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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