Complete Jewish Bible
Parashah 11: Vayigash (He approached) 44:18–47:27
18 Then Y’hudah approached Yosef and said, “Please, my lord! Let your servant say something to you privately; and don’t be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father? or a brother?’ 20 We answered my lord, ‘We have a father who is an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one whose brother is dead; so that of his mother’s children he alone is left; and his father loves him.’ 21 But you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, so that I can see him.’ 22 We answered my lord, ‘The boy can’t leave his father; if he were to leave his father, his father would die.’ 23 You said to your servants, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 24 We went up to your servant my father and told him what my lord had said; 25 but when our father said, ‘Go again, and buy us some food,’ 26 we answered, ‘We can’t go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go down, because we can’t see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27 Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons: 28 the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he has been torn to pieces,” and I haven’t seen him since. 29 Now if you take this one away from me too, and something happens to him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sh’ol with grief.’ 30 So now if I go to your servant my father, and the boy isn’t with us — seeing how his heart is bound up with the boy’s heart — (ii) 31 when he sees that the boy isn’t with us, he will die; and your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sh’ol with grief. 32 For your servant himself guaranteed his safety; I said, ‘If I fail to bring him to you, then I will bear the blame before my father forever.’ 33 Therefore, I beg you, let your servant stay as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34 For how can I go up to my father if the boy isn’t with me? I couldn’t bear to see my father so overwhelmed by anguish.”
45 At last Yosef could no longer control his feelings in front of his attendants and cried, “Get everybody away from me!” So no one else was with him when Yosef revealed to his brothers who he was. 2 He wept aloud, and the Egyptians heard, and Pharaoh’s household heard. 3 Yosef said to his brothers, “I am Yosef! Is it true that my father is still alive?” His brothers couldn’t answer him, they were so dumbfounded at seeing him. 4 Yosef said to his brothers, “Please! Come closer.” And they came closer. He said, “I am Yosef, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 But don’t be sad that you sold me into slavery here or angry at yourselves, because it was God who sent me ahead of you to preserve life. 6 The famine has been over the land for the last two years, and for yet another five years there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you will have descendants on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance. (iii) 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household and ruler over the whole land of Egypt. 9 Hurry, go up to my father, and tell him, ‘Here is what your son Yosef says: “God has made me lord of all Egypt! Come down to me, don’t delay! 10 You will live in the land of Goshen and be near me — you, your children, your grandchildren, flocks, herds, everything you own. 11 I will provide for you there, so that you won’t become poverty-stricken, you, your household and all that you have; because five years of famine are yet to come.”’ 12 Here! Your own eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Binyamin, that it is my own mouth speaking to you. 13 Tell my father how honored I am in Egypt and everything you have seen, and quickly bring my father down here!” 14 Then he embraced his brother Binyamin and wept, and Binyamin wept on his neck, 15 and he kissed all his brothers and wept on them. After that, his brothers talked with him.
16 The report of this reached Pharaoh’s house: “Yosef’s brothers have come”; and Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Tell your brothers, ‘Here is what you are to do. Load up your animals, go to the land of Kena‘an, 18 take your father and your families, and come back to me. I will give you good property in Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.
(iv) 19 “‘Moreover — and this is an order — do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt to carry your little ones and your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20 Don’t worry about your stuff, because everything good in the land of Egypt is yours.’”
21 The sons of Isra’el acted accordingly; and Yosef gave them wagons, as Pharaoh had ordered, and gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave a set of new clothes; but to Binyamin he gave seven-and-a-half pounds of silver and five sets of new clothes. 23 Likewise, to his father he sent ten donkeys loaded with the finest goods Egypt produced, as well as ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread and food for his father to eat on the return journey. 24 Thus he sent his brothers on their way, and they left; he said to them, “Don’t quarrel among yourselves while you’re traveling!”
25 So they went up out of Egypt, entered the land of Kena‘an and came to Ya‘akov their father. 26 They told him, “Yosef is still alive! He is ruler over the whole land of Egypt!” He was stunned at the news; he couldn’t believe them. 27 So they reported to him everything Yosef had said to them; but it was only when he saw the wagons which Yosef had sent to carry him that the spirit of Ya‘akov their father began to revive. (v) 28 Isra’el said, “Enough! My son Yosef is still alive! I must go and see him before I die.”
46 Isra’el took everything he owned with him on his journey. He arrived at Be’er-Sheva and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Yitz’chak. 2 In a vision at night God called to Isra’el, “Ya‘akov! Ya‘akov!” He answered, “Here I am.” 3 He said, “I am God, the God of your father. Don’t be afraid to go down to Egypt. It is there that I will make you into a great nation. 4 Not only will I go down with you to Egypt; but I will also bring you back here again, after Yosef has closed your eyes.”
5 So Ya‘akov left Be’er-Sheva; the sons of Isra’el brought Ya‘akov their father, their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had sent to carry them. 6 They took their cattle and their possessions which they had acquired in the land of Kena‘an and arrived in Egypt, Ya‘akov and all his descendants with him — 7 his sons, grandsons, daughters, granddaughters and all his descendants he brought with him into Egypt.
8 These are the names of Isra’el’s children who came into Egypt, Ya‘akov and his sons: Re’uven Ya‘akov’s firstborn; 9 and the sons of Re’uven — Hanokh, Pallu, Hetzron and Karmi.
10 The sons of Shim‘on: Y’mu’el, Yamin, Ohad, Yakhin, Tzochar and Sha’ul the son of a Kena‘ani woman.
11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, K’hat and M’rari.
12 The sons of Y’hudah: ‘Er, Onan, Shelah, Peretz and Zerach; but ‘Er and Onan died in the land of Kena‘an. The sons of Peretz were Hetzron and Hamul.
13 The sons of Yissakhar: Tola, Puvah, Yov and Shimron.
14 The sons of Z’vulun: Sered, Elon and Yachle’el.
15 These were the children of Le’ah whom she bore to Ya‘akov in Paddan-Aram, with his daughter Dinah. In sum, his sons and daughters numbered thirty-three.
16 The sons of Gad: Tzifyon, Haggi, Shuni, Etzbon, ‘Eri, Arodi and Ar’eli.
17 The children of Asher: Yimnah, Yishvah, Yishvi, B’ri‘ah, and their sister Serach. The sons of B’ri‘ah were Hever and Malki’el.
18 These were the children of Zilpah, whom Lavan gave to Le’ah his daughter; she bore them to Ya‘akov — sixteen people.
19 The sons of Rachel Ya‘akov’s wife: Yosef and Binyamin.
20 To Yosef in the land of Egypt were born M’nasheh and Efrayim, whom Osnat the daughter of Poti-Fera priest of On bore to him.
21 The sons of Binyamin: Bela, Bekher, Ashbel, Gera, Na‘aman, Echi, Rosh, Mupim, Hupim and Ard.
22 These were the children of Rachel who were born to Ya‘akov — in sum, fourteen people.
23 The sons of Dan: Hushim.
24 The sons of Naftali: Yachtze’el, Guni, Yetzer and Shillem.
25 These were the sons of Bilhah, whom Lavan gave to Rachel his daughter; she bore them to Ya‘akov — in sum, seven people.
26 All the people belonging to Ya‘akov coming into Egypt, his direct descendants (not counting Ya‘akov’s sons’ wives), totaled sixty-six. 27 The sons of Yosef, born to him in Egypt, were two in number. Thus all the people in Ya‘akov’s family who entered Egypt numbered seventy.
(vi) 28 Ya‘akov sent Y’hudah ahead of him to Yosef, so that the latter might guide him on the road to Goshen; thus they arrived in the land of Goshen. 29 Yosef prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet Isra’el his father. He presented himself to him, embraced him and wept on his neck for a long time. 30 Then Isra’el said to Yosef, “Now I can die, because I have seen your face and seen that you are still alive.”
31 Yosef said to his brothers and his father’s family, “I’m going up to tell Pharaoh. I’ll say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s family, who were in the land of Kena‘an, have come to me. 32 The men are shepherds and keepers of livestock; they have brought their flocks, their herds and all their possessions.’ 33 Now when Pharaoh summons you and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 tell him, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth until now, both we and our ancestors.’ This will ensure that you will live in the land of Goshen — for any shepherd is abhorrent to the Egyptians.”
47 Then Yosef went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers have come from the land of Kena‘an with their flocks, livestock and all their possessions; right now they are in the land of Goshen.” 2 He took five of his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. 3 Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” They answered Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our ancestors,” 4 and added, “We have come to live in the land, because in the land of Kena‘an there is no place to pasture your servant’s flocks, the famine is so severe there. Therefore, please, let your servants live in the land of Goshen.” 5 Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Your father and brothers have come to you, 6 and the land of Egypt lies before you. Have your father and brothers live on the best property in the country — let them live in the land of Goshen. Moreover, if you know that some of them are particularly competent, put them in charge of my livestock.”
7 Yosef then brought in Ya‘akov his father and presented him to Pharaoh, and Ya‘akov blessed Pharaoh. 8 Pharaoh asked Ya‘akov, “How old are you?” 9 and Ya‘akov replied, “The time of my stay on earth has been 130 years; they have been few and difficult, fewer than the years my ancestors lived.” 10 Then Ya‘akov blessed Pharaoh and left his presence.
(vii) 11 Yosef found a place for his father and brothers and gave them property in the land of Egypt, in the best region of the country, in the land of Ra‘amses, as Pharaoh had ordered. 12 Yosef provided food for his father, his brothers and all his father’s household, taking full care of even the youngest.
13 There was no food anywhere, for the famine was very severe, so that both Egypt and Kena‘an grew weak from hunger. 14 Yosef collected all the money there was in Egypt and Kena‘an in exchange for the grain they bought, and put the money in Pharaoh’s treasury. 15 When all the money in Egypt had been spent, and likewise in Kena‘an, all the Egyptians approached Yosef and said, “Give us something to eat, even though we have no money; why should we die before your eyes?” 16 Yosef replied, “Give me your livestock. If you don’t have money, I will give you food in exchange for your livestock.” 17 So they brought Yosef their livestock; and Yosef gave them food in exchange for the horses, flocks, cattle and donkeys — all that year he provided them with food in exchange for all their livestock.
18 When that year was over, they approached Yosef again and said to him, “We won’t hide from my lord that all our money is spent, and the herds of livestock belong to my lord. We have nothing left, as my lord can see, but our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be enslaved to Pharaoh. But also give us seed to plant, so that we can stay alive and not die, and so that the land won’t become barren.” 20 So Yosef acquired all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh, as one by one the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine weighed on them so severely. Thus the land became the property of Pharaoh. 21 As for the people, he reduced them to serfdom city by city, from one end of Egypt’s territory to the other. 22 Only the priests’ land did he not acquire, because the priests were entitled to provisions from Pharaoh, and they ate from what Pharaoh provided them; therefore they did not sell their land.
23 Then Yosef said to the people, “As of today I have acquired you and your land for Pharaoh. Here is seed for you to sow the land. 24 When harvest time comes, you are to give twenty percent to Pharaoh; eighty percent will be yours to keep for seed to plant in the fields, as well as for your food and for that of your households and your little ones.”
(Maftir) 25 They replied, “You have saved our lives! So if it pleases my lord, we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26 Yosef made it a law for the country of Egypt, valid to this day, that Pharaoh should have twenty percent. Only the property belonging to the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.
27 Isra’el lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. They acquired possessions in it and were productive, and their numbers multiplied greatly.
Haftarah Vayigash: Yechezk’el (Ezekiel) 37:15–28
B’rit Hadashah suggested reading for Parashah Vayigash: Acts 7:9–16 (specifically vv. 13–15)