Genesis 44The Message (MSG)
44 1-2 Joseph ordered his house steward: “Fill the men’s bags with food—all they can carry—and replace each one’s money at the top of the bag. Then put my chalice, my silver chalice, in the top of the bag of the youngest, along with the money for his food.” He did as Joseph ordered.
3-5 At break of day the men were sent off with their donkeys. They were barely out of the city when Joseph said to his house steward, “Run after them. When you catch up with them, say, ‘Why did you pay me back evil for good? This is the chalice my master drinks from; he also uses it for divination. This is outrageous!’”
6 He caught up with them and repeated all this word for word.
7-9 They said, “What is my master talking about? We would never do anything like that! Why, the money we found in our bags earlier, we brought back all the way from Canaan—do you think we’d turn right around and steal it back from your master? If that chalice is found on any of us, he’ll die; and the rest of us will be your master’s slaves.”
10 The steward said, “Very well then, but we won’t go that far. Whoever is found with the chalice will be my slave; the rest of you can go free.”
11-12 They outdid each other in putting their bags on the ground and opening them up for inspection. The steward searched their bags, going from oldest to youngest. The chalice showed up in Benjamin’s bag.
13 They ripped their clothes in despair, loaded up their donkeys, and went back to the city.
14 Joseph was still at home when Judah and his brothers got back. They threw themselves down on the ground in front of him.
15 Joseph accused them: “How can you have done this? You have to know that a man in my position would have discovered this.”
16 Judah as spokesman for the brothers said, “What can we say, master? What is there to say? How can we prove our innocence? God is behind this, exposing how bad we are. We stand guilty before you and ready to be your slaves—we’re all in this together, the rest of us as guilty as the one with the chalice.”
17 “I’d never do that to you,” said Joseph. “Only the one involved with the chalice will be my slave. The rest of you are free to go back to your father.”
18-20 Judah came forward. He said, “Please, master; can I say just one thing to you? Don’t get angry. Don’t think I’m presumptuous—you’re the same as Pharaoh as far as I’m concerned. You, master, asked us, ‘Do you have a father and a brother?’ And we answered honestly, ‘We have a father who is old and a younger brother who was born to him in his old age. His brother is dead and he is the only son left from that mother. And his father loves him more than anything.’
21-22 “Then you told us, ‘Bring him down here so I can see him.’ We told you, master, that it was impossible: ‘The boy can’t leave his father; if he leaves, his father will die.’
23 “And then you said, ‘If your youngest brother doesn’t come with you, you won’t be allowed to see me.’
24-26 “When we returned to our father, we told him everything you said to us. So when our father said, ‘Go back and buy some more food,’ we told him flatly, ‘We can’t. The only way we can go back is if our youngest brother is with us. We aren’t allowed to even see the man if our youngest brother doesn’t come with us.’
27-29 “Your servant, my father, told us, ‘You know very well that my wife gave me two sons. One turned up missing. I concluded that he’d been ripped to pieces. I’ve never seen him since. If you now go and take this one and something bad happens to him, you’ll put my old gray, grieving head in the grave for sure.’
30-32 “And now, can’t you see that if I show up before your servant, my father, without the boy, this son with whom his life is so bound up, the moment he realizes the boy is gone, he’ll die on the spot. He’ll die of grief and we, your servants who are standing here before you, will have killed him. And that’s not all. I got my father to release the boy to show him to you by promising, ‘If I don’t bring him back, I’ll stand condemned before you, Father, all my life.’
33-34 “So let me stay here as your slave, not this boy. Let the boy go back with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? Oh, don’t make me go back and watch my father die in grief!”
Genesis 45The Message (MSG)
45 1-2 Joseph couldn’t hold himself in any longer, keeping up a front before all his attendants. He cried out, “Leave! Clear out—everyone leave!” So there was no one with Joseph when he identified himself to his brothers. But his sobbing was so violent that the Egyptians couldn’t help but hear him. The news was soon reported to Pharaoh’s palace.
3 Joseph spoke to his brothers: “I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?” But his brothers couldn’t say a word. They were speechless—they couldn’t believe what they were hearing and seeing.
4-8 “Come closer to me,” Joseph said to his brothers. They came closer. “I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives. There has been a famine in the land now for two years; the famine will continue for five more years—neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance. So you see, it wasn’t you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt.
9-11 “Hurry back to my father. Tell him, ‘Your son Joseph says: I’m master of all of Egypt. Come as fast as you can and join me here. I’ll give you a place to live in Goshen where you’ll be close to me—you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and anything else you can think of. I’ll take care of you there completely. There are still five more years of famine ahead; I’ll make sure all your needs are taken care of, you and everyone connected with you—you won’t want for a thing.’
12-13 “Look at me. You can see for yourselves, and my brother Benjamin can see for himself, that it’s me, my own mouth, telling you all this. Tell my father all about the high position I hold in Egypt, tell him everything you’ve seen here, but don’t take all day—hurry up and get my father down here.”
14-15 Then Joseph threw himself on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He then kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Only then were his brothers able to talk with him.
16 The story was reported in Pharaoh’s palace: “Joseph’s brothers have come.” It was good news to Pharaoh and all who worked with him.
17-18 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘This is the plan: Load up your pack animals; go to Canaan, get your father and your families and bring them back here. I’ll settle you on the best land in Egypt—you’ll live off the fat of the land.’
19-20 “Also tell them this: ‘Here’s what I want you to do: Take wagons from Egypt to carry your little ones and your wives and load up your father and come back. Don’t worry about having to leave things behind; the best in all of Egypt will be yours.’”
21-23 And they did just that, the sons of Israel. Joseph gave them the wagons that Pharaoh had promised and food for the trip. He outfitted all the brothers in brand-new clothes, but he gave Benjamin three hundred pieces of silver and several suits of clothes. He sent his father these gifts: ten donkeys loaded with Egypt’s best products and another ten donkeys loaded with grain and bread, provisions for his father’s journey back.
24 Then he sent his brothers off. As they left he told them, “Take it easy on the journey; try to get along with each other.”
25-28 They left Egypt and went back to their father Jacob in Canaan. When they told him, “Joseph is still alive—and he’s the ruler over the whole land of Egypt!” he went numb; he couldn’t believe his ears. But the more they talked, telling him everything that Joseph had told them and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him back, the blood started to flow again—their father Jacob’s spirit revived. Israel said, “I’ve heard enough—my son Joseph is still alive. I’ve got to go and see him before I die.”
Genesis 46The Message (MSG)
46 So Israel set out on the journey with everything he owned. He arrived at Beersheba and worshiped, offering sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
2 God spoke to Israel in a vision that night: “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Yes?” he said. “I’m listening.”
3-4 God said, “I am the God of your father. Don’t be afraid of going down to Egypt. I’m going to make you a great nation there. I’ll go with you down to Egypt; I’ll also bring you back here. And when you die, Joseph will be with you; with his own hand he’ll close your eyes.”
5-7 Then Jacob left Beersheba. Israel’s sons loaded their father and their little ones and their wives on the wagons Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They arrived in Egypt with the livestock and the wealth they had accumulated in Canaan. Jacob brought everyone in his family with him—sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters. Everyone.
8 These are the names of the Israelites, Jacob and his descendants, who went to Egypt:
Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn.
9 Reuben’s sons: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
10 Simeon’s sons: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.
11 Levi’s sons: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
12 Judah’s sons: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (Er and Onan had already died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.
13 Issachar’s sons: Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron.
14 Zebulun’s sons: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
15 These are the sons that Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram. There was also his daughter Dinah. Altogether, sons and daughters, they numbered thirty-three.
16 Gad’s sons: Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.
17 Asher’s sons: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah. Also their sister Serah, and Beriah’s sons, Heber and Malkiel.
18 These are the children that Zilpah, the maid that Laban gave to his daughter Leah, bore to Jacob—sixteen of them.
19-21 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph was the father of two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, from his marriage to Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. They were born to him in Egypt. Benjamin’s sons were Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.
22 These are the children born to Jacob through Rachel—fourteen.
23 Dan’s son: Hushim.
24 Naphtali’s sons: Jahziel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
25 These are the children born to Jacob through Bilhah, the maid Laban had given to his daughter Rachel—seven.
26-27 Summing up, all those who went down to Egypt with Jacob—his own children, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six. Counting in the two sons born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family who ended up in Egypt numbered seventy.
28-29 Jacob sent Judah on ahead to get directions to Goshen from Joseph. When they got to Goshen, Joseph gave orders for his chariot and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. The moment Joseph saw him, he threw himself on his neck and wept. He wept a long time.
30 Israel said to Joseph, “I’m ready to die. I’ve looked into your face—you are indeed alive.”
31-34 Joseph then spoke to his brothers and his father’s family. “I’ll go and tell Pharaoh, ‘My brothers and my father’s family, all of whom lived in Canaan, have come to me. The men are shepherds; they’ve always made their living by raising livestock. And they’ve brought their flocks and herds with them, along with everything else they own.’ When Pharaoh calls you in and asks what kind of work you do, tell him, ‘Your servants have always kept livestock for as long as we can remember—we and our parents also.’ That way he’ll let you stay apart in the area of Goshen—for Egyptians look down on anyone who is a shepherd.”
Luke 18The Message (MSG)
The Story of the Persistent Widow
18 1-3 Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’
4-5 “He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won’t quit badgering me, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I’m going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.’”
6-8 Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”
The Story of the Tax Man and the Pharisee
9-12 He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’
13 “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’”
14 Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
15-17 People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
The Rich Official
18 One day one of the local officials asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?”
19-20 Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don’t you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother.”
21 He said, “I’ve kept them all for as long as I can remember.”
22 When Jesus heard that, he said, “Then there’s only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go.
24-25 Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.”
26 “Then who has any chance at all?” the others asked.
27 “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
28 Peter tried to regain some initiative: “We left everything we owned and followed you, didn’t we?”
29-30 “Yes,” said Jesus, “and you won’t regret it. No one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children—whatever—will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And then the bonus of eternal life!”
I Want to See Again
31-34 Then Jesus took the Twelve off to the side and said, “Listen carefully. We’re on our way up to Jerusalem. Everything written in the Prophets about the Son of Man will take place. He will be handed over to the Romans, jeered at, made sport of, and spit on. Then, after giving him the third degree, they will kill him. In three days he will rise, alive.” But they didn’t get it, could make neither heads nor tails of what he was talking about.
35-37 He came to the outskirts of Jericho. A blind man was sitting beside the road asking for handouts. When he heard the rustle of the crowd, he asked what was going on. They told him, “Jesus the Nazarene is going by.”
38 He yelled, “Jesus! Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”
39 Those ahead of Jesus told the man to shut up, but he only yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”
40 Jesus stopped and ordered him to be brought over. When he had come near, Jesus asked, “What do you want from me?”
41 He said, “Master, I want to see again.”
42-43 Jesus said, “Go ahead—see again! Your faith has saved and healed you!” The healing was instant: He looked up, seeing—and then followed Jesus, glorifying God. Everyone in the street joined in, shouting praise to God.