1Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man's money in the mouth of his sack, 2and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him. 3As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their asses. 4When they had gone but a short distance from the city, Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you returned evil for good? Why have you stolen my silver cup?#44.4 Gk Compare Vg: Heb lacks Why have you stolen my silver cup? 5Is it not from this that my lord drinks, and by this that he divines? You have done wrong in so doing.’ ”
6When he overtook them, he spoke to them these words. 7They 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 the mouth of our sacks, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan; how then should we steal silver or gold from your lord's house? 9With whomever of your servants it be found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's slaves.” 10He said, “Let it be as you say: he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and the rest of you shall be blameless.” 11Then every man quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and every man opened his sack. 12And he searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13Then they rent their clothes, and every man loaded his ass, and they returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, he was still there; and they fell before him to the ground. 15Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed divine?” 16And Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord's slaves, both we and he also in whose hand the cup has been found.” 17But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the man in whose hand the cup was found shall be my slave; but as for you, go up in peace to your father.”
18Then Judah went up to him and said, “O my lord, let your servant, I pray you, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father, or a brother?’ 20And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother's children; and his father loves him.’ 21Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes upon him.’ 22We said to my lord, ‘The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23Then you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.’ 24When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord. 25And when our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’ 26we said, ‘We cannot go down. If our youngest brother goes with us, then we will go down; for we cannot 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; 28one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since. 29If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol.’ 30Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the lad's life, 31when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die; and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol. 32For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame in the sight of my father all my life.’ 33Now therefore, let your servant, I pray you, remain instead of the lad as a slave to my lord; and let the lad go back with his brothers. 34For how can I go back to my father if the lad is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would come upon my father.”
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Joseph’s Final Test
1Then Joseph commanded his steward: “Fill the men’s bags with as much food as they can carry, and put each one’s money 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 his grain money.” 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? # LXX adds Why have you stolen my silver cup? 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 money we found at the top of our bags. How could we steal gold and silver from your master’s house? 9If any of us is # Lit If your servants are found to have it, he must die, and we also 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 is this you have 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, “Sir, please let your servant speak personally to my lord. # Lit speak a word in my lord’s ears 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 your words to him. 25But our father said, ‘Go again, and buy us some food.’ # Gn 43:2 26We told him, ‘We cannot go down unless our younger brother goes with us. So 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 left — I said that 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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