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Vayigash

English Translation

Vayigash

And [Judah] Approached [Joseph]
Genesis
44:18−47:27

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary (CCAR Press)

Vayigash44:18] Judah now approached him and said, “By your leave, my lord, please give your servant a hearing, and do not let your anger flare up at your servant—for you are like Pharaoh. 19] My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20] And we said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father and a young boy of his old age, whose [full] brother is dead. He alone was left of his mother, and so his father loves him [all the more].’ 21] You then said to your servants, ‘Bring him down here to me and let me lay my eyes on him.’ 22] But we said to my lord, ‘The lad cannot leave his father; if he leaves his father, he will die!’ 23] You then said to your servants, ‘If your youngest brother doesn’t come down with you, you’ll never see my face again!’ 24] So when we went up to your servant my father, we related to him my lord’s words. 25] And when our father said, ‘Go back and buy us a bit of food,’ 26] we said, ‘We can’t go down; only if our youngest brother is with us will we go down, for we won’t be allowed to see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27] Your servant my father then said to us, ‘You know that of the two my wife bore me, 28] one is gone from my side, and I said, “Surely he’s been ripped to shreds!” I haven’t seen him to this day. 29] If you take this one too from me and some calamity befalls him, you will lower my gray head in woe to Sheol.’

30] “And now, if I go to your servant my father and the lad—whose whole being is bound up in his—is not with us, 31] and he sees that the lad is not there, he will die, and your servants will have lowered your servant our father’s gray head in anguish to Sheol. 32] For your servant made himself responsible for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, I will stand guilty before my father for all time.’ 33] So now, please let your servant remain as my lord’s slave in place of the lad, and let the lad go home with his brothers; 34] for how can I go home to my father without the lad, and thus see the harm my father will suffer?”

45:1] Joseph could no longer restrain himself before all who were standing in attendance on him, so he cried, “Send everyone away from me!” so that no one else was there when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2] He gave voice to a loud wail, and the Egyptians heard—Pharaoh’s palace heard! 3] Joseph then said to his brothers, “I am Joseph—is my father [really] alive?” But his brothers were unable to answer him—they recoiled in fear of him.

4] Joseph then went on to say to his brothers, “Come, draw near to me!” so they drew near. He said, “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold to Egypt; 5] and now, don’t be troubled, don’t be chagrined because you sold me here, for it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6] There have already been two years of famine in the land, and [there remain] five more years without plowing or harvesting. 7] So God sent me ahead of you to assure your survival in the land, and to keep you alive for a great deliverance.

8] “So it’s not you who sent me here but the God who made me a father to Pharaoh, a lord of all his household, a ruler of the whole land of Egypt. 9] Hurry back up to my father and say to him: ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me a lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay! 10] You can settle in the land of Goshen and be near to me—you, your children, and your children’s children, your flocks and herds, and all that you own. 11] I will sustain you there, for there remain five more years of famine—so that you and your household and all that you own are not impoverished.’ 12] Look—you can see with your own eyes, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it’s my mouth speaking to you! 13] Tell my father how they honor me in Egypt, and all that you have seen; hurry up and bring my father down to here!” 14] He then fell weeping upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and Benjamin wept on his neck. 15] He kissed all his brothers and wept with them; only after this could his brothers respond to him.

16] And the report was heard in Pharaoh’s palace: “Joseph’s brothers have arrived!” And this pleased Pharaoh and his courtiers, 17] so Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load up your beasts and head straight for the land of Canaan, 18] and take your father and your households and come to me; I will give you the best that the land of Egypt offers; [come] eat the fat of the land.’ 19] Moreover, you are instructed [to say], ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and your wives, and convey your father, and come. 20] And don’t look with regret at your household goods, because the best that the whole land of Egypt offers is yours.’”

21] Israel’s sons set about doing this; Joseph provided them with wagons at Pharaoh’s command, and he gave them provisions for the journey. 22] To each he furnished a change of clothing; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of clothing. 23] And to his father he sent some ten asses laden with fine Egyptian goods and ten she-asses carrying grain, bread, and food to his father for the road. 24] He sent his brothers forth, and as they were going he said to them, “Don’t be anxious along the way.”

25] They went up from Egypt and came to the land of Canaan, to Jacob their father. 26] When they told him “Joseph is still alive”—and that he held sway over the whole land of Egypt!—his heart froze, for he could not believe them. 27] But when they told him all that Joseph had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph has sent to convey him, their father Jacob’s spirit came alive. 28] Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is alive! I must go and see him before I die!”

46:1] Israel and all his company set off on their journey and they came to Beersheba, where he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2] God addressed Israel in a night vision, saying, “Jacob, Jacob!” And he said, “Here I am!” 3] [God] said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great people there. 4] I Myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will most surely bring you back up as well; and Joseph will lay his hand upon your eyes.”

5] Jacob then moved on from Beersheba; the sons of Israel lifted Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives onto the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6] They took their livestock and the possessions they had amassed in the land of Canaan and they came to Egypt—Jacob and all his progeny with him. 7] His sons and his sons’ sons were with him, his daughters and his sons’ daughters—all his progeny that he brought with him to Egypt.

8] These are the names of Israel’s sons who came to Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Jacob’s first-born Reuben, 9] and Reuben’s children Enoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10] Simeon’s children were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Saul the son of a Canaanite woman; 11] Levi’s children were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; 12] Judah’s children were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan, and the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul); 13] Issachar’s children were Tola, Puvah, Iob, and Shimron; 14] Zebulun’s children were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15] These were Leah’s sons whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, along with Dinah his daughter. His sons and daughters were 33 persons in all, male and female.

16] Gad’s children were Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. 17] Asher’s sons were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah, and their sister Serah. Beriah’s children were Heber and Malchiel. 18] These were Zilpah’s children, whom Laban had given to Leah his daughter. She bore these to Jacob—16 persons.

19] The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. 20] Born to Joseph in the land of Egypt, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera priest of On bore to him, were Manasseh and Ephraim. 21] Benjamin’s children were Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. 22] These were Rachel’s children who were born to Jacob—14 persons in all.

23] Dan’s son was Hushim. 24] Naphtali’s sons were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25] These were the children of Bilhah, whom Laban had given to Rachel his daughter. She bore these to Jacob—7 persons.

26] All the people who came with Jacob to Egypt—who came forth from his loins—apart from the wives of Jacob’s sons—were 66 people in all. 27] And the sons of Joseph born to him in Egypt were 2 individuals; the members of Jacob’s family who came to Egypt were 70 in all.

28] Judah he sent ahead of him to Joseph, to show him the way to Goshen; so they came to the region of Goshen. 29] Joseph harnessed his chariot and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen; he presented himself to him and threw himself on his neck, weeping all the time. 30] Israel said to Joseph, “Now that I’ve seen your face—for you’re still alive!—I can die at last.”

31] Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I’m going to go up and tell Pharaoh; I will say to him: ‘My brothers and my father’s household who were in the land of Canaan have come to me. 32] The men are shepherds; in fact they are breeders of livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they own.’ 33] Therefore, when Pharaoh sends for you and asks, ‘What do you do?’ 34] say: ‘Your servants have been breeding livestock from youth onwards to now, both our households and our fathers’ households’—in order that you may live in the region of Goshen; for Egyptians find shepherds abhorrent.”

47:1] Joseph then went and told Pharaoh, saying, “My father, my brothers, their flocks, their herds, and all that they own have arrived from the land of Canaan, and now they’re in the region of Goshen.” 2] Out of all his brothers he picked five men and presented them before Pharaoh. 3] When Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What do you do?” they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both our households and our fathers’ households.” 4] They went on to say to Pharaoh, “We have come to stay in the land because there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is oppressive in the land of Canaan; now we ask you to let your servants settle in the region of Goshen.” 5] Pharaoh then said to Joseph, “[Now that] your father and brothers have reached you, 6] the land of Egypt is before you—settle your father and brothers in the best part of the land. Let them settle in the region of Goshen; and if you know of any able men among them, make them overseers of my livestock.”

7] Joseph then brought his father Jacob and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob greeted Pharaoh. 8] Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” 9] And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The span of the years of my lifetime has been 130; few and miserable have been the days of the years of my life. They have not attained to the length of the days of the years of my fathers when they were alive.” 10] Jacob then gave Pharaoh a parting blessing, and he left Pharaoh’s presence.

11] Joseph settled his father and his brothers; he gave them a holding in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the region of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12] Joseph also provided food for his father and his brothers and all his father’s household, according to the number of their children.

13] [At this time] no food was to be had in the entire land, for the famine bore down very heavily. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished on account of the famine. 14] Joseph now collected all the silver found in the lands of Egypt and Canaan as payment for the grain that the people were buying, and Joseph brought that silver into Pharaoh’s palace. 15] When the silver in the lands of Egypt and Canaan was spent, all Egypt flocked to Joseph, saying, “Let us have food—why should we drop dead in front of you because the silver is exhausted?” 16] Joseph replied, “Bring your livestock and I will give it to you in exchange for your livestock, if the silver is exhausted.” 17] They therefore brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for horses, holdings of sheep and cattle, and asses; that year he kept them alive with food in exchange for all their livestock.

18] That year ended, and they approached him in the following year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that the silver is spent and our animal holdings belong to my lord—there’s nothing left before my lord but our bodies and our soil. 19] Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our soil? Buy us and our soil in exchange for food; we and our soil will be slaves to Pharaoh. Distribute seed, so we can live and not die, so the land is not deserted!” 20] Joseph then bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh, for each Egyptian had sold his field, because the famine had overwhelmed them. Thus the land came into Pharaoh’s possession. 21] And thus he made serfs of the people from one end of the Egyptian border to the other. 22] Only the land belonging to the priests did he not buy, for the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh, and they ate their allotted portion that Pharaoh had given them; they therefore did not sell their land.

23] Joseph then said to the people, “See, now that I’ve bought you and your land for Pharaoh, here is seed for you—sow the land. 24] When harvest comes, you must give Pharaoh a fifth, and the other four portions will be yours for seeding the field and to be food for you and your households, and for your little ones to eat.” 25] And they said, “You have given us life! May we find favor in my lord’s sight and be serfs to Pharaoh!” 26] Joseph made this a law to this day for Egypt’s soil—one-fifth is Pharaoh’s; the priests’ land alone did not become Pharaoh’s.

27] Israel thus settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen. They struck roots in it, were fruitful and multiplied greatly.

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