"If you are honest men, let one of you brothers be held in your place of detention, while the rest of you go and take home rations for your starving households; but you must bring me your youngest brother, that your words may be verified and that you may not die." And they did accordingly. They said to one another, "Alas, We are being punished on account of our brother, because we looked on at his anguish, yet paid no heed as he pleaded with us. That is why this distress has come upon us."
Then Reuben spoke up and said to them, "Did I not tell you, 'Do no wrong to the boy'? But you paid no heed. Now comes the reckoning for his blood." They did not know that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between him and them.
He turned away from them and wept. But he came back to them and spoke to them; and he took Simeon from among them and had him bound before their eyes. Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, return each one's money to his sack, and give them provisions for the journey; and this was done for them. So they loaded their asses with the rations and departed from there.
As one of them was opening his sack to give feed to his ass at the night encampment, he saw his money right there at the mouth of his bag. And he said to his brothers, "My money has been returned! It is here in my bag!" Their hearts sank; and, trembling, they turned to one another, saying, "What is this that God has done to us?"
When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had befallen them, saying, "The man who is lord of the land spoke harshly to us and accused us of spying on the land. We said to him, 'We are honest men; We have never been spies! There were twelve of us brothers, sons by the same father; but one is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in the land of Canaan.' But the man who is lord of the land said to us, 'By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take something for your starving households and be off. And bring your youngest brother to me, that I may know that you are not spies but honest men. I will then restore your brother to you, and you shall be free to move about in the land.'"
As they were emptying their sacks, there, in each one's sack, was his money-bag! When they and their father saw their money-bags, they were dismayed. Their father Jacob said to them, "It is always me that you bereave: Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you would take away Benjamin. These things always happen to me!" Then Reuben said to his father, "You may kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my care, and I will return him to you." But he said, "My son must not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he alone is left. If he meets with disaster on the journey you are taking, you will send my white head down to Sheol in grief."
But the famine in the land was severe. And when they they had eaten up the rations which they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, "Go again and procure some food for us."
But Judah said to him, "The man warned us, 'Do not let me see your faces--unless your brother is with you.' If you will let our brother go with us, we will go down and procure food for you; but if you will not let him go, we will not go down, for the man said to us, 'Do not let me see your faces--unless your brother is with you." And Israel said, "Why did you serve me so ill as to tell the man that you had another brother?" They replied, "But the man kept asking about us and our family, saying, 'Is your father still living? Have you another brother?' And we answered him accordingly. How were we to know that he would say, 'Bring your brother here'?"
Then Judah said to his father Israel, "Send the boy in my care, and let us be on our way, that We may live and not die--you and we and our children. I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible: if I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, I shall stand guilty before you forever. For we could have been there and back twice if we had not dawdled."
Then their father Israel said to them, "If it must be so, do this: take some of the choice products of the land in your baggage, and carry them down as a gift for the man--some balm and some honey, gum, ladanurn, pistachio nuts, and almonds. And take with you double the money, carrying back with you the money that was replaced in the mouths of your bags; perhaps it was a mistake. Take your brother too; and go back at once to the man. And may El Shaddai dispose the man to mercy toward you, that he may release to you your other brother, as well as Benjamin. As for me, if I am to be bereaved. I shall be bereaved."
So the men took that gift, and they took with them double the money as well as Benjamin. They made their way down to Egypt, where they presented themselves to Joseph.