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? 2#Ac 7.12. I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down and buy some, so we won't starve to death.”
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 at once 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.”
9 # Gn 37.5-10. Joseph remembered what he had dreamed about them and said, “You're spies! You've come here to find out where our country is weak.”
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 like I said. You're spies, 15and I'm going to find out the truth. 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.”
22 # Gn 37.21,22. Reuben 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.”
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 at once he saw his moneybag. 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?”#42.28 What has God … us: They thought God had put the money in their bags, so they would be caught and punished.
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 moneybags 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'll 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 favorite 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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1When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” 2#Acts 7.12. And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live, and not die.” 3So ten of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might befall him. 5#Acts 7.11. Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6Now Joseph was governor over the land; he it was who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came, and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. 7Joseph saw his brothers, and knew them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” 8Thus Joseph knew his brothers, but they did not know him. 9And Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed of them; and he said to them, “You are spies, you have come to see the weakness of the land.” 10They said to him, “No, my lord, but to buy food have your servants come. 11We are all sons of one man, we are honest men, your servants are not spies.” 12He said to them, “No, it is the weakness of the land that you have come to see.” 13And they said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more.” 14But Joseph said to them, “It is as I said to you, you are spies. 15By this you shall be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain in prison, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you; or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.” 17And he put them all together in prison for three days.
18On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined in your prison, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, 20and bring your youngest brother to me; so your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they did so. 21Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us and we would not listen; therefore is this distress come upon us.” 22And Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the lad? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.” 23They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. 24Then he turned away from them and wept; and he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes. 25And Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to replace every man's money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them.
26Then they loaded their asses with their grain, and departed. 27And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender at the lodging place, he saw his money in the mouth of his sack; 28and he said to his brothers, “My money has been put back; here it is in the mouth of my sack!” At this their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29When they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had befallen them, saying, 30“The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly to us, and took us to be spies of the land. 31But we said to him, ‘We are honest men, we are not spies; 32we are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for the famine of your households, and go your way. 34Bring your youngest brother to me; then I shall know that you are not spies but honest men, and I will deliver to you your brother, and you shall trade in the land.’ ”
35As they emptied their sacks, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed. 36And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin; all this has come upon me.” 37Then Reuben said to his father, “Slay my two sons if I do not bring him back to you; put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.” 38But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he only is left. If harm should befall him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”
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