sacks, and to give them, in addition, provisions for the way. And they did so.
26 Then, having loaded their donkeys with the grain, they set out.
27 And one of them, opening a sack to give his beast of burden fodder at the inn, looked upon the money at the sack's mouth,
28 and he said to his brothers: "My money has returned to me. See, it is held in the sack." And they were astonished and troubled, and they said to one another, "What is this that God has done to us?"
29 And they went to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, and they explained to him all the things that had befallen them, saying:
30 "The lord of the land spoke harshly to us, and he considered us to be scouts of the province.
31 And we answered him: 'We are peaceful, and we do not intend any treachery.
32 We are twelve brothers conceived of one father. One is not living; the youngest is with our father in the land of Canaan.'
33 And he said to us: 'Thus will I prove that you are peaceful. Release one of your brothers to me, and take necessary provisions for your houses, and go away,
34 and bring your youngest brother to me, so that I may know that you are not scouts. And this one, who is held in chains, you may be able to receive again. And thereafter, you shall have permission to buy what you want.' "
35 Having said this, when they poured out their grain, each found his money tied to the mouth of his sack. And all were terrified together.
36 Their father Jacob said, "You have caused me to be without children. Joseph is not living, Simeon is held in chains, and Benjamin you would carry away. All these evils have fallen back upon me."
37 And Reuben answered him, "Put my two sons to death, if I do not lead him back to you. Deliver him into my hand, and I will restore him to you."
38 But he said: "My son will not go down with you. His brother is dead, and he is left alone. If any adversity will befall him in the land to which you travel, you would lead my grey hairs down with sorrow to the grave."