XXIX. When he heard this, and heard those who had sold him all speak of him as dead, what think you did Joseph feel in his soul? for even if he did not utter the feelings which then encompassed him, still they unquestionably were burning within his breast, and exciting, and kindling strange emotions within him; nevertheless, with deep wisdom and humanity does he address them, saying, “If, in good truth, you have not come hither to spy the land, then, in order to prove your good faith to me, remain here some short period, and write a letter and send for your youngest brother, and let him come to you; or if, for your father’s sake, you are anxious to depart, lest he perchance may be alarmed at your protracted absence, in that case depart all the rest of you, but let one of you remain behind as a hostage, until you return again with your youngest brother; and if you do not obey, then the most terrible death shall be your punishment.” He then threatened them in this manner, looking sternly at them, and giving every sign of violent anger, as far as appearances could go, and so he left them. But they, being full of consciousness and depression, afflicted themselves for their former treachery towards their brother, saying, “That wickedness which we committed is the cause of all our present evils, since justice, which takes the regulation of all human affairs, is now contriving some punishment for us; for having been quiet for a short time it is now awakened, displaying its nature, which is at all times relentless and implacable towards those who are deserving of punishment, and how can we deny that we are deserving of it? We in a merciless manner disregarded our brother when he besought us and supplicated us, though he had done no wrong, but had only, in the fulness of his natural affection, related to us, as to his nearest relations, the visions which had appeared to him in sleep; for which cause we, the most brutal and savage of men, became enraged, and committed (for we must not now deny the truth) most impious actions; therefore let us now expect to suffer these things and even worse, we who, though we are almost the only men in the whole world who are called noble by birth, by reason of the exceeding virtues of our fathers, and grandfathers, and ancestors, have nevertheless disgraced our kindred, hastening to cover ourselves with notorious infamy.” But the eldest of the brethren, who also at the very beginning had opposed them when they were originally concocting their treachery, said to them, “Repentance is useless after the thing has been done; I exhorted you, I entreated you, pointing out to you how enormous the impiety you were meditating was, I begged you not to indulge your passion; but though you ought to have assented to me, you yielded to your own inconsiderate folly; therefore, we now are reaping the fruit of your self-will and impiety, and now the treachery which we exercised towards him is required at our hands; and he who requires it is not man, but either God, or reason, or the law of God.”