Gen 42:1-44:34

Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt 1When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you keep looking at one another?2I have heard,” he said, “that there is grain in Egypt; go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.”3So ten of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt.4But Jacob did not send Joseph's brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he feared that harm might come to him.5Thus the sons of Israel were among the other people who came to buy grain, for the famine had reached the land of Canaan.6Now Joseph was governor over the land; it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.7When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.”8Although Joseph had recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.9Joseph also remembered the dreams that he had dreamed about them. He said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land!”10They said to him, “No, my lord; your servants have come to buy food.11We are all sons of one man; we are honest men; your servants have never been spies.”12But he said to them, “No, you have come to see the nakedness of the land!”13They said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of a certain man in the land of Canaan; the youngest, however, is now with our father, and one is no more.”14But Joseph said to them, “It is just as I have said to you; you are spies!15Here is how you shall be tested: as Pharaoh lives, you shall not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here!16Let one of you go and bring your brother, while the rest of you remain in prison, in order that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you; or else, as Pharaoh lives, surely you are spies.”17And he put them all together in prison for three days.18On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God:19if you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here where you are imprisoned. The rest of you shall go and carry grain for the famine of your households,20and bring your youngest brother to me. Thus your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they agreed to do so.21They said to one another, “Alas, we are paying the penalty for what we did to our brother; we saw his anguish when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this anguish has come upon us.”22Then Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to wrong the boy? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.”23They did not know that Joseph understood them, since he spoke with them through an interpreter.24He turned away from them and wept; then he returned and spoke to them. And he picked out Simeon and had him bound before their eyes.25Joseph then gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to return every man's money to his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. This was done for them.Joseph's Brothers Return to Canaan 26They loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed.27When one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money at the top of the sack.28He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back; here it is in my sack!” At this they lost heart and turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”29When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying,30“The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us, and charged us with spying on the land.31But we said to him, ‘We are honest men, we are not spies.32We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in the land of Canaan.’33Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, take grain for the famine of your households, and go your way.34Bring your youngest brother to me, and I shall know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will release your brother to you, and you may trade in the land.’ ”35As they were emptying their sacks, there in each one's sack was his bag of money. When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed.36And their father Jacob said to them, “I am the one you have bereaved of children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has happened to 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 hands, and I will bring him back to you.”38But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should come to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”Chapter 43The Brothers Come Again, Bringing Benjamin 1Now the famine was severe in the land.2And when they had eaten up the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little more food.”3But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’4If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food;5but if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.’ ”6Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?”7They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?”8Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me, and let us be on our way, so that we may live and not die—you and we and also our little ones.9I myself will be surety for him; you can hold me accountable for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.10If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry them down as a present to the man—a little balm and a little honey, gum, resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds.12Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the top of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight.13Take your brother also, and be on your way again to the man;14may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, so that he may send back your other brother and Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”15So the men took the present, and they took double the money with them, as well as Benjamin. Then they went on their way down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.”17The man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph's house.18Now the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph's house, and they said, “It is because of the money, replaced in our sacks the first time, that we have been brought in, so that he may have an opportunity to fall upon us, to make slaves of us and take our donkeys.”19So they went up to the steward of Joseph's house and spoke with him at the entrance to the house.20They said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food;21and when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each one's money in the top of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it back with us.22Moreover we have brought down with us additional money to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.”23He replied, “Rest assured, do not be afraid; your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your sacks for you; I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.24When the steward had brought the men into Joseph's house, and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder,25they made the present ready for Joseph's coming at noon, for they had heard that they would dine there.26When Joseph came home, they brought him the present that they had carried into the house, and bowed to the ground before him.27He inquired about their welfare, and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”28They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and did obeisance.29Then he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!”30With that, Joseph hurried out, because he was overcome with affection for his brother, and he was about to weep. So he went into a private room and wept there.31Then he washed his face and came out; and controlling himself he said, “Serve the meal.”32They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.33When they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, the men looked at one another in amazement.34Portions were taken to them from Joseph's table, but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.Chapter 44Joseph Detains Benjamin 1Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man's money in the top of his sack.2Put my cup, the silver cup, in the top of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him.3As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys.4When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to his steward, “Go, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you returned evil for good? Why have you stolen my silver cup?5Is it not from this that my lord drinks? Does he not indeed use it for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.’ ”6When he overtook them, he repeated these words to them.7They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing!8Look, the money that we found at the top of our sacks, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan; why then would we steal silver or gold from your lord's house?9Should it be found with any one of your servants, let him die; moreover the rest of us will become my lord's slaves.”10He said, “Even so; in accordance with your words, let it be: he with whom it is found shall become my slave, but the rest of you shall go free.”11Then each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each opened his sack.12He searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack.13At this they tore their clothes. Then each one loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.14Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house while he was still there; and they fell to the ground before him.15Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that one such as I can practice divination?”16And Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? How can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; here we are then, my lord's slaves, both we and also the one in whose possession the cup has been found.”17But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the one in whose possession the cup was found shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”Judah Pleads for Benjamin's Release 18Then Judah stepped up to him and said, “O my lord, let your servant please speak a word in my lord's ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself.19My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’20And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead; he alone is left of his mother's children, and his father loves him.’21Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, so that I may set my eyes on him.’22We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’23Then you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.’24When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord.25And when our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’26we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother goes with us, will we go down; for we cannot see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us.’27Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons;28one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since.29If you take this one also from me, and harm comes to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol.’30Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy's life,31when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die; and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol.32For your servant became surety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame in the sight of my father all my life.’33Now therefore, please let your servant remain as a slave to my lord in place of the boy; and let the boy go back with his brothers.34For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the suffering that would come upon my father.”