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Let thy words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2

The Bible in fewer words

Episode 21: All about Joseph

(Genesis 42-45)

Jacob's sons travel to Egypt

42 1-2 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons,

I've heard there is grain in Egypt. Go get some so we can live.

3 So Jacob's ten sons went to Egypt to buy grain. (Benjamin stayed home with his father.)

6 When Joseph's brothers arrived in Egypt, they bowed to Joseph and asked to buy grain.

7 They didn't recognize Joseph, and he pretended not to recognize them.

13 Joseph's brothers said,

We are twelve brothers, the son of one man in Canaan.

The youngest is with our father, and one is missing.

14-19 Joseph said to his brothers,

You are spies. You can't buy grain, unless you bring your youngest brother to Egypt.

One of you will be in prison, while the rest of you go fetch your brother.

You may take some grain back with you to feed your family.

21-24 So they left Simeon in prison and returned home to get their youngest brother.

Jacob's sons return to Canaan

29-34 When they arrived in Canaan, they told Jacob about their trip to Egypt, including the fact that they had to leave Simeon there.

36 Jacob was upset when he heard that Simeon was in prison. 37 But Reuben said to him,

Kill my two sons if I don't bring Simeon home.

Jacob's sons return to Egypt

43 1-2 Jacob and his sons ran out of the grain that they brought from Egypt, so Jacob said to his sons,

Go back to Egypt and buy us some food.

3-4 Judah said to his father,

The man said to us, "I don't want to see your face, unless your little brother is with you."

If you'll let Benjamin come with us, we'll go back to Egypt. If not, we won't.

8 So Jacob agreed to let Benjamin go with his brothers.

16-34 When they arrived in Egypt, Joseph released Simeon and provided a fancy meal for his brothers. But Benjamin got five times as much food as his brothers.

Jacob's sons leave Egypt

44 1 As his brothers were preparing to return to Canaan, Joseph said to his steward,

Fill their sacks with food and put their money in the sack's mouth.

2 And put the silver cup in the mouth of Benjamin's sack.

The steward did as Joseph asked. 3 And the next morning, Joseph's brothers left for home.

Joseph's divining cup

4 After his brothers left the city, Joseph told his steward to catch up to them, and say,

5 Isn't that Joseph's magic divining cup?

The Cup Found by James Tissot

6 And the steward overtook them and said the words that Joseph told him to say.

7 Joseph's brothers responded,

We didn't take it.

9 If anyone among us has taken it, kill him, and make the rest of us slaves.

12 The steward found the cup in Benjamin's sack. (Joseph told his steward to hide it there.)

13 So they tore their clothes and returned to the city.

Joseph identifies himself to his brothers

45 1 Joseph finally identifies himself, saying,

4 I'm Joseph, the guy you sold.

5 But that's OK. Don't be angry with yourselves.

8 God has made me Pharaoh's father, lord of his house, ruler throughout Egypt.

9 Return to Canaan, tell my father how great I am, and return with my entire family.

10 You'll live in Goshen to be near me and safe from the famine.

22 Joseph gave each brother a change of clothes, except for Benjamin, who got 300 pieces of silver and five changes of clothes.

25 When they arrived in Canaan, they told Jacob about Joseph, and Jacob decided to go see Joseph in Egypt.

A few more words about this episode

Benjamin stayed home with his father (42:3)
Benamin was Jacob's youngest son. His mother, Rachel, died while giving birth to him. (Genesis 35:16-18)
They left Simeon in prison (42:24)
Simeon was the second son of Jacob and Leah. (Genesis 29:32-33) He and his brother Levi slaughtered the Shechemites in Genesis 34.
Reuben said to him, "Kill my two sons if I don't bring Simeon home." (42:37)
Reuben was Jacob and Leah's first son (Genesis 29:32). He found the mandrakes that his mother Leah used to buy sex with Jacob from Rachel (Genesis 30:14). He also slept with Bilhah, his father's concubine (Genesis 35:22).
You'll live in Goshen (45:10)
The land of Goshen is said to be east of the Nile delta. It's also the place from which Moses supposedly led the Israelites during the Exodus.