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Joseph’s Brothers in Egypt

42 When Jacob heard[a] there was grain in Egypt, he[b] said to his sons, “Why are you looking at each other?”[c] He then said, “Look, I hear that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy grain for us[d] so that we may live[e] and not die.”[f]

So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers,[g] for he said,[h] “What if some accident[i] happens[j] to him?” So Israel’s sons came to buy grain among the other travelers,[k] for the famine was severe in the land of Canaan.

Now Joseph was the ruler of the country, the one who sold grain to all the people of the country.[l] Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down[m] before him with[n] their faces to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger[o] to them and spoke to them harshly. He asked, “Where do you come from?” They answered,[p] “From the land of Canaan, to buy grain for food.”[q]

Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. Then Joseph remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them, and he said to them, “You are spies;[r] you have come to see if our land is vulnerable!”[s]

10 But they exclaimed,[t] “No, my lord! Your servants have come to buy grain for food! 11 We are all the sons of one man; we are honest men! Your servants are not spies.”

12 “No,” he insisted, “but you have come to see if our land is vulnerable.”[u] 13 They replied, “Your servants are from a family of twelve brothers.[v] We are the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is with our father at this time,[w] and one is no longer alive.”[x]

14 But Joseph told them, “It is just as I said to you:[y] You are spies! 15 You will be tested in this way: As surely as Pharaoh lives,[z] you will not depart from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 One of you must go and get[aa] your brother, while[ab] the rest of you remain in prison.[ac] In this way your words may be tested to see if[ad] you are telling the truth.[ae] If not, then, as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17 He imprisoned[af] them all for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do as I say[ag] and you will live,[ah] for I fear God.[ai] 19 If you are honest men, leave one of your brothers confined here in prison[aj] while the rest of you go[ak] and take grain back for your hungry families.[al] 20 But you must bring[am] your youngest brother to me. Then[an] your words will be verified[ao] and you will not die.” They did as he said.[ap]

21 They said to one another,[aq] “Surely we’re being punished[ar] because of our brother, because we saw how distressed he was[as] when he cried to us for mercy, but we refused to listen. That is why this distress[at] has come on us!” 22 Reuben said to them, “Didn’t I say to you, ‘Don’t sin against the boy,’ but you wouldn’t listen? So now we must pay for shedding his blood!”[au] 23 (Now[av] they did not know that Joseph could understand them,[aw] for he was speaking through an interpreter.)[ax] 24 He turned away from them and wept. When he turned around and spoke to them again,[ay] he had Simeon taken[az] from them and tied up[ba] before their eyes.

25 Then Joseph gave orders to fill[bb] their bags with grain, to return each man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. His orders were carried out.[bc] 26 So they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.[bd]

27 When one of them[be] opened his sack to get feed for his donkey at their resting place,[bf] he saw his money in the mouth of his sack.[bg] 28 He said to his brothers, “My money was returned! Here it is in my sack!” They were dismayed;[bh] they turned trembling to one another[bi] and said, “What in the world has God done to us?”[bj]

29 They returned to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan and told him all the things that had happened to them, saying, 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us and treated us[bk] as if we were[bl] spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies! 32 We are from a family of twelve brothers; we are the sons of one father.[bm] One is no longer alive,[bn] and the youngest is with our father at this time[bo] in the land of Canaan.’

33 “Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain[bp] for your hungry households and go. 34 But bring your youngest brother back to me so I will know[bq] that you are honest men and not spies.[br] Then I will give your brother back to you and you may move about freely in the land.’”[bs]

35 When they were emptying their sacks, there was each man’s bag of money in his sack! When they and their father saw the bags of money, they were afraid. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You are making me childless! Joseph is gone.[bt] Simeon is gone.[bu] And now you want to take[bv] Benjamin! Everything is against me.”

37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may[bw] put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my care[bx] and I will bring him back to you.” 38 But Jacob[by] replied, “My son will not go down there with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left.[bz] If an accident happens to him on the journey you have to make, then you will bring down my gray hair[ca] in sorrow to the grave.”[cb]

The Second Journey to Egypt

43 Now the famine was severe in the land.[cc] When they finished eating the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Return, buy us a little more food.”

But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned[cd] us, ‘You will not see my face[ce] unless your brother is with you.’ If you send[cf] our brother with us, we’ll go down and buy food for you. But if you will not send him, we won’t go down there because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’”

Israel said, “Why did you bring this trouble[cg] on me by telling[ch] the man you had one more brother?”

They replied, “The man questioned us[ci] thoroughly[cj] about ourselves and our family, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’[ck] So we answered him in this way.[cl] How could we possibly know[cm] that he would say,[cn] ‘Bring your brother down’?”

Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me and we will go immediately.[co] Then we will live[cp] and not die—we and you and our little ones. I myself pledge security[cq] for him; you may hold me liable. If I do not bring him back to you and place him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life.[cr] 10 But if we had not delayed, we could have traveled there and back[cs] twice by now!”

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 a gift down to the man—a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachios and almonds. 12 Take double the money with you;[ct] you must take back[cu] the money that was returned in the mouths of your sacks—perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take your brother too, and go right away[cv] to the man.[cw] 14 May the Sovereign God[cx] grant you mercy before the man so that he may release[cy] your other brother[cz] and Benjamin! As for me, if I lose my children I lose them.”[da]

15 So the men took these gifts, and they took double the money with them, along with Benjamin. Then they hurried down to Egypt[db] and stood before Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the servant who was over his household, “Bring the men to the house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for the men will eat with me at noon.” 17 The man did just as Joseph said; he[dc] brought the men into Joseph’s house.[dd]

18 But the men were afraid when they were brought to Joseph’s house. They said, “We are being brought in because of[de] the money that was returned in our sacks last time.[df] He wants to capture us,[dg] make us slaves, and take[dh] our donkeys!” 19 So they approached the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20 They said, “My lord, we did indeed come down[di] the first time[dj] to buy food. 21 But when we came to the place where we spent the night, we opened our sacks and each of us found his money—the full amount[dk]—in the mouth of his sack. So we have returned it.[dl] 22 We have brought additional money with us to buy food. We do not know who put the money in our sacks!”

23 “Everything is fine,”[dm] the man in charge of Joseph’s household told them. “Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks.[dn] I had your money.”[do] Then he brought Simeon out to them.

24 The servant in charge[dp] brought the men into Joseph’s house. He gave them water, and they washed their feet. Then he gave food to their donkeys. 25 They got their gifts ready for Joseph’s arrival[dq] at noon, for they had heard[dr] that they were to have a meal[ds] there.

26 When Joseph came home, they presented him with the gifts they had brought inside,[dt] and they bowed down to the ground before him. 27 He asked them how they were doing.[du] Then he said, “Is your aging father well, the one you spoke about? Is he still alive?” 28 “Your servant our father is well,” they replied. “He is still alive.” They bowed down in humility.[dv]

29 When Joseph looked up[dw] and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, “Is this your youngest brother, whom you told me about?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.”[dx] 30 Joseph hurried out, for he was overcome by affection for his brother[dy] and was at the point of tears.[dz] So he went to his room and wept there.

31 Then he washed his face and came out. With composure he said,[ea] “Set out the food.” 32 They set a place for him, a separate place for his brothers,[eb] and another for the Egyptians who were eating with him. (The Egyptians are not able to eat with Hebrews, for the Egyptians think it is disgusting[ec] to do so.)[ed] 33 They sat before him, arranged by order of birth, beginning with the firstborn and ending with the youngest.[ee] The men looked at each other in astonishment.[ef] 34 He gave them portions of the food set before him,[eg] but the portion for Benjamin was five times greater than the portions for any of the others. They drank with Joseph until they all became drunk.[eh]

The Final Test

44 He instructed the servant who was over his household, “Fill the sacks of the men with as much food as they can carry and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. Then put[ei] my cup—the silver cup—in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the money for his grain.” He did as Joseph instructed.[ej]

When morning came,[ek] the men and their donkeys were sent off.[el] They had not gone very far from the city[em] when Joseph said[en] to the servant who was over his household, “Pursue the men at once![eo] When you overtake[ep] them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? Doesn’t my master drink from this cup[eq] and use it for divination?[er] You have done wrong!’”[es]

When the man[et] overtook them, he spoke these words to them. They answered him, “Why does my lord say such things?[eu] Far be it from your servants to do such a thing![ev] Look, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. Why then would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? If one of us has it,[ew] he will die, and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves!”

10 He replied, “You have suggested your own punishment![ex] The one who has it will become my slave,[ey] but the rest of[ez] you will go free.”[fa] 11 So each man quickly lowered[fb] his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the man[fc] searched. He began with the oldest and finished with the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack! 13 They all tore their clothes! Then each man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.

14 So Judah and his brothers[fd] came back to Joseph’s house. He was still there,[fe] and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What did you think you were doing?[ff] Don’t you know that a man like me can find out things like this by divination?”[fg]

16 Judah replied, “What can we say[fh] to my lord? What can we speak? How can we clear ourselves?[fi] God has exposed the sin of your servants![fj] We are now my lord’s slaves, we and the one in whose possession the cup was found.”

17 But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do this! The man in whose hand the cup was found will become my slave, but the rest of[fk] you may go back[fl] to your father in peace.”

18 Then Judah approached him and said, “My lord, please allow your servant to speak a word with you.[fm] Please do not get angry with your servant,[fn] for you are just like Pharaoh.[fo] 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 We said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young boy who was born when our father was old.[fp] The boy’s[fq] brother is dead. He is the only one of his mother’s sons left,[fr] and his father loves him.’

21 “Then you told your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see[fs] him.’[ft] 22 We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father. If he leaves his father, his father[fu] will die.’[fv] 23 But you said to your servants, ‘If your youngest brother does not come down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24 When we returned to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.

25 “Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy us a little food.’ 26 But we replied, ‘We cannot go down there.[fw] If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go,[fx] for we won’t be permitted to see the man’s face if our youngest brother is not with us.’

27 “Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife gave me two sons.[fy] 28 The first disappeared[fz] and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” I have not seen him since. 29 If you take[ga] this one from me too and an accident happens to him, then you will bring down my gray hair[gb] in tragedy[gc] to the grave.’[gd]

30 “So now, when I return to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us—his very life is bound up in his son’s life.[ge] 31 When he sees the boy is not with us,[gf] he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant our father in sorrow to the grave. 32 Indeed,[gg] your servant pledged security for the boy with my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame before my father all my life.’

33 “So now, please let your servant remain as my lord’s slave instead of the boy. As for the boy, let him go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t bear to see[gh] my father’s pain.”[gi]

The Reconciliation of the Brothers

45 Joseph was no longer able to control himself before all his attendants,[gj] so he cried out, “Make everyone go out from my presence!” No one remained[gk] with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. He wept loudly;[gl] the Egyptians heard it and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.[gm]

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” His brothers could not answer him because they were dumbfounded before him. Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me,” so they came near. Then he said, “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Now, do not be upset and do not be angry with yourselves because you sold me here,[gn] for God sent me[go] ahead of you to preserve life! For these past two years there has been famine in[gp] the land and for five more years there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me[gq] ahead of you to preserve you[gr] on the earth and to save your lives[gs] by a great deliverance. So now, it is not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me an adviser[gt] to Pharaoh, lord over all his household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Now go up to my father quickly[gu] and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: “God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not delay! 10 You will live[gv] in the land of Goshen, and you will be near me—you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and everything you have. 11 I will provide you with food[gw] there because there will be five more years of famine. Otherwise you would become poor—you, your household, and everyone who belongs to you.”’ 12 You and my brother Benjamin can certainly see with your own eyes that I really am the one who speaks to you.[gx] 13 So tell[gy] my father about all my honor in Egypt and about everything you have seen. But bring my father down here quickly!”[gz]

14 Then he threw himself on the neck of his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. 15 He kissed all his brothers and wept over them. After this his brothers talked with him.

16 Now it was reported[ha] in the household of Pharaoh, “Joseph’s brothers have arrived.” It pleased[hb] Pharaoh and his servants. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and go[hc] to the land of Canaan! 18 Get your father and your households and come to me! Then I will give you[hd] the best land in Egypt and you will eat[he] the best[hf] of the land.’ 19 You are also commanded to say,[hg] ‘Do this: Take for yourselves wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives. Bring your father and come. 20 Don’t worry[hh] about your belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt will be yours.’”

21 So the sons of Israel did as he said.[hi] Joseph gave them wagons as Pharaoh had instructed,[hj] and he gave them provisions for the journey. 22 He gave sets of clothes to each one of them,[hk] but to Benjamin he gave 300 pieces of silver and five sets of clothes.[hl] 23 To his father he sent the following:[hm] ten donkeys loaded with the best products of Egypt and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, food, and provisions for his father’s journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers on their way and they left. He said to them, “As you travel don’t be overcome with fear.”[hn]

25 So they went up from Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan.[ho] 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned,[hp] for he did not believe them. 27 But when they related to him everything Joseph had said to them,[hq] and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, their father Jacob’s spirit revived. 28 Then Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive! I will go and see him before I die.”


  1. Genesis 42:1 tn Heb “saw.”
  2. Genesis 42:1 tn Heb “Jacob.” Here the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  3. Genesis 42:1 sn Why are you looking at each other? The point of Jacob’s question is that his sons should be going to get grain rather than sitting around doing nothing. Jacob, as the patriarch, still makes the decisions for the whole clan.
  4. Genesis 42:2 tn Heb “and buy for us from there.” The word “grain,” the direct object of “buy,” has been supplied for clarity, and the words “from there” have been omitted in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  5. Genesis 42:2 tn Following the imperatives, the prefixed verbal form with prefixed vav expresses purpose of result.
  6. Genesis 42:2 tn The imperfect tense continues the nuance of the verb before it.
  7. Genesis 42:4 tn Heb “But Benjamin, the brother of Joseph, Jacob did not send with his brothers.” The disjunctive clause highlights the contrast between Benjamin and the other ten.
  8. Genesis 42:4 tn The Hebrew verb אָמַר (ʾamar, “to say”) could also be translated “thought” (i.e., “he said to himself”) here, giving Jacob’s reasoning rather than spoken words.
  9. Genesis 42:4 tn The Hebrew noun אָסוֹן (ʾason) is a rare word meaning “accident, harm.” Apart from its use in these passages it occurs in Exodus 21:22-23 of an accident to a pregnant woman. The term is a rather general one, but Jacob was no doubt thinking of his loss of Joseph.
  10. Genesis 42:4 tn Heb “encounters.”
  11. Genesis 42:5 tn Heb “in the midst of the coming ones.”
  12. Genesis 42:6 tn The disjunctive clause either introduces a new episode in the unfolding drama or provides the reader with supplemental information necessary to understanding the story.
  13. Genesis 42:6 sn Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him. Here is the beginning of the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams (see Gen 37). But it is not the complete fulfillment, since all his brothers and his parents must come. The point of the dream, of course, was not simply to get the family to bow to Joseph, but that Joseph would be placed in a position of rule and authority to save the family and the world (41:57).
  14. Genesis 42:6 tn The word “faces” is an adverbial accusative, so the preposition has been supplied in the translation.
  15. Genesis 42:7 sn But pretended to be a stranger. Joseph intends to test his brothers to see if they have changed and have the integrity to be patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He will do this by putting them in the same situations that they and he were in before. The first test will be to awaken their conscience.
  16. Genesis 42:7 tn Heb “said.”
  17. Genesis 42:7 tn The verb is denominative, meaning “to buy grain”; the word “food” could simply be the direct object, but may also be an adverbial accusative.
  18. Genesis 42:9 sn You are spies. Joseph wanted to see how his brothers would react if they were accused of spying.
  19. Genesis 42:9 tn Heb “to see the nakedness of the land you have come.”
  20. Genesis 42:10 tn Heb “and they said to him.” In context this is best understood as an exclamation.
  21. Genesis 42:12 tn Heb “and he said, ‘No, for the nakedness of the land you have come to see.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for clarity.
  22. Genesis 42:13 tn Heb “twelve [were] your servants, brothers [are] we.”
  23. Genesis 42:13 tn Heb “today.”
  24. Genesis 42:13 tn Heb “and the one is not.”
  25. Genesis 42:14 tn Heb “to you, saying.”
  26. Genesis 42:15 tn Heb “[By] the life of Pharaoh.”sn As surely as Pharaoh lives. Joseph uses an oath formula to let the brothers know the certainty of what he said. There is some discussion in the commentaries on swearing by the life of Pharaoh, but since the formulation here reflects the Hebrew practice, it would be hard to connect the ideas exactly to Egyptian practices. Joseph did this to make the point in a way that his Hebrew brothers would understand. See M. R. Lehmann, “Biblical Oaths,” ZAW 81 (1969): 74-92.
  27. Genesis 42:16 tn Heb “send from you one and let him take.” After the imperative, the prefixed verbal form with prefixed vav (ו) indicates purpose.
  28. Genesis 42:16 tn The disjunctive clause is here circumstantial-temporal.
  29. Genesis 42:16 tn Heb “bound.”
  30. Genesis 42:16 tn The words “to see” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  31. Genesis 42:16 tn Heb “the truth [is] with you.”
  32. Genesis 42:17 sn The same Hebrew word is used for Joseph’s imprisonment in 40:3, 4, 7. There is some mirroring going on in the narrative. The Hebrew word used here (אָסַף, ʾasaf, “to gather”) is not normally used in a context like this (for placing someone in prison), but it forms a wordplay on the name Joseph (יוֹסֵף, yosef) and keeps the comparison working.
  33. Genesis 42:18 tn Heb “Do this.”
  34. Genesis 42:18 tn After the preceding imperative, the imperative with vav (ו) can, as here, indicate logical sequence.
  35. Genesis 42:18 sn For I fear God. Joseph brings God into the picture to awaken his brothers’ consciences. The godly person cares about the welfare of people, whether they live or die. So he will send grain back, but keep one of them in Egypt. This action contrasts with their crime of selling their brother into slavery.
  36. Genesis 42:19 tn Heb “bound in the house of your prison.”
  37. Genesis 42:19 tn The disjunctive clause is circumstantial-temporal.
  38. Genesis 42:19 tn Heb “[for] the hunger of your households.”
  39. Genesis 42:20 tn The imperfect here has an injunctive force.
  40. Genesis 42:20 tn After the injunctive imperfect, this imperfect with vav indicates purpose or result.
  41. Genesis 42:20 tn The Niphal form of the verb has the sense of “to be faithful; to be sure; to be reliable.” Joseph will test his brothers to see if their words are true.
  42. Genesis 42:20 tn Heb “and they did so.”
  43. Genesis 42:21 tn Heb “a man to his neighbor.”
  44. Genesis 42:21 tn Or “we are guilty”; the Hebrew word can also refer to the effect of being guilty, i.e., “we are being punished for guilt.”
  45. Genesis 42:21 tn Heb “the distress of his soul.”
  46. Genesis 42:21 sn The repetition of the Hebrew noun translated distress draws attention to the fact that they regard their present distress as appropriate punishment for their refusal to ignore their brother when he was in distress.
  47. Genesis 42:22 tn Heb “and also his blood, look, it is required.” God requires compensation, as it were, from those who shed innocent blood (see Gen 9:6). In other words, God exacts punishment for the crime of murder.
  48. Genesis 42:23 tn The disjunctive clause provides supplemental information that is important to the story.
  49. Genesis 42:23 tn “was listening.” The brothers were not aware that Joseph could understand them as they spoke the preceding words in their native language.
  50. Genesis 42:23 tn Heb “for [there was] an interpreter between them.” On the meaning of the word here translated “interpreter” see HALOT 590 s.v. מֵלִיץ and M. A. Canney, “The Hebrew melis (Prov IX 12; Gen XLII 2-3),” AJSL 40 (1923/24): 135-37.
  51. Genesis 42:24 tn Heb “and he turned to them and spoke to them.”
  52. Genesis 42:24 tn Heb “took Simeon.” This was probably done at Joseph’s command, however; the grand vizier of Egypt would not have personally seized a prisoner.
  53. Genesis 42:24 tn Heb “and he bound him.” See the note on the preceding verb “taken.”
  54. Genesis 42:25 tn Heb “and they filled.” The clause appears to be elliptical; one expects “Joseph gave orders to fill…and they filled.” See GKC 386 §120.f.
  55. Genesis 42:25 tn Heb “and he did for them so.” Joseph would appear to be the subject of the singular verb. If the text is retained, the statement seems to be a summary of the preceding, more detailed statement. However, some read the verb as plural, “and they did for them so.” In this case the statement indicates that Joseph’s subordinates carried out his orders. Another alternative is to read the singular verb as passive (with unspecified subject), “and this was done for them so” (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV).
  56. Genesis 42:26 tn Heb “and they went from there.”
  57. Genesis 42:27 tn Heb “and the one.” The article indicates that the individual is vivid in the mind of the narrator, yet it is not important to identify him by name.
  58. Genesis 42:27 tn Heb “at the lodging place.”
  59. Genesis 42:27 tn Heb “and look, it [was] in the mouth of his sack.” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the reader to look through the eyes of the character and thereby draws attention to the money.
  60. Genesis 42:28 tn Heb “and their heart went out.” Since this expression is used only here, the exact meaning is unclear. The following statement suggests that it may refer to a sudden loss of emotional strength, so “They were dismayed” adequately conveys the meaning (cf. NRSV); NIV has “Their hearts sank.”
  61. Genesis 42:28 tn Heb “and they trembled, a man to his neighbor.”
  62. Genesis 42:28 tn Heb “What is this God has done to us?” The demonstrative pronoun (“this”) adds emphasis to the question.
  63. Genesis 42:30 tn Heb “made us.”
  64. Genesis 42:30 tn The words “if we were” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  65. Genesis 42:32 tn Heb “twelve [were] we, brothers, sons of our father [are] we.”
  66. Genesis 42:32 tn Heb “the one is not.”
  67. Genesis 42:32 tn Heb “today.”
  68. Genesis 42:33 tn The word “grain” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  69. Genesis 42:34 tn After the imperative, the cohortative with prefixed vav indicates purpose/result.
  70. Genesis 42:34 tn Heb “that you are not spies, that you are honest men.”
  71. Genesis 42:34 sn Joseph’s brothers soften the news considerably, making it sound like Simeon was a guest of Joseph (Leave one of your brothers with me) instead of being bound in prison. They do not mention the threat of death and do not at this time speak of the money in the one sack.
  72. Genesis 42:36 tn Heb “is not.”
  73. Genesis 42:36 tn Heb “is not.”
  74. Genesis 42:36 tn The nuance of the imperfect verbal form is desiderative here.
  75. Genesis 42:37 tn The nuance of the imperfect verbal form is permissive here.
  76. Genesis 42:37 tn Heb “my hand.”
  77. Genesis 42:38 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  78. Genesis 42:38 sn The expression he alone is left meant that (so far as Jacob knew) Benjamin was the only surviving child of his mother Rachel.
  79. Genesis 42:38 sn The expression bring down my gray hair is figurative, using a part for the whole—they would put Jacob in the grave. But the gray head signifies a long life of worry and trouble.
  80. Genesis 42:38 tn Heb “to Sheol,” the dwelling place of the dead.
  81. Genesis 43:1 tn The disjunctive clause gives supplemental information that is important to the storyline.
  82. Genesis 43:3 tn The infinitive absolute with the finite verb stresses the point. The primary meaning of the verb is “to witness; to testify.” It alludes to Joseph’s oath, which was tantamount to a threat or warning.
  83. Genesis 43:3 tn The idiom “see my face” means “have an audience with me.”
  84. Genesis 43:4 tn Heb “if there is you sending,” that is, “if you send.”
  85. Genesis 43:6 tn The verb may even have a moral connotation here, “Why did you do evil to me?”
  86. Genesis 43:6 tn The infinitive construct here explains how they brought trouble on Jacob.
  87. Genesis 43:7 tn The word “us” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  88. Genesis 43:7 tn The infinitive absolute with the perfect verbal form emphasizes that Joseph questioned them thoroughly.
  89. Genesis 43:7 sn The report given here concerning Joseph’s interrogation does not exactly match the previous account where they supplied the information to clear themselves (see 42:13). This section may reflect how they remembered the impact of his interrogation, whether he asked the specific questions or not. That may be twisting the truth to protect themselves, not wanting to admit that they volunteered the information. (They admitted as much in 42:31, but now they seem to be qualifying that comment.) On the other hand, when speaking to Joseph later (see 44:19), Judah claims that Joseph asked for the information about their family, making it possible that 42:13 leaves out some of the details of their first encounter.
  90. Genesis 43:7 tn Heb “and we told to him according to these words.”
  91. Genesis 43:7 tn The infinitive absolute emphasizes the imperfect verbal form, which here is a historic future (that is, future from the perspective of a past time).
  92. Genesis 43:7 tn Once again the imperfect verbal form is used as a historic future (that is, future from the perspective of past time).
  93. Genesis 43:8 tn Heb “and we will rise up and we will go.” The first verb is adverbial and gives the expression the sense of “we will go immediately.”
  94. Genesis 43:8 tn After the preceding cohortatives, the prefixed verbal form (either imperfect or cohortative) with the prefixed conjunction here indicates purpose or result.
  95. Genesis 43:9 tn The pronoun before the first person verbal form draws attention to the subject and emphasizes Judah’s willingness to be personally responsible for the boy.
  96. Genesis 43:9 sn I will bear the blame before you all my life. It is not clear how this would work out if Benjamin did not come back. But Judah is offering his life for Benjamin’s if Benjamin does not return.
  97. Genesis 43:10 tn Heb “we could have returned.”
  98. Genesis 43:12 tn Heb “in your hand.”
  99. Genesis 43:12 tn Heb “take back in your hand.” The imperfect verbal form probably has an injunctive or obligatory force here, since Jacob is instructing his sons.
  100. Genesis 43:13 tn Heb “arise, return,” meaning “get up and go back,” or “go back immediately.”
  101. Genesis 43:13 sn The man refers to the Egyptian official, whom the reader or hearer of the narrative knows is Joseph. In this context both the sons and Jacob refer to him simply as “the man” (see vv. 3-7).
  102. Genesis 43:14 tn Heb “El Shaddai.” See the extended note on the phrase “Sovereign God” in Gen 17:1.
  103. Genesis 43:14 tn Heb “release to you.” After the jussive this perfect verbal form with prefixed vav (ו) probably indicates logical consequence, as well as temporal sequence.
  104. Genesis 43:14 sn Several Jewish commentators suggest that the expression your other brother refers to Joseph. This would mean that Jacob prophesied unwittingly. However, it is much more likely that Simeon is the referent of the phrase “your other brother” (see Gen 42:24).
  105. Genesis 43:14 tn Heb “if I am bereaved I am bereaved.” With this fatalistic sounding statement Jacob resolves himself to the possibility of losing both Benjamin and Simeon.
  106. Genesis 43:15 tn Heb “they arose and went down to Egypt.” The first verb has an adverbial function and emphasizes that they departed right away.
  107. Genesis 43:17 tn Heb “the man.” This has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun “he” for stylistic reasons.
  108. Genesis 43:17 sn This verse is a summary statement. The next verses delineate intermediate steps (see v. 24) in the process.
  109. Genesis 43:18 tn Heb “over the matter of.”
  110. Genesis 43:18 tn Heb “in the beginning,” that is, at the end of their first visit.
  111. Genesis 43:18 tn Heb “to roll himself upon us and to cause himself to fall upon us.” The infinitives here indicate the purpose (as viewed by the brothers) for their being brought to Joseph’s house.
  112. Genesis 43:18 tn The word “take” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  113. Genesis 43:20 tn The infinitive absolute is used for emphasis before the finite verbal form.
  114. Genesis 43:20 tn Heb “in the beginning” (see the note on the phrase “last time” in v. 18).
  115. Genesis 43:21 tn Heb “his silver in its weight.”
  116. Genesis 43:21 tn Heb “brought it back in our hand.”
  117. Genesis 43:23 tn Heb “and he said, ‘peace to you.’” Here the statement has the force of “everything is fine,” or perhaps even “calm down.” The referent of “he” (the man in charge of Joseph’ household) has been specified in the translation for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged for stylistic reasons.
  118. Genesis 43:23 sn Your God and the God of your father…This is the first clear reference in the story to the theme of divine providence—that God works through the human actions to do his will.
  119. Genesis 43:23 tn Heb “your money came to me.”
  120. Genesis 43:24 tn Heb “the man.”
  121. Genesis 43:25 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct after the preposition, followed by the subjective genitive.
  122. Genesis 43:25 tn The action precedes the action of preparing the gift, and so must be translated as past perfect.
  123. Genesis 43:25 tn Heb “eat bread.” The imperfect verbal form is used here as a historic future (future from the perspective of the past).
  124. Genesis 43:26 tn Heb “into the house.”
  125. Genesis 43:27 tn Heb “concerning peace.”
  126. Genesis 43:28 tn Heb “and they bowed low and they bowed down.” The use of synonyms here emphasizes the brothers’ humility.
  127. Genesis 43:29 tn Heb “and he lifted his eyes.” The referent of “he” (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  128. Genesis 43:29 sn Joseph’s language here becomes warmer and more personal, culminating in calling Benjamin my son.
  129. Genesis 43:30 tn Heb “for his affection boiled up concerning his brother.” The same expression is used in 1 Kgs 3:26 for the mother’s feelings for her endangered child.
  130. Genesis 43:30 tn Heb “and he sought to weep.”
  131. Genesis 43:31 tn Heb “and he controlled himself and said.”
  132. Genesis 43:32 tn Heb “them”; the referent (Joseph’s brothers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  133. Genesis 43:32 tn Or “disgraceful.” The Hebrew word תּוֹעֵבָה (toʿevah, “abomination”) describes something that is loathsome or off-limits. For other practices the Egyptians considered disgusting, see Gen 46:34 and Exod 8:22.
  134. Genesis 43:32 tn Heb “and they set for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, for the Egyptians are not able to eat food with the Hebrews, for it is an abomination for the Egyptians.” The imperfect verbal form in the explanatory clause is taken as habitual in force, indicating a practice that was still in effect in the narrator’s That the Egyptians found eating with foreigners disgusting is well-attested in extra-biblical literature by writers like Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo.
  135. Genesis 43:33 tn Heb “the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth.”
  136. Genesis 43:33 sn The brothers’ astonishment indicates that Joseph arranged them in this way. They were astonished because there was no way, as far as they were concerned, that Joseph could have known the order of their birth.
  137. Genesis 43:34 tn Heb “and he lifted up portions from before his face to them.”
  138. Genesis 43:34 tn Heb “and they drank and were intoxicated with him” (cf. NIV “drank freely with him”; NEB “grew merry”; NRSV “were merry”). The brothers were apparently relaxed and set at ease, despite Joseph’s obvious favoritism toward Benjamin.
  139. Genesis 44:2 tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express Joseph’s instructions.
  140. Genesis 44:2 tn Heb “and he did according to the word of Joseph which he spoke.”
  141. Genesis 44:3 tn Heb “the morning was light.”
  142. Genesis 44:3 tn Heb “and the men were sent off, they and their donkeys.” This clause, like the preceding one, has the subject before the verb, indicating synchronic action.
  143. Genesis 44:4 tn Heb “they left the city, they were not far,” meaning “they had not gone very far.”
  144. Genesis 44:4 tn Heb “and Joseph said.” This clause, like the first one in the verse, has the subject before the verb, indicating synchronic action.
  145. Genesis 44:4 tn Heb “arise, chase after the men.” The first imperative gives the command a sense of urgency.
  146. Genesis 44:4 tn After the imperative this perfect verbal form with vav consecutive has the same nuance of instruction. In the translation it is subordinated to the verbal form that follows (also a perfect with vav consecutive): “and overtake them and say,” becomes “when you overtake them, say.”
  147. Genesis 44:5 tn Heb “Is this not what my master drinks from.” The word “cup” is not in the Hebrew text, but is obviously the referent of “this,” and so has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  148. Genesis 44:5 tn Heb “and he, divining, divines with it.” The infinitive absolute is emphatic, stressing the importance of the cup to Joseph.
  149. Genesis 44:5 tn Heb “you have caused to be evil what you have done.”
  150. Genesis 44:6 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  151. Genesis 44:7 tn Heb “Why does my lord speak according to these words?”
  152. Genesis 44:7 tn Heb “according to this thing.”
  153. Genesis 44:9 tn Heb “The one with whom it is found from your servants.” Here “your servants” (a deferential way of referring to the brothers themselves) has been translated by the pronoun “us” to avoid confusion with Joseph’s servants.
  154. Genesis 44:10 tn Heb “Also now, according to your words, so it is.” As the next statement indicates, this does mean that he will do exactly as they say. He does agree with them the culprit should be punished, but not as harshly as they suggest. Furthermore, the innocent parties will not be punished.
  155. Genesis 44:10 tn Heb “The one with whom it is found will become my slave.”
  156. Genesis 44:10 tn The words “the rest of” have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.
  157. Genesis 44:10 tn The Hebrew word נָקִי (naqi) means “acquitted,” that is, free of guilt and the responsibility for The rest of you will be free. Joseph’s purpose was to single out Benjamin to see if the brothers would abandon him as they had abandoned Joseph. He wanted to see if they had changed.
  158. Genesis 44:11 tn Heb “and they hurried and they lowered.” Their speed in doing this shows their presumption of innocence.
  159. Genesis 44:12 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  160. Genesis 44:14 sn Judah and his brothers. The narrative is already beginning to bring Judah to the forefront.
  161. Genesis 44:14 tn The disjunctive clause here provides supplemental information.
  162. Genesis 44:15 tn Heb “What is this deed you have done?” The demonstrative pronoun (“this”) adds emphasis to the question. A literal translation seems to contradict the following statement, in which Joseph affirms that he is able to divine such matters. Thus here the emotive force of the question has been reflected in the translation, “What did you think you were doing?”
  163. Genesis 44:15 tn Heb “[is] fully able to divine,” meaning that he can find things out by divination. The infinitive absolute appears before the finite verb for emphasis, stressing his ability to do this.
  164. Genesis 44:16 tn The imperfect verbal form here indicates the subject’s potential.
  165. Genesis 44:16 tn The Hitpael form of the verb צָדֵק (tsadeq) here means “to prove ourselves just, to declare ourselves righteous, to prove our innocence.”
  166. Genesis 44:16 sn God has exposed the sin of your servants. The first three questions are rhetorical; Judah is stating that there is nothing they can say to clear themselves. He therefore must conclude that they have been found guilty.
  167. Genesis 44:17 tn The words “the rest of” have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.
  168. Genesis 44:17 tn Heb “up” (reflecting directions from their point of view—“up” to Canaan; “down” to Egypt).
  169. Genesis 44:18 tn Heb “Please my lord, let your servant speak a word into the ears of my lord.”
  170. Genesis 44:18 tn Heb “and let not your anger burn against your servant.”
  171. Genesis 44:18 sn You are just like Pharaoh. Judah’s speech begins with the fear and trembling of one who stands condemned. Joseph has as much power as Pharaoh, either to condemn or to pardon. Judah will make his appeal, wording his speech in such a way as to appeal to Joseph’s compassion for the father, whom he mentions no less than fourteen times in the speech.
  172. Genesis 44:20 tn Heb “and a small boy of old age,” meaning that he was born when his father was elderly.
  173. Genesis 44:20 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the boy just mentioned) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  174. Genesis 44:20 tn Heb “he, only he, to his mother is left.”
  175. Genesis 44:21 tn The cohortative after the imperative indicates purpose here.
  176. Genesis 44:21 tn Heb “that I may set my eyes upon him.”
  177. Genesis 44:22 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the boy’s father, i.e., Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  178. Genesis 44:22 tn The last two verbs are perfect tenses with vav consecutive. The first is subordinated to the second as a conditional clause.
  179. Genesis 44:26 tn The direct object is not specified in the Hebrew text, but is implied; “there” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  180. Genesis 44:26 tn Heb “go down.”
  181. Genesis 44:27 tn Heb “that two sons my wife bore to me.”
  182. Genesis 44:28 tn Heb “went forth from me.”
  183. Genesis 44:29 tn The construction uses a perfect verbal form with the vav consecutive to introduce the conditional clause and then another perfect verbal form with a vav consecutive to complete the sentence: “if you take…then you will bring down.”
  184. Genesis 44:29 sn The expression bring down my gray hair is figurative, using a part for the whole—they would put Jacob in the grave. But the gray head signifies a long life of worry and trouble. See Gen 42:38.
  185. Genesis 44:29 tn Heb “evil/calamity.” The term is different than the one used in the otherwise identical statement recorded in v. 31 (see also 42:38).
  186. Genesis 44:29 tn Heb “to Sheol,” the dwelling place of the dead.
  187. Genesis 44:30 tn Heb “his life is bound up in his life.”
  188. Genesis 44:31 tn Heb “when he sees that there is no boy.”
  189. Genesis 44:32 tn Or “for.”
  190. Genesis 44:34 tn The Hebrew text has “lest I see,” which expresses a negative purpose—“I cannot go up lest I see.”
  191. Genesis 44:34 tn Heb “the calamity which would find my father.”
  192. Genesis 45:1 tn Heb “all the ones standing beside him.”
  193. Genesis 45:1 tn Heb “stood.”
  194. Genesis 45:2 tn Heb “and he gave his voice in weeping,” meaning that Joseph could not restrain himself and wept out loud.
  195. Genesis 45:2 tn Heb “and the Egyptians heard and the household of Pharaoh heard.” Presumably in the latter case this was by means of a report.
  196. Genesis 45:5 tn Heb “let there not be anger in your eyes.”
  197. Genesis 45:5 sn You sold me here, for God sent me. The tension remains as to how the brothers’ wickedness and God’s intentions work together. Clearly God is able to transform the actions of wickedness to bring about some gracious end. But this is saying more than that; it is saying that from the beginning it was God who sent Joseph here. Although harmonization of these ideas remains humanly impossible, the divine intention is what should be the focus. Only that will enable reconciliation.
  198. Genesis 45:6 tn Heb “the famine [has been] in the midst of.”
  199. Genesis 45:7 sn God sent me. The repetition of this theme that God sent Joseph is reminiscent of commission narratives in which the leader could announce that God sent him (e.g., Exod 3:15).
  200. Genesis 45:7 tn Heb “to make you a remnant.” The verb, followed here by the preposition ל (lamed), means “to make.”
  201. Genesis 45:7 tn The infinitive gives a second purpose for God’s action.
  202. Genesis 45:8 tn Heb “a father.” The term is used here figuratively of one who gives advice, as a father would to his children.
  203. Genesis 45:9 tn Heb “hurry and go up.”
  204. Genesis 45:10 tn The perfect verbal form with vav consecutive here expresses instruction.
  205. Genesis 45:11 tn The verb כּוּל (kul) in the Pilpel stem means “to nourish, to support, to sustain.” As in 1 Kgs 20:27, it here means “to supply with food.”
  206. Genesis 45:12 tn Heb “And, look, your eyes see and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that my mouth is the one speaking to you.”
  207. Genesis 45:13 tn The perfect verbal form with the vav consecutive here expresses instruction.
  208. Genesis 45:13 tn Heb “and hurry and bring down my father to here.”
  209. Genesis 45:16 tn Heb “and the sound was heard.”
  210. Genesis 45:16 tn Heb “was good in the eyes of.”
  211. Genesis 45:17 tn Heb “and go! Enter!”
  212. Genesis 45:18 tn After the imperatives in vv. 17-18a, the cohortative with vav indicates result.
  213. Genesis 45:18 tn After the cohortative the imperative with vav states the ultimate goal.
  214. Genesis 45:18 tn Heb “fat.”
  215. Genesis 45:19 tn The words “to say” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  216. Genesis 45:20 tn Heb “let not your eye regard.”
  217. Genesis 45:21 tn Heb “and the sons of Israel did so.”
  218. Genesis 45:21 tn Heb “according to the mouth of Pharaoh.”
  219. Genesis 45:22 tn Heb “to all of them he gave, to each one, changes of outer garments.”
  220. Genesis 45:22 tn Heb “changes of outer garments.”
  221. Genesis 45:23 tn Heb “according to this.”
  222. Genesis 45:24 tn Heb “do not be stirred up in the way.” The verb means “stir up.” Some understand the Hebrew verb רָגָז (ragaz, “to stir up”) as a reference to quarreling (see Prov 29:9, where it has this connotation), but in Exod 15:14 and other passages it means “to fear.” This might refer to a fear of robbers, but more likely it is an assuring word that they need not be fearful about returning to Egypt. They might have thought that once Jacob was in Egypt, Joseph would take his revenge on them.
  223. Genesis 45:25 tn Heb “and they entered the land of Canaan to their father.”
  224. Genesis 45:26 tn Heb “and his heart was numb.” Jacob was stunned by the unbelievable news and was unable to respond.
  225. Genesis 45:27 tn Heb “and they spoke to him all the words of Joseph which he had spoke to them.”