Joseph and his brothers
Joseph's brothers go to Egypt to buy grain
1When Jacob found out there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you just sitting here, staring at one another? 2I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Now go down and buy some, so we won't starve to death.”#Ac 7.12.
3Ten of Joseph's brothers went to Egypt to buy grain. 4But Jacob did not send Joseph's younger brother Benjamin with them; he was afraid that something might happen to him. 5So Jacob's sons joined others from Canaan who were going to Egypt because of the terrible famine.
6Since Joseph was governor of Egypt and in charge of selling grain, his brothers came to him and bowed with their faces to the ground. 7-8They did not recognize Joseph, but straight away he knew who they were, though he pretended not to know. Instead, he spoke harshly and asked, “Where do you come from?”
“From the land of Canaan,” they answered. “We've come here to buy grain.”
9Joseph remembered what he had dreamed about them and said, “You're spies! You've come here to find out where our country is weak.”#Gn 37.5-10.
10“No sir,” they replied. “We're your servants, and we have only come to buy grain. 11We're honest men, and we come from the same family—we're not spies.”
12“That isn't so!” Joseph insisted. “You've come here to find out where our country is weak.”
13But they explained, “Sir, we come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and one of our brothers is dead.”
It's just like I said. You're spies, 15and I'm going to find out who you really are. I swear by the life of the king that you won't leave this place until your youngest brother comes here. 16Choose one of you to go after your brother, while the rest of you stay here in jail. That will show whether you are telling the truth. But if you are lying, I swear by the life of the king that you are spies!
17Joseph kept them all under guard for three days, 18before saying to them:
Since I respect God, I'll give you a chance to save your lives. 19If you are honest men, one of you must stay here in jail, and the rest of you can take the grain back to your starving families. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me. Then I'll know that you are telling the truth, and you won't be put to death.
Joseph's brothers agreed 21and said to one another, “We're being punished because of Joseph. We saw the trouble he was in, but we refused to help him when he begged us. That's why these terrible things are happening.”
22Reuben spoke up, “Didn't I tell you not to harm the boy? But you wouldn't listen, and now we have to pay the price for killing him.”#Gn 37.21,22.
23They did not know that Joseph could understand them, since he was speaking through an interpreter. 24Joseph turned away from them and cried, but soon he turned back and spoke to them again. Then he had Simeon tied up and taken away while they watched.
Joseph's brothers return to Canaan
25Joseph gave orders for his brothers' grain sacks to be filled with grain and for their money#42.25 money: Probably in the form of small pieces of silver and/or other precious or semi-precious metals; there were no coins or paper money at this time. to be put in their sacks. He also gave orders for them to be given food for their journey home. After this was done, 26they each loaded the grain on their donkeys and left.
27When they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to get some grain for his donkey, and straight away he saw his money bag. 28“Here's my money!” he told his brothers. “Right here in my sack.”
They were trembling with fear as they stared at one another and asked themselves, “What has God done to us?”
29When they returned to the land of Canaan, they told their father Jacob everything that had happened to them:
30The governor of Egypt was rude and treated us like spies. 31But we told him, “We're honest men, not spies. 32We come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and the other is dead.”
33Then the governor of Egypt told us, “I'll find out if you really are honest. Leave one of your brothers here with me, while you take the grain to your starving families. 34But bring your youngest brother to me, so I can be certain that you are honest men and not spies. After that, I'll let your other brother go free, and you can stay here and trade.”
35When the brothers started emptying their sacks of grain, they found their money bags in them. They were frightened, and so was their father Jacob, 36who said, “You have already taken my sons Joseph and Simeon from me. And now you want to take away Benjamin! Everything is against me.”
37Reuben spoke up, “Father, if I don't bring Benjamin back, you can kill both of my sons. Trust me with him, and I will bring him back.”
38But Jacob said, “I won't let my son Benjamin go down to Egypt with the rest of you. His brother is already dead, and he is the only son I have left.#42.38 only son I have left: Jacob had only two sons by Rachel, his favourite wife. I am an old man, and if anything happens to him on the way, I'll die from sorrow, and all of you will be to blame.”
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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.”
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