Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt to Buy Grain 

(Genesis 42:1-23)             Review Activities for this Lesson

When Jacob found out there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Now go down and buy some, so we won’t starve to death.” Ten of Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt to buy grain. But Jacob did not send Joseph’s younger brother Benjamin with them; he was afraid that something might happen to him.

Since Joseph was governor of Egypt and in charge of selling grain, his brothers came to him and bowed with their faces to the ground. They did not recognize Joseph, but right 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.” Joseph remembered what he had dreamed about them and said, “You’re spies! You’ve come here to find out where our country is weak.”

“No sir,” they replied, “We’re your servants, and we have only come to buy grain. We’re honest men, and we come from the same family—we’re not spies.” “That isn’t so!” Joseph insisted.

But 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.” Joseph replied: “It’s just like I said. You’re spies, and I’m going to find out who you really are.

Joseph kept them all under guard for three days, before saying to them: “Since I respect God, I’ll give you a chance to save your lives. If 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. But 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 and said to one another, “We’re being punished because of Joseph.” Reuben 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.”

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

POWER VERSE "Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord." Psalm 119:1

Answer the following questions about today’s story:
1. Why didn’t Jacob send Benjamin to Egypt with his brothers?
2. Why did Joseph’s brothers have to go to Joseph to buy grain?
3. Why did Joseph speak harshly to his brothers and pretend he didn’t know them?
4. What did Joseph ask his brothers to do to prove they were honest men?
5. Why did Reuben think they were being punished?
6. Which brother stayed in jail?

Text by Jerri Fusch, used here with the kind permission of the author. Users are free to reproduce for use, but not for publication.