A Silver Cup in a Sack
1Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack. 2Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And he did as Joseph said.
3As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? 5Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.’ ”
6When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. 7But they said to him, “Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do anything like that! 8We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the silver we found inside the mouths of our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die; and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.”
10“Very well, then,” he said, “let it be as you say. Whoever is found to have it will become my slave; the rest of you will be free from blame.”
11Each of them quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12Then the steward proceeded to search, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13At this, they tore their clothes. Then they all loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.
14Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, “What is this you have done? Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?”
16“What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves—we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.”
17But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.”
18Then Judah went up to him and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself. 19My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20And we answered, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age. His brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’
21“Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.’ 22And we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.’ 23But you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24When we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.
25“Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy a little more food.’ 26But we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’
27“Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28One of them went away from me, and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” And I have not seen him since. 29If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in misery.’
30“So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, 31sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die. Your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow. 32Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father. I said, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!’
33“Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on 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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