When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why do you keep looking at each other?
Listen," he went on, "I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us so that we will live and not die."
So 10 of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt.
But Jacob did not send Joseph's brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he thought, "Something might happen to him."
The sons of Israel were among those who came to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
Joseph was in charge of the country; he sold grain to all its people. His brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground.
When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them. "Where do you come from?" he asked. "From the land of Canaan to buy food," they replied.
Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.
Joseph remembered his dreams about thema and said to them, "You are spies. You have come to see the weaknessb of the land."
"No, my lord. Your servants have come to buy food," they said.
"We are all sons of one man. We are honest; your servants are not spies."
"No," he said to them. "You have come to see the weakness of the land."
But they replied, "We, your servants, were 12 brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. The youngest is nowc with our father, and one is no longer living."
Then Joseph said to them, "I have spoken:d 'You are spies!'
This is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.
Send one of your number to get your brother. The rest of you will be imprisoned so that your words can be tested to see if they are true. If they are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!"
So Joseph imprisoned them together for three days.
On the third day Joseph said to them, "I fear God-do this and you will live.
If you are honest men, let one of youe be confined to the guardhouse, while the rest of you go and take grain [to relieve] the hunger of your households.
Bring your youngest brother to me so that your words can be confirmed; then you won't die." And they consented to this.
Then they said to each other, "It is plain that we are being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw his deep distress when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this trouble has come to us."f22
But Reuben replied: "Didn't I tell you not to harm the boy?g But you wouldn't listen. Now we must account for his blood!"h23
They did not realize that Joseph understood them, since there was an interpreter between them.
He turned away from them and wept. Then he turned back and spoke to them. He took Simeon from them and had him bound before their eyes.
Joseph then gave orders to fill their containers with grain, return each man's money to his sack, and give them provisions for their journey. This order was carried out.
They loaded the grain on their donkeys and left there.