1Now Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, and Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? 2And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die. 3And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn from Egypt. 4But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. 5And the sons of Israel came to buy among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6And Joseph was the governor over the land; he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves to him with their faces to the earth.
7And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly with them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. 8And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. 9And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. 10And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. 11We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. 12And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. 13And they said, We thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not. 14And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies: 15hereby ye shall be proved: by the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. 16Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be bound, that your words may be proved, whether there be truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies. 17And he put them all together into ward three days. 18And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: 19if ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in your prison house; but go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: 20and bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.
21And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. 22And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore also, behold, his blood is required. 23And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for there was an interpreter between them. 24And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and he returned to them, and spake to them, and took Simeon from among them, and bound him before their eyes. 25Then Joseph commanded to fill their vessels with corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus was it done unto them. 26And they laded their asses with their corn, and departed thence. 27And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the lodging place, he espied his money; and, behold, it was in the mouth of his sack. 28And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they turned trembling one to another, saying, What is this that God hath done unto us?
29And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that had befallen them; saying, 30The man, the lord of the land, spake roughly with us, and took us for spies of the country. 31And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies: 32we be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan. 33And the man, the lord of the land, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren with me, and take corn for the famine of your houses, and go your way: 34and bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land. 35And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack: and when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid. 36And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. 37And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. 38And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he only is left: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
Learn More About Revised Version 1885
maintained by the British and Foreign Bible Society
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.”
Learn More About Contemporary English Version (Anglicised) 2012
© British and Foreign Bible Society 2012