On the third day Joseph said to them, "Do this, and you will live. I, too, fear God. 19
If you are honest men, you will let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The rest of you will go and take grain back to your starving families. 20
But you must bring me your youngest brother. This will show that you've been telling the truth. Then you won't die." So they agreed. 21
They said to each other, "We're surely being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw how troubled he was when he pleaded with us for mercy, but we wouldn't listen. That's why we're in trouble now." 22
Reuben said to them, "Didn't I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn't listen. Now we must pay for this bloodshed." 23
They didn't know that Joseph could understand them, because he was speaking through an interpreter. 24
He stepped away from them to cry. When he could speak to them again, he came back. Then he picked Simeon and had him arrested right in front of their eyes. 25
Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain. He put each man's money back into his sack and gave them supplies for their trip. After their bags were filled,
26they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left. 27At the place where they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to feed his donkey. His money was right inside his sack. 28He said to his brothers, "My money has been put back! It's right here in my sack!" They wanted to die. They trembled and turned to each other and asked, "What has God done to us?"
29When they came to their father Jacob in Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30"The governor of that land spoke harshly to us and treated us like spies. 31But we said to him, 'We're honest men, not spies. 32We were 12 brothers, sons of the same father. One is no longer with us. The youngest brother stayed with our father in Canaan.' 33"Then the governor of that land said to us, 'This is how I'll know that you're honest men: Leave one of your brothers with me. Take food for your starving families and go. 34But bring me your youngest brother. Then I'll know that you're not spies but honest men. I'll give your brother back to you, and you'll be able to move about freely in this country.'"
35As they were emptying their sacks, each man found his bag of money in his sack. When they and their father saw the bags of money, they were frightened. 36Their father Jacob said to them, "You're going to make me lose all my children! Joseph is no longer with us, Simeon is no longer with us, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything's against me!" 37So Reuben said to his father, "You may put my two sons to death if I don't bring him back to you. Let me take care of him, and I'll bring him back to you." 38Jacob replied, "My son will not go with you. His brother is dead, and he's the only one left. If any harm comes to him on the trip you're taking, the grief would drive this gray-haired old man to his grave!"