1-2When Jacob learned that there was food in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you sit around here and look at one another? I’ve heard that there is food in Egypt. Go down there and buy some so that we can survive and not starve to death.”
3-5Ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to get food. Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with them; he was afraid that something bad might happen to him. So Israel’s sons joined everyone else that was going to Egypt to buy food, for Canaan, too, was hit hard by the famine.
6-7Joseph was running the country; he was the one who gave out rations to all the people. When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they treated him with honor, bowing to him. Joseph recognized them immediately, but treated them as strangers and spoke roughly to them.
He said, “Where do you come from?”
“From Canaan,” they said. “We’ve come to buy food.”
8Joseph knew who they were, but they didn’t know who he was.
9Joseph, remembering the dreams he had dreamed of them, said, “You’re spies. You’ve come to look for our weak spots.”
10-11“No, master,” they said. “We’ve only come to buy food. We’re all the sons of the same man; we’re honest men; we’d never think of spying.”
12He said, “No. You’re spies. You’ve come to look for our weak spots.”
13They said, “There were twelve of us brothers—sons of the same father in the country of Canaan. The youngest is with our father, and one is no more.”
14-16But Joseph said, “It’s just as I said, you’re spies. This is how I’ll test you. As Pharaoh lives, you’re not going to leave this place until your younger brother comes here. Send one of you to get your brother while the rest of you stay here in jail. We’ll see if you’re telling the truth or not. As Pharaoh lives, I say you’re spies.”
17Then he threw them into jail for three days.
18-20On the third day, Joseph spoke to them. “Do this and you’ll live. I’m a God-fearing man. If you’re as honest as you say you are, one of your brothers will stay here in jail while the rest of you take the food back to your hungry families. But you have to bring your youngest brother back to me, confirming the truth of your speech—and not one of you will die.” They agreed.
21Then they started talking among themselves. “Now we’re paying for what we did to our brother—we saw how terrified he was when he was begging us for mercy. We wouldn’t listen to him and now we’re the ones in trouble.”
22Reuben broke in. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t hurt the boy’? But no, you wouldn’t listen. And now we’re paying for his murder.”
23-24Joseph had been using an interpreter, so they didn’t know that Joseph was understanding every word. Joseph turned away from them and cried. When he was able to speak again, he took Simeon and had him tied up, making a prisoner of him while they all watched.
25Then Joseph ordered that their sacks be filled with grain, that their money be put back in each sack, and that they be given rations for the road. That was all done for them.
26They loaded their food supplies on their donkeys and set off.
27-28When they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to get food for his donkey; there at the mouth of his bag was his money. He called out to his brothers, “My money has been returned; it’s right here in my bag!” They were puzzled—and frightened. “What’s God doing to us?”
29-32When they got back to their father Jacob, back in the land of Canaan, they told him everything that had happened, saying, “The man who runs the country spoke to us roughly and accused us of being spies. We told him, ‘We are honest men and in no way spies. There were twelve of us brothers, sons of one father; one is gone and the youngest is with our father in Canaan.’
33-34“But the master of the country said, ‘Leave one of your brothers with me, take food for your starving families, and go. Bring your youngest brother back to me, proving that you’re honest men and not spies. And then I’ll give your brother back to you and you’ll be free to come and go in this country.’”
35As they were emptying their food sacks, each man came on his purse of money. On seeing their money, they and their father were upset.
36Their father said to them, “You’re taking everything I’ve got! Joseph’s gone, Simeon’s gone, and now you want to take Benjamin. If you have your way, I’ll be left with nothing.”
37Reuben spoke up: “I’ll put my two sons in your hands as hostages. If I don’t bring Benjamin back, you can kill them. Trust me with Benjamin; I’ll bring him back.”
38But Jacob refused. “My son will not go down with you. His brother is dead and he is all I have left. If something bad happens to him on the road, you’ll put my gray, sorrowing head in the grave.”
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THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of NavPress. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.
1Then Iaakob saw that there was foode in Egypt, and Iaakob said vnto his sonnes, Why gaze ye one vpon an other? 2And he said, Behold, I haue heard that there is foode in Egypt, Get you downe thither, and bie vs foode thence, that we may liue and not die. 3So went Iosephs ten brethren downe to bye corne of the Egyptians. 4But Beniamin Iosephs brother woulde not Iaakob send with his brethren: for he saide, Least death should befall him. 5And the sonnes of Israel came to bye foode among them that came: for there was famine in the land of Canaan. 6Now Ioseph was gouerner of the land, who solde to all the people of the lande: then Iosephs brethren came, and bowed their face to the groud before him. 7And when Ioseph sawe his brethren, hee knewe them, and made himselfe straunge toward them, and spake to them roughly, and saide vnto them, Whence come yee? Who answered, Out of the land of Canaan, to bye vitaile. 8(Now Ioseph knewe his brethren, but they knew not him. 9And Ioseph remembred the dreames, which he dreamed of them) and he sayde vnto them, Ye are spies, and are come to see the weaknesse of the land. 10But they sayde vnto him, Nay, my lorde, but to bye vitayle thy seruants are come. 11Wee are all one mans sonnes: wee meane truely, and thy seruants are no spies. 12But he saide vnto them, Nay, but yee are come to see the weakenes of the land. 13And they said, We thy seruants are twelue brethren, the sonnes of one man in the lande of Canaan: and beholde, the yongest is this day with our father, and one is not. 14Againe Ioseph sayde vnto them, This is it that I spake vnto you, saying, Ye are spies. 15Hereby ye shall be proued: by the life of Pharaoh, ye shall not goe hence, except your yongest brother come hither. 16Send one of you which may fet your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proued, whether there bee trueth in you: or els by the life of Pharaoh ye are but spies. 17So he put them in warde three dayes. 18Then Ioseph said vnto them the third day, This do, and liue: for I feare God. 19If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bounde in your prison house, and goe ye, carie foode for the famine of your houses: 20But bring your yonger brother vnto me, that your wordes may be tried, and that ye dye not: and they did so. 21And they said one to another, We haue verily sinned against our brother, in that we sawe the anguish of his soule, when he besought vs, and we would not heare him: therefore is this trouble come vpon vs. 22And Reuben answered them, saying, Warned I not you, saying, Sinne not against the childe, and ye would not heare? and lo, his blood is now required. 23(And they were not aware that Ioseph vnderstoode them: for he spake vnto them by an interpreter.) 24Then he turned from them, and wept, and turned to them againe, and communed with them, and tooke Simeon from among them, and bounde him before their eyes. 25So Ioseph commanded that they should fill their sackes with wheate, and put euery mans money againe in his sacke, and giue them vitaile for the iourney: and thus did he vnto them. 26And they layed their vitaile vpon their asses, and departed thence. 27And as one of them opened his sacke for to giue his asse prouender in the ynne, he espyed his money: for lo, it was in his sackes mouth. 28Then he sayde vnto his brethren, My money is restored: for loe, it is euen in my sacke. And their heart fayled them, and they were astonished, and sayde one to another, What is this, that God hath done vnto vs? 29And they came vnto Iaakob their father vnto the lande of Canaan, and tolde him all that had befallen them, saying, 30The man, who is Lord of the lande, spake roughly to vs, and put vs in prison as spyes of the countrey. 31And we sayd vnto him, We are true men, and are no spies. 32We be twelue brethren, sonnes of our father: one is not, and the yongest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan. 33Then the Lord of the countrey sayde vnto vs, Hereby shall I knowe if ye be true men: Leaue one of your brethren with me, and take foode for the famine of your houses and depart, 34And bring your yongest brother vnto me, that I may knowe that ye are no spies, but true men: so will I deliuer you your brother, and yee shall occupie in the land. 35And as they emptied their sacks, behold, euery mans bundel of money was in his sacke: and when they and their father sawe the bundels of their money, they were afrayde. 36Then Iaakob their father said to them, Ye haue robbed me of my children: Ioseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Beniamin: all these things are against me. 37Then Reuben answered his father, saying, Slay my two sonnes, if I bring him not to thee againe: deliuer him to mine hand, and I will bring him to thee againe. 38But he said, My sonne shall not go downe with you: for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if death come vnto him by the way which ye goe, then ye shall bring my gray head with sorow vnto the graue.
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