A Silver Cup in a Sack
1Joseph told the manager of his house what to do. “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry,” he said. “Put each man’s money in his sack. 2Then put my silver cup in the youngest one’s sack. Put it there along with the money he paid for his grain.” So the manager did what Joseph told him to do.
3When morning came, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4They hadn’t gone very far from the city when Joseph spoke to his manager. “Go after those men right away,” he said. “Catch up with them. Say to them, ‘My master was good to you. Why have you paid him back by doing evil? 5Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from? Doesn’t he also use it to find things out? You have done an evil thing.’ ”
6When the manager caught up with them, he told them what Joseph had said. 7But they said to him, “Why do you say these things? We would never do anything like that! 8We even brought back to you from Canaan the money we found in our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If you find out that any of us has the cup, he will die. And the rest of us will become your slaves.”
10“All right, then,” he said. “As you wish. The one found to have the cup will become my slave. But the rest of you will not be blamed.”
11Each of them quickly put his sack down on the ground and opened it. 12Then the manager started to search. He began with the oldest and ended with the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13When that happened, they were so upset they tore their clothes. Then all of them loaded their donkeys and went back to the city.
14Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in. They threw themselves down on the ground in front of him. 15Joseph said to them, “What have you done? Don’t you know that a man like me has ways to find things out?”
16“What can we say to you?” Judah replied. “What can we say? How can we prove we haven’t done anything wrong? God has shown you that we are guilty. We are now your slaves. All of us are, including the one found to have the cup.”
17But Joseph said, “I would never do anything like that! Only the man found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you may go back to your father in peace.”
18Then Judah went up to him. He said, “Please, sir. Let me speak a word to you. Don’t be angry with me, even though you are equal to Pharaoh himself. 19You asked us, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20We answered, ‘We have an old father. A young son was born to him when he was old. His brother is dead. He’s the only one of his mother’s sons left. And his father loves him.’
21“Then you said to us, ‘Bring him down to me. I want to see him for myself.’ 22We said to you, ‘The boy can’t leave his father. If he does, his father will die.’ 23But you told us, ‘Your youngest brother must come down here with you. If he doesn’t, you won’t see my face again.’ 24So we went back to my father. We told him what you had said.
25“Then our father said, ‘Go back. Buy a little more food.’ 26But we said, ‘We can’t go down. We’ll only go if our youngest brother goes there with us. We can’t even see the man’s face unless our youngest brother goes with us.’
27“Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife had two sons by me. 28One of them went away from me. And I said, “He must have been torn to pieces.” I haven’t seen him since. 29What if you take this one from me too and he is harmed? Then you would cause me to die as a sad old man. I would go down into the grave full of pain and suffering.’
30“So now, what will happen if the boy isn’t with us when I go back to my father? His life depends on the boy’s life. 31When he sees that the boy isn’t with us, he’ll die. Because of us, he’ll go down into the grave as a sad old man. 32I promised my father I would keep the boy safe. I said, ‘Father, I’ll bring him back to you. If I don’t, you can put the blame on me for the rest of my life.’
33“Now then, please let me stay here. Let me be your slave in place of the boy. Let the boy return with his brothers. 34How can I go back to my father if the boy isn’t with me? No! Don’t let me see the pain and suffering that would come to my father.”
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Joseph’s Final Test
1Joseph commanded his steward, “Fill the men’s bags with as much food as they can carry, and put each one’s silver at the top of his bag.#Gn 42:25 2Put my cup, the silver one, at the top of the youngest one’s bag, along with the silver for his grain.” So he did as Joseph told him.
3At morning light, the men were sent off with their donkeys. 4They had not gone very far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Get up. Pursue the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5Isn’t this the cup that my master drinks from and uses for divination?#Gn 30:27; 44:15; Lv 19:26; Dt 18:10–14 What you have done is wrong! ’”
6When he overtook them, he said these words to them. 7They said to him, “Why does my lord say these things? Your servants could not possibly do such a thing. 8We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the silver we found at the top of our bags. How could we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If it is found with one of us, your servants, he must die, and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.”#Gn 31:32
10The steward replied, “What you have said is right, but only the one who is found to have it will be my slave, and the rest of you will be blameless.”
11So each one quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12The steward searched, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13Then they tore their clothes,#Gn 37:29 and each one loaded his donkey and returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers reached Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell to the ground before him.#Gn 37:7–10; 42:6; 43:26–28 15“What have you done?” Joseph said to them. “Didn’t you know that a man like me could uncover the truth by divination?”
16“What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “How can we plead? How can we justify ourselves? God has exposed your servants’ iniquity. We are now my lord’s slaves — both we and the one in whose possession the cup was found.”
17Then Joseph said, “I swear that I will not do this. The man in whose possession the cup was found will be my slave. The rest of you can go in peace to your father.”
Judah’s Plea for Benjamin
18But Judah approached him and said, “My lord, please let your servant speak personally to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh.#Gn 37:7–8; 41:40–44 19My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20and we answered my lord, ‘We have an elderly father and a younger brother, the child of his old age.#Gn 37:3; 43:8; 44:30 The boy’s brother is dead. He is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’ 21Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him to me so that I can see him.’#Gn 42:15,20 22But we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father. If he were to leave, his father would die.’ 23Then you said to your servants, ‘If your younger brother does not come down with you, you will not see me again.’#Gn 43:3,5
24“This is what happened when we went back to your servant my father: We reported to him the words of my lord. 25But our father said, ‘Go again, and buy us a little food.’#Gn 43:2 26We told him, ‘We cannot go down unless our younger brother goes with us. If our younger brother isn’t with us, we cannot see the man.’ 27Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28One is gone from me — I said he must have been torn to pieces — and I have never seen him again.#Gn 37:31–35 29If you also take this one from me and anything happens to him, you will bring my gray hairs down to Sheol in sorrow.’#Gn 42:38
30“So if I come to your servant my father and the boy is not with us — his life is wrapped up with the boy’s life — 31when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die. Then your servants will have brought the gray hairs of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow. 32Your servant became accountable to my father for the boy, saying, ‘If I do not return him to you, I will always bear the guilt for sinning against you, my father.’#Gn 43:9 33Now please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave, in place of the boy. Let him go back with his brothers. 34For how can I go back to my father without the boy? I could not bear to see the grief that would overwhelm my father.”
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