Joseph tests his brothers
1Joseph told the servant who took care of his house, ‘Fill the men's bags. Give them as much food as their animals can carry. Put each man's money back in the top of his bag. 2Then take my silver cup and put it in the top of the youngest man's bag. Put it with the money that he brought to pay for his food.’ The servant did what Joseph had told him to do. 3When morning came, the men started their journey with their donkeys. 4They had travelled only a short way from the city. Then Joseph said to his servant, ‘Go now and follow those men. When you find them, say to them, “My master was kind to you. So why have you done this bad thing against us? 5You have taken my master's own special cup. It is the cup that he drinks from. He also uses it to find out about future things. You have done a very bad thing!” ’
6So Joseph's servant followed the men and he reached them. He told them Joseph's message. 7But the brothers said to him, ‘Sir, why do you say these things? We are your servants. We would not do anything like that! 8When we found the money in our bags last time, we brought it back to you from Canaan. So we would never take valuable silver or gold things from your master's house. 9If any one of us has this silver cup, he must die. We others will become your slaves, sir.’ 10The servant said, ‘What you say is fair. Whoever has the cup, will become my slave. The rest of you will go free.’
11Each of the brothers quickly put his bag on the ground and opened it. 12Then the servant began to look in the bags. He began with the oldest brother's bag and he finished with the youngest brother's bag. Then he found the cup in Benjamin's bag! 13When this happened, all the brothers were very upset. They tore their clothes. Then they put their bags back on their donkeys. They returned to the city.
14Joseph was still in his house when Judah and his brothers arrived. They threw themselves on the ground in front of Joseph. 15Joseph said, ‘Why have you done this bad thing? You should have known about an important man like me. I can use magic to find out what people do.’ 16Judah said, ‘We do not know what to say to you, my lord. We cannot say that we did not do this. God has shown that we are guilty of this sin. Now we are your slaves. We are all your slaves, as well as the one who had your cup in his bag.’
17But Joseph said, ‘I would not do a thing like that! Only the man who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you can return to your father. You may go as my friends.’
18Then Judah went and he spoke to Joseph. He said, ‘Please, my lord. Let me speak to you. You have all of Pharaoh's authority, but please do not be angry with me, your servant. 19You asked us, “Do you have a father or another brother?” 20And we replied, “We have a father who is very old. He has a young son who was born when our father was already old. That son's brother is dead. He is the only son of his mother who still lives. His father loves him.” 21Then you said, “Bring your youngest brother to me so that I can see him.” 22And we said, “The boy cannot leave his father. If he leaves him, his father will die.” 23But you said to us, “Your youngest brother must come with you. If he does not come, I will not let you see me again.” 24We returned to our father and we told him what you said. 25After some time, our father said, “Go back to Egypt and buy some more food for us.” 26But we said, “We cannot go back there. We can only go if our youngest brother goes with us. If he is not with us, we will not be able to see the man again.” 27Then my father said to us, “My wife gave birth to two sons. 28One of them went away and he never returned. So I said, ‘A wild animal must have eaten him.’ I have not seen him since that happened. 29If you take my youngest son away from me too, something bad may happen to him. I am already an old man. If I lose Benjamin, I would be so sad that I would die.” ’
30Judah continued and he said, ‘So, my lord, I could not go back to my father without his youngest son. My father stays alive because of this boy. 31If my father sees that his son is not with us, he will die. Because we did not bring the boy back to him, he will be sad enough to die. 32I promised my father that I would take care of the boy. I said, “I will bring the boy back. If I do not, then you can say that I am guilty. I will be guilty for all of my life.” 33Please sir, let me stay here as your slave, instead of the boy. Let the boy return home with his brothers. 34I cannot go back to my father if the boy is not with me. I never want to see how upset my father would be.’ #44:34 In chapter 44, Joseph wants to see if his brothers have changed. Will they leave Benjamin in Egypt, so that they can return to Canaan? Judah shows that he has changed. He says that he will stay in Egypt, as a slave. He will stay so that Benjamin can go home to his 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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