Jacob [Israel] Sends Ten Sons to Egypt
1When Jacob found out that grain was for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you keep looking at each other? 2I’ve heard there’s grain for sale in Egypt. Go there and buy some for us so that we won’t starve to death.”
3Ten of Joseph’s brothers went to buy grain in Egypt. 4Jacob wouldn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with the other brothers, because he was afraid that something would happen to him. 5Israel’s sons left with the others who were going to buy grain, because there was also famine in Canaan.
Joseph Sends Nine of His Brothers Back to Canaan
6As governor of the country, Joseph was selling grain to everyone. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed in front of him with their faces touching the ground. 7As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them. But he acted as if he didn’t know them and spoke harshly to them. “Where did you come from?” he asked them.
“From Canaan, to buy food,” they answered.
8Even though Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him. 9Then he remembered the dreams he once had about them. “You’re spies!” he said to them, “And you’ve come to find out where our country is unprotected.”
10“No, sir!” they answered him. “We’ve come to buy food. 11We’re all sons of one man. We’re honest men, not spies.”
12He said to them, “No! You’ve come to find out where our country is unprotected.”
13They answered him, “We were 12 brothers, sons of one man in Canaan. The youngest brother stayed with our father, and the other one is no longer with us.”
14“It’s just as I told you,” Joseph said to them. “You’re spies! 15This is how you’ll be tested: I solemnly swear, as surely as Pharaoh lives, that you won’t leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16One of you must be sent to get your brother while the rest of you stay in prison. We’ll see if you’re telling the truth. If not, I solemnly swear, as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17Then he put them in jail for three days.
18On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this, and you will live. I, too, fear God. 19If you are honest men, you will let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The rest of you will go and take grain back to your starving families. 20But you must bring me your youngest brother. This will show that you’ve been telling the truth. Then you won’t die.” So they agreed.
21They said to each other, “We’re surely being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw how troubled he was when he pleaded with us for mercy, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in trouble now.”
22Reuben said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen. Now we must pay for this bloodshed.”
23They didn’t know that Joseph could understand them, because he was speaking through an interpreter. 24He stepped away from them to cry. When he could speak to them again, he came back. Then he picked Simeon and had him arrested right in front of their eyes.
25Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain. He put each man’s money back into his sack and gave them supplies for their trip. After their bags were filled, 26they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
27At the place where they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to feed his donkey. His money was right inside his sack. 28He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back! It’s right here in my sack!”
They wanted to die. They trembled and turned to each other and asked, “What has God done to us?”
Jacob’s [Israel’s] Sons Report to Him
29When they came to their father Jacob in Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30“The governor of that land spoke harshly to us and treated us like spies. 31But we said to him, ‘We’re honest men, not spies. 32We were 12 brothers, sons of the same father. One is no longer with us. The youngest brother stayed with our father in Canaan.’
33“Then the governor of that land said to us, ‘This is how I’ll know that you’re honest men: Leave one of your brothers with me. Take food for your starving families and go. 34But bring me your youngest brother. Then I’ll know that you’re not spies but honest men. I’ll give your brother back to you, and you’ll be able to move about freely in this country.’ ”
35As they were emptying their sacks, each man found his bag of money in his sack. When they and their father saw the bags of money, they were frightened. 36Their father Jacob said to them, “You’re going to make me lose all my children! Joseph is no longer with us, Simeon is no longer with us, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything’s against me!”
37So Reuben said to his father, “You may put my two sons to death if I don’t bring him back to you. Let me take care of him, and I’ll bring him back to you.”
38Jacob replied, “My son will not go with you. His brother is dead, and he’s the only one left. If any harm comes to him on the trip you’re taking, the grief would drive this gray-haired old man to his grave!”
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GOD'S WORD® Translation ©1995, 2003, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2020 by God's Word to the Nations Mission Society. All rights reserved.
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."