Genesis chapter 42

Joseph’s brothers go to Egypt. Joseph’s brothers return to Canaan.





VERSE 1. Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?”


VERSE 2. He said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy for us from there, so that we may live, and not die.”

there is grain in Egypt. Their dietary life has fully transitioned. Now they are graminivorous. They eat grains.


VERSE 3. Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt.


VERSE 4. But Jacob didn’t send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers; for he said, “Lest perhaps harm happen to him.”


VERSE 5. The sons of Israel came to buy among those who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.


VERSE 6. Joseph was the governor over the land. It was he who sold to all the people of the land. Joseph’s brothers came, and bowed themselves down to him with their faces to the earth.


VERSE 7. Joseph saw his brothers, and he recognized them, but acted like a stranger to them, and spoke roughly with them. He said to them, “Where did you come from?” They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.”

Joseph saw his brothers. Previously, the brothers despised Joseph. They conspired to murder him. Then they threw him down a well. Then they sold him into slavery.

Now the tables have turned. The tail has become the head. Joseph is in charge of the biggest empire in the known world.

Those same wicked brothers are now groveling before him.


VERSE 8. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him.


VERSE 9. Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed about them, and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land.”

Joseph remembered the dreams. Joseph’s dreams are being fulfilled before his very eyes. That dream is recorded for us, beginning with this verse:

Genesis 37:5. Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they hated him all the more..

What are your dreams for your own life? Do you remember them?


VERSE 10. They said to him, “No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food.


VERSE 11. We are all one man’s sons; we are honest men. Your servants are not spies.”


VERSE 12. He said to them, “No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land!”


VERSE 13. They said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is today with our father, and one is no more.”

one is no more. They are obfuscating the truth. The truth is that they conspired to murder Joseph. Then they threw him down a well. Then they sold him into slavery.


VERSE 14. Joseph said to them, “It is like I told you, saying, ‘You are spies!’


VERSE 15. By this you shall be tested. By the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go out from here, unless your youngest brother comes here.

unless your youngest brother comes here. Their youngest brother was Benjamin. He and Joseph were blood-brothers, the only children of Rachel.

Perhaps Joseph imposed this requirement upon them so he could be reunited with his blood-brother Benjamin.


VERSE 16. Send one of you, and let him get your brother, and you shall be bound, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you, or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies.”


VERSE 17. He put them all together into custody for three days.


VERSE 18. Joseph said to them the third day, “Do this, and live, for I fear God.

I fear God. The English word “God” in this verse comes from the Hebrew word אֱלֹהִים (“elohim”).

This is a remarkable admission. The brothers had thought Joseph was an Egyptian. Yet he confides to them that he fears the same LORD God as they do.


VERSE 19. If you are honest men, then let one of your brothers be bound in your prison; but you go, carry grain for the famine of your houses.


VERSE 20. Bring your youngest brother to me; so will your words be verified, and you won’t die.” They did so.


VERSE 21. They said to one another, “We are certainly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us, and we wouldn’t listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us.”


VERSE 22. Reuben answered them, saying, “Didn’t I tell you, saying, ‘Don’t sin against the child,’ and you wouldn’t listen? Therefore also, behold, his blood is required.”


VERSE 23. They didn’t know that Joseph understood them; for there was an interpreter between them.

there was an interpreter. Throughout his encounters with his siblings, Joseph had been speaking in an Egyptian language.


VERSE 24. He turned himself away from them, and wept. Then he returned to them, and spoke to them, and took Simeon from among them, and bound him before their eyes.

He turned himself away from them, and wept. This is a tender scene. Joseph is a sensitive man.


VERSE 25. Then Joseph gave a command to fill their bags with grain, and to restore each man’s money into his sack, and to give them food for the way. So it was done to them.




VERSE 26. They loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed from there.


VERSE 27. As one of them opened his sack to give his donkey food in the lodging place, he saw his money. Behold, it was in the mouth of his sack.


VERSE 28. He said to his brothers, “My money is restored! Behold, it is in my sack!” Their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”

My money is restored! Behold, it is in my sack! This is a frightening moment for them.

What is this that God has done to us? They quickly blame God. But God had nothing to do with this. It was Joseph.

In our day, many people blame God for things that God did not cause.

For example, a person smokes two packs of cigarettes a day for 30 years. Sadly, they get cancer. They say, “Why is God doing this to me?

It was not God who did it, but rather themselves.

We often blame God for our predicaments, whether other people did it to us or we did it to ourselves.


VERSE 29. They came to Jacob their father, to the land of Canaan, and told him all that had happened to them, saying,


VERSE 30. “The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly with us, and took us for spies of the country.


VERSE 31. We said to him, ‘We are honest men. We are no spies.


VERSE 32. We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is today with our father in the land of Canaan.’


VERSE 33. The man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I will know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for the famine of your houses, and go your way.


VERSE 34. Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men. So I will deliver your brother to you, and you shall trade in the land.’ ”


VERSE 35. As they emptied their sacks, behold, each man’s bundle of money was in his sack. When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid.


VERSE 36. Jacob, their father, said to them, “You have bereaved me of my children! Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin away. All these things are against me.”

All these things are against me. Jacob is profoundly self-centered.

The known world is in a famine. His own family is starving to death. And all that matters to him is his own ego.


VERSE 37. Reuben spoke to his father, saying, “Kill my two sons, if I don’t bring him to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him to you again.”


VERSE 38. He said, “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he only is left. If harm happens to him along the way in which you go, then you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”

Sheol. This was thought to be the place of the dead.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

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