1 NOW WHEN Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, Why do you look at one another?
2 For, he said, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; get down there and buy [grain] for us, that we may live and not die.
3 So ten of Joseph's brethren went to buy grain in Egypt.
4 But Benjamin, Joseph's [full] brother, Jacob did not send with his brothers; for he said, Lest perhaps some harm or injury should befall him.
5 So the sons of Israel came to buy grain among those who came, for there was hunger and general lack of food in the land of Canaan.
6 Now Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was who sold to all the people of the land; and Joseph's [half] brothers came and bowed themselves down before him with their faces to the ground.
7 Joseph saw his brethren and he recognized them, but he treated them as if he were a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. He said, Where do you come from? And they replied, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
8 Joseph knew his brethren, but they did not know him.
9 And Joseph remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them and said to them, You are spies and with unfriendly purpose you have come to observe [secretly] the nakedness of the land.
10 But they said to him, No, my lord, but your servants have come [only] to buy food.
11 We are all one man's sons; we are true men; your servants are not spies.
12 And he said to them, No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land.
13 But they said, Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; the youngest is today with our father, and one is not.
14 And Joseph said to them, It is as I said to you, You are spies.
15 You shall be proved by this test: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go away from here unless your youngest brother comes here.
16 Send one of you and let him bring your brother, and you will be kept in prison, that your words may be proved whether there is any truth in you; or else by the life of Pharaoh you certainly are spies.
17 Then he put them all in custody for three days.
18 And Joseph said to them on the third day, Do this and live! I reverence and fear God.
19 If you are true men, let one of your brothers be bound in your prison, but [the rest of] you go and carry grain for those weakened with hunger in your households.
20 But bring your youngest brother to me, so your words will be verified and you shall live. And they did so.
21 And they said one to another, We are truly guilty about our brother, for we saw the distress and anguish of his soul when he begged us [to let him go], and we would not hear. So this distress and difficulty has come upon us.
22 Reuben answered them, Did I not tell you, Do not sin against the boy, and you would not hear? Therefore, behold, his blood is required [of us].
23 But they did not know that Joseph understood them, for he spoke to them through an interpreter.
24 And he turned away from them and wept; then he returned to them and talked with them, and took from them Simeon and bound him before their eyes.
25 Then [privately] Joseph commanded that their sacks be filled with grain, every man's money be restored to his sack, and provisions be given to them for the journey. And this was done for them.
26 They loaded their donkeys with grain and left.
27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he caught sight of his money; for behold, it was in his sack's mouth.
28 And he said to his brothers, My money is restored! Here it is in my sack! And their hearts failed them and they were afraid and turned trembling one to another, saying, What is this that God has done to us?
29 When they came to Jacob their father in Canaan, they told him all that had befallen them, saying,
30 The man who is the lord of the land spoke roughly to us and took us for spies of the country.
31 And we said to him, We are true men, not spies.
32 We are twelve brothers with the same father; one is no more, and the youngest is today with our father in the land of Canaan.
33 And the man, the lord of the country, said to us, By this test I will know whether or not you are honest men: leave one of your brothers here with me and take grain for your famishing households and be gone.
34 Bring your youngest brother to me; then I will know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men. And I will deliver to you your brother [whom I have kept bound in prison], and you may do business in the land.
35 When they emptied their sacks, behold, every man's parcel of money was in his sack! When both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.
36 And Jacob their father said to them, You have bereaved me! Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and you would take Benjamin from me. All these things are against me!
37 And Reuben said to his father, Slay my two sons if I do not bring [Benjamin] back to you. Deliver him into my keeping, and I will bring him back to you.
38 But [Jacob] said, My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left [of his mother's children]; if harm or accident should befall him on the journey you are to take, you would bring my hoary head down to Sheol (the place of the dead) with grief.
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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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