B'resheet (Gen) 44
1Then he ordered the manager of his household, “Fill the men’s packs with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money just inside his pack. 2And put my goblet, the silver one, just inside the pack of the youngest, along with his grain money.” He did what Yosef told him to do.
3At daybreak the men were sent off with their donkeys; 4but before they were far from the city Yosef said to his manager, “Up, go after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? 5Isn’t this the goblet my lord drinks from, indeed the one he uses for divination? What you have done is evil!’” 6So he caught up with them and said these words to them. 7They replied, “Why does my lord speak this way? Heaven forbid that we should do such a thing! 8Why, the money we found inside our packs we brought back to you from the land of Kena‘an! So how would we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9Whichever one of us the goblet is found with, let him be put to death — and the rest of us will be my lord’s slaves!” 10He replied, “Fine; let it be as you have said: whichever one it is found with will be my slave. But the rest of you will be blameless.” 11Then each hurried to put his pack down on the ground, and each one opened his pack. 12He searched, starting with the oldest and ending with the youngest; and the goblet was found in the pack belonging to Binyamin. 13At this, they tore their clothes from grief. Then each man loaded up his donkey and returned to the city.
(A: Maftir) 14Y’hudah and his brothers arrived at Yosef’s house. He was still there, and they fell down before him on the ground. (S: Maftir) 15Yosef said to them, “How could you do such a thing? Don’t you know that a man such as myself can learn the truth by divination?” 16Y’hudah said, “There’s nothing we can say to my lord! How can we speak? There’s no way we can clear ourselves! God has revealed your servants’ guilt; so here we are, my lord’s slaves — both we and also the one in whose possession the cup was found.” 17But he replied, “Heaven forbid that I should act in such a way. The man in whose possession the goblet was found will be my slave; but as for you, go in peace to your father.”
Haftarah Mikketz: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 3:15–4:1
B’rit Hadashah suggested reading for Parashah Mikketz: Acts 7:9–16 (specifically vv. 11–12)
Parashah 11: Vayigash (He approached) 44:18–47:27
18Then Y’hudah approached Yosef and said, “Please, my lord! Let your servant say something to you privately; and don’t be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father? or a brother?’ 20We answered my lord, ‘We have a father who is an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one whose brother is dead; so that of his mother’s children he alone is left; and his father loves him.’ 21But you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, so that I can see him.’ 22We answered my lord, ‘The boy can’t leave his father; if he were to leave his father, his father would die.’ 23You said to your servants, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 24We went up to your servant my father and told him what my lord had said; 25but when our father said, ‘Go again, and buy us some food,’ 26we answered, ‘We can’t go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go down, because we can’t see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons: 28the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he has been torn to pieces,” and I haven’t seen him since. 29Now if you take this one away from me too, and something happens to him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sh’ol with grief.’ 30So now if I go to your servant my father, and the boy isn’t with us — seeing how his heart is bound up with the boy’s heart — (ii) 31when he sees that the boy isn’t with us, he will die; and your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sh’ol with grief. 32For your servant himself guaranteed his safety; I said, ‘If I fail to bring him to you, then I will bear the blame before my father forever.’ 33Therefore, I beg you, let your servant stay as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34For how can I go up to my father if the boy isn’t with me? I couldn’t bear to see my father so overwhelmed by anguish.”
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The Final Test
1 He instructed the servant who was over his household, “Fill the sacks of the men with as much food as they can carry and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. 2 Then put#tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express Joseph’s instructions. my cup – the silver cup – in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the money for his grain.” He did as Joseph instructed.#tn Heb “and he did according to the word of Joseph which he spoke.”
3 When morning came,#tn Heb “the morning was light.” the men and their donkeys were sent off.#tn Heb “and the men were sent off, they and their donkeys.” This clause, like the preceding one, has the subject before the verb, indicating synchronic action. 4 They had not gone very far from the city#tn Heb “they left the city, they were not far,” meaning “they had not gone very far.” when Joseph said#tn Heb “and Joseph said.” This clause, like the first one in the verse, has the subject before the verb, indicating synchronic action. to the servant who was over his household, “Pursue the men at once!#tn Heb “arise, chase after the men.” The first imperative gives the command a sense of urgency. When you overtake#tn After the imperative this perfect verbal form with vav consecutive has the same nuance of instruction. In the translation it is subordinated to the verbal form that follows (also a perfect with vav consecutive): “and overtake them and say,” becomes “when you overtake them, say.” them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? 5 Doesn’t my master drink from this cup#tn Heb “Is this not what my master drinks from.” The word “cup” is not in the Hebrew text, but is obviously the referent of “this,” and so has been supplied in the translation for clarity. and use it for divination?#tn Heb “and he, divining, divines with it.” The infinitive absolute is emphatic, stressing the importance of the cup to Joseph. You have done wrong!’”#tn Heb “you have caused to be evil what you have done.”
6 When the man#tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household) has been specified in the translation for clarity. overtook them, he spoke these words to them. 7 They answered him, “Why does my lord say such things?#tn Heb “Why does my lord speak according to these words?” Far be it from your servants to do such a thing!#tn Heb “according to this thing.” 8 Look, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. Why then would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9 If one of us has it,#tn Heb “The one with whom it is found from your servants.” Here “your servants” (a deferential way of referring to the brothers themselves) has been translated by the pronoun “us” to avoid confusion with Joseph’s servants. he will die, and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves!”
10 He replied, “You have suggested your own punishment!#tn Heb “Also now, according to your words, so it is.” As the next statement indicates, this does mean that he will do exactly as they say. He does agree with them the culprit should be punished, but not as harshly as they suggest. Furthermore, the innocent parties will not be punished. The one who has it will become my slave,#tn Heb “The one with whom it is found will become my slave.” but the rest of#tn The words “the rest of” have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons. you will go free.”#tn The Hebrew word נָקִי (naqi) means “acquitted,” that is, free of guilt and the responsibility for it.sn The rest of you will be free. Joseph’s purpose was to single out Benjamin to see if the brothers would abandon him as they had abandoned Joseph. He wanted to see if they had changed. 11 So each man quickly lowered#tn Heb “and they hurried and they lowered.” Their speed in doing this shows their presumption of innocence. his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the man#tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the man who was in charge of Joseph’s household) has been specified in the translation for clarity. searched. He began with the oldest and finished with the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack! 13 They all tore their clothes! Then each man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.
14 So Judah and his brothers#sn Judah and his brothers. The narrative is already beginning to bring Judah to the forefront. came back to Joseph’s house. He was still there,#tn The disjunctive clause here provides supplemental information. and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What did you think you were doing?#tn Heb “What is this deed you have done?” The demonstrative pronoun (“this”) adds emphasis to the question. A literal translation seems to contradict the following statement, in which Joseph affirms that he is able to divine such matters. Thus here the emotive force of the question has been reflected in the translation, “What did you think you were doing?” Don’t you know that a man like me can find out things like this by divination?”#tn Heb “[is] fully able to divine,” meaning that he can find things out by divination. The infinitive absolute appears before the finite verb for emphasis, stressing his ability to do this.
16 Judah replied, “What can we say#tn The imperfect verbal form here indicates the subject’s potential. to my lord? What can we speak? How can we clear ourselves?#tn The Hitpael form of the verb צָדֵק (tsadeq) here means “to prove ourselves just, to declare ourselves righteous, to prove our innocence.” God has exposed the sin of your servants!#sn God has exposed the sin of your servants. The first three questions are rhetorical; Judah is stating that there is nothing they can say to clear themselves. He therefore must conclude that they have been found guilty. We are now my lord’s slaves, we and the one in whose possession the cup was found.”
17 But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do this! The man in whose hand the cup was found will become my slave, but the rest of#tn The words “the rest of” have been supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons. you may go back#tn Heb “up” (reflecting directions from their point of view – “up” to Canaan; “down” to Egypt). to your father in peace.”
18 Then Judah approached him and said, “My lord, please allow your servant to speak a word with you.#tn Heb “Please my lord, let your servant speak a word into the ears of my lord.” Please do not get angry with your servant,#tn Heb “and let not your anger burn against your servant.” for you are just like Pharaoh.#sn You are just like Pharaoh. Judah’s speech begins with the fear and trembling of one who stands condemned. Joseph has as much power as Pharaoh, either to condemn or to pardon. Judah will make his appeal, wording his speech in such a way as to appeal to Joseph’s compassion for the father, whom he mentions no less than fourteen times in the speech. 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 We said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young boy who was born when our father was old.#tn Heb “and a small boy of old age,” meaning that he was born when his father was elderly. The boy’s#tn Heb “his”; the referent (the boy just mentioned) has been specified in the translation for clarity. brother is dead. He is the only one of his mother’s sons left,#tn Heb “he, only he, to his mother is left.” and his father loves him.’
21 “Then you told your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see#tn The cohortative after the imperative indicates purpose here. him.’#tn Heb “that I may set my eyes upon him.” 22 We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father. If he leaves his father, his father#tn Heb “he”; the referent (the boy’s father, i.e., Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity. will die.’#tn The last two verbs are perfect tenses with vav consecutive. The first is subordinated to the second as a conditional clause. 23 But you said to your servants, ‘If your youngest brother does not come down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24 When we returned to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.
25 “Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy us a little food.’ 26 But we replied, ‘We cannot go down there.#tn The direct object is not specified in the Hebrew text, but is implied; “there” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go,#tn Heb “go down.” for we won’t be permitted to see the man’s face if our youngest brother is not with us.’
27 “Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife gave me two sons.#tn Heb “that two sons my wife bore to me.” 28 The first disappeared#tn Heb “went forth from me.” and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” I have not seen him since. 29 If you take#tn The construction uses a perfect verbal form with the vav consecutive to introduce the conditional clause and then another perfect verbal form with a vav consecutive to complete the sentence: “if you take…then you will bring down.” this one from me too and an accident happens to him, then you will bring down my gray hair#sn The expression bring down my gray hair is figurative, using a part for the whole – they would put Jacob in the grave. But the gray head signifies a long life of worry and trouble. See Gen 42:38. in tragedy#tn Heb “evil/calamity.” The term is different than the one used in the otherwise identical statement recorded in v. 31 (see also 42:38). to the grave.’#tn Heb “to Sheol,” the dwelling place of the dead.
30 “So now, when I return to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us – his very life is bound up in his son’s life.#tn Heb “his life is bound up in his life.” 31 When he sees the boy is not with us,#tn Heb “when he sees that there is no boy.” he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant our father in sorrow to the grave. 32 Indeed,#tn Or “for.” your servant pledged security for the boy with my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame before my father all my life.’
33 “So now, please let your servant remain as my lord’s slave instead of the boy. As for the boy, let him go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t bear to see#tn The Hebrew text has “lest I see,” which expresses a negative purpose – “I cannot go up lest I see.” my father’s pain.”#tn Heb “the calamity which would find my father.”
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