1Forsooth Jacob heard that foods were sold in Egypt, and he said to his sons, Why be ye negligent? 2I [have] heard that wheat is sold in Egypt; go ye down, and buy ye necessaries to us, that we may live, and be not wasted by neediness. (I have heard that corn, or grain, is being sold in Egypt; go ye down there, and buy ye the necessities for us, so that we can live, and not be destroyed by this famine.) 3Therefore ten brethren of Joseph went down to buy wheat in Egypt, (And so ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy corn, or grain, in Egypt,) 4and Benjamin was withholden of Jacob at home, that said to his brethren, Lest peradventure in the way he suffer any evil. (but Benjamin was kept at home by Jacob, who said to his sons, Lest he suffer any evil on the way.) 5Soothly they entered into the land of Egypt, with other men that went thither to buy corn; forsooth hunger was in the land of Canaan. (And they entered into the land of Egypt, with others who went there to buy corn, or grain; for the famine was now in the land of Canaan.)
6And Joseph was the prince of Egypt, and at his will wheats were sold to [the] peoples. And when his brethren had worshipped him, (And Joseph was the prince, or the ruler, of Egypt, and at his will corn, or grain, was sold to people from all the lands. And so when his brothers had bowed before him,) 7and he had known them, he spake harder to them, as to aliens, and asked them, From whence came ye? Which answered, From the land of Canaan, that we buy necessaries to our lifelode. (and he knew them, he spoke harshly to them, as to strangers, and asked them, Where did you come from? And they answered, From the land of Canaan, so that we can buy necessities to live.)
8And nevertheless he knew his brethren, and he was not known of them, (And though he knew his brothers, he was not known by them,) 9and he bethought on the dreams which he saw sometime. And he said to them, Ye be spyers, ye came to see the feebler things of the land (And he said to them, Ye be spies, and ye came here to spy out our weaknesses). 10Which said, Lord, it is not so, but thy servants came to buy meats; (And they said, My lord, it is not so, but thy servants have come to buy food;) 11all we be [the] sons of one man, we came hither peaceably, and thy servants imagine not any evil. (we all be the sons of one man, and we be honest men, and thy servants do not think any evil against thee.) 12To which he answered, It is in other manner, ye came to see the feeble things of the land. (To whom he answered, It is not so, for ye came here to spy out our weaknesses.) 13And they said, We thy servants be twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; the youngest is with our father, another is not alive. 14This it is, he said, that I spake to you, ye be spyers, (But again Joseph said to them, Nay! It is what I have said to you; ye be spies;) 15right now I shall take experience of you/I shall take very knowing of you; by the health of Pharaoh ye shall not go from hence, till your least brother come hither; (by this I shall prove you; yea, by the life of Pharaoh, ye shall not go away from here, until your youngest brother first come here to me;) 16send ye one of you, that he bring him, forsooth ye shall be in bonds till those things that ye said be proved, whether those be false or true (whether they be true or false); (or) else, by the health of Pharaoh, ye be spies. 17Therefore he betook them into keeping three days; (And so he put them in the prison for three days;)
18soothly in the third day, when they were led out of prison, Joseph said, Do ye that that I said, and ye shall live, for I dread God; (and on the third day, when they were let out of the prison, Joseph said, Do ye what I said, and ye shall live, for I fear God;) 19if ye be peaceable, one brother of you be bound in prison; forsooth (the rest) go ye, and bear the wheat, which ye have bought, into your houses, (if ye be honest men, then one of your brothers shall be kept here in the prison; but the rest of you go, and take the corn, or the grain, which ye have bought, back to your hungry households, or your hungry families,) 20and bring ye your youngest brother to me, that I may prove your words, and ye die not. They did as he said, (and bring ye your youngest brother to me, so that you can prove your words, and then ye shall not die. And they concurred,) 21and they spake together, Worthily we suffer these things (and they said together, We deserve to suffer these things), for we sinned against our brother, and we saw the anguish of his soul, while he prayed us, and we heard him not; therefore this tribulation cometh on us. 22Of which one, Reuben, said, Whether I said not to you, Do not ye sin against the child, and ye heard not me? lo! his blood is sought. (And Reuben said to them, Did I not say to you, Do not ye do this sin against the boy, but ye would not listen to me? lo! now his blood is sought from us.) 23Soothly they knew not that Joseph understood them, for he spake to them by (an) interpreter/by an expounder. 24And he turned away himself a little, and wept; and he turned again, and spake to them (And he turned himself away a little, and wept; and then he turned back, and spoke to them). And he took Simeon, and bound him, while they were present; 25and (then privily,) he commanded the servants, that they should fill their sacks with wheat, and that they should put all their money in their bags, and over this give to them meats in the way; which did so. (and then privately, he commanded his servants, to fill all their sacks with corn, or with grain, and to put all their money back into their bags, and, more than this, to give them food for the way; and this was done.)
26And they bare [the] wheats on their asses, and went forth, (And so the brothers loaded the corn, or the grain, on their donkeys, and went away,) 27and when the sack of one of them was opened that he should give meat to the work beast in the inn, he beheld the money in the mouth of the bag, (and at an inn, when one of them opened his sack to give some food to his work beast, he beheld the money in the mouth of the bag,) 28and he said to his brethren, My money is yielded (again) to me, lo! it is had in the bag (lo! it is here in the bag); and they were astonished, and troubled, and said together, What thing is this that God hath done to us?
29And they came to Jacob, their father, in the land of Canaan, and told to him all things that befelled to them, and said, 30The lord of the land spake hard to us, and guessed that we were spyers of the province; (The lord of the land spoke harshly to us, and said that we went there to spy out his land;) 31to whom we answered, We be peaceable (We be honest men), neither we purpose any treasons; 32(for) we be twelve brethren, engendered of one father (begotten by one father), (though) one (of us) is not alive, (and) the youngest dwelleth with the father in the land of Canaan. 33And he said to us, Thus I shall prove that ye be peaceable; leave ye one brother of you with me, and take ye meats needful to your houses, and go ye, (And he said to us, I shall prove that ye be honest men in this way; leave ye one of your brothers with me, and take the food needed for your households, or for your families, and go ye home,) 34and bring ye to me your youngest brother, that I know that ye be not spyers, and that ye may receive this brother which is holden in bonds, and that from thenceforth ye have license to buy what things ye will. (and bring ye your youngest brother here to me, so that I know that ye be not spies, and then ye can have this brother back who is held in prison, and from then on ye shall have license to buy whatever ye desire.)
35While these things were said, when they all poured out the wheats, they found the money bound in the mouths of their sacks. And when they all together were afeared, (And after they had said these things, when they all poured out their corn, or their grain, they all found their money in the mouths of their sacks. And now they all were very much afraid,) 36their father Jacob said, Ye have made me to be without children; Joseph is not alive, Simeon is holden in bonds, (and) ye shall take away from me Benjamin; all these evils have fallen in (on) me. (and their father Jacob said, Ye have made me to be without my children; Joseph is not alive, Simeon is held in prison, and now ye shall take Benjamin away from me; all these evils be against me.) 37To whom Reuben answered, Slay thou my two sons, if I shall not bring him again to thee; take thou him in mine hand (give thou him into my hands), and I shall restore him to thee. 38And Jacob said, My son shall not go down with you; his brother is dead, he alone is left; if any adversity shall befall to him in the land to which ye shall go, ye shall lead forth mine hoar hairs with sorrow to hell (if any adversity shall befall him in the land to which ye shall go, ye shall bring down my hoar hairs in sorrow to the grave/unto Sheol).
Wycliffe’s Old Testament
Wycliffe’s New Testament
and JOHN PURVEY
A modern-spelling edition of their
14TH century Middle English translation,
the first complete English vernacular version,
with an Introduction by
TERENCE P. NOBLE
Used by Permission