Through the Bible – Day 17

Bible text(s)

Joseph and his brothers

Joseph's brothers go to Egypt to buy grain

1When Jacob found out there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you just sitting here, staring at one another? 2I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Now go down and buy some, so we won't starve to death.”

3Ten of Joseph's brothers went to Egypt to buy grain. 4But Jacob did not send Joseph's younger brother Benjamin with them; he was afraid that something might happen to him. 5So Jacob's sons joined others from Canaan who were going to Egypt because of the terrible famine.

6Since Joseph was governor of Egypt and in charge of selling grain, his brothers came to him and bowed with their faces to the ground. 7-8They did not recognize Joseph, but straight away he knew who they were, though he pretended not to know. Instead, he spoke harshly and asked, “Where do you come from?”

“From the land of Canaan,” they answered. “We've come here to buy grain.”

9Joseph remembered what he had dreamed about them and said, “You're spies! You've come here to find out where our country is weak.”

10“No sir,” they replied. “We're your servants, and we have only come to buy grain. 11We're honest men, and we come from the same family—we're not spies.”

12“That isn't so!” Joseph insisted. “You've come here to find out where our country is weak.”

13But they explained, “Sir, we come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and one of our brothers is dead.”

14Joseph replied:

It's just like I said. You're spies, 15and I'm going to find out who you really are. I swear by the life of the king that you won't leave this place until your youngest brother comes here. 16Choose one of you to go after your brother, while the rest of you stay here in jail. That will show whether you are telling the truth. But if you are lying, I swear by the life of the king that you are spies!

17Joseph kept them all under guard for three days, 18before saying to them:

Since I respect God, I'll give you a chance to save your lives. 19If you are honest men, one of you must stay here in jail, and the rest of you can take the grain back to your starving families. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me. Then I'll know that you are telling the truth, and you won't be put to death.

Joseph's brothers agreed 21and said to one another, “We're being punished because of Joseph. We saw the trouble he was in, but we refused to help him when he begged us. That's why these terrible things are happening.”

22Reuben spoke up, “Didn't I tell you not to harm the boy? But you wouldn't listen, and now we have to pay the price for killing him.”

23They did not know that Joseph could understand them, since he was speaking through an interpreter. 24Joseph turned away from them and cried, but soon he turned back and spoke to them again. Then he had Simeon tied up and taken away while they watched.

Joseph's brothers return to Canaan

25Joseph gave orders for his brothers' grain sacks to be filled with grain and for their money to be put in their sacks. He also gave orders for them to be given food for their journey home. After this was done, 26they each loaded the grain on their donkeys and left.

27When they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to get some grain for his donkey, and straight away he saw his money bag. 28“Here's my money!” he told his brothers. “Right here in my sack.”

They were trembling with fear as they stared at one another and asked themselves, “What has God done to us?”

29When they returned to the land of Canaan, they told their father Jacob everything that had happened to them:

30The governor of Egypt was rude and treated us like spies. 31But we told him, “We're honest men, not spies. 32We come from a family of twelve brothers. The youngest is still with our father in Canaan, and the other is dead.”

33Then the governor of Egypt told us, “I'll find out if you really are honest. Leave one of your brothers here with me, while you take the grain to your starving families. 34But bring your youngest brother to me, so I can be certain that you are honest men and not spies. After that, I'll let your other brother go free, and you can stay here and trade.”

35When the brothers started emptying their sacks of grain, they found their money bags in them. They were frightened, and so was their father Jacob, 36who said, “You have already taken my sons Joseph and Simeon from me. And now you want to take away Benjamin! Everything is against me.”

37Reuben spoke up, “Father, if I don't bring Benjamin back, you can kill both of my sons. Trust me with him, and I will bring him back.”

38But Jacob said, “I won't let my son Benjamin go down to Egypt with the rest of you. His brother is already dead, and he is the only son I have left. I am an old man, and if anything happens to him on the way, I'll die from sorrow, and all of you will be to blame.”

Joseph's brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin

1The famine in Canaan got worse, 2until 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.”

3-5Judah 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!”

6Jacob asked, “Why did you cause me so much trouble by telling the governor you had another brother?”

7They 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?”

8Then Judah said to his father, “Let Benjamin go with me, and we will leave straight away, so that none of us will starve to death. 9I promise to bring him back safely, and if I don't, you can blame me as long as I live. 10If we had not wasted all this time, we could already have been there and back twice.”

11Their 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. 12Also 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. 13Take Benjamin with you and leave right away.

14When 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. If I must lose my children, I suppose I must.

15The brothers took the gifts, twice the amount of money, and Benjamin. Then they hurried off to Egypt. When they stood in front of Joseph, 16he 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 midday.”

17The servant did as he was told and took the brothers to Joseph's house. 18But 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.”

19So 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. 21But 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, 22together 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.

24The servant took them into Joseph's house and gave them water to wash their feet. He also tended their donkeys. 25The brothers got their gifts ready to give to Joseph at midday, since they had heard they were going to eat there.

26When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought, and they bowed down to him. 27After Joseph had asked how they were, he said, “What about your elderly father? Is he still alive?”

28They answered, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And again they bowed down to Joseph.

29When 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.”

30Straight away he rushed off to his room and cried because of his love for Benjamin. 31After washing his face and returning, he was able to control himself and said, “Serve the meal!”

32Joseph 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. 33To the surprise of Joseph's brothers, they were seated in front of him according to their ages, from the eldest to the youngest. 34They were served food from Joseph's table, and Benjamin was given five times as much as each of the others. So Joseph's brothers drank with him and had a good time.

The missing cup

1-2Later, 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.

3Early the next morning, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4But 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? 5Not only does he drink from his cup, but he also uses it to learn about the future. You have done a terrible thing.’ ”

6When the servant caught up with them, he said exactly what Joseph had told him to say. 7But they replied, “Sir, why do you say such things? We would never do anything like that! 8We 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? 9If 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.”

11Each of the brothers quickly put his sack on the ground and opened it. 12Joseph's servant started searching the sacks, beginning with the one that belonged to the eldest brother. When he came to Benjamin's sack, he found the cup. 13This upset the brothers so much that they began tearing their clothes in sorrow. Then they loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.

14When Judah and his brothers got there, Joseph was still at home. So they bowed down to Joseph, 15who 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 prove we are innocent? God has shown that we are guilty. And now all of us are your slaves, especially the one who had the cup.”

17Joseph 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

18Judah went over to Joseph and said:

Sir, you have as much power as the king himself, and I am only your slave. Please don't get angry if I speak. 19You asked us if our father was still alive and if we had any more brothers. 20So 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.”

21You ordered us to bring him here, so you could see him for yourself. 22We told you that our father would die if Benjamin left him. 23But you warned us that we could never see you again, unless our youngest brother came with us. 24So we returned to our father and reported what you had said.

25Later our father told us to come back here and buy more grain. 26But we answered, “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.”

27Sir, our father then reminded us that his favourite wife had given birth to two sons. 28One 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, 29and 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.”

30That's why Benjamin must be with us when I go back to my father. He loves him so much 31that he will die if Benjamin doesn't come back with me. 32I 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.

33Sir, I am your slave. Please let me stay here in place of Benjamin and let him return home with his brothers. 34How can I face my father if Benjamin isn't with me? I couldn't bear to see my father in such sorrow.

Genesis 42:1-44:34CEVOpen in Bible reader

Come to me and rest

25At that moment Jesus said:

My Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I am grateful that you hid all this from wise and educated people and showed it to ordinary people. 26Yes, Father, that is what pleased you.

27My Father has given me everything, and he is the only one who knows the Son. The only one who truly knows the Father is the Son. But the Son wants to tell others about the Father, so that they can know him too.

28If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. 29Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. 30This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.

A question about the Sabbath

1One Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields. His disciples were hungry and began picking and eating grains of wheat. 2Some Pharisees noticed this and said to Jesus, “Why are your disciples picking grain on the Sabbath? They are not supposed to do that!”

3Jesus answered:

You must have read what David did when he and his followers were hungry. 4He went into the house of God, and then they ate the sacred loaves of bread that only priests are supposed to eat. 5Haven't you read in the Law of Moses that the priests are allowed to work in the temple on the Sabbath? But no one says that they are guilty of breaking the law of the Sabbath. 6I tell you that there is something here greater than the temple. 7Don't you know what the Scriptures mean when they say, “Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others”? If you knew what this means, you would not condemn these innocent disciples of mine. 8So the Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath.

A man with a crippled hand

9Jesus left and went into one of the Jewish meeting places, 10where there was a man whose hand was crippled. Some Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong, and they asked him, “Is it right to heal someone on the Sabbath?”

11Jesus answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a ditch on the Sabbath, wouldn't you lift it out? 12People are worth much more than sheep, and so it is right to do good on the Sabbath.” 13Then Jesus told the man, “Hold out your hand.” The man did, and it became as healthy as the other one.

14The Pharisees left and started making plans to kill Jesus.

Matthew 11:25-12:14CEVOpen in Bible reader
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