Genesis 42:1-38

  • Joseph’s brothers go to Egypt (1-4)

  • Joseph meets his brothers and tests them (5-25)

  • The brothers return home to Jacob (26-38)

42  When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt,+ he said to his sons: “Why do you just keep looking at one another?”  He added: “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may stay alive and not die.”+  So ten of Joseph’s brothers+ went down to buy grain from Egypt.  But Jacob did not send Benjamin,+ Joseph’s brother, with his other brothers, for he said: “Perhaps a fatal accident may befall him.”+  So Israel’s sons came along with the others who were coming to buy, because the famine had extended to the land of Caʹnaan.+  Joseph was the man in authority over the land,+ and he was the one who sold grain to all the people of the earth.+ So Joseph’s brothers came and bowed low to him with their faces to the ground.+  When Joseph saw his brothers, he immediately recognized them, but he concealed his identity from them.+ So he spoke harshly with them and said: “Where have you come from?” to which they said: “From the land of Caʹnaan to buy food.”+  Thus Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.  Joseph immediately remembered the dreams that he had dreamed about them,+ and he said to them: “You are spies! You have come to see the vulnerable areas* of the land!” 10  Then they said to him: “No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. 11  We are all sons of but one man. We are upright men. Your servants do not act as spies.” 12  But he said to them: “Not so! You have come to see the vulnerable areas of the land!” 13  At this they said: “Your servants are 12 brothers.+ We are the sons of but one man+ in the land of Caʹnaan, and the youngest is now with our father,+ whereas the other one is no more.”+ 14  However, Joseph said to them: “It is just as I said to you—‘You are spies!’ 15  By this you will be tested: As surely as Pharʹaoh lives, you will not leave this place until your youngest brother comes here.+ 16  Send one of you to bring your brother while you remain in bondage. In this way, your words may be tested out to see if you are telling the truth. And if not, then, as surely as Pharʹaoh lives, you are spies.” 17  With that he put them together in custody for three days. 18  Joseph said to them on the third day: “Do this and live, for I fear God. 19  If you are upright, let one of your brothers remain in bondage in your house of custody, but the rest of you may go and take grain to alleviate the famine in your households.+ 20  Then bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words will be found trustworthy and you will not die.” And they did so. 21  And they said to one another: “We are surely being punished on account of our brother,+ because we saw his distress* when he begged us to show compassion, but we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.” 22  Then Reuʹben answered them: “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not sin against the child,’ but you would not listen?+ Now his blood is certainly being asked back.”+ 23  But they did not know that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between them. 24  So he turned away from them and began to weep.+ When he returned and spoke to them again, he took Simʹe·on+ from them and bound him before their eyes.+ 25  Joseph then gave the command to fill up their bags* with grain and to return each man’s money to his own sack and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them. 26  So they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left from there. 27  When one of them opened his sack to give fodder to his donkey at the lodging place, he saw his money there in the mouth of his bag. 28  At that he said to his brothers: “My money has been returned, and now here it is in my bag!” Then their hearts sank, and trembling, they turned to one another and said: “What is this that God has done to us?” 29  When they came to Jacob their father in the land of Caʹnaan, they told him all the things that had befallen them, saying: 30  “The man who is the lord of the country spoke harshly with us+ and accused us of spying on the country. 31  But we said to him, ‘We are upright men. We are not spies.+ 32  We are 12 brothers,+ the sons of our father. One is no more,+ and the youngest is now with our father in the land of Caʹnaan.’+ 33  But the man who is the lord of the country said to us, ‘By this I will know that you are upright: Leave one of your brothers with me.+ Then take something to alleviate the famine in your households and go.+ 34  And bring your youngest brother to me, so that I may know that you are not spies but upright men. I will then give your brother back to you, and you may carry on trade in the land.’” 35  As they were emptying their sacks, here was each one’s bag of money in his sack. When they and their father saw their bags of money, they became afraid. 36  Jacob their father exclaimed to them: “It is I you have bereaved!+ Joseph is no more,+ and Simʹe·on is no more,+ and you are going to take Benjamin! It is upon me that all these things have come!” 37  But Reuʹben said to his father: “You may put to death my own two sons if I do not bring him back to you.+ Give him over to my care, and I will return him to you.”+ 38  However, he said: “My son will not go down with you, because his brother is dead and he alone is left.+ If a fatal accident should befall him on the journey you would make, then you would certainly bring down my gray hairs to the Grave*+ in grief.”+


Or “weakened condition.”
Or “the distress of his soul.”
Or “receptacles.”
Or “Sheol,” that is, the common grave of mankind. See Glossary.