1 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons: »Why are you doing nothing?«
2 He said: »I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us from that place, so that we may live and not die.«
3 Then ten of Josephs brothers went to Egypt to buy grain.
4 Jacob would not send Josephs brother Benjamin with the other brothers. He was afraid that something would happen to him.
5 Israels sons left with the others who were going to buy grain. This is because there was also famine in Canaan.
6 As governor of the country, Joseph was selling grain to everyone. So when Josephs brothers arrived, they bowed in front of him with their faces touching the ground.
7 Joseph recognized his brothers the moment he saw them. Even so, he acted as if he did not know them and spoke harshly to them: »Where did you come from?« They answered: »From Canaan, to buy food.«
8 Even though Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.
9 He remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them and said: »You are spies! You have come to find out where our country is weak.«
10 »No!« they answered. »We have come as your slaves, to buy food.
11 »We are all brothers. We are not spies. We are honest men.«
12 Joseph said to them: »No! You have come to find out where our country is weak.«
13 They said: »Sir, we were twelve brothers in all, sons of the same man in the land of Canaan. One brother is dead, and the youngest is now with our father.«
14 »It is just as I said,« Joseph answered. »You are spies.
15 »This is how you will be tested: I swear by the name of the king that you will never leave unless your youngest brother comes here.
16 »One of you must go and get him. The rest of you will be kept under guard until the truth of what you say can be tested. Otherwise, as sure as the king lives, you are spies.«
17 He put all of them together in prison for three days.
18 On the third day, Joseph said: »Do this and live, for I too respect God.
19 »If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in prison. Concerning the rest of you, carry grain for the famine of your households,
20 »and bring your youngest brother to me. We will verify your words and you will not die.« They complied.
21 They said to one another: »Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw his distress when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us.«
22 Reuben said: »Did I not tell you? Did I say, Do not sin against the boy? You would not listen! Now comes the reckoning for his blood.«
23 They did not know that Joseph understood. There was an interpreter between them.
24 He turned away from them and wept. When he returned to them and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.
25 Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to restore every mans money in his sack. They were to give them provisions for the journey. And thus it was done for them.
26 They loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
27 They stopped for the night. One of them opened his sack to feed his donkey and his money was right inside his sack.
28 He said to his brothers: »My money has been put back! It is right here in my sack!« They wanted to die. They trembled and turned to each other and asked: »What has God done to us?«
29 They came to their father Jacob in Canaan. Then they told him all that had happened to them. They said:
30 »The governor of that land spoke harshly to us and treated us like spies.«
31 We told him: »We are honest men, not spies.
32 »We were twelve brothers, sons of the same father. One is no longer with us. The youngest brother stayed with our father in Canaan.
33 »The governor of that land said to us, This is how I will know that you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers with me. Take food for your starving families and go.
34 »But bring me your youngest brother. Then I will know that you are not spies but honest men. I will give your brother back to you, and you will be able to move about freely in this country.«
35 As they were emptying their sacks, each man found his bag of money in his sack. When they and their father saw the bags of money, they were frightened.
36 Their father Jacob said to them: »You are going to make me lose all my children! Joseph is no longer with us. Simeon is no longer with us. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!«
37 So Reuben said to his father: »You may put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Let me take care of him. I will bring him back to you.«
38 Jacob replied: »My son will not go with you. His brother is dead, and he is the only one left. If any harm comes to him on the trip you are taking, the grief would drive this gray-haired old man to his grave!«