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Genesis 43:1–44:34

Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt

43 Now the famine in the land was severe. And it happened that as they finished eating the grain which they had brought from Egypt their father said to them, “Return and buy a little food for us.” Then Judah said to him, “The man solemnly admonished us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ If you will senda our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you, but if you will not sendb him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ ” Then Israel said, “Why did you bring trouble to me by telling the man you still had a brother?” And they said, “The man asked explicitly about us and about our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have a brother?’ And we answered him according to these words. How could we know that he would say, ‘Bring down your brother’?” Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me, and let us arise and go, so that we will live and not die—you, we, and our children. I myself will be surety for him. You may seek him from my hand. If I do not bring him back to you and present him before you, then I will stand guilty before you forever. 10 Surely if we had not hesitated by this time we would have returned twice.” 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 them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, and pistachios and almonds. 12 And take double the money with you.c Take back with youd the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13 And take your brother. Now arise and return to the man. 14 And may El-Shaddaie grant you compassion before the man that he may release your other brother to you and Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

15 So the men took this gift, and they took double money in their hands, and Benjamin, and they rose up and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them he said to the one who was over his household, “Bring the men into the house and slaughter and prepare an animal, for the men shall eat with me at noon.” 17 And the man did as Joseph had said, and the man brought the men into the house of Joseph. 18 And the men were afraid when they were brought into the house of Joseph. And they said “We were brought here on account of the money that was returned to our sacks the first time, that he might attack us and fall upon us to take us as slaves with our donkeys.” 19 So they approached the man who was over Joseph’s house and spoke to him at the doorway of the house. 20 And they said, “Please, my lord, we surely came down once before to buy food, 21 but when we came to the place of lodging and we opened our sacks, then behold, each one’s money was in the mouth of his sack—our money in its full weight—so we have returned with it in our hands. 22 Now, other money we have brought down in our hand to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23 And he said, “Peace to you; do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father must have given you a treasure in your sacks; your money came to me.” And he brought Simeon out to them. 24 Then the man brought the men into Joseph’s house and he gave them water and washed their feet, and gave fodder to their donkeys. 25 Then they laid outf the gift until Joseph came at noon, for they had heard that they were to eat food there. 26 And when Joseph came into the house they brought the gift that was in their hand into the house to him, and they bowed down before him to the ground. 27 And he greeted themg and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28 And they said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they knelt and bowed down. 29 Then he lifted up his eyes and saw Benjamin his brother, the son of his mother, and said, “Is this your youngest brother of whom you told me?” And he continued,h “God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Then Joseph hurried away,i being overcome with emotionj toward his brother, and sought for a place to cry. Then he went into a room and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and went out, now controlling himself, and said, “Serve the food.” 32 And they served himk by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, for Egyptians could not dinel with Hebrews, because that was a detestable thing to Egyptians. 33 And they were seated before him from the firstborn according to his birthright to the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one anotherm amazed. 34 And portions were served to them from his table,n and the portion of Benjamin was five times greater than the portion of any of them. And they drank and became drunk with him.

Joseph Tests His Brothers

44 Then he commanded the one who was over his household, saying, “Fill the sacks of the men with food as much as they are able to carry, and put each one’s money in the mouth of his sack. And my cup—the cup of silver—you shall put into the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and the money for his grain. And he did according to the word of Joseph that he had commanded. When the morning light came the men were sent away, they and their donkeys. They went out of the city, and had not gone far when Joseph said to the one who was over his house, “Arise! Pursue after the men and overtake them. Then you shall say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? Is this not that from which my master drinks? Now he himself certainly practices divination with it. You have done evil in what you have done.’ ” When he overtook them he spoke these words to them. And they said to him, “Why has my lord spoken according to these words? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing! Behold, the money that we found in the mouth of our sacks we returned to you from the land of Canaan. Now why would we steal silver or gold from the house of my lord? Whoever is found with it from among your servants shall die. And moreover, we will become slaves to my lord.” 10 Then he said, “Now also according to your words, thus will it be. He who is found with it shall be my slave, but you shall be innocent.” 11 Then each man quickly brought down his sack to the ground, and each one opened his sack. 12 And he searched, beginning with the oldest and finishing with the youngest. And the cup was found in the sack of Benjamin. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and each one loaded his donkey and they returned to the city.

14 And Judah and his brothers came to the house of Joseph—now he was still there—they fell before him to the ground. 15 Then Joseph said to them, “What is this deed that you have done? Did you not know that a man who is like me surely practices divination?” 16 And Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? Now how can we show ourselves innocent? God has found the guilt of your servants! Behold, we are slaves to my lord, both we and also he in whose hand the cup was found.” 17 But he said, “Far be it from me to do this! The man in whose hand the cup was found, he will become my slave. But as for you, go up in peace to your father.” 18 But Judah drew near to him and said, “Please my lord, let your servant speak a word in the ears of my lord, and let not your anger burna against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself.b 19 My lord had asked his servants, saying, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 And we said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father, and a younger brother, the child of his old age, and his brother died, and he alone remains from his mother, and his father loves him.’ 21 Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me that I may set my eyes upon him.’ 22 Then we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he should leave his father, then hec would die.’ 23 Then you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not again see my face.’ 24 And it happened that we went up to your servant, my father, and told him the words of my lord. 25 And when our father said, ‘Go back, buy a little food for us,’ 26 then we said, ‘We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we shall go down. For we will not be able to see the face of the man unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27 Then your servant, my father, said to us, ‘You yourselves know that my wife bore two sons to me. 28 One went out from me, and I said, “Surely he must have been torn to pieces,” and I have never seen him since. 29 And if you take this one also from me, and he encounters harm, you will bring down my gray head in sorrow to Sheol.’ 30 So now, when I come to your servant, my father, and the boy is not with us—now his life is bound up with his life—31 it shall happen that when he sees that the boy is gone, he will die. And your servants will bring down the gray head of your servant, our father, to Sheol with sorrow. 32 For your servant is pledged as surety for the boy by my father, saying, If I do not bring him to you, then I shall be culpable to my father forever. 33 So then, please let your servant remain in place of the boy as a slave to my lord, and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34 For how can I go up to my father if the boy is not with me? I do not want to seed the misery which will find my father.”

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