Genesis 42: Joseph and his Brothers, the First of Several Parts

One day, Joseph’s ten older brothers–the ones who beat him up and sold him into slavery–were in the line to buy food. Joseph recognized them, but they didn’t recognize him, so Joseph was really rude to them and accused them of nefarious intentions and threw them into prison.

Three days later, Joseph went to them and said, here’s what you have to do to prove you’re not spies. You say you have a younger brother? Maybe if I see him, I’ll believe your story. One of you has to stay here as collateral while the rest of you go back and get him. I’ll give you the grain you claim you came here to buy so you all don’t starve in the meantime.

The ten brothers talked this proposal over in Hebrew–if they should do it and who should have to stay–when one of them was all, this is karma for selling Joseph to that slave caravan heading the Egypt. We deserve this shit man. And Reuben was all, yeah. you do. I told you not to hurt the boy.

Meanwhile Joseph was eavesdropping on the whole conversation, and it touched his heart that they were remorseful for what they had done to him. So he told his workers to return their money to their sacks and give them the food for free. But he still tied up Simeon and took him hostage anyway.

The other brothers returned home and told Jacob everything that had happened, including that the Egyptians had forgotten to take their money, and they were terrified of being accused of being thieves when they returned to redeem Simeon.

Jacob was all, next time? Benjamin is never going with you. He’s the only thing I have left of Rachel, since Joseph died.  Reuben was all, come on dad, we have to go get Simeon. Benji will be ok, I promise. In fact, if something happens to him, you can kill my two sons as blood debt. Jacob was all, um no. Benji stays and Simeon is as good as dead. Let’s mourn him.


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