1But the famine continued to ravage the land of Canaan.
2When the grain they had brought from Egypt was almost gone, Jacob said to his sons, "Go back and buy us a little more food."
3But Judah said, "The man was serious when he warned us, `You won't see my face again unless your brother is with you.'
4If you send Benjamin with us, we will go down and buy more food.
5But if you don't let Benjamin go, we won't go either. Remember, the man said, `You won't see my face again unless your brother is with you.'"
6"Why were you so cruel to me?" Jacob* moaned. "Why did you tell him you had another brother?"
7"The man kept asking us questions about our family," they replied. "He asked, `Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?' So we answered his questions. How could we know he would say, `Bring your brother down here'?"
8Judah said to his father, "Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise we will all die of starvation—and not only we, but you and our little ones.
9I personally guarantee his safety. You may hold me responsible if I don't bring him back to you. Then let me bear the blame forever.
10If we hadn't wasted all this time, we could have gone and returned twice by now."
11So their father, Jacob, finally said to them, "If it can't be avoided, then at least do this. Pack your bags with the best products of this land. Take them down to the man as gifts—balm, honey, gum, aromatic resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds.
12Also take double the money that was put back in your sacks, as it was probably someone's mistake.
13Then take your brother, and go back to the man.
14May God Almighty* give you mercy as you go before the man, so that he will release Simeon and let Benjamin return. But if I must lose my children, so be it."
15So the men packed Jacob's gifts and double the money and headed off with Benjamin. They finally arrived in Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph.
16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the manager of his household, "These men will eat with me this noon. Take them inside the palace. Then go slaughter an animal, and prepare a big feast."
17So the man did as Joseph told him and took them into Joseph's palace.
18The brothers were terrified when they saw that they were being taken into Joseph's house. "It's because of the money someone put in our sacks last time we were here," they said. "He plans to pretend that we stole it. Then he will seize us, make us slaves, and take our donkeys."
19The brothers approached the manager of Joseph's household and spoke to him at the entrance to the palace.
20"Sir," they said, "we came to Egypt once before to buy food.
21But as we were returning home, we stopped for the night and opened our sacks. Then we discovered that each man's money—the exact amount paid—was in the top of his sack! Here it is; we have brought it back with us.
22We also have additional money to buy more food. We have no idea who put our money in our sacks."
23"Relax. Don't be afraid," the household manager told them. "Your God, the God of your father, must have put this treasure into your sacks. I know I received your payment." Then he released Simeon and brought him out to them.
24The manager then led the men into Joseph's palace. He gave them water to wash their feet and provided food for their donkeys.
25They were told they would be eating there, so they prepared their gifts for Joseph's arrival at noon.
26When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought him, then bowed low to the ground before him.
27After greeting them, he asked, "How is your father, the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?"
28"Yes," they replied. "Our father, your servant, is alive and well." And they bowed low again.
29Then Joseph looked at his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother. "Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?" Joseph asked. "May God be gracious to you, my son."
30Then Joseph hurried from the room because he was overcome with emotion for his brother. He went into his private room, where he broke down and wept.
31After washing his face, he came back out, keeping himself under control. Then he ordered, "Bring out the food!"
32The waiters served Joseph at his own table, and his brothers were served at a separate table. The Egyptians who ate with Joseph sat at their own table, because Egyptians despise Hebrews and refuse to eat with them.
33Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and to their amazement, he seated them according to age, from oldest to youngest.
34And Joseph filled their plates with food from his own table, giving Benjamin five times as much as he gave the others. So they feasted and drank freely with him.
1At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them.
2But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, "Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath."
3Jesus said to them, "Haven't you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
4He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat.
5And haven't you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath?
6I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple!
7But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: `I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.'*
8For the Son of Man* is Lord, even over the Sabbath!"
9Then Jesus went over to their synagogue,
10where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?" (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)
11And he answered, "If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn't you work to pull it out? Of course you would.
12And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath."
13Then he said to the man, "Hold out your hand." So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one!
14Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.
15But Jesus knew what they were planning. So he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them,
16but he warned them not to reveal who he was.
17This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him:
18"Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen.
He is my Beloved, who pleases me.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19He will not fight or shout
or raise his voice in public.
20He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
21And his name will be the hope
of all the world."*
22Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn't speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see.
23The crowd was amazed and asked, "Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?"
24But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, "No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan,* the prince of demons."
25Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, "Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.
26And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive.
27And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said.
28But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.
29For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.
30"Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me.
31"So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven.
32Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.
33"A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.
34You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
35A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.
36And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.
37The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you."
38One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, "Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority."
39But Jesus replied, "Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.
40For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
41"The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.
42The queen of Sheba* will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen.
43"When an evil* spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none.
44Then it says, `I will return to the person I came from.' So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order.
45Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation."
46As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.
47Someone told Jesus, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you."*
48Jesus asked, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?"
49Then he pointed to his disciples and said, "Look, these are my mother and brothers.
50Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!"