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Joseph meets his brothers - Artist Unknown

While the region was in the grip of a great drought. Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt so he told his sons, “Why are you just standing around? There is grain in Egypt. Go there and buy some so we can survive the drought.”

Ten of Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt but Jacob did not send Benjamin, the youngest, because he was afraid harm would come to him. Thus, Israel’s sons were among the many who went to buy grain during the famine in the land of Canaan.

At the time, Joseph was governor of the land, the person who handled the sale of grain to the people. When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed to him in respect. They did not recognize him (it had been 20 years since they had seen him and Joseph had no doubt taken on Egyptian appearances). But as soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them but 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.”

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Then Joseph remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”

Ancient Egyptian art showing men collecting and carrying grain“No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. We are all sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.”

“No!” Joseph replied. “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. You will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of you to get your brother. The rest of you will wait here in prison so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are lying, then you are spies!”

And Joseph put all of the brothers 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 go and take grain back for your starving households. But you must still bring your youngest brother to me so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.”

The brothers said to each other, “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 is why this distress has come upon 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 pretending to use an interpreter.

Joseph 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 home. All 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 saw his silver in the mouth of the 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 in Canaan, they told him all that had transpired. They said, “The man who is lord over the lands 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 back 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 is 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 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.”

The famine was severe and when all the grain they had brought from Egypt ran out, Jacob said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”

But Judah reminded him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ If you send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. But if you will not send him, we will not go back to Egypt.”

Israel (Jacob) asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”

They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?,’ he asked. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here?’

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Joseph as Ruler of Egypt speaks to his brothers - Artist UnknownThen Judah said to his father Israel, “You send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we may not starve and die. I myself will guarantee Benjamin’s safety. You can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”

Their father said to them, “If it must be then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift – a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. Take your brother and go back to the man at once. And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

So the brothers took the gifts and silver and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal. They are to eat with me at noon.”

The man did as Joseph instructed and took the men to Joseph’s house. The brothers were afraid when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time.” He wants to attack us and seize us as slaves.”

So they went to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. “We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said, “We came down here the first time to buy food. But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver – the exact weight – in the mouth of the sack. So we have brought it back with us. We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver back into our sacks.”

“it is all right,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks. I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.

The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet, and provided fodder for their donkeys. They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard they were to eat there.

When Joseph came home, they presented him the gifts they had brought into the house and they bowed down before him to the ground. He asked them how they were and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?”

They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.

As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.” Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to cry. He went into his private room and wept.

After he had washed his face, he came out and controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.”

They served Joseph by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews for that is detestable to Egyptians. The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the first born to the youngest, and they looked at each other in astonishment (how could Joseph, as far as they were concerned, know how old they were!). When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.

What the story means to us today

We now see that Joseph’s tragedy was part of God’s plan all along

Earlier we saw how Joseph suffered at the hands of his brothers, then rose to great power. Now the purpose of that rise is beginning to reveal as we witness the execution of God’s grand plan.

These chapters are complex but critical to understanding God’s plan for mankind. Joseph has suffered great hardship and was hurt deeply by his brother’s actions. Despite the hardships, God led Joseph to a position where he not only benefits but can afford to lend assistance to those in need. Then, in moment of dire need, his tormenters return and suffer a terrifying experience at the hands of their victim – only to have the victim (Joseph) turnabout and forgive them for their deed.

We should recognize these chapters as a turning point in Israel’s saga – we begin to see that the prior horrifying events had a purpose – as God intended. Ultimately this story is one of compassion and forgiveness. Events that on the surface seem horrific, in the end are to be a purposeful part of God’s plan, achievable only through God’s immense control over mankind’s destiny.

Additional thoughts and considerations

Why send so many sons to buy grain – and why not send Benjamin?

Jacob sent ten of his twelve sons to Egypt to buy food rations. He may have sent such a large number in order to carry back many loads of grain – or possibly the food ration policy in Egypt required the head of each household to place their request in person.

Jacob was afraid harm would come to Benjamin if he went to Egypt with his brothers. Why was Jacob so concerned about the safety of Benjamin but not the other brothers? First, Benjamin was the youngest and possibly very young at the time of the famine. Moreover, Benjamin and Joseph were the only two sons born to Rachel, who Jacob favored over his other wives (Genesis 29:30 tells us outright that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah). Jacob had already lost Rachel and her son Joseph – Benjamin was the sole remaining child from Jacob and Rachel’s marriage and held a special place in Jacob’s heart.

Joseph’s cruel trick

Joseph greets his brothers - Artist UnknownJoseph’s actions appear cruel, but he was clearly emotionally hurt by the actions he felt compelled to take. When he heard the brothers talking about how they had given him away, he wept. Still, Joseph was clearly the creator of the conflict and continued putting his plan into action despite his sympathy for his brothers. Why would Joseph act so cruelly towards his brothers? Was he angry at what they had done to him? Were his actions an act of revenge?

Genesis 42:9 explains when it tells us that he “remembered his dreams about them” (as told in Genesis 37:7 when Joseph relayed his dream of his brother’s sheaves bowing down to his). Thus, we see that Joseph did not necessarily test his brothers in order to be cruel, but to follow God’s guidance and fulfill the role he was destined for.

To accomplish this, he put his brothers in the same situation they had put him into. He tested their sincerity and probed to see how they would react to outlandish accusations. It was a test of their conscience – and it worked. Joseph’s provocation prompts the brothers to reveal several painful admissions. For instance, the brothers told Joseph they were twelve brothers but “one is no more”. Possibly this causes the brothers to think back and regret their action (in retelling the events to their father, they seemingly try to push the painful loss of Joseph to the background).

Finally, the events Joseph puts into motion, including the placement of their silver back into their sacks, leads the brothers to a stunning conclusion. When they find their money has been placed back into their bags, their statement rings much truer than they realize: “What has God done to us?”

As the story plays out, we see that Joseph’s acts serve to place the brothers in a scenario that forces them to mirror the events (imprisonment, fear, isolation, false accusations) Joseph has suffered because of their actions toward him. But what if Joseph had simply greeted his brothers and immediately revealed to them that he was their brother? The remaining events would have been dramatically altered. The twelve brothers, the foundations of the future great tribes, may not have felt the emotional pain of their prior betrayal of Joseph as deeply. The impact to their conscience may not have been as powerful and touching. The saga would have been nothing more than the typical happy reunion instead of a test of faith, courage, and spirit.

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Why would Joseph be concerned about spies in his country?

Joseph repeatedly accuses his brothers of being spies. At first sight, this accusation seems bizarre, but Joseph truly had reason to worry about espionage. The border between Egypt and Canaan had always been a vulnerable border. Now, Egypt had food while the rest of the region starved – and everyone in the area was surely aware of Egypt’s abundance.

Josephs’ foresight and wisdom to store grain ahead of the famine put the country in a precarious position with threat of enemy raids an ongoing concern. Joseph certainly would have been leery of spies. However, it is clear that he did not truly think his brothers were spies.

Did the brothers lie to their father, Jacob?

The earlier verses seem to indicate the brothers freely relinquished information about their family, particular how many brothers they had. But when Jacob asked them why they told Joseph about Benjamin, the brothers tell Jacob that Joseph had questioned them specifically about the members of their family. Were they lying?

It’s impossible to know – the earlier verses could have been a synopsis of the discussion the brothers had with Joseph. This is a common literary practice both in the bible and other ancient texts. Or the brothers could have been trying to relay the story in a positive sense, an attempt to convince Jacob to let Benjamin return to Egypt with them. Or possibly they mentioned 12 brothers, Joseph saw only 10 standing before him, and demanded an explanation.

Why did Joseph choose Simeon chosen to be imprisoned?

Of the ten brothers, only one is chosen to be imprisoned. The Bible does not tell us why Joseph chose Simeon to be held captive until the remaining brothers returned nor do we know why Joseph had Simeon bound while the others watched. Rueben was the eldest son – why was he not chosen instead?

In previous verses, Joseph made the brothers believe he needed an interpreter to understand the language (Hebrew) the brothers were speaking. Therefore, they spoke freely in front of Joseph, not realizing he understood every word they were saying. In their discussions with each other, they reveal they are afraid they are being punished by God for their treatment of Joseph. Rueben, the eldest brother, interjects, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against our brother?”

Joseph heard Rueben’s statement and was surely touched by Rueben’s reaction to the brother’s horrific treatment of Joseph. To find that at least one of the brothers had tried to save him must have filled Joseph with joy. How could Joseph hold captive, the eldest brother who had attempted to rescue him? Instead, he chose the second eldest son – Simeon, who according to tradition, bore the second-most responsibility for protecting their younger brother.

Joseph meets Benjamin and his brothers - Artist UnknownWhy would Joseph put the brother’s silver back into their bags?

It may be that Joseph held Simeon captive and returned the brother’s money for the same reason – to ensure they came back. Returning their money would provide them the means to come back to Egypt and purchase more grain. It may be that he did not want to charge his family for much-needed grain but also needed to test the brother’s honesty. Later we will see Joseph conduct the same trick but this time, accuse them of thievery.

More likely, Joseph simply sought to confuse the brothers, to strike fear in their hearts when they discover that the money that was supposed to be handed over to Joseph as payment for the grain, was still in their sacks. The verses show that upon finding the silver in their bags, the brothers thought it was a trap – to make it appear they had stolen the grain or stolen back their money.

Reuben and later Judah, provide their father with guarantees of Benjamin’s safety

In an effort to convince Jacob to let them return with Benjamin, Reuben tells Jacob “you may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring Benjamin back to you unharmed.” Later, when their grain has run out and Jacob realizes he must again send his sons to Egypt for more food, he expects the bothers to return without Benjamin. The brothers convey the importance of heeding Joseph’s instructions. Judah tells Jacob, “I myself will guarantee Benjamin’s safety” and points out that Jacob’s hesitation has already cost them valuable time.

Both Reuben and Judah play a critical role in the narrative – the return to Egypt and reunion with their long-lost brother (Joseph). And like Joseph and Benjamin, sons of Jacob and Rachel, both brothers are linked as the two sons of Jacob and Leah. Judah, who along with Reuben earlier convinced the brothers to let Joseph live and instead sell him to the Midianites, kindly (but impatiently) guarantees Benjamin’s safety to Jacob. Later, upon their return to Egypt, when Benjamin is perceived to be in danger, Judah offers himself as a substitute. Just as it was Judah’s plan that saved Joseph’s life the first time (Genesis 37:26), his plan again proves to be the promise Jacob ultimately accepts.

The science and history behind the story

The separation of Joseph, the brothers, and the Egyptians during meals

The verses say that Joseph was served by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians served separately because Egyptians were not allowed to eat with Hebrews. Egyptians found Hebrews to be repulsive – possibly because of their body and facial hair (Egyptian culture encouraged clean shaven faces and bodies).

Historical documents and artifacts have proven the ancient Egyptians had a sense of superiority over other nations. Ancient Egyptian art often portrays Hebrews and other non-Egyptian people as inferior. In fact, footrests in ancient Egypt were often decorated with art depicting foreigners implying that Egyptians had the right to tread upon anyone that was not Egyptian.

The Egyptian attitude towards Hebrews makes Joseph’s unfathomable rise to power even more astounding.

Famine in Egypt

In the previous story, I discussed the historical evidence of famine in Joseph’s time. Hieroglyph inscriptions found near Aswan in Egypt known as the Famine Stela (FAH-men-STEE-luh). Although the date of the inscription is widely debated, it describes a seven-year famine, thought to have occurred around 2700 BC. There is further evidence of a historic drought in Egypt during Joseph’s reign.

Ancient Egyptians depended on the Nile river’s annual floods to irrigate crops. Changes in the climate have been known to push monsoons southward causing droughts in Egypt. Scientists believe the shifting of the monsoons southward deposited large amounts of soil into the Blue Nile and into Egypt. The Blue Nile and White Nile are the two main tributaries of the Nile and are named after the color of the clay carried into their waters. Sediment from the Blue Nile differs from White Nile sediment and during periods of drought, the amount of Blue Nile mud in the river would be higher. This allows scientist to date droughts including a particularly prominent one dated to around 2500 BC – during the time the Bible records Joseph’s drought.

Bible Text

NIV

42 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2 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.”

3 Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5 So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.

6 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. 7 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.”

8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9 Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”

10 “No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.”

12 “No!” he said to them. “You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”

13 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.”

14 Joseph said to them, “It is just as I told you: You are spies! 15 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. 16 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!” 17 And he put them all in custody for three days.

18 On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19 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. 20 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.

21 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.”

22 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.” 23 They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.

24 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.

25 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, 26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.

27 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. 28 “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?”

29 When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30 “The man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us and treated us as though we were spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies. 32 We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in Canaan.’

33 “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. 34 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.’ ”

35 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. 36 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!”

37 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.”

38 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.”

43 Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2 So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”

3 But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ ”

6 Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”

7 They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”

8 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9 I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10 As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”

11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13 Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14 And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

15 So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal; they are to eat with me at noon.”

17 The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house. 18 Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.”

19 So they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20 “We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said, “we came down here the first time to buy food. 21 But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver—the exact weight—in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. 22 We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.”

23 “It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.

24 The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. 25 They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.

26 When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. 27 He asked them how they were, and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?”

28 They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.

29 As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.

31 After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.”

32 They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians. 33 The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment. 34 When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

Joseph's brothers - Artist UnknownThe NET Bible

42:1 When Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you looking at each other?” 42:2 He then said, “Look, I hear that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy grain for us so that we may live and not die.”

42:3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 42:4 But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, “What if some accident happens to him?” 42:5 So Israel’s sons came to buy grain among the other travelers, for the famine was severe in the land of Canaan.

42:6 Now Joseph was the ruler of the country, the one who sold grain to all the people of the country. Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground. 42:7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger to them and spoke to them harshly. He asked, “Where do you come from?” They answered, “From the land of Canaan, to buy grain for food.”

42:8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 42:9 Then Joseph remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them, and he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see if our land is vulnerable!”

42:10 But they exclaimed, “No, my lord! Your servants have come to buy grain for food! 42:11 We are all the sons of one man; we are honest men! Your servants are not spies.”

42:12 “No,” he insisted, “but you have come to see if our land is vulnerable.” 42:13 They replied, “Your servants are from a family of twelve brothers. We are the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is with our father at this time, and one is no longer alive.”

42:14 But Joseph told them, “It is just as I said to you: You are spies! 42:15 You will be tested in this way: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not depart from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 42:16 One of you must go and get your brother, while the rest of you remain in prison. In this way your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If not, then, as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 42:17 He imprisoned them all for three days. 42:18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do as I say and you will live, for I fear God. 42:19 If you are honest men, leave one of your brothers confined here in prison while the rest of you go and take grain back for your hungry families. 42:20 But you must bring your youngest brother to me. Then your words will be verified and you will not die.” They did as he said.

42:21 They said to one other, “Surely we’re being punished because of our brother, because we saw how distressed he was when he cried to us for mercy, but we refused to listen. That is why this distress has come on us!” 42:22 Reuben said to them, “Didn’t I say to you, ‘Don’t sin against the boy,’ but you wouldn’t listen? So now we must pay for shedding his blood!” 42:23 (Now they did not know that Joseph could understand them, for he was speaking through an interpreter.) 42:24 He turned away from them and wept. When he turned around and spoke to them again, he had Simeon taken from them and tied up before their eyes.

42:25 Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to return each man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. His orders were carried out. 42:26 So they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.

42:27 When one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey at their resting place, he saw his money in the mouth of his sack. 42:28 He said to his brothers, “My money was returned! Here it is in my sack!” They were dismayed; they turned trembling one to another and said, “What in the world has God done to us?”

42:29 They returned to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan and told him all the things that had happened to them, saying, 42:30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us and treated us as if we were spying on the land. 42:31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies! 42:32 We are from a family of twelve brothers; we are the sons of one father. One is no longer alive, and the youngest is with our father at this time in the land of Canaan.’

42:33 “Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for your hungry households and go. 42:34 But bring your youngest brother back to me so I will know that you are honest men and not spies. Then I will give your brother back to you and you may move about freely in the land.’ ”

42:35 When they were emptying their sacks, there was each man’s bag of money in his sack! When they and their father saw the bags of money, they were afraid. 42:36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You are making me childless! Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. And now you want to take Benjamin! Everything is against me.”

42:37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my care and I will bring him back to you.” 42:38 But Jacob replied, “My son will not go down there with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left. If an accident happens to him on the journey you have to make, then you will bring down my gray hair in sorrow to the grave.”

The Second Journey to Egypt

43:1 Now the famine was severe in the land. 43:2 When they finished eating the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Return, buy us a little more food.”

43:3 But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ 43:4 If you send our brother with us, we’ll go down and buy food for you. 43:5 But if you will not send him, we won’t go down there because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ ”

43:6 Israel said, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had one more brother?”

43:7 They replied, “The man questioned us thoroughly about ourselves and our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ So we answered him in this way. How could we possibly know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?”

43:8 Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me and we will go immediately. Then we will live and not die—we and you and our little ones. 43:9 I myself pledge security for him; you may hold me liable. If I do not bring him back to you and place him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 43:10 But if we had not delayed, we could have traveled there and back twice by now!”

43:11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: Take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and take a gift down to the man—a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachios and almonds. 43:12 Take double the money with you; you must take back the money that was returned in the mouths of your sacks—perhaps it was an oversight. 43:13 Take your brother too, and go right away to the man. 43:14 May the sovereign God grant you mercy before the man so that he may release your other brother and Benjamin! As for me, if I lose my children I lose them.”

43:15 So the men took these gifts, and they took double the money with them, along with Benjamin. Then they hurried down to Egypt and stood before Joseph. 43:16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the servant who was over his household, “Bring the men to the house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for the men will eat with me at noon.” 43:17 The man did just as Joseph said; he brought the men into Joseph’s house.

43:18 But the men were afraid when they were brought to Joseph’s house. They said, “We are being brought in because of the money that was returned in our sacks last time. He wants to capture us, make us slaves, and take our donkeys!” 43:19 So they approached the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 43:20 They said, “My lord, we did indeed come down the first time to buy food. 43:21 But when we came to the place where we spent the night, we opened our sacks and each of us found his money—the full amount—in the mouth of his sack. So we have returned it. 43:22 We have brought additional money with us to buy food. We do not know who put the money in our sacks!”

43:23 “Everything is fine,” the man in charge of Joseph’s household told them. “Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks. I had your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.

43:24 The servant in charge brought the men into Joseph’s house. He gave them water, and they washed their feet. Then he gave food to their donkeys. 43:25 They got their gifts ready for Joseph’s arrival at noon, for they had heard that they were to have a meal there.

43:26 When Joseph came home, they presented him with the gifts they had brought inside, and they bowed down to the ground before him. 43:27 He asked them how they were doing. Then he said, “Is your aging father well, the one you spoke about? Is he still alive?” 43:28 “Your servant our father is well,” they replied. “He is still alive.” They bowed down in humility.

43:29 When Joseph looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, “Is this your youngest brother, whom you told me about?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 43:30 Joseph hurried out, for he was overcome by affection for his brother and was at the point of tears. So he went to his room and wept there.

43:31 Then he washed his face and came out. With composure he said, “Set out the food.” 43:32 They set a place for him, a separate place for his brothers, and another for the Egyptians who were eating with him. (The Egyptians are not able to eat with Hebrews, for the Egyptians think it is disgusting to do so.) 43:33 They sat before him, arranged by order of birth, beginning with the firstborn and ending with the youngest. The men looked at each other in astonishment. 43:34 He gave them portions of the food set before him, but the portion for Benjamin was five times greater than the portions for any of the others. They drank with Joseph until they all became drunk.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

New King James Version

42 When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” 2 And he said, “Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die.”

3 So Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, “Lest some calamity befall him.” 5 And the sons of Israel went to buy grain among those who journeyed, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

6 Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth. 7 Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. Then he said to them, “Where do you come from?”

And they said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.”

8 So Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 Then Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed about them, and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land!”

10 And they said to him, “No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all one man’s sons; we are honest men; your servants are not spies.”

12 But he said to them, “No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land.”

13 And they said, “Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and in fact, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no more.”

14 But Joseph said to them, “It is as I spoke to you, saying, ‘You are spies!’ 15 In this manner you shall be tested: By the life of Pharaoh, you shall not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother; and you shall be kept in prison, that your words may be tested to see whether there is any truth in you; or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies!” 17 So he put them all together in prison three days.

18 Then Joseph said to them the third day, “Do this and live, for I fear God: 19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined to your prison house; but you, go and carry grain for the famine of your houses. 20 And bring your youngest brother to me; so your words will be verified, and you shall not die.”

And they did so. 21 Then they said to one another, “We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.”

22 And Reuben answered them, saying, “Did I not speak to you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the boy’; and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us.” 23 But they did not know that Joseph understood them, for he spoke to them through an interpreter. 24 And he turned himself away from them and wept. Then he returned to them again, and talked with them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.

The Brothers Return to Canaan

25 Then Joseph gave a command to fill their sacks with grain, to restore every man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. Thus he did for them. 26 So they loaded their donkeys with the grain and departed from there. 27 But as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey feed at the encampment, he saw his money; and there it was, in the mouth of his sack. 28 So he said to his brothers, “My money has been restored, and there it is, in my sack!” Then their hearts failed them and they were afraid, saying to one another, “What is this that God has done to us?”

29 Then they went to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan and told him all that had happened to them, saying: 30 “The man who is lord of the land spoke roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is with our father this day in the land of Canaan.’ 33 Then the man, the lord of the country, said to us, ‘By this I will know that you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, take food for the famine of your households, and be gone. 34 And bring your youngest brother to me; so I shall know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men. I will grant your brother to you, and you may trade in the land.’ ”

35 Then it happened as they emptied their sacks, that surprisingly each man’s bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. 36 And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.”

37 Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, “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.”

38 But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is left alone. If any calamity should befall him along the way in which you go, then you would bring down my gray hair with sorrow to the grave.”

Joseph’s Brothers Return with Benjamin

43 Now the famine was severe in the land. 2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, “Go back, buy us a little food.”

3 But Judah spoke to him, saying, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. 5 But 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.’ ”

6 And Israel said, “Why did you deal so wrongfully with me as to tell the man whether you had still another brother?”

7 But they said, “The man asked us pointedly about ourselves and our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?’ And we told him according to these words. Could we possibly have known that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?”

8 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. 9 I myself will be surety for him; from my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. 10 For if we had not lingered, surely by now we would have returned this second time.”

11 And their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: Take some of the best fruits of the land in your vessels and carry down a present for the man—a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take double money in your hand, and take back in your hand the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take your brother also, and arise, go back to the man. 14 And may God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved, I am bereaved!”

15 So the men took that present and Benjamin, and they took double money in their hand, and arose and went down to Egypt; and they stood before Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my home, and slaughter an animal and make ready; for these men will dine with me at noon.” 17 Then the man did as Joseph ordered, and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house.

18 Now the men were afraid because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, “It is because of the money, which was returned in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may make a case against us and seize us, to take us as slaves with our donkeys.”

19 When they drew near to the steward of Joseph’s house, they talked with him at the door of the house, 20 and said, “O sir, we indeed came down the first time to buy food; 21 but it happened, when we came to the encampment, that we opened our sacks, and there, each man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight; so we have brought it back in our hand. 22 And we have brought down other money in our hands to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.”

23 But he said, “Peace be with you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.

24 So the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their donkeys feed. 25 Then they made the present ready for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they heard that they would eat bread there.

26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed down before him to the earth. 27 Then he asked them about their well-being, and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”

28 And they answered, “Your servant our father is in good health; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads down and prostrated themselves.

29 Then he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your younger brother of whom you spoke to me?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep. And he went into his chamber and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out; and he restrained himself, and said, “Serve the bread.”

32 So they set him a place by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves; because the Egyptians could not eat food with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men looked in astonishment at one another. 34 Then he took servings to them from before him, but Benjamin’s serving was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.

Thew New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

The Message

42 When 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.”

3–5 Ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to get food. Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Ben-jamin 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.

6–7 Joseph 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.”

8 Joseph knew who they were, but they didn’t know who he was.

9 Joseph, 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.”

12 He said, “No. You’re spies. You’ve come to look for our weak spots.”

13 They 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.”

14–16 But 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.”

17 Then he threw them into jail for three days.

18–20 On 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.

21 Then 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.”

22 Reuben 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.”

23–24 Joseph 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.

25 Then 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.

26 They loaded their food supplies on their donkeys and set off.

27–28 When 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?”

29–32 When 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.’ ”

35 As they were emptying their food sacks, each man came on his purse of money. On seeing their money, they and their father were upset.

36 Their father said to them, “You’re taking everything I’ve got! Joseph’s gone, Simeon’s gone, and now you want to take Ben-jamin. If you have your way, I’ll be left with nothing.”

37 Reuben spoke up: “I’ll put my two sons in your hands as hostages. If I don’t bring Ben-jamin back, you can kill them. Trust me with Ben-jamin; I’ll bring him back.”

38 But 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.”

1–2 43 The famine got worse. When they had eaten all the food they had brought back from Egypt, their father said, “Go back and get some more food.”

3–5 But Judah said, “The man warned us most emphatically, ‘You won’t so much as see my face if you don’t have your brother with you.’ If you’re ready to release our brother to go with us, we’ll go down and get you food. But if you’re not ready, we aren’t going. What would be the use? The man told us, ‘You won’t so much as see my face if you don’t have your brother with you.’ ”

6 Israel said, “Why are you making my life so difficult! Why did you ever tell the man you had another brother?”

7 They said, “The man pressed us hard, asking pointed questions about our family: ‘Is your father alive? Do you have another brother?’ So we answered his questions. How did we know that he’d say, ‘Bring your brother here’?”

8–10 Judah pushed his father Israel. “Let the boy go; I’ll take charge of him. Let us go and be on our way—if we don’t get going, we’re all going to starve to death—we and you and our children, too! I’ll take full responsibility for his safety; it’s my life on the line for his. If I don’t bring him back safe and sound, I’m the guilty one; I’ll take all the blame. If we had gone ahead in the first place instead of procrastinating like this, we could have been there and back twice over.”

11–14 Their father Israel gave in. “If it has to be, it has to be. But do this: stuff your packs with the finest products from the land you can find and take them to the man as gifts—some balm and honey, some spices and perfumes, some pistachios and almonds. And take plenty of money—pay back double what was returned to your sacks; that might have been a mistake. Take your brother and get going. Go back to the man. And may The Strong God give you grace in that man’s eyes so that he’ll send back your other brother along with Ben-jamin. For me, nothing’s left; I’ve lost everything.”

15–16 The men took the gifts, double the money, and Ben-jamin. They lost no time in getting to Egypt and meeting Joseph. When Joseph saw that they had Ben-jamin with them, he told his house steward, “Take these men into the house and make them at home. Butcher an animal and prepare a meal; these men are going to eat with me at noon.”

17–18 The steward did what Joseph had said and took them inside. But they became anxious when they were brought into Joseph’s home, thinking, “It’s the money; he thinks we ran off with the money on our first trip down here. And now he’s got us where he wants us—he’s going to turn us into slaves and confiscate our donkeys.”

19–22 So they went up to Joseph’s house steward and talked to him in the doorway. They said, “Listen, master. We came down here one other time to buy food. On our way home, the first night out we opened our bags and found our money at the mouth of the bag—the exact amount we’d paid. We’ve brought it all back and have plenty more to buy more food with. We have no idea who put the money in our bags.”

23 The steward said, “Everything’s in order. Don’t worry. Your God and the God of your father must have given you a bonus. I was paid in full.” And with that, he presented Simeon to them.

24–25 He then took them inside Joseph’s house and made them comfortable—gave them water to wash their feet and saw to the feeding of their donkeys. The brothers spread out their gifts as they waited for Joseph to show up at noon—they had been told that they were to have dinner with him.

26 When Joseph got home, they presented him with the gifts they had brought and bowed respectfully before him.

27 Joseph welcomed them and said, “And your old father whom you mentioned to me, how is he? Is he still alive?”

28 They said, “Yes—your servant our father is quite well, very much alive.” And they again bowed respectfully before him.

29 Then Joseph picked out his brother Ben-jamin, his own mother’s son. He asked, “And is this your youngest brother that you told me about?” Then he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.”

30–31 Deeply moved on seeing his brother and about to burst into tears, Joseph hurried out into another room and had a good cry. Then he washed his face, got a grip on himself, and said, “Let’s eat.”

32–34 Joseph was served at his private table, the brothers off by themselves and the Egyptians off by themselves (Egyptians won’t eat at the same table with Hebrews; it’s repulsive to them). The brothers were seated facing Joseph, arranged in order of their age, from the oldest to the youngest. They looked at one another wide-eyed, wondering what would happen next. When the brothers’ plates were served from Joseph’s table, Ben-jamin’s plate came piled high, far more so than his brothers. And so the brothers feasted with Joseph, drinking freely.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

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King James Version

Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? 2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die. 3 And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. 4 But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. 5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. 7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. 8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. 10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. 11 We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. 12 And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. 13 And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not. 14 And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies: 15 Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. 16 Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies. 17 And he put them all together into ward three days. 18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: 19 If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: 20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so. 21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. 22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required. 23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. 24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes. 25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.

26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. 27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack’s mouth. 28 And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us? 29 And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying, 30 The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. 31 And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies: 32 We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan. 33 And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your households, and be gone: 34 And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land. 35 And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. 36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. 37 And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. 38 And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

43 And the famine was sore in the land. 2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food. 3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. 4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food: 5 But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. 6 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother? 7 And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down? 8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. 9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: 10 For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time. 11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: 12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight: 13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: 14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.

15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. 16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon. 17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house. 18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses. 19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, 20 And said, O sir, †we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: 21 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. 22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. 23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them. 24 And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. 25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there. 26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. 27 And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive? 28 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance. 29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. 30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. 31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread. 32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians. 33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another. 34 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database
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