Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt for Food
1When Jacob realized that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” 2Then he said, “Look, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy grain for us there that we may live and not die.” 3And the ten brothers of Joseph went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Benjamin, the brother of Joseph, for he feared harm would come to him.#Literally “he thought, lest harm encounter him” 5Then the sons of Israel went to buy grain amid those other people who went as well, for there was famine in the land of Canaan. 6Now Joseph was the governor over the land. He was the one who sold food to all the people of the land. And the brothers of Joseph came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7And Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger to them. And he spoke with them harshly and said to them, “From where have you come?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.” 8And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9And Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed concerning them, and he said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land!” 10And they said to him, “No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. 11We all are sons of one man. We are honest men. We, your servants, are not spies.” 12Then he said to them, “No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land.” 13Then they said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, but behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no more.” 14But Joseph said to them, “It is what I said to you—you are spies. 15By this you shall be tested. By the life of Pharaoh you will not go out from here unless your youngest brother comes here. 16Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, but you will be kept in prison so that your words might be tested to see if there is truth with you. And if not, by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies.” 17Then he gathered them into the prison for three days. 18On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live; I fear God. 19If you are honest, let one of your brothers be kept in prison where you are now being kept,#Literally “in the house of your custody” but the rest of you go, carry grain for the famine for your households. 20You must bring your youngest brother to me, and then your words will be confirmed and you will not die.” And they did so. 21Then each said to his brother, “Surely we are guilty on account of our brother when we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded for mercy to us and we would not listen. Therefore this trouble has come to us.” 22Then Reuben answered them, saying, “Did I not say to you, do not sin against the boy? But you did not listen, and now, behold, his blood has been sought.” 23Now they did not know that Joseph understood, for the interpreter was between them. 24And he turned away from them and wept. Then he returned to them and spoke to them, and took Simeon from them and tied him up in front of them. 25Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to return their money to each sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. Thus he did for them. 26Then they loaded their grain upon their donkeys and went away from there. 27And one of them later opened his sack to give fodder to his donkey at the lodging place and saw his money—behold, it was in the mouth of his sack. 28And he said to his brothers, “My money was returned and moreover, behold, it is in my sack!” Then their hearts failed them#Literally “their heart went out” and each of them trembled and said, “What is this God has done to us?”
29And when they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan they told him everything that had happened to them, saying, 30“The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us and treated us as if we were spying out the land. 31But we said to him, ‘We are honest; we are not spies. 32We are twelve brothers, the sons of our father. One is no more and the youngest is with our father now in the land of Canaan.’ 33Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I will know that you are honest. Leave one brother with me, and take food for the famine in your households and go. 34And bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies but you are honest. And I will give your brother back to you, and you will trade in the land.’ ” 35And it happened that when they emptied their sacks, behold, each one’s pouch of money was in his sack. And when they and their father saw the pouches of their money, they were greatly distressed. 36And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me—Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and Benjamin you would take! All of this is against me! 37Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hand and I myself will return him to you.” 38But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone remains. If harm meets him on the journey that you would take, you would bring down my gray head in sorrow to Sheol.”
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1And Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? 2And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down thither and buy grain for us from thence, in order that we may live, and not die. 3And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy grain out of Egypt. 4But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest mischief may befall him. 5So the sons of Israel came to buy grain among those that came; for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6And Joseph, he was the governor over the land — he it was that sold the corn to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brethren came and bowed down to him, the face to the earth.
7And Joseph saw his brethren, and knew them; but he made himself strange to them, and spoke roughly to them, and said to them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan, to buy food. 8And Joseph knew his brethren, but they did not know him. 9And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamt of them; and he said to them, Ye are spies: to see the exposed places of the land ye are come. 10And they said to him, No, my lord; but to buy food are thy servants come. 11We are all one man's sons; we are honest: thy servants are not spies. 12And he said to them, No; but to see the exposed places of the land are ye come. 13And they said, Thy servants were twelve brethren, 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 to them, That is it that I have spoken to you, saying, Ye are spies. 15By this ye shall be put to the proof: as Pharaoh lives, ye shall not go forth hence, unless your youngest brother come hither! 16Send one of you, that he may fetch your brother, but ye shall be imprisoned, and your words shall be put to the proof, whether the truth is in you; and if not, as Pharaoh lives, ye are spies. 17And he put them in custody three days. 18And Joseph said to them the third day, This do, that ye may live: I fear God#GodHebrew: Elohim 19If ye are honest, let one of your brethren remain bound in the house of your prison, but go ye, carry grain for the hunger of your households; 20and bring your youngest brother to me, in order that your words be verified, and that ye may not die. And they did so.
21Then they said one to another, We are indeed guilty concerning our brother, whose anguish of soul we saw when he besought us, and we did not hearken; therefore this distress is come upon us. 22And Reuben answered them, saying, Did I not speak to you, saying, Do not sin against the lad? But ye did not hearken; and now behold, his blood also is required. 23And they did not know that Joseph understood, for the interpreter was between them. 24And he turned away from them, and wept. And he returned to them, and spoke to them, and took Simeon from among them, and bound him before their eyes. 25And Joseph gave orders 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 did they to them. 26And they loaded their asses with their grain, and departed thence. 27And one of them opened his sack to give his ass food in the inn, and saw his money, and behold, it was in the mouth of his sack. 28And he said to his brethren, My money is returned to me, and behold, it is even in my sack. And their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God#GodHebrew: Elohim has done to us?
29And they came into the land of Canaan, to Jacob their father, and told him all that had befallen them, saying, 30The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly to us, and treated us as spies of the land. 31And we said to him, We are honest; we are not spies: 32we are 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 to us, Hereby shall I know that ye are honest: leave one of your brethren with me, and take for the hunger of your households, and go, 34and bring your youngest brother to me, and I shall know that ye are not spies, but are honest. Your brother will I give up to you; and ye may trade in the land. 35And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that behold, every man had his bundle of money in his sack; and they saw their bundles of money, they and their father, and were afraid. 36And Jacob their father said to them, Ye have bereaved me of children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin! All these things are against me. 37And Reuben spoke to his father, saying, Slay my two sons if I bring him not back to thee: give him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. 38But he said, My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he alone is left; and if mischief should befall him by the way in which ye go, then would ye bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to Sheol.
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First published in 1890. This edition is maintained by the British and Foreign Bible Society.