Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/354

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Ⅻ, 76-84.
the qur′ân.

whomsoever we please, and over every possessor of knowledge is one who knows.

They said, ‘If he has stolen, a brother of his has stolen before him.’

But Joseph kept it secret in his soul and dis- closed it not to them. Said he, ‘Ye are in a bad case, and God knows best about what ye describe.’

They said, ‘O prince ! Verily, he has a father, a very old man ; take then one of us instead of him ; verily, we can see that thou art of those who do good.’

Said he, ‘(I seek) refuge in God from taking any save him with whom we found our property ; verily, we should then be certainly unjust.’

80 And when they despaired of him they retired to consult privately. Said the eldest of them, ‘Do ye not know that your father has taken a compact from God against you ? Aforetime ye exceeded in the matter of Joseph — I will surely not quit the land until my father give me leave, or God judge for me, for He is the best of judges.

‘Return ye to your father and say, “O our father ! verily, thy son has committed theft, and we bore testimony to naught but what we knew ; for of the unforeseen we were not keepers !”

‘Ask then in the city where we were, and of the caravan in which we approached it, for, verily, we tell the truth.’

Said he, ‘Nay, your souls have induced you to do this thing. But patience is fair. It may be that God will give me them all together; — verily, He is knowing, wise.’

And he turned away from them and said, ‘O my