Genesis 42

1˻The famine was also bad in Canaan.˼ But Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt. So Jacob said to his sons, “Why are we sitting here doing nothing? 2I heard there is grain in Egypt for sale. So let’s go there to buy grain. Then we can live instead of just letting ourselves die!” 3So ten of Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt to buy grain. 4Jacob did not send Benjamin. (Benjamin was Joseph’s only full brother.) Jacob was afraid that something bad might happen to Benjamin. 5The famine was very bad in Canaan, so there were many people from Canaan who went to Egypt to buy grain. Among them were the sons of Israel. 6Joseph was the governor of Egypt at the time. And Joseph was the man who checked the sale of grain to people who came to Egypt. So, Joseph’s brothers came to him and bowed before him. 7Joseph saw his brothers. Joseph recognized them, but he acted like he didn’t know them. He was rude when he spoke to them. He said, “Where do you come from?” The brothers answered, “We come from the land of Canaan. We have come here to buy food.” 8Joseph knew that these men were his brothers. But they did not know who he was. 9And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed about his brothers. Joseph said to his brothers, “You have not come to buy food! You are spies. You came to learn where we are weak.” 10But the brothers said to him, “No, sir! We come as your servants. We have come only to buy food. 11We are all brothers—we all have the same father. We are honest men. We have come only to buy food.” 12Then Joseph said to them, “No! You have come to learn where we are weak.” 13And the brothers said, “No! We are all brothers. There are twelve brothers in our family. We all have the same father. Our youngest brother is still at home with our father. And the other brother died a long time ago. We are like servants before you. We are from the land of Canaan.” 14But Joseph said to them, “No! I can see I am right. You are spies. 15But I will let you prove that you are telling the truth. In the name of Pharaoh, I swear that I won’t let you go until your youngest brother comes here. 16I’ll let one of you go back and bring your youngest brother here to me while the others will stay here in prison. We will see if you are telling the truth. But I believe you are spies.” 17Then Joseph put them all in prison for three days. 18After three days, Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man! Do this, and I will let you live. 19If you are really honest men, then one of your brothers can stay here in prison. And the others can go and carry grain back to your people. 20But then you must bring your youngest brother back here to me. Then I will know that you are telling the truth and you won’t have to die.” The brothers agreed to this. 21They said to each other, “We are being punished for the bad thing we did to our younger brother Joseph. We saw the trouble he was in. He begged us to save him. But we refused to listen. So now we are in trouble.” 22Then Reuben said to them, “I told you not to do anything bad to that boy. But you refused to listen to me. So now we are being punished for his death.” 23Joseph was using an interpreter to talk to his brothers. So the brothers did not know that Joseph understood their language. But Joseph heard and understood everything they said. 24˻Their words made Joseph very sad.˼ So Joseph left them and cried. After a short time, Joseph went back to them. He took Simeon, one of the brothers, and tied him while the other brothers watched. 25Joseph told some servants to fill their bags with grain. The brothers gave Joseph the money for this grain. But Joseph didn’t keep the money. He put the money in their bags of grain. Then Joseph gave them things they would need for their trip back home. 26So the brothers put the grain on their donkeys and left. 27That night the brothers stopped at a place to spend the night. One of the brothers opened his sack to get some grain for his donkey. And there in the sack, he saw his money! 28He said to the other brothers, “Look! Here is the money I paid for the grain. Someone put the money back in my sack!” The brothers were very scared. They said to one another, “What is God doing to us?” 29The brothers went back to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told Jacob about everything that had happened. 30They said, “The governor of that country spoke rudely to us. He thought that we were spies! 31But we told him that we weren’t spies, we were honest men! 32We told him that we were twelve brothers. We told him about our father, and we told him about our youngest brother who was still at home in Canaan. 33“Then the governor of that country said this to us, 'Here is a way to prove that you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me. Take your grain back to your families. 34Then bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know if you are honest men, or if you were sent from an army to destroy us. If you are telling the truth, I will give your brother back to you. I will give him to you, and you will be free to buy grain in our country.’” 35Then the brothers started taking the grain out of their sacks. And every brother found his bag of money in his sack of grain. The brothers and their father saw the money and they were scared. 36Jacob said to them, “Do you want me to lose all of my children? Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. And now you want to take Benjamin away too!” 37But Reuben said to his father, “Father, you may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. Trust me. I will bring Benjamin back to you.” 38But Jacob said, “I will not let Benjamin go with you. His brother is dead, and he is the only son left from my wife Rachel. It would kill me if anything happened to him during the trip to Egypt. You would send me to the grave a very sad, old man.”

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