1 He commanded the steward of his house, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in his sack’s mouth. 2Put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, with his grain money.” He did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. 3As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys. 4When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men. When you overtake them, ask them, ‘Why have you rewarded evil for good? 5Isn’t this that from which my lord drinks, and by which he indeed divines? You have done evil in so doing.’” 6He overtook them, and he spoke these words to them.
7 They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing! 8Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again to you out of the land of Canaan. How then should we steal silver or gold out of your lord’s house? 9With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.”
10 He said, “Now also let it be according to your words. He with whom it is found will be my slave; and you will be blameless.”
11 Then they hurried, and each man took his sack down to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12He searched, beginning with the oldest, and ending at the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13Then they tore their clothes, and each man loaded his donkey, and returned to the city.
14 Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, and he was still there. They fell on the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Don’t you know that such a man as I can indeed do divination?”
16 Judah said, “What will we tell my lord? What will we speak? How will we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and he also in whose hand the cup is found.”
17 He said, “Far be it from me that I should do so. The man in whose hand the cup is found, he will be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”
18 Then Judah came near to him, and said, “Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s ears, and don’t let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even as Pharaoh. 19My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father, or a brother?’ 20We said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother; and his father loves him.’ 21You said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22We said to my lord, ‘The boy can’t leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23You said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will see my face no more.’ 24When we came up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25Our father said, ‘Go again and buy us a little food.’ 26We said, ‘We can’t go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down: for we may not see the man’s face, unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27Your servant, my father, said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28One went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn in pieces;” and I haven’t seen him since. 29If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to Sheol.’#44:29 Sheol is the place of the dead. 30Now therefore when I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us; since his life is bound up in the boy’s life; 31it will happen, when he sees that the boy is no more, that he will die. Your servants will bring down the grey hairs of your servant, our father, with sorrow to Sheol.#44:31 Sheol is the place of the dead. 32For your servant became collateral for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I don’t bring him to you, then I will bear the blame to my father forever.’ 33Now therefore, please let your servant stay instead of the boy, my lord’s slave; and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34For how will I go up to my father, if the boy isn’t with me?—lest I see the evil that will come on my father.”
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Joseph Sets a Trap
1Then Joseph gave a command to his servant. He said, “Fill the men’s sacks with as much grain as they can carry. Then put each man’s money into his sack with the grain. 2Put the youngest brother’s money in his sack too. But also put my special silver cup in his sack.” So the servant obeyed Joseph.
3Early the next morning the brothers and their donkeys were sent back to their country. 4After they had left the city, Joseph said to his servant, “Go and follow the men. Stop them and say to them, ‘We were good to you! So why have you been bad to us? Why did you steal my master’s silver cup?#44:4 Why did … silver cup This is from the ancient Greek version. 5My master drinks from that cup, and he uses it to learn secret things. What you did was wrong!’”
6So the servant obeyed. He rode out to the brothers and stopped them. The servant said to them what Joseph had told him to say.
7But the brothers said to the servant, “Why does the governor say these things? We wouldn’t do anything like that! 8We brought back the money that we found in our sacks before. So surely we wouldn’t steal silver or gold from your master’s house. 9If you find the silver cup in any of our sacks, let that man die. You can kill him, and we will be your slaves.”
10The servant said, “I agree, except that only the man who is found to have the cup will be my slave. The others will be free.”
The Trap Is Sprung; Benjamin Is Caught
11Then every brother quickly opened his sack on the ground. 12The servant started looking in the sacks. He started with the oldest brother and ended with the youngest. He found the cup in Benjamin’s sack. 13The brothers were very sad. They tore their clothes to show their sadness. They put their sacks back on the donkeys and went back to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers went back to Joseph’s house, Joseph was still there. The brothers fell to the ground and bowed down before him. 15Joseph said to them, “Why have you done this? Didn’t you know that I have a special way of learning secrets? No one is better at this than I am!”
16Judah said, “Sir, there is nothing we can say. There is no way to explain. There is no way to show that we are not guilty. God has judged us guilty for something else we have done. So all of us, even Benjamin, will be your slaves.”
17But Joseph said, “I will not make you all slaves! Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. You others can go in peace to your father.”
Judah Pleads for Benjamin
18Then Judah went to Joseph and said, “Sir, please let me speak plainly with you. Please don’t be angry with me. I know that you are like Pharaoh himself. 19When we were here before, you asked us, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20And we answered you, ‘We have a father—he is an old man. And we have a younger brother. Our father loves him because he was born while our father was old. This youngest son’s brother is dead, so he is the only son who is left from that mother. Our father loves him very much.’ 21Then you said to us, ‘Bring that brother to me. I want to see him.’ 22And we said to you, ‘That young boy cannot come. He cannot leave his father. If his father loses him, his father will be so sad that he will die.’ 23But you said to us, ‘You must bring your youngest brother, or I will not sell you grain again.’ 24So we went back to our father and told him what you said.
25“Later, our father said, ‘Go back and buy us some more food.’ 26We said to our father, ‘We cannot go without our youngest brother. The governor said he will not sell us grain again until he sees our youngest brother.’ 27Then my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife Rachel gave me two sons. 28I let one son go away, and he was killed by a wild animal. And I haven’t seen him since. 29If you take my other son away from me, and something happens to him, I will be sad enough to die.’ 30Now, imagine what will happen when we go home without our youngest brother—he is the most important thing in our father’s life! 31Our father will die if he sees that the boy isn’t with us—and it will be our fault. We will send our father to his grave a very sad man.
32“I took responsibility for the young boy. I told my father, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, you can blame me for the rest of my life.’ 33So now I beg you, please let the boy go back with his brothers, and I will stay and be your slave. 34I cannot go back to my father if the boy is not with me. I am very afraid of what would happen to my father.”
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