Genesis 37-50Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
37 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. 2 These are the family records of Jacob.
At 17 years of age, Joseph tended sheep with his brothers. The young man was working with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought a bad report about them to their father.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a robe of many colors[a] for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him.
5 Then Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 There we were, binding sheaves of grain in the field. Suddenly my sheaf stood up, and your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.”
8 “Are you really going to reign over us?” his brothers asked him. “Are you really going to rule us?” So they hated him even more because of his dream and what he had said.
9 Then he had another dream and told it to his brothers. “Look,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun, moon, and 11 stars were bowing down to me.”
10 He told his father and brothers, but his father rebuked him. “What kind of dream is this that you have had?” he said. “Are your mother and brothers and I going to come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Joseph Sold into Slavery
12 His brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers, you know, are pasturing the flocks at Shechem. Get ready. I’m sending you to them.”
“I’m ready,” Joseph replied.
14 Then Israel said to him, “Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are doing, and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem.
15 A man found him there, wandering in the field, and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 “I’m looking for my brothers,” Joseph said. “Can you tell me where they are pasturing their flocks?”
17 “They’ve moved on from here,” the man said. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph set out after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
18 They saw him in the distance, and before he had reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer![b] 20 Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the pits. We can say that a vicious animal ate him. Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from them.[c] He said, “Let’s not take his life.” 22 Reuben also said to them, “Don’t shed blood. Throw him into this pit in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him”—intending to rescue him from their hands and return him to his father.
23 When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped off his robe, the robe of many colors that he had on. 24 Then they took him and threw him into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.
25 Then they sat down to eat a meal. They looked up, and there was a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were carrying aromatic gum, balsam, and resin, going down to Egypt.
26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay a hand on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh,” and they agreed. 28 When Midianite traders passed by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him for 20 pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took Joseph to Egypt.
29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone! What am I going to do?”[d] 31 So they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a young goat, and dipped the robe in its blood. 32 They sent the robe of many colors to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it. Is it your son’s robe or not?”
33 His father recognized it. “It is my son’s robe,” he said. “A vicious animal has devoured him. Joseph has been torn to pieces!” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth around his waist, and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said. “I will go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” And his father wept for him.
36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guard.
Judah and Tamar
38 At that time Judah left his brothers and settled near an Adullamite named Hirah. 2 There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua; he took her as a wife and slept with her. 3 She conceived and gave birth to a son, and he named him Er. 4 She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and named him Onan. 5 She gave birth to another son and named him Shelah. It was at Chezib that[e][f] she gave birth to him.
6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 Now Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the Lord’s sight, and the Lord put him to death. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife. Perform your duty as her brother-in-law and produce offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his, so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he released his semen on the ground so that he would not produce offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was evil in the Lord’s sight, so He put him to death also.
11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He might die too, like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.
12 After a long time[g] Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had finished mourning, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went up to Timnah to the sheepshearers. 13 Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she took off her widow’s clothes, veiled her face, covered herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim,[h] which is on the way to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had grown up, she had not been given to him as a wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.
16 He went over to her and said, “Come, let me sleep with you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.
She said, “What will you give me for sleeping with me?”
17 “I will send you a young goat from my flock,” he replied.
But she said, “Only if you leave something with me until you send it.”
18 “What should I give you?” he asked.
She answered, “Your signet ring, your cord, and the staff in your hand.” So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she got pregnant by him. 19 She got up and left, then removed her veil and put her widow’s clothes back on.
20 When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get back the items he had left with the woman, he could not find her. 21 He asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”
“There has been no cult prostitute here,” they answered.
22 So the Adullamite returned to Judah, saying, “I couldn’t find her, and furthermore, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no cult prostitute here.’”
23 Judah replied, “Let her keep the items for herself; otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”
24 About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law, Tamar, has been acting like a prostitute, and now she is pregnant.”
“Bring her out!” Judah said. “Let her be burned to death!”
25 As she was being brought out, she sent her father-in-law this message: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these items belong.” And she added, “Examine them. Whose signet ring, cord, and staff are these?”
26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more in the right[i] than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her intimately again.
27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand, and the midwife took it and tied a scarlet thread around it, announcing, “This one came out first.” 29 But then he pulled his hand back, and his brother came out. Then she said, “You have broken out first!” So he was named Perez.[j] 30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread tied to his hand, came out, and was named Zerah.[k]
Joseph in Potiphar’s House
39 Now Joseph had been taken to Egypt. An Egyptian named Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there. 2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, serving[l] in the household of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made everything he did successful, 4 Joseph found favor in his master’s sight and became his personal attendant. Potiphar also put him in charge of his household and placed all that he owned under his authority.[m] 5 From the time that he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house because of Joseph. The Lord’s blessing was on all that he owned, in his house and in his fields. 6 He left all that he owned under Joseph’s authority;[n] he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome. 7 After some time[o] his master’s wife looked longingly at Joseph and said, “Sleep with me.”
8 But he refused. “Look,” he said to his master’s wife, “with me here my master does not concern himself with anything in his house, and he has put all that he owns under my authority.[p] 9 No one in this house is greater than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I do such a great evil and sin against God?”
10 Although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused[q] to go to bed with her.[r] 11 Now one day he went into the house to do his work, and none of the household servants were there.[s] 12 She grabbed him by his garment and said, “Sleep with me!” But leaving his garment in her hand, he escaped and ran outside. 13 When she saw that he had left his garment with her and had run outside, 14 she called the household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “my husband brought a Hebrew man to make fools of us. He came to me so he could sleep with me, and I screamed as loud as I could. 15 When he heard me screaming for help,[t] he left his garment with me and ran outside.”
16 She put Joseph’s garment beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him the same story: “The Hebrew slave you brought to us came to make a fool of me, 18 but when I screamed for help,[u] he left his garment with me and ran outside.”
19 When his master heard the story his wife told him—“These are the things your slave did to me”—he was furious 20 and had him thrown into prison, where the king’s prisoners were confined. So Joseph was there in prison.
Joseph in Prison
21 But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him. He granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 The warden put all the prisoners who were in the prison under Joseph’s authority,[v] and he was responsible for everything that was done there. 23 The warden did not bother with anything under Joseph’s authority,[w] because the Lord was with him, and the Lord made everything that he did successful.
Joseph Interprets Two Prisoners’ Dreams
40 After this, the Egyptian king’s cupbearer and baker offended their master, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard in the prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard assigned Joseph to them, and he became their personal attendant. And they were in custody for some time.[x]
5 The Egyptian king’s cupbearer and baker, who were confined in the prison, each had a dream. Both had a dream on the same night, and each dream had its own meaning. 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they looked distraught. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”
8 “We had dreams,” they said to him, “but there is no one to interpret them.”
Then Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”
9 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph: “In my dream there was a vine in front of me. 10 On the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.”
12 “This is its interpretation,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. 13 In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position. You will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand the way you used to when you were his cupbearer. 14 But when all goes well for you, remember that I was with you. Please show kindness to me by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this prison. 15 For I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should put me in the dungeon.”
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was positive, he said to Joseph, “I also had a dream. Three baskets of white bread were on my head. 17 In the top basket were all sorts of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”
18 “This is its interpretation,” Joseph replied. “The three baskets are three days. 19 In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from off you—and hang you on a tree.[y] Then the birds will eat the flesh from your body.”[z]
20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he gave a feast for all his servants. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. 21 Pharaoh restored the chief cupbearer to his position as cupbearer, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. 22 But Pharaoh hanged[aa] the chief baker, just as Joseph had explained to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.
Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams
41 Two years later Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing beside the Nile, 2 when seven healthy-looking, well-fed cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, sickly and thin, came up from the Nile and stood beside those cows along the bank of the Nile. 4 The sickly, thin cows ate the healthy, well-fed cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5 He fell asleep and dreamed a second time: Seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, came up on one stalk. 6 After them, seven heads of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven plump, ripe ones. Then Pharaoh woke up, and it was only a dream.
8 When morning came, he was troubled, so he summoned all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I remember my faults. 10 Pharaoh had been angry with his servants, and he put me and the chief baker in the custody of the captain of the guard. 11 He and I had dreams on the same night; each dream had its own meaning. 12 Now a young Hebrew, a slave of the captain of the guards, was with us there. We told him our dreams, he interpreted our dreams for us, and each had its own interpretation. 13 It turned out just the way he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged.”
14 Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they quickly brought him from the dungeon. He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to Pharaoh.
15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said about you that you can hear a dream and interpret it.”
16 “I am not able to,” Joseph answered Pharaoh. “It is God who will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”[ab]
17 So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18 when seven well-fed, healthy-looking cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds. 19 After them, seven other cows—ugly, very sickly, and thin—came up. I’ve never seen such ugly ones as these in all the land of Egypt. 20 Then the thin, ugly cows ate the first seven well-fed cows. 21 When they had devoured them, you could not tell that they had devoured them; their appearance was as bad as it had been before. Then I woke up. 22 In my dream I had also seen seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, coming up on one stalk. 23 After them, seven heads of grain—withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind—sprouted up. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven plump ones. I told this to the magicians, but no one can tell me what it means.”
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God has revealed to Pharaoh what He is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven ripe heads are seven years. The dreams mean the same thing. 27 The seven thin, ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven worthless, scorched heads of grain are seven years of famine.
28 “It is just as I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29 Seven[ac] years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt. 30 After them, seven years of famine will take place, and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will devastate the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered because of the famine that follows it, for the famine will be very severe. 32 Since the dream was given twice to Pharaoh, it means that the matter has been determined by God, and He will carry it out soon.
33 “So now, let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this: Let him appoint overseers over the land and take a fifth of the harvest of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 Let them gather all the excess food during these good years that are coming. Under Pharaoh’s authority, store the grain in the cities, so they may preserve it as food. 36 The food will be a reserve for the land during the seven years of famine that will take place in the land of Egypt. Then the country will not be wiped out by the famine.”
37 The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit[ad] in him?” 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as intelligent and wise as you are. 40 You will be over my house, and all my people will obey your commands.[ae] Only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “See, I am placing you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and placed a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, and servants called out before him, “Abrek!”[af] So he placed him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will be able to raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt without your permission.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah and gave him a wife, Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On.[ag] And Joseph went throughout[ah] the land of Egypt.
46 Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout the land of Egypt.
47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced outstanding harvests. 48 Joseph gathered all the excess food in the land of Egypt during the seven years and put it in the cities. He put the food in every city from the fields around it. 49 So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance—like the sand of the sea—that he stopped measuring it because it was beyond measure.
50 Two sons were born to Joseph before the years of famine arrived. Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On,[ai] bore them to him. 51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, meaning, “God has made me forget all my hardship in my father’s house.” 52 And the second son he named Ephraim, meaning, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
53 Then the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food. 55 Extreme hunger came to all the land of Egypt, and the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh told all Egypt, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.” 56 Because the famine had spread across the whole country, Joseph opened up all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Every nation came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, for the famine was severe in every land.
Joseph’s Brothers in Egypt
42 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you keep looking at each other? 2 Listen,” he went on, “I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us so that we will live and not die.” 3 So 10 of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he thought, “Something might happen to him.”
5 The sons of Israel were among those who came to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6 Joseph was in charge of the country; he sold grain to all its people. His brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground. 7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them.
“Where do you come from?” he asked.
“From the land of Canaan to buy food,” they replied.
8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9 Joseph remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies. You have come to see the weakness[aj] of the land.”
10 “No, my lord. Your servants have come to buy food,” they said. 11 “We are all sons of one man. We are honest; your servants are not spies.”
12 “No,” he said to them. “You have come to see the weakness of the land.”
13 But they replied, “We, your servants, were 12 brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now[ak] with our father, and one is no longer living.”
14 Then Joseph said to them, “I have spoken:[al] ‘You are spies!’ 15 This is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one from among you to get your brother. The rest of you will be imprisoned so that your words can be tested to see if they are true. If they are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17 So Joseph imprisoned them together for three days.
18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “I fear God—do this and you will live. 19 If you are honest, let one of you[am] be confined to the guardhouse, while the rest of you go and take grain to relieve the hunger of your households. 20 Bring your youngest brother to me so that your words can be confirmed; then you won’t die.” And they consented to this.
21 Then they said to each other, “Obviously, we are being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw his deep distress when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this trouble has come to us.”
22 But Reuben replied: “Didn’t I tell you not to harm the boy? But you wouldn’t listen. Now we must account for his blood!”[an]
23 They did not realize that Joseph understood them, since there was an interpreter between them. 24 He turned away from them and wept. Then he turned back and spoke to them. He took Simeon from them and had him bound before their eyes. 25 Joseph then gave orders to fill their containers with grain, return each man’s money to his sack, and give them provisions for their journey. This order was carried out. 26 They loaded the grain on their donkeys and left there.
The Brothers Return Home
27 At the place where they lodged for the night, one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his money there at the top of the bag. 28 He said to his brothers, “My money has been returned! It’s here in my bag.” Their hearts sank. Trembling, they turned to one another and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29 When they reached their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them: 30 “The man who is the lord of the country spoke harshly to us and accused us of spying on the country. 31 But we told him: We are honest and not spies. 32 We were 12 brothers, sons of the same[ao] father. One is no longer living, and the youngest is now[ap] with our father in the land of Canaan. 33 The man who is the lord of the country said to us, ‘This is how I will know if you are honest: Leave one brother with me, take food to relieve the hunger of your households, and go. 34 Bring back your youngest brother to me, and I will know that you are not spies but honest men. I will then give your brother back to you, and you can trade in the country.’”
35 As they began emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his bag of money! When they and their father saw their bags of money, they were afraid.
36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my sons. Joseph is gone and Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything happens to me!”
37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You can kill my two sons if I don’t bring him back to you. Put him in my care,[aq] and I will return him to you.”
38 But Jacob answered, “My son will not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left. If anything happens to him on your journey, you will bring my gray hairs down to Sheol in sorrow.”
Decision to Return to Egypt
43 Now the famine in the land was severe. 2 When they had used up the grain they had brought back from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us some food.”
3 But Judah said to him, “The man specifically warned us: ‘You will not see me again unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go, for the man said to us, ‘You will not see me again unless your brother is with you.’”
6 “Why did you cause me so much trouble?” Israel asked. “Why did you tell the man that you had another brother?”
7 They answered, “The man kept asking about us and our family: ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ And we answered him accordingly. How could we know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother here’?”
8 Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the boy with me. We will be on our way so that we may live and not die—neither we, nor you, nor our children. 9 I will be responsible for him. You can hold me personally accountable![ar] If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, I will be guilty before you forever. 10 If we had not wasted time, we could have come back twice by now.”
11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your packs and take them down to the man as a gift—some balsam and some honey, aromatic gum and resin, pistachios and almonds. 12 Take twice as much money with you. Return the money that was returned to you in the top of your bags. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13 Take your brother also, and go back at once to the man. 14 May God Almighty cause the man to be merciful to you so that he will release your other brother and Benjamin to you. As for me, if I am deprived of my sons, then I am deprived.”
The Return to Egypt
15 The men took this gift, double the amount of money, and Benjamin. They made their way down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.
16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his steward,[as] “Take the men to my house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for they will eat with me at noon.” 17 The man did as Joseph had said and brought them to Joseph’s house.
18 But the men were afraid because they were taken to Joseph’s house. They said, “We have been brought here because of the money that was returned in our bags the first time. They intend to overpower us, seize us, make us slaves, and take our donkeys.” 19 So they approached Joseph’s steward[at] and spoke to him at the doorway of the house.
20 They said, “Sir, we really did come down here the first time only to buy food. 21 When we came to the place where we lodged for the night and opened our bags of grain, each one’s money was at the top of his bag! It was the full amount of our money, and we have brought it back with us. 22 We have brought additional money with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our money in the bags.”
23 Then the steward said, “May you be well. Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your bags. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24 The steward brought the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet, and got feed for their donkeys. 25 Since the men had heard that they were going to eat a meal there, they prepared their gift for Joseph’s arrival at noon. 26 When Joseph came home, they brought him the gift they had carried into the house, and they bowed to the ground before him.
27 He asked if they were well, and he said, “How is your elderly father that you told me about? Is he still alive?”
28 They answered, “Your servant our father is well. He is still alive.” And they bowed down to honor him.
29 When he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother that you told me about?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Joseph hurried out because he was overcome with emotion for his brother, and he was about to weep. He went into an inner room to weep. 31 Then he washed his face and came out. Regaining his composure, he said, “Serve the meal.”
32 They served him by himself, his brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, since that is abhorrent to them. 33 They were seated before him in order by age, from the firstborn to the youngest. The men looked at each other in astonishment. 34 Portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, and Benjamin’s portion was five times larger than any of theirs. They drank, and they got intoxicated with Joseph.
Joseph’s Final Test
44 Then Joseph commanded his steward: “Fill the men’s bags with as much food as they can carry, and put each one’s money at the top of his bag. 2 Put my cup, the silver one, at the top of the youngest one’s bag, along with his grain money.” So he did as Joseph told him.
3 At morning light, the men were sent off with their donkeys. 4 They had not gone very far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Get up. Pursue the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good?[au] 5 Isn’t this the cup that my master drinks from and uses for divination? What you have done is wrong!’”
6 When he overtook them, he said these words to them. 7 They said to him, “Why does my lord say these things? Your servants could not possibly do such a thing. 8 We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money we found at the top of our bags. How could we steal gold and silver from your master’s house? 9 If any of us is[av] found to have it, he must die, and we also will become my lord’s slaves.”
10 The steward replied, “What you have said is right, but only the one who is found to have it will be my slave, and the rest of you will be blameless.”
11 So each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 The steward searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and each one loaded his donkey and returned to the city.
14 When Judah and his brothers reached Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell to the ground before him. 15 “What is this you have done?” Joseph said to them. “Didn’t you know that a man like me could uncover the truth by divination?”
16 “What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “How can we plead? How can we justify ourselves? God has exposed your servants’ iniquity. We are now my lord’s slaves—both we and the one in whose possession the cup was found.”
17 Then Joseph said, “I swear that I will not do this. The man in whose possession the cup was found will be my slave. The rest of you can go in peace to your father.”
Judah’s Plea for Benjamin
18 But Judah approached him and said, “Sir, please let your servant speak personally to my lord.[aw] Do not be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh. 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 and we answered my lord, ‘We have an elderly father and a younger brother, the child of his old age. The boy’s brother is dead. He is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’ 21 Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him to me so that I can see him.’ 22 But we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father. If he were to leave, his father would die.’ 23 Then you said to your servants, ‘If your younger brother does not come down with you, you will not see me again.’
24 “This is what happened when we went back to your servant my father: We reported your words to him. 25 But our father said, ‘Go again, and buy us some food.’ 26 We told him, ‘We cannot go down unless our younger brother goes with us. So if our younger brother isn’t with us, we cannot see the man.’ 27 Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28 One left—I said that he must have been torn to pieces—and I have never seen him again. 29 If you also take this one from me and anything happens to him, you will bring my gray hairs down to Sheol in sorrow.’
30 “So if I come to your servant my father and the boy is not with us—his life is wrapped up with the boy’s life— 31 when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die. Then your servants will have brought the gray hairs of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow. 32 Your servant became accountable to my father for the boy, saying, ‘If I do not return him to you, I will always bear the guilt for sinning against you, my father.’ 33 Now please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave, in place of the boy. Let him go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father without the boy? I could not bear to see the grief that would overwhelm my father.”
Joseph Reveals His Identity
45 Joseph could no longer keep his composure in front of all his attendants,[ax] so he called out, “Send everyone away from me!” No one was with him when he revealed his identity to his brothers. 2 But he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and also Pharaoh’s household heard it. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But they could not answer him because they were terrified in his presence.
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please, come near me,” and they came near. “I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, “the one you sold into Egypt. 5 And now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there will be five more years without plowing or harvesting. 7 God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.[ay] 8 Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
9 “Return quickly to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: “God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me without delay. 10 You can settle in the land of Goshen and be near me—you, your children, and grandchildren, your sheep, cattle, and all you have. 11 There I will sustain you, for there will be five more years of famine. Otherwise, you, your household, and everything you have will become destitute.”’ 12 Look! Your eyes and my brother Benjamin’s eyes can see that it is I , Joseph, who am[az] speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all my glory in Egypt and about all you have seen. And bring my father here quickly.”
14 Then Joseph threw his arms around Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin wept on his shoulder. 15 Joseph kissed each of his brothers as he wept,[ba] and afterward his brothers talked with him.
The Return for Jacob
16 When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace, “Joseph’s brothers have come,” Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and go on back to the land of Canaan. 18 Get your father and your families, and come back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you can eat from the richness of the land.’ 19 You are also commanded, ‘Do this: Take wagons from the land of Egypt for your young children and your wives and bring your father here. 20 Do not be concerned about your belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”
21 The sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them wagons as Pharaoh had commanded, and he gave them provisions for the journey. 22 He gave each of the brothers changes of clothes, but he gave Benjamin 300 pieces of silver and five changes of clothes. 23 He sent his father the following: 10 donkeys carrying the best products of Egypt and 10 female donkeys carrying grain, food, and provisions for his father on the journey. 24 So Joseph sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving, he said to them, “Don’t argue on the way.”
25 So they went up from Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They said, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned,[bb] for he did not believe them. 27 But when they told Jacob all that Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.
28 Then Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go to see him before I die.”
Jacob Leaves for Egypt
46 Israel set out with all that he had and came to Beer-sheba, and he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 That night God spoke to Israel in a vision: “Jacob, Jacob!” He said.
And Jacob replied, “Here I am.”
3 God said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you back. Joseph will put his hands on your eyes.”[bc]
5 Jacob left Beer-sheba. The sons of Israel took their father Jacob in the wagons Pharaoh had sent to carry him, along with their children and their wives. 6 They also took their cattle and possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan. Then Jacob and all his children went with him to Egypt. 7 His sons and grandsons, his daughters and granddaughters, indeed all his offspring, he brought with him to Egypt.
8 These are the names of the Israelites, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt:
Jacob’s firstborn: Reuben.
Jacob Arrives in Egypt
28 Now Jacob had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to prepare for his arrival[bk] at Goshen. When they came to the land of Goshen, 29 Joseph hitched the horses to his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel. Joseph presented himself to him, threw his arms around him, and wept for a long time.
30 Then Israel said to Joseph, “At last I can die, now that I have seen your face and know you are still alive!”
31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and inform Pharaoh, telling him: My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 The men are shepherds; they also raise livestock. They have brought their sheep and cattle and all that they have. 33 When Pharaoh addresses you and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you are to say, ‘Your servants, both we and our fathers, have raised livestock[bl] from our youth until now.’ Then you will be allowed to settle in the land of Goshen, since all shepherds are abhorrent to Egyptians.”
Pharaoh Welcomes Jacob
47 So Joseph went and informed Pharaoh: “My father and my brothers, with their sheep and cattle and all that they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in the land of Goshen.”
2 He took five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh. 3 Then Pharaoh asked his brothers, “What is your occupation?”
And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants, both we and our fathers, are shepherds.” 4 Then they said to Pharaoh, “We have come to live in the land for a while because there is no grazing land for your servants’ sheep, since the famine in the land of Canaan has been severe. So now, please let your servants settle in the land of Goshen.”
5 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and brothers have come to you, 6 the land of Egypt is open before you; settle your father and brothers in the best part of the land. They can live in the land of Goshen. If you know of any capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”
7 Joseph then brought his father Jacob and presented him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 Then Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?”[bm]
9 Jacob said to Pharaoh, “My pilgrimage has lasted 130 years. My years have been few and hard, and they have not surpassed the years of my fathers during their pilgrimages.” 10 So Jacob blessed Pharaoh and departed from Pharaoh’s presence.
11 Then Joseph settled his father and brothers in the land of Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food for their dependents.
The Land Becomes Pharaoh’s
13 But there was no food in that entire region, for the famine was very severe. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan were exhausted by the famine. 14 Joseph collected all the money to be found in the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan in exchange for the grain they were purchasing, and he brought the money to Pharaoh’s palace. 15 When the money from the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan was gone, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die here in front of you? The money is gone!”
16 But Joseph said, “Give me your livestock. Since the money is gone, I will give you food in exchange for your livestock.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for the horses, the herds of sheep, the herds of cattle, and the donkeys. That year he provided them with food in exchange for all their livestock.
18 When that year was over, they came the next year and said to him, “We cannot hide from our lord that the money is gone and that all our livestock belongs to our lord. There is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we die here in front of you—both us and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. Then we with our land will become Pharaoh’s slaves. Give us seed so that we can live and not die, and so that the land won’t become desolate.”
20 In this way, Joseph acquired all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh, because every Egyptian sold his field since the famine was so severe for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, 21 and Joseph moved the people to the cities[bn] from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 The only land he didn’t acquire was the priests’ portion, for it was given to them by Pharaoh. They lived off[bo] the rations Pharaoh had given them; therefore they did not sell their land.
23 Then Joseph said to the people, “Understand today that I have acquired you and your land for Pharaoh. Here is seed for you. Sow it in the land. 24 At harvest, you are to give a fifth of it to Pharaoh, and four-fifths will be yours as seed for the field and as food for yourselves, your households, and your dependents.”
25 And they said, “You have saved our lives. We have found favor in our lord’s eyes and will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26 So Joseph made it a law, still in effect today in the land of Egypt, that a fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. Only the priests’ land does not belong to Pharaoh.
Israel Settles in Goshen
27 Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen. They acquired property in it and became fruitful and very numerous. 28 Now Jacob lived in the land of Egypt 17 years, and his life span was 147 years. 29 When the time drew near for him to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise me that you will deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt. 30 When I rest with my fathers, carry me away from Egypt and bury me in their burial place.”
Joseph answered, “I will do what you have asked.”
31 And Jacob said, “Swear to me.” So Joseph swore to him. Then Israel bowed in thanks at the head of his bed.[bp]
Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh
48 Some time after this, Joseph was told, “Your father is weaker.” So he set out with his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed.
3 Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. 4 He said to me, ‘I will make you fruitful and numerous; I will make many nations come from you, and I will give this land as an eternal possession to your future descendants.’ 5 Your two sons born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt are now mine. Ephraim and Manasseh belong to me just as Reuben and Simeon do. 6 Children born to you after them will be yours and will be recorded under the names of their brothers with regard to their inheritance. 7 When I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died along the way, some distance from Ephrath in the land of Canaan. I buried her there along the way to Ephrath,” (that is, Bethlehem).
8 When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?”
9 And Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons God has given me here.”
So Jacob said, “Bring them to me and I will bless them.” 10 Now his eyesight was poor because of old age; he could hardly[bq] see. Joseph brought them to him, and he kissed and embraced them. 11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, but now God has even let me see your offspring.” 12 Then Joseph took them from his father’s knees and bowed with his face to the ground.
Ephraim’s Greater Blessing
13 Then Joseph took them both—with his right hand Ephraim toward Israel’s left, and with his left hand Manasseh toward Israel’s right—and brought them to Israel. 14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and put it on the head of Ephraim, the younger, and crossing his hands, put his left on Manasseh’s head, although Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 Then he blessed Joseph and said:
The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
17 When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he thought it was a mistake[br] and took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s. 18 Joseph said to his father, “Not that way, my father! This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.”
19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know! He too will become a tribe,[bs] and he too will be great; nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his offspring will become a populous nation.”[bt] 20 So he blessed them that day with these words:
The nation Israel will invoke blessings by you, saying,
21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Look, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you back to the land of your fathers. 22 Over and above what I am giving your brothers, I am giving you the one mountain slope[bu] that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and bow.”
Jacob’s Last Words
49 Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather around, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the days to come.[bv]
2 Come together and listen, sons of Jacob;
3 Reuben, you are my firstborn,
5 Simeon and Levi are brothers;
8 Judah, your brothers will praise you.
13 Zebulun will live by the seashore
14 Issachar is a strong donkey
16 Dan will judge his people
18 I wait for Your salvation, Lord.
19 Gad will be attacked by raiders,
20 Asher’s[bz] food will be rich,
21 Naphtali is a doe set free
22 Joseph is a fruitful vine,
27 Benjamin is a wolf; he tears his prey.
28 These are the tribes of Israel, 12 in all, and this was what their father said to them. He blessed them, and he blessed each one with a suitable blessing.
Jacob’s Burial Instructions
29 Then he commanded them: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30 The cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre, in the land of Canaan. This is the field Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 31 Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there, Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried there, and I buried Leah there. 32 The field and the cave in it were purchased from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and died. He was gathered to his people.
50 Then Joseph, leaning over his father’s face, wept and kissed him. 2 He commanded his servants who were physicians to embalm his father. So they embalmed Israel. 3 They took 40 days to complete this, for embalming takes that long, and the Egyptians mourned for him 70 days.
4 When the days of mourning were over, Joseph said to Pharaoh’s household, “If I have found favor with you, please tell[ch] Pharaoh that 5 my father made me take an oath, saying, ‘I am about to die. You must bury me there in the tomb that I made for myself in the land of Canaan.’ Now let me go and bury my father. Then I will return.”
6 So Pharaoh said, “Go and bury your father in keeping with your oath.”
7 Then Joseph went to bury his father, and all Pharaoh’s servants, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt went with him, 8 along with all Joseph’s household, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their sheep, and their cattle were left in the land of Goshen. 9 Horses and chariots went up with him; it was a very impressive procession. 10 When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, which is across the Jordan, they lamented and wept loudly, and Joseph mourned seven days for his father. 11 When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a solemn mourning on the part of the Egyptians.” Therefore the place is named Abel-mizraim.[ci] It is across the Jordan.
12 So Jacob’s sons did for him what he had commanded them. 13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave at Machpelah in the field near Mamre, which Abraham had purchased as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. 14 After Joseph buried his father, he returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone with him to bury his father.
15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said to one another, “If Joseph is holding a grudge against us, he will certainly repay us for all the suffering we caused him.”
16 So they sent this message to Joseph, “Before he died your father gave a command: 17 ‘Say this to Joseph: Please forgive your brothers’ transgression and their sin—the suffering they caused you.’ Therefore, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when their message came to him. 18 Then his brothers also came to him, bowed down before him, and said, “We are your slaves!”
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people. 21 Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.[cj]
24 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will certainly come to your aid and bring you up from this land to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” 25 So Joseph made the sons of Israel take an oath: “When God comes to your aid, you are to carry my bones up from here.”
26 Joseph died at the age of 110. They embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.