The Missing Cup
1Joseph commanded the servant in charge of his house, “Fill the men's sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man's money in the top of his sack. 2Put my silver cup in the top of the youngest brother's sack, together with the money for his corn.” He did as he was told. 3Early in the morning the brothers were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to the servant in charge of his house, “Hurry after those men. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you paid back evil for good? 5Why did you steal my master's silver cup?#44.5 One ancient translation Why did you steal my master's silver cup?; Hebrew does not have these words. It is the one he drinks from, the one he uses for divination. You have committed a serious crime!’ ”
6When the servant caught up with them, he repeated these words. 7They answered him, “What do you mean, sir, by talking like this? We swear that we have done no such thing. 8You know that we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money we found in the top of our sacks. Why then should we steal silver or gold from your master's house? 9Sir, if any one of us is found to have it, he will be put to death, and the rest of us will become your slaves.”
10He said, “I agree; but only the one who has taken the cup will become my slave, and the rest of you can go free.” 11So they quickly lowered their sacks to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12Joseph's servant searched carefully, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13The brothers tore their clothes in sorrow, loaded their donkeys, and returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, he was still there. They bowed down before him, 15and Joseph said, “What have you done? Didn't you know that a man in my position could find you out by practising divination?”
16“What can we say to you, sir?” Judah answered. “How can we argue? How can we clear ourselves? God has uncovered our guilt. All of us are now your slaves and not just the one with whom the cup was found.”
17Joseph said, “Oh, no! I would never do that! Only the one who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back safe and sound to your father.”
Judah Pleads for Benjamin
18Judah went up to Joseph and said, “Please, sir, allow me to speak with you freely. Don't be angry with me; you are like the king himself. 19Sir, you asked us, ‘Have you got a father or another brother?’ 20We answered, ‘We have a father who is old and a younger brother, born to him in his old age. The boy's brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother's children still alive; his father loves him very much.’ 21Sir, you told us to bring him here, so that you could see him, 22and we answered that the boy could not leave his father; if he did, his father would die. 23Then you said, ‘You will not be admitted to my presence again unless your youngest brother comes with you.’
24“When we went back to our father, we told him what you had said. 25Then he told us to return and buy a little food. 26We answered, ‘We cannot go; we will not be admitted to the man's presence unless our youngest brother is with us. We can go only if our youngest brother goes also.’ 27Our father said to us, ‘You know that my wife Rachel bore me only two sons. 28One of them has already left me. He must have been torn to pieces by wild animals, because I have not seen him since he left. 29If you take this one from me now and something happens to him, the sorrow you would cause me would kill me, old as I am.’
30-31“And now, sir,” Judah continued, “if I go back to my father without the boy, as soon as he sees that the boy is not with me, he will die. His life is wrapped up with the life of the boy, and he is so old that the sorrow we would cause him would kill him. 32What is more, I pledged my life to my father for the boy. I told him that if I did not bring the boy back to him, I would bear the blame all my life. 33And now, sir, I will stay here as your slave in place of the boy; let him go back with his brothers. 34How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I cannot bear to see this disaster come upon my father.”
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Good News Bible. Scripture taken from the Good News Bible (r) (Today's English Version Second Edition, UK/British Edition). Copyright © 1992 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.
1And he commandeth him who [is] over his house, saying, ‘Fill the bags of the men [with] food, as they are able to bear, and put the money of each in the mouth of his bag;
2and my cup, the silver cup, thou dost put in the mouth of the bag of the young one, and his corn-money;’ and he doth according to the word of Joseph which he hath spoken.
3The morning is bright, and the men have been sent away, they and their asses —
4they have gone out of the city — they have not gone far off — and Joseph hath said to him who [is] over his house, ‘Rise, pursue after the men; and thou hast overtaken them, and thou hast said unto them, Why have ye recompensed evil for good?
5Is not this that with which my lord drinketh? and he observeth diligently with it; ye have done evil [in] that which ye have done.’
6And he overtaketh them, and speaketh unto them these words,
7and they say unto him, ‘Why doth my lord speak according to these words? far be it from thy servants to do according to this word;
8lo, the money which we found in the mouth of our bags we brought back unto thee from the land of Canaan, and how do we steal from the house of thy lord silver or gold?
9with whomsoever of thy servants it is found, he hath died, and we also are to my lord for servants.’
10And he saith, ‘Now, also, according to your words, so it [is]; he with whom it is found becometh my servant, and ye are acquitted;’
11and they hasten and take down each his bag to the earth, and each openeth his bag;
12and he searcheth — at the eldest he hath begun, and at the youngest he hath completed — and the cup is found in the bag of Benjamin;
13and they rend their garments, and each ladeth his ass, and they turn back to the city.
14And Judah — his brethren also — cometh in unto the house of Joseph, and he is yet there, and they fall before him to the earth;
15and Joseph saith to them, ‘What [is] this deed that ye have done? have ye not known that a man like me doth diligently observe?’
16And Judah saith, ‘What do we say to my lord? what do we speak? and what — do we justify ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants; lo, we [are] servants to my lord, both we, and he in whose hand the cup hath been found;’
17and he saith, ‘Far be it from me to do this; the man in whose hand the cup hath been found, he becometh my servant; and ye, go ye up in peace unto your father.’
18And Judah cometh nigh unto him, and saith, ‘O, my lord, let thy servant speak, I pray thee, a word in the ears of my lord, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant — for thou art as Pharaoh.
19My lord hath asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father or brother?
20and we say unto my lord, We have a father, an aged one, and a child of old age, a little one; and his brother died, and he is left alone of his mother, and his father hath loved him.
21‘And thou sayest unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, and I set mine eye upon him;
22and we say unto my lord, The youth is not able to leave his father, when he hath left his father, then he hath died;
23and thou sayest unto thy servants, If your young brother come not down with you, ye add not to see my face.
24‘And it cometh to pass, that we have come up unto thy servant my father, that we declare to him the words of my lord;
25and our father saith, Turn back, buy for us a little food,
26and we say, We are not able to go down; if our young brother is with us, then we have gone down; for we are not able to see the man's face, and our young brother not with us.
27‘And thy servant my father saith unto us, Ye — ye have known that two did my wife bare to me,
28and the one goeth out from me, and I say, Surely he is torn — torn! and I have not seen him since;
29when ye have taken also this from my presence, and mischief hath met him, then ye have brought down my grey hairs with evil to sheol.
30‘And now, at my coming in unto thy servant my father, and the youth not with us (and his soul is bound up in his soul),
31then it hath come to pass when he seeth that the youth is not, that he hath died, and thy servants have brought down the grey hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to sheol;
32for thy servant obtained the youth by surety from my father, saying, If I bring him not in unto thee — then I have sinned against my father all the days.
33‘And now, let thy servant, I pray thee, abide instead of the youth a servant to my lord, and the youth goeth up with his brethren,
34for how do I go up unto my father, and the youth not with me? lest I look on the evil which doth find my father.’
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