Genesis 42

Now when Jacob saw that there were rations to be had in Egypt, he said to his sons,
“Why do you keep just looking at one another? I’ve heard in Egypt, there are rations.
Go down to Egypt and buy us food rations from there, so that we may live and not die.”
So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy some rationed grain from Egypt’s large supply.
But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, for he said, “What if he is harmed?”
The sons of Israel were among those that came to buy rations; they came in a swarm,
For the famine was in the land of Canaan. Joseph was governor over the land,
It was he who dispensed rations to the land’s people. Before him, his brothers did stand.
They came and bowed to him, with their heads to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers, he knew
Who they were, but pretended not to recognize them and spoke as a stranger might do.
He spoke harshly to them and said, “Where do you come from?” They said, “From the land of Canaan,
To buy food rations.” And though Joseph recognized them, for their part, they never caught on.
And Joseph was reminded of dreams he had dreamt of them. He said to them, “You are spies!
It’s the land’s weakness that you have come to see!” They replied, “No, we came to buy supplies.
My lord, your servants have come to buy food rations. We are all sons of a single man,
We are honest, your servants have never been spies.” He said, “No, you now spy on the land!
It’s the land’s weakness that you have come to see!” They said, “Your servants are twelve, we are brothers,
Sons of one man in Canaan, the youngest is with our father, and no more is the other.”

Joseph said to them, “It’s just as I have told you, ‘You are spies!’– Here is how you’ll be tested:
As Pharaoh lives, unless your youngest brother comes here, at this place you shall be arrested.
You shall not leave this place. Send one of you to fetch him, the rest shall as prisoners remain.
That way we will test your words and see whether there is truth in you, or if you just feign
And as Pharaoh lives, you are indeed spies!” He moved them into custody for three days.
Joseph said to them on the third day, “Do this and you shall live, for I follow God’s ways:
If you are honest, let one of you brothers stay as a prisoner in custody,
And the rest of you go back to your households with famine-rations for your family.
Then bring your youngest brother back to me, to prove your words truthful, and you will not die.”
They prepared to do so, but the brothers said to one another, “We cannot deny
We have guilt in regards to our brother– we saw his distress of heart as he implored,
And we listened not. That’s why this distress has come upon us: His distress, we ignored.”

Reuben spoke up and said, “Didn’t I tell you ‘Don’t sin against the child!’ But you would not hear.
So now reckoning has come for his blood.” They did not know that they had caught Joseph’s ear,
For he’d spoken to them through an interpreter (so they did not know he understood).
Joseph turned away from them and wept, but returned and spoke to them as soon as he could.
Joseph had Simeon taken away from them, and bound up and fettered before their eyes.
Then Joseph ordered that their bags be filled with grain, and each man’s silver returned likewise,
And that they should be given provisions for their journey. Joseph’s men did so for them.
Then they loaded their rations onto their donkeys, and departed from that place. But then,
As one opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the night camp, there in his pack
Was his silver. He said to his brothers, “My silver has been given back, in my sack!”
Their hearts gave way, and they trembled to one another, saying, “What has God done to us?”
They came home to their father Jacob, in the land of Canaan, bearing Egypt’s surplus.
They recounted all that had befallen them, saying, “The man, governor of the land,
Spoke harshly with us, since he mistook us for spies and thought some evil deeds we had planned.
Now we said to him, ‘We are honest, we have never been spies. We are twelve, brothers all,
Sons of our father. One is no more, and the youngest is in Canaan, at father’s call.’
Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘Here’s how I’ll tell if you are honest men:
Leave one of you brothers here with me, and bring food to your household to face the famine.
But bring your youngest brother back to me, so that I may know you are honest, not spies.
Then I will give your brother back to you, you may travel as you see best in your eyes.’”

But when all of them emptied their sacks, there was each man’s pouch of silver, filled and unlightened.
They looked at their pouches full of silver, both they and their father, and then became frightened.
Then their father Jacob said to them, “Why is it always me that you boys must bereave?
Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and now for Benjamin you would have me grieve!
All this has come upon me.” Reuben said to his father, “My two sons you may destroy
If I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands, and I’ll return you the boy.”
But he said, “My son is not to go down with you, for his brother is already dead.
And he is left alone. Should some harm befall him on the path which you now wish to tread,
You will send down to Sheol (down to the grave) in sorrow every gray hair on my head.”

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