Genesis42

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Jacob and his people ran out of corn, and his sons just stood around looking at one another. And their father Jacob said, “I heard they still have corn down in Egypt. So get down there and buy us some, geniuses, before we starve to death.” And the ten older ones went, but Jacob kept the youngest one, Benjamin, at his side to keep him safe.

So Joseph’s brothers came before him, but Joseph had disguised his appearance and voice so they wouldn’t know it was him, and there was an interpreter standing there to translate Hebrew into Egyptian, even though Joseph understood every word. And so it was that his ten brothers bowed before Joseph, just like in the dream he had years before.

Joseph accused them of being spies. They tried to deny it, but Joseph persisted, and he got them to spill out that their father was an old man, and they had a younger brother who was still with him and another brother who was gone. And Joseph still maintained they were spies, but if they went back to Canaan to fetch the youngest one, then Joseph would believe their story. One of the brothers, meanwhile, would rot in jail as surety for the deal.

And they talked amongst themselves in Hebrew, supposing that Joseph could not understand. Reuben said it was bad karma for selling Joseph to the Ismaelites. Joseph found a private place and wept so it wouldn’t spoil the drama he was creating. When he returned he took Simeon and had him handcuffed before their eyes. The rest of them were given full sacks of corn, and as an added attraction, all their money was restored to them in the top of the sack, but they didn’t discover this until they were a day’s ride away.

When they told all this to Jacob, it was too much. Jacob counted his son Simeon as lost, and refused to send Benjamin down with Reuben to prove their story, even when Reuben said his own two sons would forfeit their lives if he failed to bring both Simeon and Benjamin back with him.

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