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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