Friday, January 16, 2004

Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt: Genesis 42

Genesis 42

Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt

1When Jacob heard that there was grain available in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why are you standing around looking at one another? 2I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down and buy some for us before we all starve to death." 3So Joseph's ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain. 4Jacob wouldn't let Joseph's younger brother, Benjamin, go with them, however, for fear some harm might come to him. 5So Jacob's[a] sons arrived in Egypt along with others to buy food, for the famine had reached Canaan as well.
6Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of the sale of the grain, it was to him that his brothers came. They bowed low before him, with their faces to the ground. 7Joseph recognized them instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger. "Where are you from?" he demanded roughly.

"From the land of Canaan," they replied. "We have come to buy grain."

8Joseph's brothers didn't recognize him, but Joseph recognized them. 9And he remembered the dreams he had had many years before. He said to them, "You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become."

10"No, my lord!" they exclaimed. "We have come to buy food. 11We are all brothers and honest men, sir! We are not spies!"

12"Yes, you are!" he insisted. "You have come to discover how vulnerable the famine has made us."

13"Sir," they said, "there are twelve of us brothers, and our father is in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is there with our father, and one of our brothers is no longer with us."

14But Joseph insisted, "As I said, you are spies! 15This is how I will test your story. I swear by the life of Pharaoh that you will not leave Egypt unless your youngest brother comes here. 16One of you go and get your brother! I'll keep the rest of you here, bound in prison. Then we'll find out whether or not your story is true. If it turns out that you don't have a younger brother, then I'll know you are spies."

17So he put them all in prison for three days. 18On the third day Joseph said to them, "I am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live. 19We'll see how honorable you really are. Only one of you will remain in the prison. The rest of you may go on home with grain for your families. 20But bring your youngest brother back to me. In this way, I will know whether or not you are telling me the truth. If you are, I will spare you." To this they agreed.

21Speaking among themselves, they said, "This has all happened because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his terror and anguish and heard his pleadings, but we wouldn't listen. That's why this trouble has come upon us."

22"Didn't I tell you not to do it?" Reuben asked. "But you wouldn't listen. And now we are going to die because we murdered him."

23Of course, they didn't know that Joseph understood them as he was standing there, for he had been speaking to them through an interpreter. 24Now he left the room and found a place where he could weep. Returning, he talked some more with them. He then chose Simeon from among them and had him tied up right before their eyes.

25Joseph then ordered his servants to fill the men's sacks with grain, but he also gave secret instructions to return each brother's payment at the top of his sack. He also gave them provisions for their journey. 26So they loaded up their donkeys with the grain and started for home.

27But when they stopped for the night and one of them opened his sack to get some grain to feed the donkeys, he found his money in the sack. 28"Look!" he exclaimed to his brothers. "My money is here in my sack!" They were filled with terror and said to each other, "What has God done to us?" 29So they came to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan and told him all that had happened.

30"The man who is ruler over the land spoke very roughly to us," they told him. "He took us for spies. 31But we said, `We are honest men, not spies. 32We are twelve brothers, sons of one father; one brother has disappeared, and the youngest is with our father in the land of Canaan.' 33Then the man, the ruler of the land, told us, `This is the way I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take grain for your families and go on home. 34But bring your youngest brother back to me. Then I will know that you are honest men and not spies. If you prove to be what you say, then I will give you back your brother, and you may come as often as you like to buy grain.' "

35As they emptied out the sacks, there at the top of each one was the bag of money paid for the grain. Terror gripped them, as it did their father. 36Jacob exclaimed, "You have deprived me of my children! Joseph has disappeared, Simeon is gone, and now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!"

37Then Reuben said to his father, "You may kill my two sons if I don't bring Benjamin back to you. I'll be responsible for him."

38But Jacob replied, "My son will not go down with you, for his brother Joseph is dead, and he alone is left of his mother's children. If anything should happen to him, you would bring my gray head down to the grave in deep sorrow."


Genesis 42:5 Hebrew Israel's.

The Brothers Return to Egypt: Genesis 43

Genesis 43

The Brothers Return to Egypt

1But there was no relief from the terrible famine throughout the land. 2When the grain they had brought from Egypt was almost gone, Jacob said to his sons, "Go again and buy us a little food."
3But Judah said, "The man wasn't joking when he warned that we couldn't see him again unless Benjamin came along. 4If you let him come with us, we will go down and buy some food. 5But if you don't let Benjamin go, we may as well stay at home. Remember that the man said, `You won't be allowed to come and see me unless your brother is with you.' "

6"Why did you ever tell him you had another brother?" Jacob[a] moaned. "Why did you have to treat me with such cruelty?"

7"But the man specifically asked us about our family," they replied. "He wanted to know whether our father was still living, and he asked us if we had another brother so we told him. How could we have known he would say, `Bring me your brother'?"

8Judah said to his father, "Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise we will all die of starvation--and not only we, but you and our little ones. 9I personally guarantee his safety. If I don't bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame forever. 10For we could have gone and returned twice by this time if you had let him come without delay."

11So their father, Jacob, finally said to them, "If it can't be avoided, then at least do this. Fill your bags with the best products of the land. Take them to the man as gifts--balm, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Take double the money that you found in your sacks, as it was probably someone's mistake. 13Then take your brother and go back to the man. 14May God Almighty give you mercy as you go before the man, that he might release Simeon and return Benjamin. And if I must bear the anguish of their deaths, then so be it."

15So they took Benjamin and the gifts and double the money and hurried to Egypt, where they presented themselves to Joseph. 16When Joseph saw that Benjamin was with them, he said to the manager of his household, "These men will eat with me this noon. Take them inside and prepare a big feast." 17So the man did as he was told and took them to Joseph's palace.

18They were badly frightened when they saw where they were being taken. "It's because of the money returned to us in our sacks," they said. "He plans to pretend that we stole it. Then he will seize us as slaves and take our donkeys."

A Feast at Joseph's Palace

19As the brothers arrived at the entrance to the palace, they went over to the man in charge of Joseph's household. 20They said to him, "Sir, after our first trip to Egypt to buy food, 21as we were returning home, we stopped for the night and opened our sacks. The money we had used to pay for the grain was there in our sacks. Here it is; we have brought it back again. 22We also have additional money to buy more grain. We have no idea how the money got into our sacks."
23"Relax. Don't worry about it," the household manager told them. "Your God, the God of your ancestors, must have put it there. We collected your money all right." Then he released Simeon and brought him out to them.

24The brothers were then led into the palace and given water to wash their feet and food for their donkeys. 25They were told they would be eating there, so they prepared their gifts for Joseph's arrival at noon.

26When Joseph came, they gave him their gifts and bowed low before him. 27He asked them how they had been getting along, and then he said, "How is your father--the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?"

28"Yes," they replied. "He is alive and well." Then they bowed again before him.

29Looking at his brother Benjamin, Joseph asked, "Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about? May God be gracious to you, my son." 30Then Joseph made a hasty exit because he was overcome with emotion for his brother and wanted to cry. Going into his private room, he wept there. 31Then he washed his face and came out, keeping himself under control. "Bring on the food!" he ordered.

32Joseph ate by himself, and his brothers were served at a separate table. The Egyptians sat at their own table because Egyptians despise Hebrews and refuse to eat with them. 33Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and to their amazement, he seated them in the order of their ages, from oldest to youngest. 34Their food was served to them from Joseph's own table. He gave the largest serving to Benjamin--five times as much as to any of the others. So they all feasted and drank freely with him.


Genesis 43:6 Hebrew Israel; also in 43:11.

Joseph's Silver Cup: Genesis 44

Genesis 44

Joseph's Silver Cup

1When his brothers were ready to leave, Joseph gave these instructions to the man in charge of his household: "Fill each of their sacks with as much grain as they can carry, and put each man's money back into his sack. 2Then put my personal silver cup at the top of the youngest brother's sack, along with his grain money." So the household manager did as he was told.
3The brothers were up at dawn and set out on their journey with their loaded donkeys. 4But when they were barely out of the city, Joseph said to his household manager, "Chase after them and stop them. Ask them, `Why have you repaid an act of kindness with such evil? 5What do you mean by stealing my master's personal silver drinking cup, which he uses to predict the future? What a wicked thing you have done!' "

6So the man caught up with them and spoke to them in the way he had been instructed. 7"What are you talking about?" the brothers responded. "What kind of people do you think we are, that you accuse us of such a terrible thing? 8Didn't we bring back the money we found in our sacks? Why would we steal silver or gold from your master's house? 9If you find his cup with any one of us, let that one die. And all the rest of us will be your master's slaves forever."

10"Fair enough," the man replied, "except that only the one who stole it will be a slave. The rest of you may go free."

11They quickly took their sacks from the backs of their donkeys and opened them. 12Joseph's servant began searching the oldest brother's sack, going on down the line to the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin's sack! 13At this, they tore their clothing in despair, loaded the donkeys again, and returned to the city. 14Joseph was still at home when Judah and his brothers arrived, and they fell to the ground before him.

15"What were you trying to do?" Joseph demanded. "Didn't you know that a man such as I would know who stole it?"

16And Judah said, "Oh, my lord, what can we say to you? How can we plead? How can we prove our innocence? God is punishing us for our sins. My lord, we have all returned to be your slaves--we and our brother who had your cup in his sack."

17"No," Joseph said. "Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go home to your father."

Judah Speaks for His Brothers

18Then Judah stepped forward and said, "My lord, let me say just this one word to you. Be patient with me for a moment, for I know you could have me killed in an instant, as though you were Pharaoh himself.
19"You asked us, my lord, if we had a father or a brother. 20We said, `Yes, we have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, his youngest son. His brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother's children, and his father loves him very much.' 21And you said to us, `Bring him here so I can see him.' 22But we said to you, `My lord, the boy cannot leave his father, for his father would die.' 23But you told us, `You may not see me again unless your youngest brother is with you.' 24So we returned to our father and told him what you had said. 25And when he said, `Go back again and buy us a little food,' 26we replied, `We can't unless you let our youngest brother go with us. We won't be allowed to see the man in charge of the grain unless our youngest brother is with us.' 27Then my father said to us, `You know that my wife had two sons, 28and that one of them went away and never returned--doubtless torn to pieces by some wild animal. I have never seen him since. 29If you take away his brother from me, too, and any harm comes to him, you would bring my gray head down to the grave in deep sorrow.'

30"And now, my lord, I cannot go back to my father without the boy. Our father's life is bound up in the boy's life. 31When he sees that the boy is not with us, our father will die. We will be responsible for bringing his gray head down to the grave in sorrow. 32My lord, I made a pledge to my father that I would take care of the boy. I told him, `If I don't bring him back to you, I will bear the blame forever.' 33Please, my lord, let me stay here as a slave instead of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34For how can I return to my father if the boy is not with me? I cannot bear to see what this would do to him."

Joseph Reveals His Identity: Genesis 45

Genesis 45

Joseph Reveals His Identity

1Joseph could stand it no longer. "Out, all of you!" he cried out to his attendants. He wanted to be alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. 2Then he broke down and wept aloud. His sobs could be heard throughout the palace, and the news was quickly carried to Pharaoh's palace.
3"I am Joseph!" he said to his brothers. "Is my father still alive?" But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. 4"Come over here," he said. So they came closer. And he said again, "I am Joseph, your brother whom you sold into Egypt. 5But don't be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, for God did it. He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 6These two years of famine will grow to seven, during which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7God has sent me here to keep you and your families alive so that you will become a great nation. 8Yes, it was God who sent me here, not you! And he has made me a counselor to Pharaoh--manager of his entire household and ruler over all Egypt.

9"Hurry, return to my father and tell him, `This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. Come down to me right away! 10You will live in the land of Goshen so you can be near me with all your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all that you have. 11I will take care of you there, for there are still five years of famine ahead of us. Otherwise you and your household will come to utter poverty.' "

12Then Joseph said, "You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that I really am Joseph! 13Tell my father how I am honored here in Egypt. Tell him about everything you have seen, and bring him to me quickly." 14Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin also began to weep. 15Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and then they began talking freely with him.

Pharaoh Invites Jacob to Egypt

16The news soon reached Pharaoh: "Joseph's brothers have come!" Pharaoh was very happy to hear this and so were his officials.
17Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Tell your brothers to load their pack animals and return quickly to their homes in Canaan. 18Tell them to bring your father and all of their families, and to come here to Egypt to live. Tell them, `Pharaoh will assign to you the very best territory in the land of Egypt. You will live off the fat of the land!' 19And tell your brothers to take wagons from Egypt to carry their wives and little ones and to bring your father here. 20Don't worry about your belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours."

21So the sons of Jacob[a] did as they were told. Joseph gave them wagons, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he supplied them with provisions for the journey. 22And he gave each of them new clothes--but to Benjamin he gave five changes of clothes and three hundred pieces[b] of silver! 23He sent his father ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten donkeys loaded with grain and all kinds of other food to be eaten on his journey. 24So he sent his brothers off, and as they left, he called after them, "Don't quarrel along the way!" 25And they left Egypt and returned to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan.

26"Joseph is still alive!" they told him. "And he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!" Jacob was stunned at the news--he couldn't believe it. 27But when they had given him Joseph's messages, and when he saw the wagons loaded with the food sent by Joseph, his spirit revived.

28Then Jacob said, "It must be true! My son Joseph is alive! I will go and see him before I die."


Genesis 45:21 Hebrew Israel; also in 45:28.
Genesis 45:22 Hebrew 300 shekels, about 7.5 pounds or 3.4 kilograms in weight.