Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt to Buy Grain
British Library, MS Cotton Claudius B IV
An Old English translation of the first six books of the Old Testament
Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt
42 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you keep looking at one another?
2 I have heard,” he said, “that there is grain in Egypt; go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.”
3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt.
4 But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he feared that harm might come to him.
5 Thus the sons of Israel were among the other people who came to buy grain, for the famine had reached the land of Canaan.
6 Now Joseph was governor over the land; it was he who sold to all the people of the land.
And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.
7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them.
“Where do you come from?” he said.
They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.”
8 Although Joseph had recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.
9 Joseph also remembered the dreams that he had dreamed about them.
He said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land!”
Date: 2nd quarter of the 11th century-2nd half of the 12th century
Title: Old English Hexateuch (imperfect), comprising Ælfric’s preface (1r–v), Genesis (1v–72v), Exodus (72v–105v), Leviticus (105v–110v), Numbers (111r–128r), Deuteronomy (128v–140r) and Joshua (140v–156v)
Claudius B.iv. was probably compiled in the second quarter of the 11th century at St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. It incorporates translations and a preface by Ælfric of Eynsham, while the remaining parts of the translation were carried out by anonymous authors. Peter Clemoes suggests that Byrhtferth of Ramsey was responsible for the compilation as well as for parts of the translation.
The picture captions are in Anglo-Norman French.
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