Genesis 42:1-26New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Joseph’s Brothers Go Down to Egypt
42 Jacob found out that there was grain in Egypt. So he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at one another?” 2 He continued, “I’ve heard there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there. Buy some for us. Then we’ll live and not die.”
3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain there. 4 But Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with them. He was afraid Benjamin might be harmed. 5 Israel’s sons were among the people who went to buy grain. There wasn’t enough food in the land of Canaan.
6 Joseph was the governor of the land. He was the one who sold grain to all its people. When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them. But he pretended to be a stranger. He spoke to them in a mean way. “Where do you come from?” he asked.
“From the land of Canaan,” they replied. “We’ve come to buy food.”
8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him. 9 Then Joseph remembered his dreams about them. So he said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.”
10 “No, sir,” they answered. “We’ve come to buy food. 11 All of us are the sons of one man. We’re honest men. We aren’t spies.”
12 “No!” he said to them. “You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.”
13 But they replied, “We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one man. He lives in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is now with our father. And one brother is gone.”
14 Joseph said to them, “I still say you are spies! 15 So I’m going to test you. And here’s the test. You can be sure that you won’t leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. You can be just as sure of this as you are sure that Pharaoh lives. I give you my word that you won’t leave here unless your brother comes. 16 Send one of you back to get your brother. The rest of you will be kept in prison. I’ll test your words. Then we’ll find out whether you are telling the truth. You can be sure that Pharaoh lives. And you can be just as sure that if you aren’t telling the truth, we’ll know that you are spies!” 17 So Joseph kept all of them under guard for three days.
18 On the third day, Joseph spoke to them again. He said, “Do what I say. Then you will live, because I have respect for God. 19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The rest of you may go and take grain back to your hungry families. 20 But you must bring your youngest brother to me. That will prove that your words are true. Then you won’t die.” So they did what he said.
21 They said to one another, “God is surely punishing us because of our brother. We saw how upset he was when he begged us to let him live. But we wouldn’t listen. That’s why all this trouble has come to us.”
22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we’re being paid back for killing him.” 23 They didn’t realize that Joseph could understand what they were saying. He was using someone else to explain their words to him in the Egyptian language.
24 Joseph turned away from his brothers and began to weep. Then he came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken and tied up right there in front of them.
25 Joseph gave orders to have their bags filled with grain. He had each man’s money put back into his sack. He also made sure they were given food for their journey. 26 Then the brothers loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Now that you've created a Bible Gateway account, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus, the ultimate online Bible reading & study experience!
Bible Gateway Plus equips you to answer the toughest questions about faith, God, and the Bible. There's no software to install; it's all integrated seamlessly into your Bible Gateway experience. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.