42- Brothers Bow

The famine was so sore in all lands. Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt.

Jacob (to his sons): Why do you look at one another? I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get down there and buy for us from there; that we may live and not die.

And Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy corn in Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob did not send with his brothers.

Jacob: Lest perhaps mischief befall him.

And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. And Joseph was the governor over the land, and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. Joseph’s brothers came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. Joseph saw his brothers, and he knew them but made himself strange to them. Joseph knew his brothers, but they did not know him. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them. Joseph spoke roughly to his brothers.

Joseph (to his brothers): From where do you come?

His brothers: From the land of Canaan to buy food.

Joseph: You are spies. You have come to see the nakedness of the land.

His brothers: No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. We are all one man’s sons. We are true men, not spies.

Joseph: No, you have come to see the nakedness of the land.

His brothers: Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest son is with our father this day, and one brother is no more.

Joseph: It is as I said to you, you are spies. Here is how you shall prove yourselves. By the life of Pharaoh you shall not go from here, except your youngest brother come here. Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and you shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there is any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies.

And Joseph put them all together in prison for three days.

On the third day:

Joseph: Do this and live; for I fear God: If you are true men, let one of your brothers be bound in the house of your prison: go, carry corn for the famine to your houses: But bring your youngest brother to me; so shall your words be verified, and you shall not die.

And they did so.

His brothers (one to another): We are truly guilty concerning our brother Joseph, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

Reuben: Didn’t I say, Do not sin against the child; and you would not listen? Therefore his blood is required.

They did not know that Joseph understood them; since he spoke to them by an interpreter. Joseph turned away from them and wept and returned to them again and communed with them. Joseph took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.

Then Joseph commanded his servant to fill their sacks with corn and to restore every man’s money into his sack and to give them provision for the way. All this was done to them. And they loaded their asses with the corn and departed.

As one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he saw his money; because it was in the mouth of his sack.

The one (to his brothers): My money is restored; it is in my sack:

Their hearts failed them, and they were afraid.

The brothers (one to another): What is this that God has done to us?

They came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell them.

The brothers (to Jacob their father): The man, who is the lord of the land, spoke roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. And we said to him, We are true men; we are not spies. We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is with our father in the land of Canaan this day. And the man, the lord of the country, said to us, By this I shall know that you are true men; leave one of your brothers here with me and take food for the famine of your households, and be gone: And bring your youngest brother to me: then I shall know that you are not spies, but that you are true men. Then I will deliver your brother to you, and you shall trade in the land.

As they emptied their sacks, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack. When they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.

Jacob: You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and you will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.

Reuben: Slay my two sons, if I do not bring Benjamin back to you. Deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to you again.

Jacob: My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left: if mischief befall him by the way in which you go, then you shall bring down my gray hairs
with sorrow to the grave.


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