The seven years of abundance that the land of Egypt enjoyed came to an end, and the seven years of famine set in, just as Joseph had foretold. There was famine in all lands, but throughout the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt felt the hunger, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph; whatever he tells you, you shall do." Accordingly, when the famine became severe in the land of Egypt, Joseph laid open all that was within, and rationed out grain to the Egyptians. The famine, however, spread over the whole world. So all the world came to Joseph in Egypt to procure rations, for the famine had become severe throughout the world.
When Jacob saw that there were food rations to be had in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why do you keep looking at one another? Now I hear," he went on, "that there are rations to be had in Egypt. Go down and procure rations for us there, that we may live and not die." So ten of Joseph's brothers went down to get grain rations in Egypt; for Jacob did not send Joseph's brother Benjamin with his brothers, since he feared that he might meet with disaster. Thus the sons of Israel were among those who came to procure rations, for the famine extended to the land of Canaan.
Now Joseph was the vizier of the land; it was he who dispensed rations to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed low to him, with their faces to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them; but he acted like a stranger toward then, and spoke harshly to them. He asked them, "Where do you come from?" And they said, "From the land of Canaan, to procure food." For though Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Recalling the dreams that he had dreamed about them, Joseph said to them, "You are spies, you have come to see the land in its nakedness." But they said to him, "No, my lord! Truly, your servants have come to procure food. We are all of us sons of the same man; we are honest men; your servants have never been spies!"
And he said to them, "No, you have come to see the land in its nakedness!" And they replied, "We your servants were twelve brothers, sons of a certain man in the land of Canaan, the youngest, however, is now With our father, and one is no more." But Joseph said to them, "It is just as I have told you: You are spies! By this you shall be put to the test: unless your youngest brother comes here, by Pharaoh, You shall not depart from this place! Let one of you go and bring your brother, While the rest of you remain confined, that your words may be put to the test whether there is truth in you. Else, by Pharaoh, you are nothing but spies!" And he confined them in the guardhouse for three days.
On the third day Joseph said to them, "Do this and you shall live, for I am a God-fearing man."