Genesis 42

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When Jacob learned that there was grain in
Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” He continued, “I have heard that there is
grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that
we may live and not die.” Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down
to buy grain from Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s
brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. So Israel’s sons were among those who went
to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also. Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the
person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they
bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized
them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied,
“to buy food.” Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they
did not recognize him. Then he remembered his dreams about them and
said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.” “No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.” “No!” he said to them. “You have come to see where our land is
unprotected.” But they replied, “Your servants were twelve
brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one
is no more.” Joseph said to them, “It is just as I told
you: You are spies! And this is how you will be tested: As surely
as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of your number to get your brother;
the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you
are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh
lives, you are spies!” And he put them all in custody for three days. On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do
this and you will live, for I fear God: If you are honest men, let one of your brothers
stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households. But you must bring your youngest brother to
me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” This they proceeded to do. They said to one another, “Surely we are
being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded
with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not
to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” They did not realize that Joseph could understand
them, since he was using an interpreter. He turned away from them and began to weep,
but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before
their eyes. Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with
grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for
their journey. After this was done for them, they loaded
their grain on their donkeys and left. At the place where they stopped for the night
one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth
of his sack. “My silver has been returned,” he said
to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.” Their hearts sank and they turned to each
other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?” When they came to their father Jacob in the
land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, “The man who is lord over the
land spoke harshly to us and treated us as though we were spying on the land. But we said to him, ‘We are honest men;
we are not spies. We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with
our father in Canaan.’ “Then the man who is lord over the land
said to us, ‘This is how I will know whether you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers
here with me, and take food for your starving households and go. But bring your youngest brother to me so I
will know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will give your brother back to you,
and you can trade in the land.’ ” As they were emptying their sacks, there in
each man’s sack was his pouch of silver! When they and their father saw the money pouches,
they were frightened. Their father Jacob said to them, “You have
deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and
now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!” Then Reuben said to his father, “You may
put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him
back.” But Jacob said, “My son will not go down
there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are
taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow.”


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