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The Apocryphal Old Testament Collection of the most important non-canonical Old Testament books designed for general use.

Chapter XLII

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Text Commentary

1And in the first year of the third week of the forty-fifth jubilee the famine struck the land; and the rain failed, 1 Lit. ‘refused to be given to the land’. for none whatever fell. 2And the whole earth was parched; but in the land of Egypt there was food, for Joseph had gathered the produce of the land in the seven years of plenty and had preserved it. 3And the Egpytians came to Joseph to provide them with food; and he opened the granaries where the first year's grain was stored, and he sold it to the people of the land for gold.

4Now in the land of Canaan the famine was very severe indeed; 2 ‘Now … indeed’ is read by the Lat. only. and Jacob heard there was food in Egypt, and he sent ten of his sons to buy food for him in Egypt (Benjamin he did not send), and they arrived 3 So Eth.: Lat. ‘and the ten sons of Jacob arrived in Egypt’. together with others that had come to buy corn there. 5And Joseph recognized them, but they did not recognize him; and he spoke harshly to them 4 So Lat.: Eth. ‘spoke to them and questioned them’. and said to them, You are spies and have come to spy on our defences. 5 Eth. ‘to spy out the approaches of the land’: Lat. ‘to spy out the land’. 6And he put them in prison. And afterwards he set them free, but kept Simeon behind and sent off his nine brothers. 7And he filled their sacks with corn; and he put their money in their sacks as well, and they did not know it. 8And he ordered them to bring him their younger brother – for they had told him their father was still living and about their younger brother.

9And they went up from the land of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan; and they told their father all that had happened to them, and how the lord of the country had spoken harshly to them and had kept Simeon behind till they should bring him Benjamin. 10And Jacob said, You have robbed me of my children! Joseph is no more, and Simeon too is no more, and now you would take Benjamin away: on me has your wickedness fallen. 6 So Eth.: Lat. differs substantially. 11And he said, My son shall not go down with you: he might fall ill; 7 Lat. adds ‘on the way’. for his 8 Lit. ‘their’. mother gave birth to two sons, and one is dead, and now you would take this one from me: if he was taken ill on the way, you would bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. 12(For he saw 9 So Eth.: Lat. ‘for they had told him’. that their money had been returned to each of them in their sacks, and it was for this reason that he was afraid to send him.)

13And the famine became even more severe in the land of Canaan, and in all other lands, though not in the land of Egypt, for many of the Egyptians had of their own accord been storing their produce for food ever since they saw Joseph gathering it and putting it in granaries to preserve it for the years of famine. 14And the people of Egypt fed themselves on it in the first year of their famine. 15And when Israel saw that the famine was so severe in the land and that there was no relief, he said to his sons, Go again and buy food for us to keep ourselves alive. 16And they said, We will not go: unless our youngest brother goes with us, we will not go. 17And Israel saw that if he did not send him with them they would all starve. 10 Lit. ‘perish through famine’. 18And Reuben said, Entrust him to me, and if I do not bring him back to you, you can kill both my sons in exchange for him. 11 Lit. ‘instead of his soul’. And he said to him, He shall not go with you. 19And Judah came forward and said, Send him with me, and if I do not bring him back to you, you can hold me guilty all my life. 20And he sent him with them in the second year of this week, on the first day of the month, and they came to the land of Egypt with all the others who had come to buy; and they took presents with them, stacte and almonds and terebinth nuts and pure honey.

21And they came and stood before Joseph. And he saw his brother Benjamin and recognized him; and he said to them, Is this your youngest brother? And they said to him, It is. And he said, May the Lord be gracious to you, my son! And he sent him into his house. 22And he brought Simeon out to them, and he made a feast for them; and they gave him the present they had brought with them. 23And they ate in his presence; and he gave them each a portion, but Benjamin's portion was seven times larger than any of theirs. 24And they ate and drank and returned to 12 Lit. ‘remained with’. their asses. 25And Joseph devised a plan to test them out, 13 Lit. ‘a plan by which he might learn their thoughts as to whether thoughts of peace prevailed among them’. and he said to the steward who was in charge of his household, Fill all their sacks with food, and put their money back in their sacks, 14 Lit. ‘vessels’. and put my cup (the silver cup I drink out of) in the youngest's sack, and send them away.

Notes:

1 Lit. ‘refused to be given to the land’.

2 ‘Now … indeed’ is read by the Lat. only.

3 So Eth.: Lat. ‘and the ten sons of Jacob arrived in Egypt’.

4 So Lat.: Eth. ‘spoke to them and questioned them’.

5 Eth. ‘to spy out the approaches of the land’: Lat. ‘to spy out the land’.

6 So Eth.: Lat. differs substantially.

7 Lat. adds ‘on the way’.

8 Lit. ‘their’.

9 So Eth.: Lat. ‘for they had told him’.

10 Lit. ‘perish through famine’.

11 Lit. ‘instead of his soul’.

12 Lit. ‘remained with’.

13 Lit. ‘a plan by which he might learn their thoughts as to whether thoughts of peace prevailed among them’.

14 Lit. ‘vessels’.

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