Contemporary English Version
Joseph's Brothers Return to Egypt with Benjamin
43 The famine in Canaan got worse, 2 until finally, Jacob's family had eaten all the grain they had bought in Egypt. So Jacob said to his sons, “Go back and buy some more grain.”
3-5 Judah replied, “The governor strictly warned us that we would not be allowed to see him unless we brought our youngest brother with us. If you let us take Benjamin along, we will go and buy grain. But we won't go without him!”
6 Jacob asked, “Why did you cause me so much trouble by telling the governor you had another brother?”
7 They answered, “He asked a lot of questions about us and our family. He wanted to know if you were still alive and if we had any more brothers. All we could do was answer his questions. How could we know he would tell us to bring along our brother?”
8 Then Judah said to his father, “Let Benjamin go with me, and we will leave at once, so that none of us will starve to death. 9 I promise to bring him back safely, and if I don't, you can blame me as long as I live. 10 If we had not wasted all this time, we could already have been there and back twice.”
11 Their father said:
If Benjamin must go with you, take the governor a gift of some of the best things from our own country, such as perfume, honey, spices, pistachio nuts, and almonds.[a] 12 Also take along twice the amount of money for the grain, because there must have been some mistake when the money was put back in your sacks. 13 Take Benjamin with you and leave at once.
14 When you go in to see the governor, I pray that God All-Powerful will be good to you and that the governor will let your other brother and Benjamin come back home with you. But if I must lose my children, I suppose I must.
15 The brothers took the gifts, twice the amount of money, and Benjamin. Then they hurried off to Egypt. When they stood in front of Joseph, 16 he saw Benjamin and told the servant in charge of his house, “Take these men to my house. Slaughter an animal and cook it, so they can eat with me at noon.”
17 The servant did as he was told and took the brothers to Joseph's house. 18 But on the way they got worried and started thinking, “We are being taken there because of the money that was put back in our sacks last time. He will arrest us, make us his slaves, and take our donkeys.”
19 So when they arrived at Joseph's house, they said to the servant in charge, 20 “Sir, we came to Egypt once before to buy grain. 21 But when we stopped for the night, we each found in our grain sacks the exact amount we had paid. We have brought that money back, 22 together with enough money to buy more grain. We don't know who put the money in our sacks.”
23 “It's all right,” the servant replied. “Don't worry. The God you and your father worship must have put the money there, because I received your payment in full.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24 The servant took them into Joseph's house and gave them water to wash their feet. He also tended their donkeys. 25 The brothers got their gifts ready to give to Joseph at noon, since they had heard they were going to eat there.
26 When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought, and they bowed down to him. 27 After Joseph had asked how they were, he said, “What about your elderly father? Is he still alive?”
28 They answered, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And again they bowed down to Joseph.
29 When Joseph looked around and saw his brother Benjamin, he said, “This must be your youngest brother, the one you told me about. God bless you, my son.”
30 Then, because of his love for Benjamin, he rushed off to his room and cried. 31 After washing his face and returning, he was able to control himself and said, “Serve the meal!”
32 Joseph was served at a table by himself, and his brothers were served at another. The Egyptians sat at yet another table, because Egyptians felt it was disgusting to eat with Hebrews. 33 To the surprise of Joseph's brothers, they were seated in front of him according to their ages, from the oldest to the youngest. 34 They were served food from Joseph's table, and Benjamin was given five times as much as each of the others. So Joseph's brothers ate and drank with him and had a good time.
The Missing Cup
44 1-2 Later, Joseph told the servant in charge of his house, “Fill the men's grain sacks with as much as they can hold and put their money in the sacks. Also put my silver cup in the sack of the youngest brother.” The servant did as he was told.
3 Early the next morning, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4 But they had not gone far from the city when Joseph told the servant, “Go after those men! When you catch them, say, ‘My master has been good to you. So why have you stolen his silver cup? 5 Not only does he drink from his cup, but he also uses it to learn about the future. You have done a terrible thing.’ ”
6 When the servant caught up with them, he said exactly what Joseph had told him to say. 7 But they replied, “Sir, why do you say such things? We would never do anything like that! 8 We even returned the money we found in our grain sacks when we got back to Canaan. So why would we want to steal any silver or gold from your master's house? 9 If you find that one of us has the cup, then kill him, and the rest of us will become your slaves.”
10 “Good!” the man replied, “I'll do what you have said. But only the one who has the cup will become my slave. The rest of you can go free.”
11 Each of the brothers quickly put his sack on the ground and opened it. 12 Joseph's servant started searching the sacks, beginning with the one that belonged to the oldest brother. When he came to Benjamin's sack, he found the cup. 13 This upset the brothers so much that they began tearing their clothes in sorrow. Then they loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.
14 When Judah and his brothers got there, Joseph was still at home. So they bowed down to Joseph, 15 who asked them, “What have you done? Didn't you know I could find out?”
16 “Sir, what can we say?” Judah replied. “How can we say we are innocent, when God has shown we are guilty? And now all of us are your slaves, especially the one who had the cup.”
17 Joseph told them, “I would never punish all of you. Only the one who was caught with the cup will become my slave. The rest of you are free to go home to your father.”
Judah Pleads for Benjamin
18 Judah went over to Joseph and said:
Sir, you have as much power as the king[b] himself, and I am only your slave. Please don't get angry if I speak. 19 You asked us if our father was still alive and if we had any more brothers. 20 So we told you, “Our father is a very old man. In fact, he was already old when Benjamin was born. Benjamin's brother is dead. Now Benjamin is the only one of the two brothers who is still alive, and our father loves him very much.”
21 You ordered us to bring him here, so you could see him for yourself. 22 We told you that our father would die if Benjamin left him. 23 But you warned us that we could never see you again, unless our youngest brother came with us. 24 So we returned to our father and reported what you had said.
25 Later our father sent us back here to buy more grain. 26 But we told him, “We can't go back to Egypt without our youngest brother. We will never be let in to see the governor, unless he is with us.”
27 Sir, our father then reminded us that his favorite wife had given birth to two sons. 28 One of them was already missing and had not been seen for a long time. My father thinks the boy was torn to pieces by some wild animal, 29 and he said, “I am an old man. If you take Benjamin from me, and something happens to him, I will die of a broken heart.”
30 That's why Benjamin must be with us when I go back to my father. He loves him so much 31 that he will die if Benjamin doesn't come back with me. 32 I promised my father that I would bring him safely home. If I don't, I told my father he could blame me the rest of my life.
33 Sir, I am your slave. Please let me stay here in place of Benjamin and let him return home with his brothers. 34 How can I face my father if Benjamin isn't with me? I couldn't bear to see my father in such sorrow.
Joseph Tells His Brothers Who He Is
45 (A) Since Joseph could no longer control his feelings in front of his servants, he sent them out of the room. When he was alone with his brothers, he told them, “I am Joseph.” 2 Then he cried so loudly that the Egyptians heard him and told about it in the king's[c] palace.
3 Joseph asked his brothers if his father was still alive, but they were too frightened to answer. 4 Joseph told them to come closer to him, and when they did, he said:
Yes, I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt. 5 Don't worry or blame yourselves for what you did. God is the one who sent me ahead of you to save lives.
6 There has already been a famine for two years, and for five more years no one will plow fields or harvest grain. 7 But God sent me on ahead of you to keep your families alive and to save you in this wonderful way. 8 After all, you weren't really the ones who sent me here—it was God. He made me the highest official in the king's court and placed me over all Egypt.
9 (B) Now hurry back and tell my father that his son Joseph says, “God has made me ruler of Egypt. Come here as quickly as you can. 10 You will live near me in the region of Goshen with your children and grandchildren, as well as with your sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else you own. 11 I will take care of you there during the next five years of famine. But if you don't come, you and your family and your animals will starve to death.”
12 All of you, including my brother Benjamin, can tell by what I have said that I really am Joseph. 13 Tell my father about my great power here in Egypt and about everything you have seen. Hurry and bring him here.
14 Joseph and Benjamin hugged each other and started crying. 15 Joseph was still crying as he kissed each of his other brothers. After this, they started talking with Joseph.
16 When it was told in the palace that Joseph's brothers had come, the king and his officials were happy. 17 So the king said to Joseph:
Tell your brothers to load their donkeys and return to Canaan. 18 Tell them to bring their father and their families here. I will give them the best land in Egypt, and they can eat and enjoy everything that grows there. 19 Also tell your brothers to take some wagons from Egypt for their wives and children to ride in. And be sure they bring their father. 20 They can leave their possessions behind, because they will be given the best of everything in Egypt.
21 Jacob's sons agreed to do what the king had said. And Joseph gave them wagons and food for their trip home, just as the king had ordered. 22 Joseph gave some new clothes to each of his brothers, but to Benjamin he gave five new outfits and 300 pieces of silver. 23 To his father he sent ten donkeys loaded with the best things in Egypt, and ten other donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other food for the return trip. 24 Then he sent his brothers off and told them, “Don't argue on the way home!”
25 Joseph's brothers left Egypt, and when they arrived in Canaan, 26 they told their father that Joseph was still alive and was the ruler of Egypt. But their father was so surprised that he could not believe them. 27 Then they told him everything Joseph had said. When he saw the wagons Joseph had sent, he felt much better 28 and said, “Now I can believe you! My son Joseph must really be alive, and I will get to see him before I die.”